LEVIN: 


Good morning, everybody. The committee meets this morning to consider the nominations of three outstanding military officers for positions of leadership and command among the most important in the Department of Defense.


Our witnesses today are Admiral "Sandy" Winnefeld, U.S. Navy, to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Raymond Odierno to be chief of staff for the United States Army; and General William Fraser III, U.S. Air Force, to be commander, United States Transportation Command. We thank each of you for your many decades of dedicated service to our nation, and your willingness to continue that service in these positions of great responsibility and challenge.


And let me also extend on behalf of the committee our thanks to your families, whose support has been so important to the success that you have enjoyed and whose support for you makes a difference for the nation, as well. As is a tradition that we particularly enjoy, we would invite each of you to introduce either family members or friends who may be here with you during your opening remarks.


One of the first actions that all three of our nominees will carry out if confirmed will be immediately implementing the reduction of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by 10,000 by the end of this year. And removing the rest of the 33,000 U.S. surge force from Afghanistan by the end of the summer in 2012.


These reductions are part of an ongoing process of transitioning increasing responsibility for Afghanistan security to the Afghan security forces, which by 2014 would have lead responsibility for security throughout the country. The course which the president's decision sets provides a strategy for success in Afghanistan. The Afghan security forces have increased by almost 100,000 since the president announced the surge in December of 2009, and that Afghan Army will expand by another 70,000 security forces by the time all of the U.S. surge forces are brought home by September of 2012.


The growing capabilities of the Afghan security forces provide the Afghan people - but one elder - Afghan elder in southern Afghanistan - told me that they want the most, which is the ability to secure their own country themselves. And having Afghan forces in the lead puts the lie to the Taliban's propaganda that international forces are there to occupy Afghanistan. The Afghans taking over their own security is the key to the strategy for success in Afghanistan.


Admiral "Sandy" Winnefeld currently serves as the commander of U.S. Northern Command, and is commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, with Canada. In this capacity, he's been responsible for defense of the homeland, military support to civil authorities for domestic emergencies, as well as aerospace warning and control for North America.


In his current capacity he is the combatant commander responsible for the operation of the ground-based mid-course missile defense GMB system. If confirmed as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he would have a number of key roles and responsibilities related to missile defense. We'll be interested to hear Admiral Winnefeld's views on whether he believes we should demonstrate correction of the two recent GMB flight test failures before resuming production or delivery of the kill vehicles for the GMB interceptors.


The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has a wide range of responsibilities, including playing a major role as chairman of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, JROC, in defining and approving requirements for future acquisition programs, and monitoring the progress of ongoing programs.


As we all know, most of the major acquisition programs at the Department of Defense are over budget and behind schedule. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is but one dramatic example. As the defense budget is reduced, the inability of the department to acquire and its contractors to provide needed systems and equipment on time and on- budget becomes an even more significant problem than it is already.


A significant challenge related to the vice chairman's acquisition responsibility is in the area of cyber security. All of the systems, equipment, support, intelligence, and almost everything else that the Department of Defense does, relies on networks. Making sure that the networks can support the operations reliably will be a large part of Admiral Winnefeld's responsibility.


There are also issues, such as when there's a cyber attack on the United States' activities or entities require or justify a U.S. offensive reaction, cyber or otherwise. The vice chairman will surely be involved in addressing that issue as well. If confirmed, Admiral Winnefeld would also serve as a member of the Nuclear Weapons Council. Producing and maintaining nuclear weapons is expensive and technically challenging.


Today, the Nuclear Weapons Council is participating in the design of the nuclear deterrent of the next generation. If confirmed, one of the challenges would be to keep the costs and the scope of maintenance and modernization within reason. And of course, a central part of the vice chairman's role will be to act as chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the chairman's absence.


LEVIN: 


General Odierno is well known to this committee. He has appeared before several times as a commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and more recently when nominated for his current position as commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command. General Odierno will assume leadership of an Army that is battle tested and proven, but stretched by 10 years of war.


The Army has met every challenge with the courage, dedication, and professionalism for which they and all of us are profoundly grateful. Over the next four years under General Odierno's leadership, the Army will deal with many enduring and new challenges. First and foremost, the Army must continue to meet the demand for trained and ready forces in support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.


As a commander with recent operational experience, we'll be interested to hear General Odierno's views on the continuing demands for Army units and support of operations, their preparation, readiness and performance, and how he would ensure that we continue to meet this challenge.


The future beyond operations in Afghanistan and Iraq holds real questions about what we will need the Army to do, how it will be structured and equipped and how we manage to keep a force that is as good and ready as it is today, modernizes to stay relevant for tomorrow and that is at the same time, affordable.


We'll be interested to hear General Odierno's views on how he would deal with the budget pressures that are already being felt throughout the Defense Department and that no doubt, will result in funding challenges over the next several years.


Perhaps the greatest leadership challenge that General Odierno will face is the 49,000 soldier end-strength reduction plans for completion by 2017. The Army has reduced its size many times in its history, most recently at the end of the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm.


The Army must plan and be able to manage its troop reductions and accompanying force structure changes to avoid hollowing out units and to remain as capable as it is today. And we're interested to hear General Odierno's thoughts on end-strength reductions, force structure changes and how best to manage this change without losing the Army's hard won fighting edge.


Finally, the Army must continue to work as hard as possible to deal with the human cost to soldiers and their families from the pressures and consequences of an Army in continuous combat for 10 years.


The Army has instituted significant programs to improve deployment predictability and reduce the stress of multiple rotations on soldiers and their families, improve care for our wounded soldiers and their families and strive to deal with the heartbreaking incidents of suicide that continue in the active duty force and have been increasing in our National Guard and Reserves.


And the committee will be interested to hear General Odierno's assessment of and plans for the Army's efforts in those areas. General Fraser will also face critical challenges in his new position. The strategic mobility of our armed forces enables us to project power anywhere around the globe. The U.S. Transportation Command, which encompasses the Air Force's Mobility Command, the Navy's Military Sealift Command and the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, is the linchpin of that strategic mobility.


General Fraser will also be dealing with the disparate components of private -- of the private transportation sector including the railroads, commercial air carriers who participate in the Civil Reserve Air Gleet Program and commercial ship operators. One area where General Fraser will be immediate deluged, is the growing challenge of logistical support to the Afghanistan theater of operations, concerns about over reliance on sometimes tenuous surface lines of communication through Pakistan for logistic support into Afghanistan is has lead over the past couple of years to the establishment of the Northern Distribution Network through Central Asia.


However, these northern roots may need to be expanded to allow increased movement both into and increasingly out of Afghanistan if we are to maintain the quality and the timeliness of that support to our Afghanistan forces. We'll be interested to hear General Fraser's views on that challenge. And again gentleman, our deepest thanks to you and to your families for all that you have done and will do for the nation in the days ahead.


Senator McCain?


MCCAIN: 


Thank you Mr. Chairman and I welcome General Odierno, Admiral Winnefeld and General Fraser and their families. A special thanks to their families and congratulate them on their nominations. I particularly want to recognize Mr. Tony Odierno, a distinguished wounded warrior and former soldier who is here today supporting his father.


General Odierno, I strongly support your nomination to be the next Chief of Staff of the Army. Your critical role in Iraq and I note that you are one of the very few officers to have commanded at the Division Corps and Army level during a single conflict, give you a unique perspective on the capabilities of U.S. forces as you executed maneuver and counter insurgency operations.


Your service as commander of the Fourth Infantry Division and as commander of Multi-National Force Iraq and U.S. Forces Iraq was instrumental in implementing the surge strategy and turning the tide of battle in Iraq.


Your career of Army service in your various joint assignments currently as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, have provided you with an essential understanding of counter insurgency operations, joint operations and most importantly, of soldiers and their families.


We know that soldiers, active duty reservists and National Guardsman and their families have served gallantly and with a single minded focus on victory under the most stressful conditions as the Army has transformed itself into an expeditionary force while meeting the demands of two wars.


We're enormously grateful for their service and sacrifices. The human costs of combat have been great. The comprehensive study completed last year under the Army vice chief's direction, underlined the effects of continuous combat rotations and the work that has to be done.


But I applaud the efforts of senior military leaders in the Army and in DOD to understand these problems, provide the best medical care possible in responding to the needs of wounded soldiers, and to assist the families of all soldiers. If you are confirmed, there will be no higher priority than continuing this work.


Winning the current fight in Afghanistan and preserving the hard won gains in Iraq must continue to be the Army's top priority. In his few short months on the job, General Dempsey identified resolving the future mix of personnel and equipment is the Army's top priority.


In this regard, you will be required to deliver honest assessments and make hard choices. As the Army decides upon the optimal number and type of vehicles and equipment and invests in recapitalization and modernization, I urge you to look carefully at recent history.


Over the last decade, the Army embarked on a number of developmental procurement and modernization programs that were subsequently de-scoped, re-baselined or canceled outright. I'm very interested in the specific steps you intend to take to improve the Army's procurement track record.


The committee will be interested to know your views on the continued drawdown of our forces in Iraq and I wonder what conditions you would advise in enduring the U.S. troop presence. I have expressed my concerns about the size and pace of the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.


I also want to hear your views about reducing Army manpower by 22,000 soldiers over the next three years and another 27,000 in future years while absorbing a growing population of non-deployable soldiers. As you take the reins of chief of staff, we need to know how much risk the Army and individual units and soldiers are being required to absorb in this challenging environment.


Admiral Winnefeld, congratulations on your nomination to be the next vice chief. I think you set a very high standard as commander U.S. Northern Command, improving our homeland defense capabilities and enhancing security on our southwestern border. There are still many challenges in this regard and I hope that as vice chairman of the JCS, you will continue to participate in this important work.


You're stepping into big shoes following General Cartwright. I thank him for his great service and I hope he will continue to contribute his expertise to national security debates in the future. I urge you to focus immediately upon confirmation on approving the aquisition process.


The department and its industry partners have stumbled again and again in producing weapons systems at affordable cost, that without question the services desperately need. Your involvement is also needed in furthering cyber defense strategy and nuclear strategy and ensuring we achieve success in the Middle East and Libya and ensuring that the demand for budgetary reductions does not result in loss of capabilities in a miliary diminished and unable to respond in defense of our vital national interest.


General Fraser, you're following in the steps of two outstanding leaders at U.S. Transportation Command, General McNabb and General Schwartz. I'm sure you will receive excellent mentoring and advice from them. Last year, DOD released the Mobility Capabilities and Requirement Study, 2016 that found the department's planned mobility capabilities are sufficient to support the most demanding projected requirements.


Specifically, the study found that large cargo aircraft airlift capacity exceeds the peak demand in all the peacetime and wartime scenarios considered. Which covered a broad spectrum of military operations. The study concluded that the military needs only 264 to 300 large cargo aircraft.

Eliminating the 316 large cargo aircraft floor restriction would allow the Air Force to retire an additional 15 C5A aircraft and provide substantial savings by freeing up billions in taxpayer's dollars over the next few years.


Given the current climate of fiscal austerity, which requires that we look to all corners of the defense enterprise to determine how the DOD can conduct itself more efficiently, this is a move in the right direction. I thank our witnesses again for their service and their willingness to serve in these key positions.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


LEVIN: 


Thank you very much, Senator McCain. Let me now call first on Admiral Winnefeld.


WINNEFELD: 


Chairman Levin, Senator McCain and distinguished members of the Armed Services Committee, I am very honored to appear before you today as the president's nominee to become the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


This nomination is especially humbling to me when I consider the eight exceptional officers who have previously held this position. And I am very energized by the opportunity to continue serving alongside America's young men and women in uniform. It's also an honor to appear alongside two very special colleagues in General Ray Odierno and General Will Fraser, with whom I've been so privileged to serve in the past and whom I hold in such high regard.


If we are confirmed, I look forward very much to the opportunity to continue working closely with them in the future. It goes without saying that we, as a nation face many serious near term and long term challenges and that many of them fall inside the military's lane (ph).


And if confirmed, I will do my part and do my best to ensure that our many ongoing operations around the world are concluded successfully to assist the Secretary of Defense and the chairman in crafting the way ahead for the department, to include operating in a challenging budget environment, to continue improvements in the requirements and acquisitions process that Senator McCain referred to, and also to maintain the best possible stewardship of the young men and women that have been entrusted to our care.


And, as such, I look forward to working with the -- not only the senior leadership in the Department of Defense in Washington, but also with our combatant commanders and our friends and allies around the world, and also key members of the executive branch and Congress, to include the members of this committee, and doing our best to make sure that we're defending the American people.

If I'm confirmed, I'll be joined in Washington by my family, who, unfortunately, could not be here today, but my incredible wife, Mary, who is so supportive of military families and my two sons, LJ and Jonathan, who I love dearly and I'm very proud of.


My parents are also unable to be here today, but I will forever be indebted to them for their love and support and also for their service together with a 30-year Navy career.


Thank you again very much for the opportunity to appear before you, and thank you for the ongoing support that you, on this committee, and your hardworking committee staff continue to provide to our men and -- men and women serving in uniform, and I look forward to your questions.


Thank you, sir.


LEVIN: 


Thank you so much, Admiral.


General Odierno?


ODIERNO: 


Chairman Levin, Senator McCain, other distinguished members of the Senate Armed Services committee, thank you for allowing me to have the opportunity to appear before you today.


Before I get started, I would like to introduce my family. First, I'd like to start out with my wife, Linda, who's been by my side for my entire 35-year career.


She has dedicated herself to soldiers and families, leading family readiness groups at company battalion brigade division and corps level; volunteering and leading to ensure our soldiers and their families are taken care of.


But most importantly, I believe she served as a role model for all young spouses throughout the military.


Over the last three years, she's dedicated herself to championing and providing pet therapy to our wounded soldiers, and taken this on as a great opportunity, as it helps them to continue to move forward with their lives. And she's done all this while being the mother of three children and three grandchildren.


And she -- I couldn't do it without her. She's been by my side the whole time, and she's my -- frankly, my personal hero and my partner.


I'm also blessed to have three wonderful children, all here today.


First, my youngest son, Michael, who's a senior at Texas Tech University, and who's probably had to live with more deployments than any other child in recent years, and has done so well in helping my wife as they've worked through these together.


My daughter, Katie, and her wonderful husband, Nick (ph), who are here today, they are from Baltimore. Katie is a mother and also works in interior architecture. They live in Baltimore, and they're so supportive of me.


And finally, my oldest son, Tony, who many of you know, West Point graduate, served in Iraq, was injured in 2004. He has set such an excellent example for all of those through his perseverance and dedication.


And today, Tony is married to Danielle (ph). Unfortunately, she could not be here today; she's watching their twin boys and couldn't make it out today. But he works for the Yankees. But he continues to...


(UNKNOWN) 


(Inaudible).


(UNKNOWN) 


Uh-oh.


ODIERNO: 


But he continues to dedicate himself to wounded warriors as he works on the board of directors of the Wounded Warrior project. So it's an honor for me to have them there, as they continue to serve me and our country.


Mr. Chairman, if I could go on over the last 10 years, our Army has proven itself, arguably the most difficult environment this nation has ever faced.


Our leaders at every level have displayed unparalleled ingenuity, flexibility and adaptability. Our soldiers have displayed mental and physical toughness and courage under fire.


They have transformed the Army into the most versatile, agile, rapidly deployable and a sustainable strategic land force in the world today.


I'm proud to be part of this Army, with the opportunity to serve with these great men and women. And I'm humbled and honored that I've been nominated to be the 38th Chief of Staff of the Army.

But today is like no other in our history. It is a time of uncertainty and historic change. We face a multitude of security challenges, such as transnational and regular terrorism in places like Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and Pakistan's federally (ph) administered tribal areas.


We have uncertainty surrounding the Arab Spring and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and we face the challenges of rising powers.


But, most importantly, all of this is underpinned by our own fiscal crisis. I know that, if confirmed, we will face some very difficult resource decisions within Department of Defense.


And as we determine those essential characteristics and capabilities, which we need in our joint force to meet our future security challenges, I pledge that I'll work with everyone to make sure we come up with the right answer, and mitigate the risk associated with such.


But I do have one word of caution: we must avoid our historical pattern of drawing down too fast and getting too small, especially since our record of predicting the future has not been very good.


As you make difficult resource decisions, we must be thoughtful and understanding the risks we incur to our nation's future security.


Today, the Army must continue to provide trained and ready forces to ensure we prevail in our current missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.


In the future, we must ensure that our Army remains our national force of decisive action, a highly relevant and effective force across the spectrum of conflict.


In order to do this, we must sustain our all-volunteer Army today, and in the future, providing depth and versatility to the joint force, an Army that is more efficient in its deployment, provides greater flexibility for national security decision-makers in defense of our interests at home and abroad.


Finally and most importantly, if confirmed, it is my moral responsibility as Chief of Staff of the Army to be the number one advocate for our soldiers and their families.


It's their dedication and sacrifice that has earned the respect and confidence of the American people as they continue to put their lives in harm's way for our nation's security.


I want to close by stating my appreciation to the committee, its unwavering support of our soldiers and their families throughout the last several years. We couldn't do it without the great cooperation.


I promise you that, if confirmed, I will dedicate myself to carrying out my duties to the best of my ability, and continue to work openly with Congress to support our warfighters. I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


LEVIN: 


General, thank you so much.


General Fraser?


FRASER: 


Chairman Levin, Ranking Member McCain, distinguished members of this committee, I'm indeed honored to appear before you today as the president's nominee to be the commander of the United States Transportation Command.


It's also a privilege to join two fine officers on this panel, Admiral Sandy Winnefeld and General Ray Odierno, with whom I've worked closely, not only in my current command, but in previous assignments. It's an honor and a privilege to join them today.


This morning, I'm joined, as I have been throughout my 37-year military career, by my wife, Bev, with whom I've been blessed to share this extraordinary experience of serving in the armed forces of this great nation.


Bev and I are indeed humbled to serve with the terrific men and women who have volunteered to serve our nation, and we're grateful for this opportunity to continue serving, if confirmed, in this new capacity.


As you all well know, the military is truly a family, and Bev and I are extremely proud that our family's been a part of it.


Our son, Mac (ph), served in the United States Marine Corps.


Our daughter, Ashley (ph), is a military spouse of an Air Force officer, and they have blessed us with six grandchildren.


Throughout my career, I've become increasingly appreciative of the team effort required of all military families.


All families of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members, they help us perform our mission on a day-to-day basis, and make many sacrifices.


The families of our service members that make these tremendous sacrifices are doing it for their husbands, their wives, their fathers, their mothers, their sons and their daughters, to answer our nation's calls, and I thank them for their priceless contribution to our freedom.


If confirmed, I look forward to joining the United States Transportation Command family, the more than 145,000 men and women who are dedicated to delivering, sustaining and then returning our forces.


In my current role as commander of Air Combat Command, I know the critical importance of rapid, efficient and timely global logistics. I also understand at the heart of that capability is the innovation and creativity of thousands of men and women who really make it happen.


If confirmed, I pledge to enable our total force, soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard and civilian team members to build on the superior legacy of my friend and colleague, General Duncan McNabb.


He has chartered a vision, based on making our forces more effective and more efficient, through rapid and responsive global logistical solutions and interagency, non-governmental, commercial and international partnerships. We will always deliver.


Finally, if confirmed, I look forward to working with this committee and all members of Congress to ensure that United States Transportation Command can continue to provide world-class support to all of our incredible men and women.


Once again, I am humbled to have been nominated by the president for this position.


I appreciate the trust and confidence in the Secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs in considering me for this command. And I'm grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today. I look forward to your questions. Thank you, Chairman.


LEVIN: 


Thank you very much, General.


Let me ask you the standard questions. You can all answer together.


Have you adhered to applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest?


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


LEVIN: 


Do you agree, when asked, to give your personal views, even if those views differ from the administration in power?


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


LEVIN: 


Have you assumed any duties or undertaken any actions which would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process?


(UNKNOWN) 


No, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


No, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


No, sir.


LEVIN: 


Have you -- will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established for requested communications, including questions for the record and hearings?


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


LEVIN: 


Will you cooperate in providing witnesses and briefers in regards to congressional requests?


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


LEVIN:

Will those witnesses be protected from reprisal for their testimony or briefings?


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


LEVIN: 


Do you agree, if confirmed, you will appear and testify upon request before this committee?


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


LEVIN: 


Do you agree to provide documents, including copies of electronic forms of communication, in a timely manner when requested by a duly constituted committee, or to consult with the committee regarding the basis for any good faith delay or denial in providing such documents?


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, sir.


LEVIN:

Thank you all.


Let's have a eight-minute first round today.


On June 22nd, President Obama announced his decision that the united States would draw down its force in Afghanistan by 10,000 by the end of this year, and the remaining 23,000 U.S. surge forces by the end of the summer, 2012, for a total of 33,000.


Let me ask each of you, start with you, Admiral. Are you comfortable with the president's decision relative to those reductions?


WINNEFELD: 


Yes, sir. I am.


LEVIN: 


General Odierno?


ODIERNO: 


Yes,


LEVIN: 


And General Fraser?


FRASER:

Yes, sir.


LEVIN: 


General Odierno, the secretary - former secretary - now Secretary Gates - made a speech at West Point last February saying that the Army's going to be increasingly challenged to justify the number, size, and cost of its heavy formations, and the first major challenge will be how to structure itself, how to train and equip for the extraordinarily diverse range of missions that it's going face in the future.


Now, there were a number of other assertions here by the Secretary Gates, and I think you're familiar with them, but basically, you - how would you react to his statement that the Army's going to have difficulty justifying size, structure, and cost to the leadership of Congress and to the country?


ODIERNO: 


Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.


I've actually had several conversations with Secretary Gates about this, and what I believe he was doing challenging each of us as leaders to make sure that we are looking ahead, that we understand the future of conflict by being informed by the past lessons we've learned in conflict. And that because of that, we must make sure that we shape our Army for the future to meet what we believe will be our future requirements.


So it's about us identifying the right capabilities and characteristics that we need. And I think what we have to do is become more agile, we have to become more adaptable. That we have to be able to respond to a wide variety of potential capabilities that the National Command authority will need the Army to do. And he's challenging us to make sure we do that as we conduct our assessments.


And I'm confident that the Army, as we're looking both at today and into the future, are conducting detailed assessments to decide what we should look like as you move forward. And I will report this out as we review and make progress in this effort.


LEVIN: 


Thank you.


Let me ask you, Admiral, a couple of questions about Afghanistan and Pakistan. As you undertake these major responsibilities, how important is it in your judgment to be success of our counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan that we maintain the process of transitioning more and more responsibility to the Afghan security forces for their country's security?


ODIERNO:

I think it's fundamental to the entire campaign that we transition responsibility for security to the Afghan national security forces. The ultimate goal in Afghanistan being establishing adequate stability so that al-Qaida and other extremist groups cannot return there and have a position from which to attack this country. And ultimately, the Afghans are going to have step and take that kind of responsibility for themselves. So I think it's fundamental to the campaign.


LEVIN: 


One of the challenges to that campaign is Pakistani's remaining reluctance to take on the Haqqani network. Do you have an assessment as to why they are refusing to take them on?


ODIERNO: 


Of course, Pakistan's a very, very difficult partner and we all know that. We don't always share the same world view or the same opinions or the same national interests. I believe it's very unfortunate that Pakistan, years ago, made a decision to go down a very risky road of using proxy groups to carry out some of its desires to protect what it views as its own national interests.


And among those groups has been the Haqqani network. I think we need to keep continued pressure on Pakistan, using all elements of pressure that we're able to apply to a what really should be a friend, to get them to realize that the Haqqani network poses a threat to their own country. And to take the steps that we've asked them to take and that they need to take in order to eliminate that as a threat, not only inside Pakistan, but equally important for us, in Afghanistan.


LEVIN: 


Relative to Pakistan, we've got a real problem of re- supplying our forces in Afghanistan, particularly if the Pakistan lines of communication are degraded or threatened or interrupted. When we met General Fraser earlier, you indicated that we might have to reply to - to rely - more heavily on sealift with intra-theatre airlift as the last leg of support for Afghanistan operations.


Can you tell us about that? And what would be the problems associated with relying more heavily on that combination of sealift and intra-theatre airlift, if we have to resort to this?


FRASER: 


Sir, one of the things that, in preparation for this, that I've taken a hard look at is the expansion that we've had through the northern distribution network. And we have made progress there. And if confirmed, I'll continue to work that very aggressively to expand the opportunities there as an alternative mode for getting goods into the theatre.


We understand the challenges that may be presented with Pakistan if it was to shut down, and therefore, that's why we are working hard to expand the network through the use of inter-theatre lift. But once getting the supplies to the ports, working with the countries in the Persian Gulf to have access to ports will allow us then to bring goods into the ports and then move them on from there with intra-theatre lift. If it shuts down, I am confident that we'll be able to satisfy the requirements in the theatre.


LEVIN: 


OK, thank you.


General Odierno, what is the operational urgency to field a new ground combat vehicle in seven years, and how do you propose to manage that program risk which is associated with that kind of fairly aggressive schedule through technology development, or otherwise?


ODIERNO: 


Chairman, thank you very much.


The Army for almost 10 years now has been on a path of a developing capability for light forces, medium force, with the Stryker, and sustain our heavy forces with the Abrams battle tank and the Bradley fighting vehicle. And there was a plan at one time for us then in the future, 2020-25, to convert all of that to FCS. We all know that the program of FCS, the vehicle program specifically, was not successful.


And so, we have to constantly look now is what's going to be the vehicle that the Army uses as we bring our force together for the future? And one of the potential vehicles is the ground combat vehicle.


And so, what we have to do is continue to assess, look at the requirements that we have established for the ground combat vehicle, to see if it will meet the future requirements that we see for our Army in the future. And we are constantly assessing and working that and will continue to deal - work with the committee on that.


LEVIN: 


OK. Thank you all.


Senator McCain?


MCCAIN: 


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


General Fraser, a general follow-up on Chairman Levin's question about the - what would happen if Pakistan cut off the supply routes? What percent of our logistics now goes through Pakistan?


FRASER: 


Sir, it's my understanding that approximately 35 percent moves through the ground, and the other is moving through the northern distribution network, coupled with also lift, as we bring in supplies by air.


MCCAIN:

If you have to - how long would it take you to make up for that 35 percent? Suppose tomorrow Pakistan shut off those supply routes? How long would it take you to adjust to get - keep the same level of logistics into Afghanistan?


FRASER: 


If confirmed, I'll certainly delve deeply into that. I have not (inaudible) the details of that.


MCCAIN: 


It can't be right away. We know that much about it.


FRASER:

Yes, sir.


MCCAIN: 


So there would be a period of time where we would not have the normal logistic supply?


FRASER: 


Sir, in my visits to the theatre I see the (inaudible)...


(CROSSTALK)


MCCAIN: 


Is that true or false?


FRASER: 


I'm sorry, sir?


MCCAIN: 


Is that true or false? There would be a period where we would not be able to maintain the same level of supply?


FRASER:

That's true, sir.


MCCAIN: 


And if we have to use airlift, airlift is approximately four or five times as expensive as the present mode of ground transportation; right?


FRASER:

Sir, we are doing everything we can to reduce the costs through the intermodal...


MCCAIN: 


Is it true that it's three or four or five times more expensive to use air to carry this - these logistics - than the present mode of over land?


MCCAIN: 


Sir, I will delve deeply into those cost figures. I don't have them off the top of my head. It is more expensive to go by air.


MCCAIN: 


Thank you.


Admiral Winnefeld, do you believe that - how big a threat are the drug cartels in Mexico pose to the very government and the country of Mexico?


WINNEFELD: 


I don't think they pose an existential threat to the central government of Mexico. But it's very clear that in particular regions of Mexico, that they have co-opted elements of the government, and that the Mexican government's facing a very, very serious challenge in those areas. But in terms of the viability of the democracy of the central government of Mexico, I am not overly concerned about that.


MCCAIN: 


Are you - do you believe that there's any law enforcement institution in Mexico that is untainted by corruption?


WINNEFELD: 


I think that the higher you go in the Mexican law enforcement realm, the less tainted they are. I have a lot of confidence - more confidence, certainly, in the SSP, which is the federal police. They've made tremendous strides. They're working very hard. As you get down closer to the municipal level there is a great deal of corruption; yes, sir.


MCCAIN: 


Do you believe that - do you agree with the General Accounting Office assessment that our borders, about 44 percent, quote, "operationally secure."?


WINNEFELD: 


I don't have any facts that would dispute that conclusion.


MCCAIN: 


Is it your view that there are some parts of our border that are still not operationally secure?


WINNEFELD: 


In terms of operationally secure, meaning being able to completely shut off the flow of illegal immigration, I would agree with you.


MCCAIN: 


Maybe not completely, but...


WINNEFELD: 


OK.


MCCAIN: 


... operational control. I think you and I both share the same definition?


WINNEFELD: 


Yes, sir.


MCCAIN: 


So there are parts of our border that you agree are not operational secure?


WINNEFELD: 


I would say that there are definitely parts that are very challenged in terms of their operational security. But I would hasten to add that there's been a lot of progress made over the last few years. And I would defer to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to give you the real details on that.


MCCAIN:

General Odierno, today there's a report that a Singapore-based analyst says that Al Qaida is expanding in Yemen and Somalia, posing a new threat to U.S. military planning. The tactic could be part of the outfit strategy of energizing its franchise with an objective of widening the areas of conflict and hitting at its enemy, the U.S., in places where such attacks are the least expected.


Do you agree with that assessment? Particularly in regards to Yemen and Somalia?


ODIERNO:

I -- I think for years we've been tracking the fact that Al Qaida has been beginning -- has been trying to establish significant capability in Yemen. They are, I believe, starting to join other terrorist elements within Somalia, building a relationship with them in order for them to expand their organization as we continue to challenge them in other places.


MCCAIN: 


In your view and most experts, that it is a growing threat, both Somalia and Yemen? Particularly given the unrest in both those countries.


ODIERNO: 


It is ...


(CROSSTALK)


MCCAIN: 


... lack of government.


ODIERNO: 


It's a very big concern, Senator.


MCCAIN: 


And shouldn't we take that into consideration as we talk about massive cuts in defense?


ODIERNO:

Well, yeah and as I said in my opening statement, Senator, I believe the trans-national and the regional terrorism threat is a huge issue for us as -- as we look forward. And we have to consider that as we move forward with any reductions. And what our policies and strategies are to go after these threats.


MCCAIN:

Let me ask you about a continuing troop presence in Iraq. You have obviously been disturbed by hearing about published reports of increased weapons from Iran coming into Iraq and Afghanistan as well. increased Iranian influence in southern Iraq.


How important do you think it would be for us to maintain -- with the agreement of the Iraqi government -- maintain a -- a troop presence, say of about 10,000 people in Iraq for air defense -- the Tikrit -- the areas under dispute on the Kurdish border and also for air defenses?


ODIERNO: 


I think that if -- if the government of Iraq requests, as you said, I -- I think it -- it's important that we provide them the support they think is necessary. It is clear that Iran is attempting to influence this decision with the actions they've taken, specifically over the last several months in continuing to support, fund, train, equip surrogates in southern Iraq and central Iraq.


Specifically going after the remnants of our U.S. presence inside of Iraq. It's important that we continue to support Iraq for their external security, both for air sovereignty and also to help them in some of their security challenges to include potential some of the Kurdish areas.


Those will be decisions that will be made by General Austin, the ambassador and General Mattis as they go forward.


MCCAIN: 


But -- and you do agree that there's clear evidence of increased Iranian activity in Iraq in a broad variety of areas, including supply of weapons?


ODIERNO: 


Absolutely, Senator.


MCCAIN: 


Which -- which makes one wonder that the Iranians believe that we are totally evacuating the area. Let me just mention again, you and I have talked about it a lot, but it's one of the great -- it's those of us who are deeply concerned about continued cuts in defense and I'm -- I'd like to have your views of -- of the effects of significant cuts in defense.


Particularly in the personnel areas. Again a group chartered by the secretary of the Army to look into how the Army procures major weapons systems found that every year since 1996, the Army has spent more than $1 billion annually on programs that were ultimately canceled.


Since 2004, $3.3 billion to $3.8 billion per year of Army developmental and testing evaluation funding has been lost due to canceled programs including the now canceled future combat systems. It -- it goes on and on. And you're very aware of it.

I -- doesn't it have to be one of your -- your highest priorities of trying to get this procurement situation under control? And wouldn't it be helpful if we gave legislative authority to the service chiefs to be more involved in the whole acquisition process?


ODIERNO: 


Well first off I -- I will work very closely with the secretary of the Army on -- on these issues. We have identified several issues. First, it takes us too long to develop programs. As the length of time increases, we change the requirements so it becomes more expensive.


We -- we haven't been good at predicting the technologies that are available. So we have to work at all of this. So we're not wasting money and we're putting money in place that will be essential to us in meeting the future. I will have to think about the legislation, about giving the chiefs more authority.


And I will certainly get back to you, Senator on that.


MCCAIN: 


Excuse me, Mr. Chairman. On the whole issue of defense cuts and its effect on personnel, I'd like your comments.


ODIERNO: 


Well first off in the Army, the Army is about soldiers. And so when we talk about defense cuts, you're talking about structure. You're talking about end-strength of the Army. As we move -- 42 percent of the budget is to personnel costs in the Army budget.


So as we look at reductions, it will be about force structure and personnel. So it's important for us that we understand that as we go forward. We understand we are in a supply and demand business. And so it will be, you know, depending on what the demand is for the use of our soldiers, so we can continue to sustain our all-volunteer force, we're able to continue to meet the commitments around the world.


That must all be considered as we look at our -- our -- the characteristics and capabilities you want the future force to look at. Because the Army will pay in force structure because that's what we are and that's what we provide to the joint force.


MCCAIN: 


All right, thank you. And thank you Mr. Chairman. And I thank all of the witnesses for their service. I'd just like to add again, I've had the honor of watching General Odierno lead the brave men and women under his commands in Iraq and there is no one that I think is a finer leader that I have encountered and the team of Odierno, and Petraeus and Crocker was instrumental in the -- in our success in implementing the surge in Iraq.


I thank you Mr. Chairman. I thank the witnesses.


LEVIN: 


Thank you Senator, McCain.


Senator Reed?


REED: 


Thank you Mr. Chairman and General, thank you for your service. To the country, to the families that have supported you, thank you very much. Admiral Winnefeld, one of your principle responsibilities will be in the requirements process and ultimately that transitions into procurement.


Secretary of the -- the former secretary of the Naval Corps, England is someone who I greatly admire and has great insights, suggested a procurement sort of holiday, if you will. As we face a great deal of uncertainty in terms of what systems are going forward and how much money you will have.


In the context of -- of that proposal, how do you propose to get your hands around, sort of the, the reset that's necessary. The new innovative technologies that have to be incorporated? And a budget that's going to be extremely challenging? More so I think than we believe today.


WINNEFELD: 


Sir, I don't have the details of -- of the proposal that you referred to regarding a procurement holiday. I think that would probably be unwise. We have future challenges in the world we need to continue to address and prepare ourselves for as a military, even as we resolve the conflicts that we have going on today.


I think, you know, this is a big ship in terms of the acquisition programs and processes and the embedded requirements process, that we need to turn into a much more favorable direction for the taxpayers. And I'll be the first one to agree with that.


I think that we have a confluence of tools that are going to work for us. I think beginning with the Weapon's System Acquisition Reform Act, which I think is good legislation, but it's going to take time for that to have its effect.


I believe that Undersecretary Carter has a very good approach and better buying power that he's imposing on the department to get more cost efficiencies to provide incentives for industry, to provide more for competition and the like.


And then I think that General Cartwright, if I'm confirmed, has set me up for success to further improve the requirements process. And I think those three things working together are going to get this ship turned in the right direction.


And then we're going to be doing that, as you point out Sir, inside a very challenging budget environment.


REED: 


Again I don't want to presume to argue Secretary England's case but what it suggested to me is the -- at least the -- the possibility of stepping back and instead of continuing to procure what's in the pipeline, of looking out strategically to what we might really want 10 years from now, or 15 years from now.


And again, we've had this discussion with all three gentleman privately that in times like this, we'd like to think strategy drives the budget -- the decisions but most times it's the budget that drives things. And given this tight budget, this notion of looking ahead and maybe not simply doing what we're doing today, but a little less and a little less, and a little less, might be the appropriate approach.


I don't know if you would consider that.


WINNEFELD: 


Well, I think that the old adage, you know, if you keep on doing the same thing you've been doing, you know, that's the definition of insanity, right? I think that we are going to have to take a very close look especially in a very difficult budget environment.


And there are probably some of these programs, depending on the pressures, depending on the decisions that are made by the senior leadership of the department based on the -- an ongoing comprehensive review, that may end up falling by the wayside. But I hope that those decisions can be made with a strategy in mind.


And that strategy, of course, lives in an environment with a changing world, with threats that are out in the world, but also budget realities that we have to live with. And we've got to get the balance just right.


REED: 


Let me just switch to General Odierno. I first, again, join my colleagues in -- in commending all of you. But I've had the privilege of working with General Odierno for many years now. I personally commend him for his incredible service to the nation, to the Army and most importantly the troops he leads. Thank you, Sir.


One of the challenges you have -- we talked about end-strength. We talked about budgets. But one other challenge you have is how do you continue to maintain, develop the talent, the enthusiasm, the energy of the superb officers and non-commissioned officers that are the heart and soul of what you do?


Not the equipment, not the force structure, at a time they've been in combat many of them their entire careers, which no generation of American soldiers have ever experienced. That creates psychological pressures. It creates family pressures. It creates real profound questioning within the profession.


And I think the profession is where these questions have to be addressed initially before they come to us, about what do we do? What changes do we make? And I know you've thought about this, but if -- your comments today would be appreciated.


ODIERNO: 


Thank you, Senator Reed. I think one of my number one priorities is to first view leader development and how we're going to do leader development. One of the things we've learned over the last 10 years is the requirement that we have on our leaders has changed significantly and grown, frankly, what we expect them to be able to do, how we expect them to adapt, how we expect them to be agile.


And so we now have to infuse in our leader development program, how do we develop this, from the time they start at ROTC or West Point, through the time as they develop as young officers to senior officers, and as well as non-commissioned officers.


And we have to dedicate ourselves as look at new ways, broaden their horizons, so they're able to better react and better be prepared for the world situations that they will be placed.


Secondly, we have to understand that we have a force that's very different now. We have -- we have majors today and captains say that all they've experienced is war.


And we have to help and understand and make sure they understand the profession of arms, and reinvigorate our thoughts on the profession of arms, and reinvigorate how we are going to continue to move forward with trust, within our own system, to understand how we operate as professionals.


And we're going to reinvigorate this as we move forward. And I think these are important. We also have to understand we have to challenge them.


This is about challenging these leaders, who have had so many challenges and been so successful, that we have to be able to continue to challenge them, because we're going to need them as we move forward in the future.


And, if confirmed, we will -- I will dedicate myself and the Army leadership to putting programs in place to allow us to do this.


REED: 


Let me ask a question, both of you, and Admiral Winnefeld, (inaudible) one would love to be able to conduct kind of a full- spectrum sort of panoply of training and operations in anticipation.


But one of the -- in thinking back four years now, when I (inaudible) in '67, it was all about kind of guerrilla training, et cetera (ph). And when I left it in '79, it was all about the major land area attack battle in Europe.


It raised the question of are you -- not only in terms of reaction to what we've been through, but in terms of resources, are you both going to, you know, emphasize full-spectrum capabilities?


Or are you going to try to sort of shift one way or the other, presumably away from some of the recent activities and more to other activities?


WINNEFELD(?): 


Senator, I would say it's a very, very good question that speaks to reset for what, and that is going to depend on the strategic environment.


And I think as we look out ahead of us in that environment, we're going to have to be ready for a very broad spectrum of potential conflict.


If you look at what a conflict might be like in a place like Korea, as opposed to other places, we're going to need to be prepared for that full spectrum of operations.


And that's going to be a big challenge, not only resetting the equipment for that, but also resetting our people for that, and making sure that we don't myopically focus on one type of conflict over another, but that we're prepared as well as we can be for whatever comes across the plate, because as General Odierno pointed out earlier, we don't have a very good track record of predicting what comes next.


REED: 


General Odierno?


ODIERNO: 


Senator, as we look to the future, you know, we're looking at what we're -- we're determining what (inaudible) called hybrid threat. And I think this is the basis to how we want to move forward.


Hybrid threat is one of regular irregular terrorist and criminality. And we have to understand that that's going to be more and more part of what we face, no matter where we go. A
nd what we have to do is then develop the programs and the capabilities that allow our formations to adapt, depending on where they will have to operate. And so I think that's what we have to focus on.


And I think there's some basic fundamentals that we must always train on.


They must always be able to understand their weapons systems and be able to execute with their weapons systems with lethality any time. But they also must understand that the environment they're going to operate is going to be very different.


And they have to be able to adapt and adjust. And that's why we talk about leader development as well as part of this.


REED: 


General Fraser, we had a chance to talk in the office and you have, I think, a central role, because without TRANSCOM -- and these folks don't have soldiers, sailors, Marines and ammo to do the job.


So I appreciate what you're doing. The challenges ahead, I think, are similar, which is in a tight budget, to manage your resources very well.


And I think, you know, you're inheriting from General McNabb a quite effective organization. And I know you're going to carry on in that tradition.


But just let me commend you for your service and just to simply ask, because we've had a discussion about strategy, budgets, et cetera, any comments you might have on this issue as its affects TRANSCOM?


FRASER:

Sir, if confirmed for the position, I will certainly work as hard as I can to continue to ensure that we not only effectively support the warfighter in the field, but do it in the most efficient manner.


That's going to be partnering with our commercial partners, international partners and working through other agencies. And I look forward to that opportunity, should I be confirmed.


REED:

Thank you very much.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


LEVIN: 


Thank you, Senator Reed.


Senator Brown?


BROWN: 


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


General Fraser, I agree with Senator McCain's concerns about the logistic network through Pakistan. Do you have other options that you're aware of, that we can rely on?


FRASER: 


Sir, I have not delved deeply into the plan. I know ongoing planning is happening. I know there would be a disruption.


But, if confirmed, I would delve deeply into that plan to ensure that any disruption that we have is minimal, to ensure that we continue to provide that effective yet efficient support to the warfighter.


We would also have the ability to tap into strat (ph) airlift from the United States, too. So it's not just intertheater, it is also -- or intratheater, but it's also intertheater.


Intratheater, it's also using ships and so it would be a holistic look that we would have to address, sir. And I'll delve deeply into that.


BROWN: 


I was -- based on Senator McCain's initial foray, I would suggest that you do that probably sooner rather than later. And I know you're at a disadvantage.


So I'm sure you're going to assess what the risks of those other avenues, logistical avenues, will be. And I look forward to maybe offline touching base when you get settled. I think it's an important issue.

And, General Odierno, I met with you (inaudible) yesterday, and you failed to include your Yankees connection, as you were looking at my Red Sox memorabilia in the room.


(LAUGHTER)


BROWN: 


But that's OK. It's OK.


(UNKNOWN) 


You're speaking for yourself when you say (inaudible).


BROWN: 


(Inaudible) -- I'm speaking for -- I'm speaking for (inaudible) people, actually, sir.


(UNKNOWN) 


When you say it's OK, you're speaking for...


BROWN: 


Sir, I just wanted us -- obviously, I asked a lot of questions yesterday, and I was obviously satisfied with those answers. I was just -- want to take a further question.


The Army recently requested to reprogram procurement dollars away from the modular handgun system into the Lightweight .50 cal machine gun.


It was based upon a decision to delay the procurement of the Army pistol to the fiscal year 2014, as well as changes to the requirement documents. Do you have any comments on that at all?


ODIERNO: 


I don't know the specifics of the reprogramming. But what I would say is that I think we're fairly happy with the handgun, and we think that we could continue to work and be -- satisfy our needs through 2014.


I think that we feel it's more of a need for the light machine gun, and that's why that was done.


BROWN:

OK.


And, Admiral, if I could shift over to you, what are the challenges facing the National Guard and its homeland mission, while at the same time it continues its obligations as operational reserve that will continue to experience stresses and strains resulting from today's global threats? If you could, comment on that.


WINNEFELD: 


Thank you, Senator.


First of all, I think it goes without saying that the National Guard has been absolutely fantastic over the last decade in stepping up to support operations overseas in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, they continue to maintain their homeland security, you know, disaster relief type responsibilities.


And they've just done a magnificent job. And the process of the last year, I've grown very close to the Guard. I think I understand them better than I ever did as a Naval officer, certainly. And they do face challenges.


We are doing a much better job of equipping them. I think that Secretary -- former Secretary Gates quoted, going from 40 to 70-some percent, and I think we need to continue that progress to equip the Guard.


I think that we need to make sure that we account for the same challenges that a Guardsman has when he or she deploys, regarding being a wounded warrior, regarding their families, and making sure that we support those people who tend to be dispersed, obviously, around the country.


And we can't lose sight of their family needs as we try to do the best we can to take care of the active forces' needs, which tends to be, as hard as it is, a little bit easier.


So I think those are our challenges, and I think we just need to make sure that we continue to strike the right balance between the homeland mission and maintaining the Guard as an operational reserve.


BROWN:

General Odierno, I was going to submit that question for the record.


I apologize for asking that first question, but I did have a question, actually, about the -- one that I forgot to ask yesterday, about the -- I understand that the Humvee obviously will serve as the majority of the Army and Marine Corps's light tactical vehicle fleet for the next 20 to 30 years, with nearly 100,000 vehicles slated for recapitalization and modernization.


However, it fails to include a scalable -- include scalable solutions that provide lightweight and affordable protection capabilities.


Nonetheless, these scalable solutions seem to be a key design feature for both the ground combat vehicle and the JLTV.


Should -- do you think the Humvee recapitalization program should also incorporate scalable protection solutions and rocket-propelled grenade protections, similar to the GTV and the JLTV programs?


ODIERNO: 


I think that we constantly have to conduct these -- obviously, the protection of our troops and how we use these vehicles is important.


And so we always try to include the most protection that we can, either in the original design or some sort of armor that can be attached later on to protect them.


I will get back with you, Senator, on this, to give you more specific answer than that.


BROWN:

Thank you.


And Admiral Winnefeld, so initially there was a conversation where Secretary Gates ordered us to find $100 billion. And then several months ago the president advocated a plan to cut $400 billion.


And then there's a potential plan to cut $800 billion in the -- and there's a -- there's another senator who said, well, it's to a trillion (ph).


So at what point does -- do these cuts affect our operational readiness? And then prohibit our men and women for not only getting the equipment and tools and resources they need to do their job, but, in fact, do it -- do it -- do it safely and come home?


Is there -- is there a number that you've -- you have a feeling is a good number? Or I just want to kind of explore that a little bit.


WINNEFELD: 


Well, from my current vantage point as the commander of NORTHCOM and NORAD, I don't have a specific number in mind.


BROWN: 


Well, how would those cuts affect you in that present -- in your present command position?


WINNEFELD: 


It depends on how they were applied. And I think your question is a very good one, and highlights the importance of doing this in a strategy-based manner, rather than just driving in the individual programs and cutting out the ones that people like or don't like.


And as we get to a higher and higher number, we're going to find that the strategies that we currently have, are going to reach inflection points.


Where we're just going to have to stop doing some of the things that we currently are able to do because what we can't afford is to have any kind of a cut result in a hollow force. We can't afford to have a cut result in -- in irreversible damage to our industrial base.


And we've got to make sure that the all-volunteer force remains viable and we take care of these young men and women. So I think we're going to find strategic inflection points. I don't have an exact number for you, Senator ...


BROWN: 


Of course not.


WINNEFELD: 


... but we're going to have to explore that very carefully and articulate it very carefully as these decisions come forward.


BROWN: 


Well I'd ask that you do articulate it to the chairman and -- and us so we can advocate and -- and/or criticize, depending on what it is and help in that effort. We'd be happy to do what we can, certainly, to provide that safety and security for our troops.


And just one final question, General Fraser, the -- the Guard and Reserve airlift and transport capabilities; how does that figure into your overall strategy?


FRASER: 


Sir, the total force is a key and integral part of our accomplishment of this mission. Not only as they look forward towards TRANSCOM, but also in my current position as air combat command commander. It takes a total force to get the job done.


There are men and women who are on a day-to-day basis, making tremendous contributions and -- and I'm very appreciative of that and I thank them for their service.


BROWN: 


Thank you.


LEVIN: 


Thank you, Senator Brown.


Senator Akaka?


AKAKA: 


Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I want to add my welcome to our witnesses this morning and want to wish them well and especially the families as well too. Because we know their families really make a difference in helping -- helping our witnesses in their work and also our country.


Admiral Winnefeld, the Air Force and Navy predict that significant savings can be achieved by leveraging research efforts in a Global Hawk and BAMS Program. There are other examples of the services working jointly to take advantage of efficiencies.


And this is what we've been -- and you have been working on that as well. Admiral, do you see additional opportunities for efficiencies in eliminating duplication?


WINNEFELD: 


Senator, thank you. I believe this speaks to what former Secretary Gates spoke as the different bins that -- where we approach the problem of -- of -- of decreasing potentially our budget. And one of those was reducing redundancies and programs that just aren't working for us.


And the example you point out of the Global Hawk and the BAMS is a very - very good one. I don't have any specific instances in mind, but if confirmed I can promise you that I will be doing my part to look for those. Because there may be some fertile ground there for us to find greater efficiencies, absolutely.


AKAKA: 


Well thank you. I'm glad you are looking forward to that. General Odierno, as the department continues to look for efficiencies and savings, I want to ensure that our troops have the necessary equipment and training to accomplish their missions.


General, while I think that active duty will continue to fair well, I have some concerns about resources for the Guard and Reserves. What -- what will you do to ensure that they receive the training and equipment needed to -- so that they can be ready whenever they're called upon?


ODIERNO: 


Thank you very much, Senator. As you are well aware, over the last 10 years the National Guard and Reserve component have played such an integral role in all of our war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world, and so it's absolutely -- they are part of what we do.


And as we get into budget decisions, they will become more of a part of what we have to do. And the operationalization of the National Guard and Reserve component, in my mind, has had a significant impact on our capability and the depth that we need to execute operations.


So based on this, it's important that we keep them equipped. And one of the things we have to look at is in the future, as we come out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we believe we still need to have an operational capability within the National Guard and the Reserve component.


And we have to identify what that will look like. We have to ensure that we have access to the National Guard and Reserve component. And all of this will enable us then to ensure that they get the training and equipment necessary to meet the requirements that we will place on them, as we move forward.


And this is critical to us and our success. So I promise you that we will -- if -- if confirmed, we will constantly assess, study, work very closely with the National Guard Bureau with the -- with the Reserve component leaders, in order to deal with these issues.


AKAKA: 


Thank you very much, General. General Fraser, in April General McNabb testified that the Civil Reserve Air Fleet is a critical component to rapidly deployed forces and equipment with response times between 24 and 48 hours after the mission is assigned.


What are your thoughts on the future of this partnership with the civilian sector?


FRASER: 


Thank you, Senator and -- and I agree with General McNabb that the CRAF as it is called is a -- is a significant part of what we have and our capabilities that are available to us. And if confirmed, I will work my hardest to make sure that it stays viable.


And that means reaching out and working with our commercial partners and doing everything I can in working with this committee and Congress along those lines to keep it viable.


AKAKA: 


Thank you very much. General Odierno, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission was formed to look at the policies and practices that shape diversity among military leaders. One of their recommendations was that senior leadership within the services and DOD, personally commit to making diversity an institutional priority.


General, can you share your thought on this topic? As well as the potential efforts you would undertake should you be confirmed?


ODIERNO: 


Well, Senator first off I will tell you that I believe the strength of our services and I'll speak to the Army specifically, is its diversity. That's what gives us the strength. It -- it gives us people from all backgrounds, all capabilities that enables us to be very successful.


And in my mind, we become stronger the more diverse that we become. So it's important that we have programs in place, both in our recruiting, in our ROTC programs, in our military academies that then gets carried on as we continue to develop our leaders through our training programs.


Now we have to -- we have to monitor this. We have to make sure that everyone is being fairly treated. But most importantly we have to make sure that everybody is given the opportunities to do the jobs that are career enhancing.


And we have to track this regularly to ensure that that happens. And so I -- I'm -- we are -- I will be dedicated to that if confirmed to ensure that we understand the importance of diversity, include that in all of our developmental programs, both for our -- our leaders and all the soldiers within the Army.


AKAKA: 


Thank you. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.


LEVIN: 


Thank you.


Senator Ayotte I believe -- let me double check -- is next. Yes.


Senator Ayotte?


AYOTTE: 


Thank you Mr. Chairman. I want to thank all of you for your outstanding service to our country. The three of you are incredible leaders and we're so fortunate to have you and -- particularly want to thank all of -- all of the soldiers that have -- and sailors -- our servicemen and women who have -- have served underneath you -- for what they do for our country to keep us safe.


Admiral Winnefeld, if confirmed to be the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, you'll have a very important role in advising the chairman, the Secretary of Defense and the president regarding a variety of the Department of Defense policies.


In your written testimony, you discussed Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula as well as Al Shabab. And you called Al Qaida a growing threat to our homeland and noted that Al Shabab is planning to conduct attacks against United States interests in east Africa.


During the hearing on June 28, I had the opportunity to ask Vice Admiral McRaven if it would be helpful 10 years into the war on terror, to have a designated, long term detention and interrogation facility for terrorist run groups like Al Qaida in the Arabian peninsula and Al Shabab.


He said that he thought it would be very helpful. What is your opinion about that?


WINNEFELD: 


I -- I would share I think both Secretary Panetta's and Bill's opinion on that, that it would be helpful to have a long term detention facility. For now, we are making do, as Bill pointed out. We recently, as you know, apprehended somebody -- got pretty good interrogation of that person and -- and I think we got the information we needed.


But it would be much better for us to have a longer term solution.


AYOTTE:

And I think -- I believe Admiral, you were referring to Warsame who was held on a ship for nearly two months and was interrogated on the ship. And then has been brought for trial within the United States. I -- I remain concerned about the fact that we could have put an individual like that in Guantanamo versus having to rely on keeping individuals in ships.


Because if we get to a situation where we need longer than a couple of months to interrogate someone, a ship does not become a viable option. Would you agree with me?


WINNEFELD: 


It is a lot less convenient to -- to put them on a ship. It's a -- it's a burden on the ship, but we did just fine with Warsame. And we may have to do that from time to time in the future. I do agree that it would be a good idea to have a longer term solution if we can find one.


And if I'm confirmed I'll -- I'll drill into that more, obviously. And -- and work with the committee as required to -- to see what the options are.


AYOTTE: 


Can I ask you a question? There was an Associated Press report about a man named Ali Mussa Daqduq, who is a senior Hezbollah operative who has been held by the United States in Baghdad as a top threat to American troops.


He has been accused of working with Iranian agents to basically --with their Shiite militias to fight Americans. And the article noted that he - this dangerous Hezbollah terrorist - could be turned over to the Iraqi authorities within days. And there - within the article - if it's purported to be true, U.S. security officials are worrying that he could escape or even be freed from the Iraqis.


Admiral, are you familiar with this situation?


WINNEFELD: 


No, ma'am, I am not familiar with that specific situation.


AYOTTE: 


Well, I would ask you to follow up, either here or in a classified setting, an answer to what is the situation with this individual. And it brings to mind to me, again, the concern with the lack of a long-term detention facility for individuals that remain dangerous to us.


I firmly believe that Guantanamo is a top-rate facility, having visited it, and should be that facility. We end up making decisions like turning over people to other countries that aren't prepared to assure their security. And then, they end up in the battle against us again. It's one of the reasons I hope -- I would like a follow-up on this particular individual.


But again, why I think it's so important that we establish this. I think we've got a facility. It works well. I hope as you go forward in this role that you will be focused on this as you advise the president.


WINNEFELD: 


Thanks, Senator. I will provide an answer for the record on that.


AYOTTE: 


OK. Thank you very much.


I also wanted to ask both General Odierno and you, Admiral, as well, about the president's recommendations in terms of withdrawal from Afghanistan, and his plan that he has brought forth. I know a number of us have shared, and I'm deeply concerned about one particular aspect of it.


And that is the plan to withdraw, to fully remove the surge troops during September of 2012, as opposed to at the end of the fighting season. The fighting season, as I'm sure both of you know, is generally from April through October. So we're going to be withdrawing troops during July and August as we're in the middle of the fighting season.


And as far as I can see, there doesn't appear to be a strategic or operational reason to do it at that particular time. As we go forward towards 2012, Admiral, if it becomes apparent to you that, based on the recommendations of General Allen and General Mattis that it's necessary to change that recommendation, were to stop the Afghan troop withdrawal in terms of the timing given that we're going to be in the middle of the fighting season, would you be willing to recommend to the president in the chain of command a change in that deadline, based on conditions on the ground?


WINNEFELD: 


Yes, Senator. Throughout the nomination process, it's been made very clear to me from the senior leadership of the department and the nation that they expect candor from me. And I intend to provide that candor. And if I do, in consultation certainly with the theatre commander and the combatant commander, if it becomes apparent that the conditions on the ground warrant some sort of a shift, I would not hesitate to make that different recommendation.


AYOTTE: 



General Odierno, I, you know, appreciate your leadership in Iraq, and obviously the key leadership that you provided working with General Petraeus in the successful surge in Iraq,and I first wanted to get your view. Do you have an opinion whether there was any strategic operational or tactical advantages to the September withdrawal, versus at the end of the fighting season?


ODIERNO: 


I'm not privy to conversations that went on with General Petraeus's recommendation, General Mattis's, and now General Allen's recommendation have been. I'm not privy to that. What I would say though is that it does - this does remind me a bit of where we were in Iraq in 2008.


Although Iraq and Afghanistan are different, the situations are somewhat the same. In 2008 we still had some violence - although the surge had been started - to bring down violence, we still had violence in Iraq. But we did have to begin to withdraw the surge forces for no other reason that we couldn't - no longer could continue to supply the surge force, because we didn't have the capability to backfill surge forces.


But what this does is I believe the most important thing in this plan is to provide flexibility now to General Allen to decide how he withdraws those forces when he withdraws them. And I think that's what's most important, because that enables us to buy down risk.


This is about risk, and it's about how some people are concerned that we are assuming a high risk at the end of the fighting season - August, September, October - potentially as we withdraw. But we see the president and the secretary of defense and General Mattis have given him the flexibility of when he will bring these troops out.


And I would just say a year is a long time, so I think we have to wait, I think we have to see how he's able to execute this. I think it's doable, but he'll be the one who has to determine the risk, and then provide us input as it moves forward.


AYOTTE: 


And General Odierno, to just follow up, given your experience in Iraq...


ODIERNO: 


Yes?


AYOTTE: 


... would you agree with me that General Allen's recommendations about the conditions on the ground are really what should determine the timing there?


ODIERNO: 


Well, I think - again, yes, I think, you know, how he withdraws within what he's been given will - I think - will be based on the conditions. And if he believes at some time the conditions do not warrant it, it's incumbent on him to bring that forward through General Mattis.


AYOTTE: 


All right. Thank you. I appreciate it.


My time is up, but if I could ask just one quick question...


LEVIN: 


Quick.


AYOTTE: 


... of General?


Thank you.


General Fraser, I just wanted to follow up. Ranking Member McCain asked you about the strategic airlift capacity level. And we just recently had a hearing before this subcommittee on sea power, and General McNabb, do you fully agree with his recommendations on that we can meet our capacity at approximately 300?


FRASER: 


Thank you, Senator.


I have taken a look at MCRS-16 and discussed with General McNabb and others, and I do support it.


AYOTTE: 


Thank you very much.


LEVIN: 


Thank you, Senator Ayotte.


Senator Udall?


UDALL: 


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Good morning, gentlemen. Thank you for your service and willingness to take on even additional responsibility.


If I might indulge in a bit of personal commentary. Admiral Winnefeld, it's been terrific to have you in Colorado heading NorthCom. You're going to be missed, but you're going to add an enormously capable voice presence to the Joint Chiefs. And you'll always have a home in Colorado. I hope you know that.


General Odierno, we have a phenomenal presence with the Army at Fort Carson, as you know. We're really proud of our soldiers. We're looking to the arrival of the Combat Aviation Brigade.


And I also wanted to point out that General Dave Perkins, who is deployed right now, and along with General Doty, who has taken his place, and Colonel McLaughlin, the Army has been very well represented. You and I talked about the Painted Canyon situation and I know that we're committed to working with you and the ranching community to put that situation to rest.


And General Fraser, I don't know you as well, but I'm reminded of a adage I've heard at least quietly shared among the ranks of military leaders, and that is as follows. Tactics are for amateurs, strategy's for rank amateurs, but logistics is for the true professional. So we're excited to have you on the verge of taking the helm of this important command.


General Odierno, if I could turn to the dwell time question? I understand on the current Army force generation cycle, we're just not going to be able to provide that optimal ratio of two years at home for every year deployed.


So my question is we know that the quantity of time at home station will be limited. What steps might you be able to take as chief to improve the quality of that time at home?


ODIERNO:

Thank you, Senator.


First off, we are moving closer and closer to that goal. We're not there yet, as you've stated. And as we stay engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will work towards trying to achieve that goal, because we know that that is one of the key factors of ensuring that we sustain our soldiers and their families as we continue to ask them to sacrifice.


There's other things that we can do. There's - what we have to do first is we have to more predictable to them why they're home. Predictable where they'll be stationed. Predictable on what kind of training cycle they're in as they're preparing to redeploy in two years, so they can have more predictability with their families. And that's an area we have to focus.


It's about having resiliency centers that allow them to go and discuss issues, and their families, to discuss issues as they work with their reintegration and the stresses of repeated deployments. So it's things like this that we have to continue to do that helps us to improve the quality of life of our soldiers and families. As well as continue to work towards increasing our dwell time home. Those are the things we have to continue to focus on as we move forward, sir.


UDALL: 


I look forward to working with you in that area. I know how important it is and I know you know that.


Admiral Winnefeld, in your capacity as the NorthCom commander, you have a unique understanding of the capabilities and the contributions of the military's Reserve components. We all know since 9/11 the Guard and the Reserves have played a vital role here at home and overseas.


As we begin to transition out of Iraq and Afghanistan, do you anticipate there'll be a need to adjust Reserve component force structure or the missions they currently perform?


WINNEFELD:

Yes, I have not had a chance to really participate in the comprehensive review, Senator, that's going on right now. But we'll consider that very question. So I wouldn't want to get out in front of that, or prejudge it. We're going to have to take a close look at it.


But I really do believe that we need to strike the right balance between maintaining the Guard as an operational reserve, as well as maintaining their capability to conduct the day-in and day-out work that they do so well inside the States. And there's an overlap there in terms of equipment and training, but there also is uniqueness there, and we're going to need to strike the right balance as they come home.


UDALL: 


If I could, let me add a question to the record as you undertake that survey. And the question is as follows. If the current budget constraints in the reduced number of deployed troops would cause DOD to either cut into the Reserve components, or add additional missions in order to maintain active duty force structure and capabilities, how would you end up answering that question?


So I'll ask that for the record, and...


WINNEFELD: 


Yes, sir, I'll take that for the record.


UDALL:

That'd be terrific.


Let me turn to cyber. You and I talked about this the other day, and again, your responsibilities at NorthCom have linked you to that very important and new concern we all have. The Comprehensive of National Cyber Security Initiative that the president initiated has identified cyber as one of the most serious economic and national security challenges that we face.


I know there's a limit to what we can discuss here, but can you discuss what you believe the DOD's role should be in defending the U.S. and our vital assets against cyber-attack?


And then would you talk, if you're -- if you think you can, about where a kinetic military response might be justified?


(UNKNOWN) 


Clearly, DOD has a role in cyber-defense of the country. The first and easiest thing to talk about is defense of our own networks, within the .mil domain.


We also have a role, I believe, in supporting the Department of Homeland Security in their role of helping defend the rest of government and the rest of the country. And that's a complex relationship.

I believe that previous Secretary Gates and Secretary Napolitano struck a very good, solid agreement and General Alexander, my counterpart over at CYBERCOM, is doing a very good job, I believe, of working with the Department of Homeland Security to construct how that support would work to include making sure that we have respect for civil liberties as we -- as we do that.


So that's a growth industry, to be sure, that we need to pay very, very close attention to.


Regarding your question on offensive capability, it's very clear that an element of deterrence, one of the several elements of deterrence, is the ability to respond to an attack, and to make that attack so costly for an attacker that they're unwilling to conduct it.


And I believe that we have to consider the full range of potential responses to an attack, not only, by the way, military responses, but also the full range of diplomatic and, you know, using force as a last resort, as it were.


But I would never want to rule anything out in responding to a serious cyber-attack on this country offensively, and it could be a cyber-response or it could be a kinetic response, depending on the nature of the attack and the circumstances that surround it.


UDALL: 


I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work that General Cartwright has done in this area. I know you will build on what he's learned and what he's proposed.


This committee's had an opportunity to sit in secured settings and learn more and more about the threats, and also the responses that we have available to us.


Before my time runs out, I want to turn to energy. And I visited with all three of you about the opportunities and also the challenges we have in the -- in the energy space.


Admiral Mullen, I think, put it quite well recently, when he said, "Energy needs to be the first thing we think about before we deploy another soldier and before we build another ship or plane."


He also said, "Saving energy saves lives," and I know you all three know that acutely.


General Fraser, would you care you just comment on any thoughts you have in regards to how we can do a better job and enhance our national security, and perhaps also develop some technologies that will have greater application in the civilian sector?


FRASER: 


Thank you, Senator. I appreciate it.


As you know, the Air Force is doing a lot in the area to certify our aviation assets to alternative fuels. In fact, we continue to move forward in a number of different platforms.


In fact, just this year, at the Andrews Air Show, the F-16s that flew as a part of the Thunderbirds, we had an aircraft was on alternative fuel.


So I think that we need to continue to move forward in that area. Right now, we also need to see about making it more economical. It is very costly.


And so I think, as more get in line and we find out that there are opportunities there, there's a competition for it that will drive cost down, and it may be an opportunity to look forward in the future to using these blends and these mixes or biofuels.


I also feel that there are some technologies that we need to continue to explore with respect to our engines.


Alternative engines, as we look to the future, are there things from a engineering and design perspective that we can get more efficient out of our engines in the future.


And so that ought to be something that's taken into consideration as we move forward to the future in everything that we do.


Energy is an integral part of part of our analysis, and I look forward, as -- move into this next position, if confirmed, to continue to move forward to ensure that we're doing things in a most efficient and effective manner.


A couple of things that I have already been made aware of that we're doing is utilizing some tools to maximize the assets that we have.


There's a route planning tool that is used that has actually increased the efficiency of long routes by upwards of 15 percent. There's a -- there's an air optimization tool that has also been used to increase our ability by up to about 10 percent.


So it's these types of things I look forward to delving into even greater, if confirmed, and moving into my next position. Thank you very much, sir.


UDALL: 


Thank you for that update, and, again, I look forward to working with all of you on this important opportunity when it comes to saving energy and developing new energy technologies. Thanks again for your service.


LEVIN: 


Thank you, Senator Udall.


Senator Graham?


GRAHAM: 


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Thank you all for your service. I'm sure you'll be confirmed, and congratulations on being nominated by the president to very important jobs at a critical time.


General Winnefeld (sic), whatever number of transport aircraft we have available as a nation, do you agree with me that over the last decade, we've been flying the wings off these things?


WINNEFELD: 


Senator, do you mean that for General Fraser or...


GRAHAM: 


Yes, I -- General Fraser, I'm sorry.


Apologize.


FRASER: 


Sir, we are indeed flying at a higher rate with respect to a large number of our platforms, whether it's tactical air, strategic air. Our assets have been -- have been deeply engaged in today's fight.

GRAHAM: 


As a matter of fact, the operational tempo is probably unheard of, maybe since World War II.


Is that correct?


FRASER: 


Sir, it is a high ops tempo across all of our platforms.


GRAHAM: 


So when we look at numbers, we all need to understand, from the committee's point of view, I believe, that we're really aging these airplanes pretty quickly because of the demands.

Admiral, as vice chairman, do you believe that the term "war on terror" is a correct term for the threats we're facing?


WINNEFELD: 


That's a very good question. I think that that term has passed out of vogue with a number of people. But I think we are still so much in a fight with Al Qaida and their related extremist groups that it sure feels like a war, yes, sir.


GRAHAM:

That's a good response, I think. What do you tell the public? Is it close to being over? It is just beginning? Are we in the middle? Or do we -- we don't know?


WINNEFELD: 


I think I would echo Secretary Panetta and when he was asked a question about this, and he said, "We are close to being able to strategically defeat Al Qaida."


And to me, that means -- and their message being bankrupt, a lack of financial support that enables them to conduct operations and the like, that ultimately causes them to unravel from their internal contradictions, much the same way the Soviet Union.


And, but that said, there are still, you know, Al Qaida is morphing. It's less of a centrally controlled organization.


There are more homegrown terrorists out there that are ascribing to the ideology in some cases. So this is not yet over. It's not even close.


We still have a fight on our hands in places like Yemen and Somalia, and even ensuring, with the cooperation of our law enforcement partners, that, of course, we manage this at home. So it's going to be a long struggle.


GRAHAM: 


What would you call the potential threat we face from a nuclear-armed Iran? Is that part of the war on terror or is that a different threat altogether?


WINNEFELD:

Unless Iran were to hand a nuclear weapon over to an extremist, then I would consider it a completely different animal.


GRAHAM: 


What do you think the odds are that if the Iranians developed a nuclear capability they would indeed hand it to an extremist group?


WINNEFELD: 


I think the Iranians understand that if they handed it to an extremist group, it probably would not be very difficult for us to attribute any use of that weapon to Iran. And I think they know that they would suffer great consequences if that occurred.


GRAHAM: 


Do you think they believe they would suffer a great consequence if they developed one at all?


WINNEFELD: 


I believe that they are going to understand that they are going to feel the effects of all elements of national and international power applied to them as required, if and when they continue this...


(CROSSTALK)


GRAHAM: 


But do you believe that all the efforts of international power being applied is deterring the Iranians from obtaining a nuclear weapon?


WINNEFELD: 


It remains to be seen, Senator. It's a very good question. It's certainly, I believe, slowed them down. But there is more pressure, I think, that could be and probably should be applied eventually if they...


GRAHAM: 


In terms of the threats we face in the future, if Iran acquired a nuclear capability, what kind of threat and what would be the likely consequences of that event to our national security?


WINNEFELD: 


I think it would be grave if they acquired a nuclear weapon and the ability to deliver it.


GRAHAM: 


Right.


WINNEFELD: 


And, of course, we need to watch that very, very carefully and pace that, so that we can...


GRAHAM: 


And that (inaudible) missile defense and other -- and to suppress the Iranian nuclear threat could -- would require some pretty sophisticated military capability. Do you agree with that?


WINNEFELD: 


Yes, sir.


GRAHAM: 


But the idea of attacking Iran with a single strike and neutering their nuclear capability, if the president chose to do that, is probably not going to happen. It would be a more sustained effort, if that -- if we went down that road?


WINNEFELD: 


I would not want to rule anything out, Senator, at this point. But (inaudible)...


GRAHAM:

(Inaudible) F-35s and F-22s become important, is that correct?


WINNEFELD: 


The F-35 and the F-22, certainly, represent a very important capability...


GRAHAM: 


That's why air refueling capability becomes important. That's why bases in the region become important. So the reason I ask these questions is to get to what kind of threats the nation faces.

And I would argue that the fight against Al Qaida has been successful, but not nearly over.


It is morphing, that the Pakistani border is more unstable than it has been in the past, and that when you look at the amount of money we should be spending to defend the nation, you have to look at threats. And we haven't even got to North Korea yet.


So my question for all of you: is it fair to use GDP spending on defense as a guide to what's sufficient? Is that a good measuring device?


WINNEFELD: 


Senator, I think it's an indicator, a comparative indicator. But it's also very often apples to oranges. I mean, if you look at what we spent as a percent of GBT (ph) in World War II, it doesn't even compare to what we're spending...


GRAHAM: 


Right. (Inaudible), and Secretary Gates identified GDP as a benchmark for defense spending. I associate myself with that, and when you look at World War II spending, you're right.

We're going up to 42 percent at the height of the war of GDP. Korea was 8.23 to 13. Vietnam was 7.65 to 10.8. In 2010, we're spending 5.78 percent of our GDP on defense.

So if you believe it is a benchmark, would you agree that it's on the low end of conflicts in recent memory?


WINNEFELD: 


I would say, factually, it is on the low end, GDP- wise, yes, sir.


GRAHAM: 


General, can the Army withstand 49,000 troop reductions and deal with some of the threats we've just talked about?


WINNEFELD: 


It -- the 49,000 troop reduction depends on our commitments and I think the assumption in that reduction is our commitments in Afghanistan will go away. Our commitments in Iraq will go away and there will be no new war commitments generated.


GRAHAM: 


Do you think it's logical for this country to assume that in the future that we're not going to have to use the Army in some kind of role in the future operations of the war on terror?


WINNEFELD: 


Well I think, you know -- I think we've -- as -- as I've said earlier, we've not been good at predicting the future and we must have an Army that's capable of responding to -- to worldwide issues.


GRAHAM: 


And -- and when we respond, we want to respond with overwhelming force. We're not looking for a fair fight here, right?


WINNEFELD: 


We are not looking for a fair fight, no Senator.


GRAHAM: 


Now you mentioned to Senator Ayotte's questions that you believe that General Allen had flexibility in terms of withdrawal. Are you suggesting to the committee that the president's dictate that we will remove all surge forces out of Afghanistan by September of 2012, is conditions-based?


WINNEFELD: 


What I was suggesting was that he flexibility within the timeline that we set for him ...


GRAHAM: 


But ...


WINNEFELD:

... by the president.


GRAHAM: 


But my question is; it is not conditions-based. As I understand the policy all troops will be removed by the end of September ...


WINNEFELD: 


What -- what I was discussing was the flexibility he has within those dates of -- of removing ...


GRAHAM: 


I guess he could bring 30,000 out on the 15th of September ...


WINNEFELD: 


He could.


GRAHAM: 


... but that would be pretty hard to do. I just want to thank you all and as the committee inquires into what is enough to defend America, we're going to need your counsel and advice. There is a budget problem we're all facing. Defense spending has to be on the table.


But I don't want America to lose sight, Mr. Chairman, of the threats we're facing. This is not a time to seek a peace dividend because we're nowhere near peace. And the way to avoid war is to be able to deter it. And when you go into it, end it quickly. And we need capability as far as the eye can see. So thank you all and God bless.


LEVIN: 


Thank you Senator Graham.


Senator Begich?


BEGICH: 


Thank you Mr. Chairman. Thank you all for service and your willingness to serve and thank you -- all of you for most recently and some over the last few months having conversations about what's important to Alaska.


Let me if I can to Admiral Winnefeld again, thank you for moving to this level and again as Senator Udall said, we'll miss you in regards to your role in the Northern Command. And I know I owed you a call back from your call to me, but thank you for figuring out who is in charge in the Arctic.


And we appreciate that more than you can imagine -- as our conversation that we had. And on that issue if I can walk through our concern and we've talked about this before; in dealing with the Arctic which is now becoming more and more apparent to almost all aspects -- doesn't matter if its military, industry, environmentalists you name it - - the Arctic is becoming a pretty important piece of the puzzle for our country.


And of course for Alaska, it's a critical piece. And one of the pieces to this puzzle is the Law of the Sea. That has been delayed or we are one of the few countries that have not signed on. One, I'd be interested on your thoughts on that and two, the concern that we hear from people -- and a very - very small amount of people as we've talked about before is that somehow we will lose our sovereignty by signing on to the Law of the Sea.


So first, can you respond to the importance of the Law of the Sea from your perspective and then this whole issue of sovereignty, and that we would be giving up our role? Admiral?


WINNEFELD: 


Sir, I think the Law of the Sea Treaty is important to us, both from a strategic perspective and also inside the military perspective. And from the strategic perspective, specifically to the Arctic it gives you a seat at the table when other nations are starting to step forward and assert their claims in the Arctic.


And we want to be there as part of the international community to participate in that process to make sure that that's adjudicated properly.


BEGICH: 


Can I hold you there for just -- can I just read to you -- and I -- and I it might have been over the last month that -- I mean Russia is moving aggressively with military operations potentially in the Arctic. Did I -- did I read that correctly?


WINNEFELD:

They have stated -- made a number of statements. For example, putting a couple of brigades up in the Arctic. It remains to be seen where they go, what they do, how they're configured. So I'm withholding judgment on that a little bit, but it is a significant statement on their part.


Regarding the military piece of the Law of the Sea;, you know, there's nothing in the Law of the Sea that prevents us from exercising any of the -- the standard operations that we need to be able to do; straits passages, freedom of navigation and that sort of thing.


And if anything, it more formally codifies them and gives us a seat at the table as they might be modified in the future. So I fully support accession to the Law of the Sea Treaty.


BEGICH: 


And it doesn't -- again to the -- the main question, it doesn't limit or reduce our rights and sovereignty in the areas that we control?


WINNEFELD: 


As far as I can tell in reading the treaty and consulting with a number of people, it does not. And there are mechanisms that we have in place where if that were attempted, we would be able to avoid any kind of a limitation on our freedoms or sovereignty.


BEGICH: 


And the military supports the effort to get the Law of the Sea Treaty resolved?


WINNEFELD: 


I don't know of anybody in the -- in the Defense Department including the Navy, that is not in favor of -- of acceding to it.


BEGICH: 


Thank you very much for that. I just wanted to make sure that's -- that's again, on the record. I know we talked about it several months ago and I just wanted to make sure. The second is -- if I can shift here to -- I sit also on the Veterans Committee and one of the big issues is transition from DOD, Department of Defense, military operations, individuals then going into veterans programs.


And that transition in -- in and -- and I can't speak -- I can only speak for the last two and a half three years that I've been here, but I know there was concern in the past that that transition wasn't as smooth as it could have been. And -- and can you give me some general comments on what you think?


And how that's improving? And the reason I ask this -- I mean -- I come to the Armed Services Committee here, talk to active duty, hear pieces then I go to the Veterans Committee hear pieces. And not all the time do they meet.


And so -- but I'm seeing some progress. At least in my three years, but maybe you could respond to that and tell me what you think? And is there some areas of room for improvement in that arena?


WINNEFELD: 


Senator, it's a very good question. It's something that I would need to dive into deeply, if confirmed. I do know that there have been -- as you point out correctly, problems in the past where we haven't stitched together those two systems as well as we probably should have.


I also know cursorily that the department is determined to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and stitch that together the way it should be. And I can assure you that if I am confirmed, I will look into that.


BEGICH: 


I appreciate that. I know as we talk about what the future is in -- in end-strength and they'll be less in the active end and more in the veteran end. And we want to make sure that that transition works very smoothly.


Very parochial but yet more broad sweep and that is how the Defense Department will work with nonprofit organizations? Organizations that are important to family support and what I mean by that is I know in Alaska we have a program; "Alaska Assistance Dogs" that are important for many of our veterans and wounded warriors.


And that it's basically run by a nonprofit organization. And I know sometimes the Defense Department is very rigid in their access or allowability of access to -- from nonprofits. One, do you see these organizations as important for the long term? Especially with our wounded warriors.


And then two, do you -- can you obviously make a commitment here that you'll aggressively look at how we ensure these nonprofit organizations really do integrate their services, or provide these services that the military just cannot?


WINNEFELD: 


Sir, I think that Chairman Mullen has done an exceptional job of outreach into the country. He has conversations with the country in a number of other initiatives that he's had in place to reach out and leverage every capability that the nation can muster to try to help our families and our wounded warriors.


And I would be committed to continuing that. I think it involves a number of different bins, if you will -- awareness within the population and certainly business and schools in the -- in the country of what military families needs are.


It includes employment. It includes education. It includes wellness. It includes, what I believe are quality of services that we provide to our -- our military individuals and I think that nonprofits can have a key role to play in that.


I don't know the exact details, whether there are any particular limitations on nonprofits being able to participate in that? But if confirmed, I will make it a matter of priority to continue to support General Mullen's program in that regard.


BEGICH: 


And if you see areas that -- just because of regulatory or old systems that we've put in place through legislation that limits their ability even though it sounds like a good idea to include them, please ...


WINNEFELD: 


Yes, Sir.


BEGICH: 


... you know,, let me know, let others know. Because I think we want to engage the community because I think the community is very interested and want -- want to help as much as possible.


WINNEFELD: 


Senator, I relish cutting through red tape like that. As long as I can do it legally and ethically, I will be all over it.


BEGICH:

Well on the legal end if you see laws that need to be changed, that's our job so please feel free to ...


WINNEFELD: 


Yes, Sir.


BEGICH: 


... it may take longer than we want, but let's see what we can do. Thank you very much. And let me if I can to General Odierno, let me ask you a couple of questions. I know we had a great conversation regarding family support and the need to ensure -- and there's no question in my mind after our conversation your strong interest to have a strong Army you need to have a strong family component to it.

And one area we talked about a little bit was education. And in how and what we need to do. And can you just give me your thoughts on the importance -- and I know I talked to you about to ensure that our DOD facilities are properly maintained.


But I thought it was very interesting, your conversation about the community part of it and how you can kind of see this balance. So could you respond a little bit?


ODIERNO: 


As I have my three children here who all grew up in DOD schools, as well as community schools, I think the important part about this is there's -- there's places where there's no other choice but you have to have DOD schools.


So I think in those places it's important that we support the -- the infrastructure in order so our children can continue to be educated. But there are many programs around in many places. I'll use McLean, Texas as an example out of Fort Hood where there's a partnership where the community -- the McLean school district has taken over the infrastructure on post in order to have our kids get a good education.


I think these partnerships are important. And I think -- my personal opinion is inside the United States, we should really continue to build these partnership and that should be the way ahead for our education.


Because I think it brings more resources. It brings more capability to our children. So if -- if I could just indulge -- if I can just comment on the question you just asked. It is absolutely critical that we have the opportunity for nonprofit organizations to supplement our support to our soldiers and families -- wounded warriors.


There's so many of the out there who do so many great things for our soldiers. It's important -- we have to have that, it's so important. And sometimes it is difficult for us to reach out to them, and I think we have to look at ways at how we can do this legally and ethically in such a way where they can provide more support to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and their families in order to provide them what they need as we go through this time of war.


So I think that's a very important effort, and I would like to work with you and the committee on that, if confirmed.


BEGICH: 


Thank you very much. And thanks for those comments.


I'll just throw out an idea, then my time is up here, and that is it just dawned on me as you were talking, I wonder if the military, when the school board associations meet on an annual basis, they meet, I think, a couple times a year, all the school boards from across the country, if the military actually participates in those meetings. And...


ODIERNO: 


I would tell you in a couple ways.


First, in the community I was involved with, there's four, five communities. And, frankly, I met once a month with all the superintendents.


BEGICH: 


Excellent.


ODIERNO: 


And they would come in together and we had a program where I met personally with them. And those are the kind of relationships I think we have to build. I think in many places that is, in fact...


BEGICH:

Yes.


ODIERNO: 


... the case, but we have to continue to work things like that.


BEGICH: 


Thank you very much.


And, General Fraser, I -- we had a great conversation. I've run out of time. But I would say I know you've been ragged around a little bit on logistics in Afghanistan and Pakistan and what could happen there, but I -- from our conversation, I have faith that you're not going to leave the troops hanging out there without the right logistics support in regards to the support they will need to do their job.

So I just want to put that on the record. I know we talked a little about it, kind of a Plan B. And as you get confirmed, you'll be engaging in that at an aggressive level. And I want to at least reassure people who might be watching us that, you know, there may be slight gaps, but it's not about a total gap.

And the goal is to have a full plan to make sure all logistics are dealt with wherever our troops are, Afghanistan being one of the places obviously now. So I just want to (inaudible). You don't have to respond, just want to put that out there.


Thank you very much, all three of you. And to the families that are behind you, thank you very much.


LEVIN: 


Thank you, Senator Begich. And, Senator, if you'll look into the issue that you raise about the National Association of School Boards and whether or not there is a connection at those national meetings, I'd be happy to join with you and the perhaps the committee could even, if it's not already the case, suggest to them that it be the case.


BEGICH: 


I think that's a great idea, Mr. Chairman. Why it dawned on me, when I was U.S. Conference of Mayors, they'd never had one, and we created one because it was critical that mayors have that connection. So it just dawned on me. So I will do that.


LEVIN: 


No, it was a good -- a good idea.


BEGICH: 


Will do it.


LEVIN: 


Thank you.


Senator Sessions?


SESSIONS: 


Thank you.


Thank all of you, and congratulations on your appointments, nominations. I expect to support you and continue to support you after confirmation, which I'm certain will happen.


I truly believe we have the greatest military the world's ever known. It's large, it's mobile, it's courageous, it's well led by the finest officer corps we've ever had and I believe the finest NCO corps. And it's just a remarkable thing.


And as ranking member of the Budget Committee, things are going to be tighter in the years to come. And I would just say that we've got to tighten our belts, but do it in a way that does not damage this fabulous morale and spirit and capability that the military's accomplished. And just would say that in opening comments.


General Odierno, Senator Ayotte, former prosecutor, like I've been, asked you about prisoners and prosecutions and jails. Those are fundamental things. I truly think we're going to have to examine how we are detaining dangerous individuals.


And I'm aware that there are problems in Afghanistan now with some very dangerous individuals being arrested and being detained and then being released rather rapidly.

Are you aware of that? And is it a concern? And if you need assistance in bringing that to the right level, let us now.


ODIERNO: 


I'm not aware of any of the specifics in Afghanistan, specific cases, but I would make a general comment on this. What we've learned over the last five to six years specifically is that the ability to detain those dangerous individuals for long-term detention is critical to us in getting the information we need to prosecute our campaigns, and it was the case in Iraq, it was the case in Afghanistan. And we found that to be important.


And so I think it's important that we take a look at this. I clearly agree with Vice Admiral -- now Admiral McRaven's assessment of this, that it's important that we take a hard look at this, because it does have a significant impact in us getting the information necessary to continue to prosecute our operations around the world against terrorism.


SESSIONS:

I just agree. I think you -- I think the policies in Iraq changed. I think we did a better job of identifying using normal police techniques, fingerprints, biometrics and bomb characteristics to identify people.

And they've got to be detained. It's very, very demoralizing and dangerous to release someone who's going to go back to the war and kill people. We wouldn't do that in the United States. And my observation is that undeveloped nations are consistently deficient in being able to detain people in prison for long periods of time. I supposed that's one of the reasons they've had a death penalty so much, they didn't have the ability.


So my observation is that people tend to get out, they either pretend to talk, they either bribe their way out, they either escape or they're released because there's not room for them.


So anyway, I do think that you should give attention to that. If we need more resources, I hope you would call on us.


With regard to forces in Europe, there were original plans to bring back two Army brigades, General Odierno, from Europe. I understand those plans are now on hold. According to the Stars and Stripes, the Army will -- in April the Army will return only one brigade. That only represents 5,000 soldiers out of 80,000 U.S. troops in Europe.


I think it's time for us to have a serious heart-to-heart with the Europeans. Their defense expenditures in Germany, I understand they're about 1.1, 1.2 percent of GDP. The other countries are at that level in Europe. Very few are meeting their goal of 2 percent of GDP on defense as the NATO obligation, while we are at 4 to 5 percent of GDP on defense.


And I -- are you aware of this discussion? Maybe Admiral Winnefeld would be. And I just have to say, it means a lot economically to Germany or other places when we have people spending money in their economy, means a lot to our nation when our people are at home spending money in our economy, number one.


Number two, if they don't need to be there for serious strategic reasons, I think we should look to bring more home and reduce our presence.


ODIERNO:

Senator, my understanding of that decision is similar to yours, the most recent decision.


I would just say, as we go through these budget reductions, potentially, we're going to have to review all of this again. In my opinion, it will have to be reassessed on where we -- this will all be part of where we put Army force structure, where we most need it, depending on what's left, based on the budget realities that we're facing over the next 10 years.

So that will have to be part of the discussion. So I'm assuming we'll have to continue to look at this, continue to look at strategically what's best in order for us to execute our policies. And we certainly will continuously review this as we move forward over the next several years.


SESSIONS: 


I was a security conference some months ago and the British told us they were reducing their defense spending 8 percent. Frankly, they're not spending enough now. And I responded, "Well, I guess you feel OK because the United States will be there to take care of you."


We need to have this kind of conversation with our allies, and they've got to participate more.


(inaudible) Senator Lieberman, we're looking at the budget numbers, a lot of people have complained that our deficit is a result of our military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Looking at the numbers, that's not really so. We've spent a tremendous amount of money on those two efforts, about $1.5 trillion, maybe a little less, and the deficit has increased about $15 trillion during this time.


And at this point we're projected -- this year we're spending about $150 billion on the military effort, $158 billion maybe, this fiscal year, going to $118 billion next fiscal year, but our deficit this year is $1,500 billion, $1,500 billion. So -- and it's coming, those numbers would come down to $118 billion and continue to drop under the plan that we've seen and I'm hopeful that we can adhere to.


But I just want to say that while every dollar has to be managed carefully, the reason we have a severe financial crisis in America is not because of our military effort. It may be a part of it, but it's about 10 percent of it. And we'll have to look at it.


You do represent about half of the nondefense discretionary spending. In the last two years nondefense discretionary spending has increased 24 percent. Military spending is about 2 or so percent, maybe 3. It's projected to stay at 2 or 2.5 percent the next decade, and I don't think it will. I don't think we can have that big an increase, frankly.


But we've had much, much larger surges in nondefense spending than defense spending, certainly in recent years. So how we work our way through that, I don't know, but I call all of you to realize that we are at a level of spending, borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend, that cannot be sustained, and you represent about half of the discretionary spending budget of the United States, separate from Social Security and Medicare.


SESSIONS: 


And so it's -- you'll have to be part of the belt- tightening. There's just no doubt about it.


General Odierno, you have had such tremendous on-the-ground experience in Iraq and in that area. I know you're fully aware of the requirement to give your honest and best judgment to the Congress when you're called upon to do so. And you have to respect the commander- in-chief and the civilian defense officials.


But you've led those men and women in combat. Many of them have lost limbs. Many of them have lost their lives. I'm sure you feel an obligation to speak for them to avoid unwise decisions that could inadvertently give away the things they fought, and too many of them have died for.


Will you share with us, first and foremost, that you will give us your best military advice regardless of the consequences that you will -- just give us your best leadership because I think you uniquely as the chief-of-staff have the kind of experience that could help us make the difficult decisions that we'll be facing.


ODIERNO: 


Senator, I absolutely will always give my honest and frank opinion, especially when it comes to taking care of our soldiers and their families, but in all issues when asked. And I will continue to do that.

You know, many of the issues that we deal with are not black and white. They are very, very gray, as you are well aware. And there's many second-, third-order effects that impact decisions, as well as opinions on issues.


And it's my job, I believe, from a military perspective to always identify the issues; identify what the risks are and give my opinion how to mitigate those risks and be successful in accomplishing our missions. And I will always do that when I'm in front of the committee or any other forum that I participate in within the government.


SESSIONS: 


If we had -- if we -- I know our soldiers and their families and Americans are happy that we can draw down our force presence as rapidly as possible. But what impact would it have, in your opinion, if we drew down too fast and ended up undermining the success that we've gained and maybe suffering a strategic loss that was not necessary as a result? What impact would that have on our morale of our men and women, as well as strategic...


ODIERNO: 


Senator, my -- my assessment is obviously it would have a huge impact. But I would just say I don't think there's anybody who -- who believes that that's the case.


SESSIONS: 


I understand. My question to you is: But if we did so, if events occurred unlike something you expect this moment, and we unwisely did not handle the situation based on a goal just to reduce troop levels regardless, it would have an adverse impact on the men and women who put their lives at risk for us, would it not?


ODIERNO: 


I would just say, obviously, that for many who have participated in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world, obviously they want to -- they believe in what they're doing. That's why they continue to reenlist. That's why they continue to go back on multiple, multiple deployments.


So it's our duty as leaders to ensure that we do everything we can to ensure their success and safety. And we'll never stop from doing that. And if that becomes the case, it would obviously have an impact on morale in the force.


LEVIN: 


Thank you, Senator Sessions.


Senator Blumenthal?


BLUMENTHAL: 


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


And I want to begin by thanking each of you for your extraordinary service to our nation, and thank your families as well, as others have done, who share in the sacrifice that you have made. And I know some of them are here today and I'd just like to assure them that we share in the gratitude of the country for their, as well as your, service.


General Odierno, you have talked very eloquently and powerful about your caring and attention to all of our warriors -- our wounded warriors and those who are serving now in theater, and most especially to the need for better care when it comes to brain injury, post- traumatic stress. And I understand from your testimony and our conversations that you will continue to seek to upgrade and improve the kind of care that the military provides to those warriors.


Am I correct in that assumption?


ODIERNO: 


Absolutely, Senator.


BLUMENTHAL:

And so far as particularly the problem of suicide, which you again have spoken to very eloquently and powerfully in your written testimony, and I was very impressed by it. Would you have plans to try to upgrade the kind of preventive care particularly that's provided to our warriors?


ODIERNO: 


The work that General Pete Chiarelli has done, the vice chief of staff for the Army, has been tremendous, but it's not done yet. There's much more that we have to do. We've identified factors, but now we have to figure out how we mitigate those factors that we believe are responsible for suicides and all the components of the Army and the armed forces themselves. So we still have a lot of work to do and we are dedicated to doing all we can to reduce this terrible risk that we have today.


BLUMENTHAL: 


And do you have any thoughts that you could share with us about potentially the causes of those increased rates of suicide -- the stress factors and so forth?


ODIERNO: 


Senator, it's a combination of things. It has to do with dwell time, number of deployments. It has to do with family stress. It has to do with uncertainty. It has to do with many other issues that we deal with. It has to do with physical injuries that affect individuals mentally. It has to do with -- with sometimes the -- the home environment that they're involved with.


So it's all of these things. The main thing is we have to understand what those risk factors are, how many are applying, and -- and when does it become critical. It's about us training our young leaders to understand and understand the signs; to understand the factors.


And we have done -- the Army specifically I'll talk to -- has done a lot of work in helping our leaders to understand these issues. But then it's about the individuals themselves feel comfortable in identifying that they do have their own issues and they do come forward and they do ask for assistance and help. And that's so important as part of this process that they feel comfortable doing that. So we have to create an environment that allows them to do this, and that's the key and we want to continue to move forward and accomplish.


BLUMENTHAL: 


And I don't mean to put you on the spot here, but part of the popular view of making a frank and candid self-reporting of problems more effective and more frequent, and -- and making it more acceptable, many people have debated might involve the condolence letters that are sent by the president.


And I wonder if you could share with the committee your view as to whether those letters should be provided more broadly, more frequently to the families of individuals how might be affected?


ODIERNO: 


I -- I will not comment on -- specifically on the president, but I will comment that as a commander in Iraq at the division, corps and theater level, I sent letters to all, to include those who committed suicide because they were such an integral part of our force. They are part of our family, our Army family. They're part of -- they're our comrades. And although they might have struggled with the situation they were in, we still owe them the utmost respect and honor for their service.


BLUMENTHAL: 


Thank you.


You also have commented in your written testimony and, again, in other forums about the need for better transition for the wounded -- our wounded warriors to the V.A. And maybe you could expand on that point.


ODIERNO: 


First off, the Army's done some good work. They now have 70 teams out around the country specifically located with V.A. centers that are helping us to do a better transition as they transition out of the Army into the Veterans Affairs.


From -- from anecdotal discussions that I've had actually recently with several wounded warriors who were getting ready to transition, one of the things we have to continue to work is the discussion between treatment of an active-duty doctor or, excuse me, a military doctor to a Veterans Affairs doctor. Because one of the things that bother them and sometimes becomes traumatic is that they use different treatment regimens and it makes them feel uncomfortable.


So we have to work this piece. I think we have the administration piece taken care of. We now have to look at the medical transition itself as they transition from military medical care to Veterans Affairs medical care.


BLUMENTHAL: 


Well, I -- I thank you and commend you and welcome your attention to this problem. I know it comes from a genuine caring and I think that's extraordinarily impressive. And any way that I can be helpful or I'm sure members of the committee, we will be there.


General Fraser, I wanted to follow up if I could on a couple of the questions that Senator Udall mentioned and some of the comments in your testimony about cybersecurity, and your comment and your testimony that you move lots of information. I think the American public doesn't appreciate how much information is part of what you transport, so to speak.


And I wonder if -- if you could share with the committee your view as to whether more does need to be done of an offensive or deterrent nature to make invasions or intrusions more costly, as Admiral Winnefeld commented, for any enemy that has an intention to do so?


FRASER: 


Thank you, Senator.


The -- the cyber domain and protection of our data is a high- focus area, certainly of mine in my current position, but as I look forward in moving possibly, if confirmed, into TRANSCOM's realm in which they deal not only in the dot mil, but also the dot com domains.


And the reason I mention that is because there is a scene (ph) there. And there's got to be a partnership to ensure that the right data is getting to the right place with the right information at the right time.


And so protection of that data is something that I'll certainly be focused on if confirmed and moved to TRANSCOM.


I think, behind the defense in the dot-mil domain and the active defense that we have, that we're doing a lot. And what I would be doing is then going out and engaging our commercial partners to ensure that they are protecting their data as much as possible. And that's going to have to be a collaborative effort that we'll have to work together to ensure that we're able still to accomplish the mission.


So cyber will be very high, if I move into this position, to ensure the protection of that data.


BLUMENTHAL: 


Thank you. My time is expired, but I'd just like to suggest, in closing, that, at some point these attacks obviously have to be viewed as an act of war on this country, whether it's on dot-mil or dot-com. if the attacks on the dot-com area so impact our infrastructure, our utilities, our banking system that they in effect constitute an act of hostility toward this country.


And so I -- I welcome your thinking about that topic, as you've indicated you are doing, and look forward to working with you. I'm sure you will be confirmed. You certainly have earned, and the country deserves and will need your service. And I want to thank you in advance. Thank you very much.


LEVIN: 


Thank you, Senator Blumenthal. Senator Lieberman?


LIEBERMAN:

Thanks, Mr. Chairman. I'm really sorry I couldn't get here earlier this morning, but I'm glad I could get here while we're still in session to welcome the three nominees, to thank you for your extraordinary service to our country and to say that I think President Obama could not have made better selections here.


I've known the three of you in your previous positions, particularly in the case of General Odierno in Iraq and Admiral Winnefeld at NORTHCOM. And I know you've done really not just good work but great work, really transformational work, and I appreciate it. So we're lucky to have you in our service.


In the case of General Odierno, getting here while you're still in sessions gives me the opportunity to welcome his family, at least one of whom had the wisdom to marry a woman from Connecticut and to become my constituent. And he also is living out my childhood fantasy of working for the greatest sports franchise in the history of American sports; that is the New York Yankees.


(LAUGHTER)


And with Senator Blumenthal and me here, I think we have a majority on the committee to support that conclusion.


BLUMENTHAL: 


I would second that observation.


(LAUGHTER)


LEVIN (?): 


The quality of our dismay outweighs the quantity of your support.


(LAUGHTER)


LIEBERMAN:

OK, enough of that.


I know that -- that many of my colleagues earlier have talked about the impact of budget cuts on the military. And this is a real serious challenge.


We're the Armed Services Committee, so I suppose we understandably feel a special protectiveness of the military budget, but we should. To me, it is, after all is said and done, the first responsibility of our national government, which is to protect our security.


If we don't have security, the American people don't have anything else that matters. We don't have our freedom and nor do we have the economic opportunity that's been part of what it's meant to be an American.


So everybody has to give in this crisis. As Admiral Mullen said a while ago, our national debt has become a national security problem and therefore we've got to work together to cut it down. But we've got to be really careful about the impact of these cuts on our military.


We all have to understand that the classic, sort of, members' district advocacy has to be tempered by the national interest of getting our government back into fiscal balance.


But beyond that, I think -- and this is where I want to focus my questions -- the -- how we treat the military personnel, the men and women in uniform, and the numbers we have are critically important and are beyond parochial, sort of, district-level or state-level concerns.


And this is what I want to focus on. A lot of us on this committee, including myself, spent a fair amount of time in recent years trying to make sure that the two services that have been most stressed, under most demand in Iraq and Afghanistan, namely the Army and the Marines, had end strength increase in recent years. And fortunately, that happened.


Now the Army has been directed to carry out a reduction from the 570,000, essentially, that we reached in active Army numbers, down to 520,000 or 521,000, over the next five years.


And I know the Army, General Odierno, has said they will do that. I think we've got to be really careful about going beyond that. But you said something, sir, in your answers to the questions that the committee asked you, written answers, that when I read, I just thought you -- I was so glad to see you say it and I agree 100 percent.


And here's the quote: "End strength reduction should not be automatic. They are conditions-based and will require periodic assessment."


Because we're -- we're not operating in a -- in a static universe. Things are changing all the time with regard to our national security.


So I wanted to ask you, General, if you would discuss what are some of the conditions that, as chief of Army, you will -- you will ask be weighed before these end strength reductions are carried out?


ODIERNO: 


Well, thank you, Senator. As I look at this, I believe that the reduction down to 520 has been based on 520,000 has been based on the temporary end strength increase of 22,000 which was put into place to take -- to account for, frankly, many of the wounded warriors and other non-availables that we've had that has taken away from meeting our requirements of filling our units.


And then the other 27 is based on the fact that the assumption that we will continue to come out of Afghanistan on time by 2014, and because of that, we'll be able to maintain a dwell time deployment ratio that is something that we can sustain over a long period of time.


So if those conditions change; if -- if we decide to stay in Afghanistan longer or if another contingency comes up that requires deployment of Army units, then that would be something that could impact that force reduction.


Because what it could then do is significantly, again, increase and go after the dwell time and put even more pressure on the Army itself.


So those are the kind of things that we have to understand. And those are the kind of things that we have to constantly reassess based on reality and what's going on around the world.


LIEBERMAN: 


OK. I appreciate that answer. And just one follow- up on it: Am I right that the 22,000 number of non-deployables, including wounded warriors, has not gone down since...


ODIERNO: 


And in fact, it continues to go up.


LIEBERMAN: 


I goes up. So that also puts stress on you as you try to go down?


ODIERNO:

It does.


LIEBERMAN: 


Yeah. And I think we've got to follow that carefully. And I hope there may be a way to work with the chairman and others on this to see if, in the defense authorization bill, when it comes to the floor, we can state some of these conditions. Because, just as we say our drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan have been conditions-based, it seems to me it's fair to say that the drawdown of our end strength, how many people we have in uniform, ought to be conditions-based as well.


I wanted to ask about Iran. I don't believe this has been asked before.


As you know, General Odierno, because we've talked about this when you were in Iraq, and, you know, military -- Army personnel and others in Iraq at different times over the last years have come out and specifically said that we -- publicly; I'm not revealing anything classified -- we know that Iran has been training and equipping Shia extremists who have then gone back into Iraq and are responsible, really, for the murders of -- for the death of hundreds of American soldiers.


And I guess people could argue about whether it's hundreds. I believe it is, but it's certainly some, and the wounding of a lot of others, and the killing of thousands of other Iraqi soldiers and civilians.

I was really encouraged by that. And I know a lot was going on. I mean, in a sense, you'd say that a foreign nation that's training people to come in and kill our soldiers, classically, it's a casus belli; it's a cause for war. But I understand there was a lot going on.


And I was very encouraged -- about a week ago, both Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen made statements. Admiral Mullen said, "Iran is very directly supporting extremist Shia groups which are killing our troops."


Secretary Panetta said, "We are very concerned about Iran and the weapons they're providing to extremists in Iraq."


We simply -- we cannot simply stand back and allow this to continue to happen. This is not something we're going to walk away from. It's something we're going to take on head-on.


So, Admiral Winnefeld, as you begin a new chapter in your career as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, I wanted to ask you to comment on -- do you agree with Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen about -- about this behavior by Iran?


WINNEFELD:

Yes, sir, I absolutely agree with it. And I would not want to take away any options or anything like that, but I would say that they are testing our patience, to be sure. And we always would use force as a last resort. There are plenty of instruments of national power that can be applied, but it's a very serious problem and I fully support what Secretary Panetta and Chairman Mullen said about it.


LIEBERMAN: 


Well, I thank you for you statement. And I don't have to say to any of you, because you've been on the battlefield and you know how it important it is, but we've now escalated our identification of what the Iranians are doing. And I think, if they don't stop, our credibility with them and a lot of others in the region, if not the world, if we don't do something about it.


So I appreciate your statement and I'm encouraged by the others. And none of us want to have more conflict, but we're not asking for it by our behavior in this case; they clearly are.


Anyway, I thank the three of you. I'll look forward to working with you. You know, I'd say that, if I may paraphrase an old political slogan, the great thing to say is that not only are the three of you extraordinary, but you're as extraordinary as the people you're leading. In other words, this is a bottom-up, top-rate, high- quality military we have.


To me, it's the one institution in our country that I always say look at it, when people tell me that America's best days are behind us. I wish I could say they should look at the United States Congress. I can't quite say that at this moment, but they can look at the military, and I thank you for that.


Thanks, Mr. Chairman.


LEVIN:

Thank you very much, Senator Lieberman. I share your thoughts and comments very deeply.


Just a couple quick questions. One, General Odierno, about Iraq, what is the -- you've indicated you would -- you would support retaining some U.S. forces in Iraq beyond the December 31st deadline, if there's a request.


What -- how much longer does Iraq have to make a request for us to consider?


ODIERNO: 


Well, it's -- every day, it makes it more difficult, because it's not only us. I know General Austin has built a lot of flexibility in his plan for the final withdrawal of our troops. But he has to do some planning.

But, more importantly, there's got to be some work done on some sort of a status of forces agreement and -- between our two countries.


So it has to be done soon, because it could take a little bit of time to get that. I can't give you a specific date, Chairman, but I would say it has to be the sooner the better for us, in order to make this appropriate transition.


LEVIN: 


And you've said something before, which, I think, you didn't exactly mean, but let me probe you on it.


You said it's important we provide Iraq with the support they think is necessary. I assume it would be a joint decision.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, not only they think is necessary but that we are willing to provide.


(UNKNOWN) 


Yes, I think we have done a joint assessment where we identified gaps in their capabilities. And that's been done jointly and driven by us.


LEVIN: 


So it's not...


(CROSSTALK)


(UNKNOWN) 


It's not just what they think they...


LEVIN: 


... not what they think it's...


(UNKNOWN) 


It's what we -- it's what -- it's a joint assessment.


LEVIN: 


Now, General, you -- relative to the importance of keeping the Guard equipped, you indicated very strong feelings about the importance of doing that, because there were requirements we place on them, in your words, among other things.


We have, in the Army main battle tank, the M1 Abrams, a tank which is going to remain in the inventory, it's -- as it currently stands, it's going to end production of upgraded M1A2 version vehicles in 2013.


The active Army now has the M1A2 version of the tank, and most of the Guard has the M1A1 version. So stopping that production will mean stopping of the equipping of the Guard with the M1A2s.


And here's the issue: the Army is going to begin a -- the next Abrams upgrade modernization effort in 2016, and they're going to end the production of the upgraded M1A2 in 2013, as it now stands.

So there's going to be a three-year gap there, between production of the upgraded M1A2 and the next upgrade program. But we know there's going to be an upgrade program. That's a given, as I understand it.


And so the Army has initiated a comprehensive cost-benefit and risk analysis of the impact of that gap in production on our armored vehicle production facility, which is in Ohio, and the supporting industrial base.


The final results of the analysis are expected at the end of the year. So we're not going to have the results of the analysis until the end of the year.


In considering the costs of closing and restarting the production line, which we know is going to be restarted, should we not consider the increased capability in the National Guard tank units, which would result from continuing this production during this gap?


(UNKNOWN) 


Well, certainly, Senator, we do -- what -- we will take a look at it.


The problem we have is while several other factors are going to impact on this, and it has to do with budget reductions and force structure reductions, and the mix that we decide we need in the force.


So it could be that we decide that, potentially, number of heavy units reduced and we're able to push more M2A2s to the Guard out of the active component, that could be one solution.


So we have to wait -- part of this problem is waiting to see what we're going to have to do with our force mix and force structure as we think about this problem.


But I understand the issue, Senator. We'll look at it very carefully and we will work with you on this issue.

LEVIN: 


All right, because there is a question as to whether or not it pays us...


(CROSSTALK)


LEVIN: 


... (inaudible) cost to terminate and the cost to restart (inaudible), whether those costs are not better...


(UNKNOWN) 


I am not completely familiar with all of the details of that. But I will certainly get back to you, Senator.


LEVIN: 


All right. Thank you.


Do you -- this is for Admiral Winnefeld. Do you agree that the missile defense system should be operationally effective and cost effective, and should be tested in an operationally realistic manner before deployment?


WINNEFELD: 


We are -- yes, sir, I do. But we -- we are also, as you know, in a simultaneous training test and development phase.


LEVIN: 


The -- finally, for the admiral, you've -- you have experience as the combatant commander responsible for the operation of the ground-based midcourse defense system that currently provides protection of the homeland against the threat of limited missile attack from the nations like North Korea and Iran.


You also have experience working in a cooperative manner with Russian military officials. And if we could work out something in a cooperative manner with Russia on missile defense, that would enhance our security against common missile threats from Iran. Would you agree?


WINNEFELD: 


Yes, sir, absolutely.


LEVIN: 


Senator, Liebrman?


LIEBERMAN: 


(OFF-MIKE) Thank you.


LEVIN: 


OK. Gentlemen, we are all in your debt, and the nation's in your debt. We're in debt to your families. We thank you and them profusely and we will do this confirmation as just speedily as we can, given the U.S. Senate.


You never know for sure, but I think all of us are pretty darn confident that it will happen very, very quickly.


(UNKNOWN) 


Thank you.


LEVIN: 


And we'll stand adjourned.


(UNKNOWN) 


Hear, hear. Thank you, Carl.


LEVIN: 


Joe.


CQ Transcriptions, July 21, 2011 



List of Panel Members and Witnesses PANEL MEMBERS: 

SEN. CARL LEVIN, D-MICH. CHAIRMAN

SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I.

SEN. DANIEL K. AKAKA, D-HAWAII

SEN. BEN NELSON, D-NEB.

SEN. JIM WEBB, D-VA.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.

SEN. KAY HAGAN, D-N.C.

SEN. MARK UDALL, D-COLO.

SEN. MARK BEGICH, D-ALASKA

SEN. JOE MANCHIN III, D-W.VA.

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN, D-N.H.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.

SEN. JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, I-CONN.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ. RANKING MEMBER

SEN. JAMES M. INHOFE, R-OKLA.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-ALA.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, R-GA.

SEN. ROGER WICKER, R-MISS.

SEN. SCOTT P. BROWN, R-MASS.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN, R-OHIO

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, R-N.H.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TEXAS

SEN. DAVID VITTER, R-LA.

WITNESSES: 

ADMIRAL JAMES WINNEFELD (USN), NOMINATED TO BE VICE CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF

GENERAL RAYMOND T. ODIERNO (USA), NOMINATED TO BE ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF

AIR FORCE GEN. WILLIAM FRASER III, NOMINATED TO BE COMMANDER OF THE U.S. TRANSPORTATION COMMAND

Source: CQ Transcriptions


All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ Transcriptions. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

© 2011 CQ Roll Call All Rights Reserved.


Page last updated Thu September 8th, 2011 at 10:06