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tv   Commander of U.S. Central Command Testifies on Syria Afghanistan  CSPAN  February 5, 2019 8:00pm-10:23pm EST

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and operates a law firm in greenville. congressman joe cunningham is the first democrat since 1981 to represent the charleston- based first district. he started his professional life as an engineer working on maritime projects and later went to law school. the congressman's father is a member of the kentucky supreme court. new congress, new leaders, watch it all on c-span. coming up next on c-span three a hearing on u.s. central command operations that's followed by recent state of the state speeches from the governors of delaware, new jersey and indiana. general joseph hotel who heads u.s. central command testified before the senate armed services committee about military operations in the middle east. he was asked about the u.s. troop withdrawal from syria and afghanistan. iran's influence in the strategy for combating isis and
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other extremist groups. this hearing is just under 2 1/2 hours.
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good morning the committee today received testimony from the united states central command. at like to welcome our witness general joseph votel. commander of the united states central command. welcome. general votel will hand over
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central command at the end of march and i want to thank him for his outstanding service to our countries over his 38 year career. general you've had a tough job and with the rise of isis and the spread of proxies and the return of russia to the middle east, you and the president have grappled with some of the very hard decisions. thank you, for all you have done to keep america safe. the senate armed services committee priority is to confirm the national defense strategy which identifies competition with china and russia as quote the central challenge to the united states prosperity and security. clearly we don't want to be the world's policeman but without any u.s. presence our strategic competitors will rush to fill the void. we have seen this repeatedly in the middle east and when we step away from partners russia steps in and when our military pulls back russia steps
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forward. when we don't enforce our red line russia chides to create its own. the nds makes countering terrorist threats a top priority. part of this tragedy has been achieved the isis caliphate has been defeated but isis and al qaeda are still acting in the region and threatened our homeland. both priorities competing with russia and the county are in syria. in syria we must support our partners and friends. i must mention how we are going to prevent isis resurgence. it's one thing to come out and of course to stop them from coming back up. we believe that's going to happen in the right person is here to explain that to us. we welcome you general votel.>> thank you, very much mr. chairman. welcome back which will likely be our last hearing before the committee. let me thank you for 39 years
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of exemplary service to the nation. we owe you and your family and incredible debt of gratitude for the contributions you've made to a national security throughout your career. especially, during your leadership of the joint special operations command, the special operations command and now central command. we sincerely thank you, general. the focus of the nancy defense strategy is to return to more research is to approach conard has roots in but it led to uncertainty about the u.s. military's role in the area of responsibility. as we consider this question it's important we remain clear eyed about the continued threats at home and posed by isis, al qaeda and other groups. the behavior of iran and the objectives of russia in china in the region. each issue is relevant to current discussions about our military presence in afghanistan. in addition to complicated military situation rich distance to stabilization
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diplomatic and political challenges have been far more difficult to come by. bring our troops home should always be our objective but it must be done in a deliberate and well thought out manner in concert with our partners and allies. in the case of syria withdrawal contrary to statements by the president and his national security advisor have only serve to underscore that this decision was anything but thoughtful and deliberate. the public reports are accurate the president may make similar quick decisions with respect to afghanistan. the conflict is accorded great cost in terms of both lives and resources but in considering the prospect of conflict termination we must also wait the cost of getting it home. isis, al qaeda and an estimated 18 other terrorist groups are still present in some within the intelligence community process that's general plotting with search and we must
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consider our allies and partners that he fought alongside his his former secretary mattis said our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. the allies and partners who joined us after 9/11 have sacrificed with us in afghanistan deserve to be included in conversations with respect to the futures of conflict. regarding the decision and syria the president statement that isis is defeated may be premature. according to the intelligence community assessment last week isis and their words likely will continue to pursue external attacks from iraq to syria against regional and western adversaries including the united states. general mackenzie made a similar point when he said isis probably is still more capable than al qaeda and iraq at its peak suggesting it's well- positioned to reemerge of pressure on the group is relieved. the security and stability of key partners in the region most notably iraq, israel and jordan is bolstered by our continued
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presence. our deployed forces do not have a military mission to counter i rent i agree with our military there is a derivative benefit associated with their presence and the reassurance it provides. we should not take these partners for granted. if we were withdraw precipitate chilly we would risk the re- assertions of isis and destabilizing jordan and increasing the pressure on king abdullah ii allowing iran to spark become further entrenched posing a greater threat to israel. no one, myself included is in favor of endless wars or indefinite deployments of u.s. troops to dangerous parts of the world. far too often we view the use of u.s. military as a solution to every problem. i share the frustration of americans that we have thus far but unable to fully achieve all foreign policy objectives, afghanistan, chuck schumer and elsewhere however decisions to employ these military must be given consideration, so too must the decision to disengage military with particular
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attention paid to the second and third order effects such a decision will have an our security and farm policy interest i do not think sufficient consideration has been given to these issues today. general votel we look forward to hearing your views on these and other issues. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator reid. now that carmen is present we should consider approved the senate resolution authorizing funding for committee from march 1 through february 28 earning resolution is completed is consistent with the majority in the majority leader january nine agreement. it's a matter of census it's in motion.>> second. >> all in favor. >> the ayes have it. general votel you are recognized for your opening statements.>> senator ranking member re-distinguish members
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of the community. good morning and thank you for the opportunity before the senate armed services committee. i come before you representing the 80,000 men and women working tirelessly across the central command area of responsibility. they represent the very best of our nation. i'm proud to stand among them as their commander. all of these great americans have families and communities across the country and support their service members from near and far and we are equally proud and appreciative of their service and sacrifice. i'm honored to be joined by the senior enlisted leader united states army command sergeant major bill thetford. he's been with me my entire tour at centcom and for the five years we served together and other commands before that. he's the most experienced soldier in our outfit and his support and study leadership helped us navigate treacherous waters over the years. he is a representative of the people we have across this
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command and indeed throughout the armed forces of our nation. command sergeant major thetford and his wife will retire after 38 years of service later this spring. our nation owes them an incredible debt of gratitude. we could not have been served better. there is no other region in the world as dynamic, hopeful, challenging and dangerous as the centcom area of responsibility made up of the areas we typically refer to as the lamont, the middle east and central and south asia. it's an area of great contrast and contradiction. it's an area rich in history, culture and resources but also an area pulsing with sectarianism, violence, poor governance, corruption, disenfranchisement profound human softening and economic disparity. it's also an area where we retain vital interest preventing the tax on our homeland, countering the line and destabilizing influence, contain the proliferation of weapons of mass distraction and
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ensuring freedom of navigation and commerce through critical international waterways. it is worth noting that four of the five major competitors or threats identified in the national defense strategy china, russia, iran and violent extremist organizations reside or are contested in ascent area of responsibility every day. the final two weeks of 2018 centcom supported the u.s. special envoy in the establishment of the mason city inspiring yemen enabled the efforts of the u.s. special representative for afghanistan recognition begin planning for the orderly and professional withdraw under pressure of u.s. forces in syria while maintaining our coalition efforts to support the government of iraq and the iraqi security forces and addressing the remnants of isis in the country. we monitored unmitigated and professional of acts of naval force in international waters and observed the professional
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mature actions of the u.s. advised lebanese armed forces as they maintain stability along the border with israel. those two weeks were not an aberration for the command they were businesses as usual. as they have been and sent tom nearly every day since its inception in nearly 1980s. today in afghanistan the conditions based south asia strategy is working. we continue to use military ways and means to advance our end state of reconciliation. we recognize this conflict will not be resolved solely by military force. our military pressure serves as an enabler to a whole of government process. and more directly to my supports diplomatic efforts led by ambassador call is that while these efforts have had recent promise our mission has not changed. we will continue our military pressure in some part of our national objectives until they are met. in syria and iraq the unrelenting work of the 79 member defeat isis coalition,
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the determination and bravery of our iraqi security forces and syrian democratic for supporters in the support of multiple international government organizations has largely liberated the so-called physical caliphate of isis. an area of 34,000 square miles of territory which they once controlled is now reduced to an area less than 20 square miles. the successful partnership but the syrian democratic forces in the iraq and security forces was instrumental in the gains against isis but an important understanding that even though this territory has been reclaimed the fight against isis and violent extremist is not over. our mission has not changed. the coalition's hard-won battlefield gains can only be secured by maintaining a vigilant offensive against the now largely dispersed and disaggregated isis that retains leaders, fighters, facilitators, resources and the
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profane ideology that fuels their efforts. is the defeat isis campaign in syria transitions from liberating territory to enabling local security and addressing isis clandestine insurgency, u.s. ground surfaces will depart syria in a deliberate and quarter ended manner while we can currently consult with allies and partners to implement stabilization efforts. these details are being developed now and will ensure campaign continuity and capitalize on the contributions of the international community to prevent a resurgence of isis in iraq and syria. today in yemen a fragile cease- fire in the port of the data is a promising albeit challenging to implement step, demonstrating the willingness by both sides to negotiate and which will hopefully allow the united nations to expand efforts to end this humanitarian disaster. towards this end, sent tom supports the international diplomatic efforts in the work of the u.s. special envoy to
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facilitate by providing advice and serving as an internal through our trusted relationships to help ensure transparency, cohesion and positive momentum and we remain steadfast in reminding the saudi led coalition partners of their obligations under the law of armed conflict and ensuring that the fight and yemen does not spread across the human stilling more instability and sewing critical infrastructure in u.s. lives and interests. and so it is in the central region today and every day, great promise and opportunity missed with contradiction and conflict. let me conclude where i started with our people and their families pick in an era of great change when we consistently ask our people to do more with less if service and sacrifice of these men and women and their families in support of our nation is both humbling and inspirational. for over 17 years of sustained
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conflict across the centcom area of responsibilities our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen and civilians have answered the call with an unwavering commitment and devotion matched only by the families who support them. we could not have accomplished what we do with all of them and they deserve the very best capabilities and support we can provide from weapons and communication systems to healthcare and housing. i ask for continued strong support from congress and from the american people to provide our servicemen and women everything they need to accomplish their vital missions and lead healthy, fulfilling lives in continued service to our nation. thank you, again for letting me represent the men and women of centcom before you. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, general votel. i'm going to bring up three things that have grown into some controversy and they should not have and just barely briefly get your opinion. as we draw down, i had made some statement about the characterizing what the president's position was in
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syria. and i was challenged by some not friendly media on this and i'd like to quote what the president actually said initially, he said we will have a slow and highly coordinated drawdown and we will as all a quote we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight isis and doing all else that is prudent and necessary. you think these are the proper conditions in this is your understanding also of his position? >> in the instructions i've been given and that we have issued down to our organizations and in syria, that represents our approach. a very deliberate approach to how we depart syria. >> yeah, i think that was the understanding. you agree that territorial state of isis will be eliminated by the time the u.s. draws down?
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>> i do, chairman. >> what's being done to prevent isis from reemerging at this time? >> we continue to work with our iraqi security force partners in international coalition to pressure on isis. we continue our efforts by within through our partners in syria and in some cases, for them to keep pressure on isis as they continue to present threats to us. we should expect that they will attempt to attack us and continue to regenerate themselves. we will continue to put pressure on them to prevent that>> very good. the second area that we could be open to missing patrician has to do with yemen. i'm concerted disengaging our partners in yemen will undermine israel bolster iran and increase human suffering. in your assessment, what the costs of disengagement from our
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partners in yemen?>> certainly, it's a very significant humanitarian disaster in yemen but i do believe departing from our partners there, removes the leverage we have to continue to influence them, which i think we have used in a positive manner. i think it further endangers americans in the region. >> yes. i appreciate that. the third one has to do with the i met program i've always been partial to that primarily that the activity has been in africa it's been so successful not just africa but around the world that we see china and russia both particularly china trying to beat us to the punch and i met program recognizing that some of our middle officers are getting training in the country that they are
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wed forever. we've seen this happen but to me it's serving china as it's doing the same thing. what do you see as far as the benefits of imet and is china moving in on us? >> thank you. mr. chairman i think china is opportunistic and they are looking for places they can step in where we or others may create voids, to your comments on imet i think imet international military education training funding dollar for dollar is perhaps one of the best tools that the department of defense in state can wield and building partnerships throughout the region. typically, the people who take advantage of these resources and come to our schools in the united states often rise to positions of leadership in their countries. they don't forget the experience that he had in our military schools and most importantly they don't forget the american people. i think this is an extraordinarily wise investment
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for us to continue to make. >> i sure agree with that. you are probably aware that in an effort china has invited in one meeting 50 of the leaders of the 52 nations in africa to china, wining and dining trying to move in on that program so we all have to be sensitive to it because they realize the benefits that we received from that program. senator reid. >> thank you mr. chairman. first, general votel let me join you in recognizing sergeant major. thank you for your service sergeant major. generals on the become generals that they listen to their first sergeants in sergeant majors. we will hold that is true for the moment. general votel, thank you again for your extraordinary service in so many different ways. when general mackenzie was here he stated isis probably was more capable than al qaeda and iraq at its peak. suggesting is well-positioned to reemerge of pressure on the
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group is relieved. and our -- you point out staged withdrawal from syria almost in effect less than some of the pressure that's on isis. do you concur with the general that there will be some renewed vigor with this respect isis? >> i do agree, senator. >> and we are trying as an alternate approach to at least approach the idea of airstrikes being conducted from iraq and we can have forces in iraq, is that the fallback position? >> senator, we are working through a variety of planning scenarios for how we would potentially do maintain pressure on isis as we withdrawal out of syria. i think that's a discussion more appropriate for the closed
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session. we are certainly looking at all options for how we might do that. >> again, this might be something to touch on later. there been indications that the sdf given the announcement which was rather sudden of our plans to pull out, have made approaches to the asad regime to work out an understanding of how they might cooperate at least tolerate each other, is that something that's been happening? >> senator, i think something we've learned in my experience is that all these parties talk to each other all the time. we do expect that is occurring.>> turning to afghanistan, there's two major functions, one is the afghan forces in counterterrorism. if we withdrawal, presumably the first elements that will go is by the trains his equipment and the last would be
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counterterrorism because we have threats in the region. is that and unfair summary of the process? >> again, i think this is something we would be better discussed in a closed session. i think we have a more sophisticated way of looking at that. we understand the importance of both missions. >> right. turning onto the situation of afghanistan again, if we were to withdraw and there is mounting pressure and mounting sort of evidence that that is a path that might be pursued, we still provide the afghan's forces about $4 billion a year in sustenance. if we were to withdraw all forces, we would still have to maintain the $4 billion per year contribution or those afghan forces would disintegrate, is that an accurate assessment? >> there certainly would need
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to be continued support to the afghan forces. the amount certainly we would have to look at but yes i think that's accurate. senator, again that money there without us, i think does make it challenging. >> indeed, i think one thing we provide with the presence is to a degree at least of the monies being spent properly, i think the experience we've had elsewhere if we just send money gets to places we don't want it to go. and that's another again i think, is you are doing this has to be very careful, thought out, second-order effects, third order effects and indeed i think the issue is not just it's such a complicated multinational, multi factor analysis that we have not yet gotten the governor afghanistan in the negotiations. they are on the sidelines
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that's correct? >> that is what ambassador has reported. >> long-term, i think we've been dealing with this for almost 17 years, unless there is some type of regional buy-in which would include pakistan, i ran to a degree, china because it's influence in russia because is influenced, the stands the likelihood of something stable is minimal, is that accurate? >> absolutely, a key part of this tragedy has been the regionalization. guy would that pakistan in my estimation has played a more helpful role and a more constructive role in helping us move forward towards this objective. >> just one quick question. we were able to identify through great staff for by both sides that the government and the ua eo the united states $331 million for refueling. every received a definite commitment that they will repay of money they owe us?
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>> we are working through that both governments have knowledged the bills that we have provided to them and have indicated to us they will meet the payment schedule in accordance with the axa and we have teams from centcom and dla that are working to resolve that satisfactorily. >> and you have looked at other beneficiaries in your command to ensure that there aren't other areas where they are deficient in pain? >> we have.>> thank you.>> thank you. senator reid. senator. >> mr. chairman, i want to associate myself with your opening statement but with the fine opening statement of the ranking democrat on this committee. in particularly to thank senator reid for pointing out
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that the cost of getting it wrong as we withdrawal from both syria and afghanistan, i want to enter into record at this point mr. chairman an op- ed that appeared in the washington post on january 29 bite ambassador ryan crocker entitled, i was ambassador to afghanistan to deal with the surrender.". general, thank you for your service. just a follow-up on a couple of points. that senator reid made with regard to the $4 billion year contribution you are not quite sure that it would still be that amount, but it's close to that amount that we would still be obligated to pay and we still need to contribute and we would not have the oversight on the ground that we have now.
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>> that would be correct if we departed senator. >> and i think also senator reid pointed out this agreement with regard to the taliban and, in afghanistan has been made without the participation of the government of afghanistan, that is correct is not? >> senator, the work of the ambassador first of all there been no agreements that have actually been finalized. >> there was a framework agreement? >> i would describe it as creating a framework for continuing discussions moving forward the ambassador's efforts are done with the knowledge of the government of afghanistan they are supporting our efforts to get to this process started ultimately we need to get to italo man
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afghanistan discussion only they will be able to resolve the key issues involved in the dispute. >> in the op-ed that i've entered into record ambassador crocker points out the framework was reached without the involvement of the afghan government and he said this taliban is that it refuses to negotiate with the government considering the government, the illegitimate puppet of the united states occupation. his opinion is by exceeding to this taliban and demand, we have ourselves delegitimized the government we claim to support. he goes on to say this current process bears an unfortunate resemblance to the paris peace talks during the vietnam war and then is now it's clear that by going to the table we were surrendering. further ambassador crocker says, the united states could announce that talks will proceed beyond the framework to matters of substance without
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the full inclusion of the afghan government my right now the inclusion of the afghans is only theoretical and i think you touched on that, general. we could also note unless another solution is found u.s. troops will remain in afghanistan as long as the current government wants them. the current government of afghanistan wants us to continue our presence there, is that right general votel? >> that is my understanding. >> and then, the ambassador concludes president barack obama proved in iraq the united states cannot end the war by withdrawing its forces. the battle spaces simply left to our adversaries. i've asked you a question or two about specifics. have you read this op-ed before and i've read to you extensively from it, would you respond to that for the benefit of the committee. >> senator, i have read ambassador crocker's article or his editorial and i know
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ambassador crocker, a decent respect him and he's a leading expert on the region and a keen observer of what's happening. from my position as a centcom come in my discussions i would characterize where we are in the process is very early in the process and as i said this is an attempt to create a framework by which we can move forward i discussions involving the government of afghanistan. we clearly recognize that is -- they have to be part of the solution and it must be in the negotiation aspects of this. we can't do that on their behalf but i recognize the government afghanistan is being consulted as the ambassador does his work there being cup informed of this and our aware
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of the work we are doing to move forward on these talks.>> let me just say, i appreciate your answer i hope that turns out to be true. i wanted said that the concerns in this city are bipartisan concerns. based on advice and counsel that we received from people who've been involved in this for a long time and who understand how it horse and it is for us to get this right. thank you sir.>> senator ricker. >> senator reid presiding.>> thank you mr. chairman and thank you general votel for your many years of service to this country. i heard former commander nicholson being interviewed and
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he was asked about the circumstances under which we should withdraw from syria and he spoke of the fact that it should be conditions based not on an arbitrary timeline or numbers of troops that we want to leave there. have you in general miller been given conditions whereby we should withdraw troops from syria ? if so what are those conditions? >> senator i think some of that discussion is best left for a different form but certainly general miller and i speak frequently about the ongoing situation in syria and the circumstances. we are trying to support them to support the ambassador to move forward with reconciliation process. >> i can share the concerns raised about what's happening right now in syria in particularly the framework that's being put in place without the engagement of the
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afghan government. can you tell me how the framework addresses the rights of women in syria given the horrific treatment by the taliban of women during the years in which they were in control? >> senator, i think that's perhaps a question best posed for ambassador kaladze at this point . i do agree that the progress that's been made in afghanistan with women and improving their ability to be part of the fabric of life in afghanistan is important that has to be incorporated in this. i would envision that this would be part of the more detailed discussions that will take lace between the tile been in the government of afghanistan. certainly, we acknowledge that and we see the goodness that has brought to the country of afghanistan. >> i would point out we have passed legislation in this
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congress that says women should be at the negotiating table when conflicts are being resolved around the world. so, is it your understanding that that is a basis on which we are looking at negotiations? >> certainly, again, as ambassador coll is odd work with the government of afghanistan on that. i would imagine they are emphasizing that legislation. >> to move to syria, there is the report of a new dod inspector general report relative to isis. the report says that the command organization for isis is intact and its fighters are battle hardened. that's a quote from the report. it goes on to say that within a year u.s. military commanders told the ig that isis would be resurgent in syria. can you talk about how we can
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prevent isis from becoming resurgent, if we have no troops in syria and if i ran and russia and a sod are in control in syria? >> senator as i mentioned in my opening comments that is an aspect of the ongoing planning that we are pursuing right now. the answer to the question is we do have to keep pressure on this network. it is a resilient network. it does have certain components that are still left in it although they are dispersed and disaggregated. they have the capability of coming back together if we don't. there are different things that i would be happy to talk about some things under consideration into the closed session, i will publicly speculate about things we might do. there are different ways that we could do this working with
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partners and our own capabilities to continue to keep pressure on this network, i think it's vital. >> so you do agree with the inspector general that isis is a scourge that's lincoln in both syria and iraq and it has the potential to research if not addressed? but i do agree. >> thank you. as i know you are aware when we provide or sell u.s. weapons to end-users, the requirements that prohibit the transfer of any of those weapons to third parties without prior authorization from the u.s. government. in legislation we passed relative to yemen, there are requirements for us to certify how the saudis are using weapons. so far, we have not gotten authoritative certification of how those weapons are being used. there is again, a recent cnn
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report that suggests that weapons that have been provided to uae and saudi arabia have wound up in the hands of [ indiscernible ] and have been treated and used on both sides of the conflict. can you talk about what dod is doing to address that? >> senator, i am aware of the references you are making to that. we have not authorized saudi arabia or the emirates to retransfer any of this equipment to other parties on the ground in yemen. and as you are well aware, when we do provide equipment weather comes government to government or commercially provided the recipients do have to agree to certain stipulations on the use of those in that we do have monitoring and enforcement mechanisms that sometimes go through the department of state if it's commercially provided through the department of
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defense of its government to government provided and requires us to conduct surveys and inventories of this type of equipment so we know where it is. there are process in place with this. i would highlight in some of these cases again, i think we have to look more closely at the allegations in the situation to find out what happened. as we've seen in iraq in the past where we saw our partners overrun, we've seen american equipment provided to them, lost in the course of a fight end up in the hands of our adversaries out there. i think we have to examine that better. to your point of our responsibilities in terms of ensuring proper end use of the materials, we absolutely get that and emphasize that with our partners, all the time. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. >> on behalf of the chairman let me recognize the caucus. >> thank you, general for your
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testify i know it breaks your heart this will be her last time to testify. most importantly thank you for your many years of service and thank you to their team. we've heard a law about what might happen in the future against the islamic state in syria and iraq . i don't think we forget the simple answer about how the fight is going. can you tell us how the fight is going in the islamic state? >> in syria, as you know we are focused on completing the liberation of the physical caliphate. >> we're? >> in the southern euphrates valley up against the border with iraq, that fight is going -- progressing as we envisioned it. as i mentioned in my opening comments of limited to a relatively small area, it's dense and it's urban terrain and there is a law of pressure on isis . the area is laden
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with extreme explosive hazards. they pose significant threats to our partners on the ground. they have to proceed closely and i would add senator, there's a civilian component. there are families of fighters and civilians left in town, there are refugees that are attempting to depart the area. what we have seen as we've closed and to the last area is our syrian democratic force partners with the coalition assistance will be very deliberately, fully recognizing the situation on the ground to make sure they don't exacerbate this any more than it is. we remain confident that we will finish this aspect. when we get done with this we should expect there will be -- we will do what you would remember as back clearance going back and re-clearing areas, removing explosives, instituting local security and keeping pressure on the remnants of the network that have gone to ground and are operating in a more insurgent aspect.
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in iraq, that is the case. we do see isis operating in a guerrilla or insurgent fashion. they are at a level where for the most part, a iraqi security forces are with the assistance of a coalition are able to address those threats. that will be important and in the future we will continue. in iraq and syria that's where we are with the current fight. >> in syria cup i've heard it said i've taken back the 99% of taking back the territorial caliphate? >> that's right it's down to 20 square miles that they still control. >> i've heard estimates about 20,000 to 30,000 islamic state fighters remain, do they remain in the 1% of territory or is that only a fraction? >> no those fighters are geographically dispersed across syria and across the open areas of -- >> some are doug in in the
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defense and others are spread out conducting insurgency or guerrilla type attacks? >> there are probably 1000 to 1500 fighters left in the small area that we are fighting over. the remainder have dispersed and are disaggregated in different areas and for the most part have gone to ground. >> in iraq and we hope throughout syria as well as you talk about countering the insurgency or the guerrilla tactics, the back clearance. you give them a sense of what the troops are doing or is it more like the rangers that you once led kicking down doors and shooting bad guys or are we providing support. the technique we have used in both iraq and syria is what we refer to as by, within through relying on our partners in a iraqi severity to do the fighting. our job has been to enable them with our fires and isr and advice, sometimes we do employ
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our fires in support of them and directly engaged the enemy. our people are not actually, as you suggest kicking in doors. by, within through puts the emphasis on the partners to do this. we then enable them with our capability. this is been an effective approach over the last several years. i think in the end our partners own what is left behind. we don't. they own it. they own the security and the responsibility. this has been a different approach but it's one i think has worked very well. >> thank you one final question about the future implication. syrian democratic forces are currently detaining several hundred isis fighters, is that correct? >> that is correct>> we are getting more details but is it safe to assume some of those are what isis leaders recall cannon fodder or troops to be thrown in but some are
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terrorist mama sides or master bomb makers who pose a serious threat to the united states? >> i think that's accurate. they come from all aspects of isis. >> what will happen to those detainees, especially the extremely dangerous detainees in the future, if the united states is not present? >> for those that we characterizes foreign terrorist fighters our focus needs to be on returning them to the countries of origin and that's the work of our partners in the department of state, department of justice and others who are working with their counterparts in these countries of origin's to make sure they have evidence the details and we can make arrangements. our responsibilities to make sure the syrian democratic forces continue to treat detainees with in accordance with our values of the law of our conflict and facilitate the movement of these fires?
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>> thank you. i hope we can do that with most. i would observe there is empty bed space at guantanamo bay.>> thank you let me recognize the senator.>> a moment ago you described by, with, and through you mentioned partners left behind. i want to ask about one of those partners as our troops withdraw from syria what efforts are made to ensure the safety and security of our kurdish allies? >> certainly, this is a key aspect of the planning right now. of the many tasks that we have of defeating isis and withdrawing forces, certainly we add to that list of protection of turkey and making sure they don't have the threats that emanate from them and i would say the added test to make sure we protect those who have fought with us. a key aspect of our ongoing
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planning efforts both at the diplomatic and military level is to address that very issue and make sure that those who have fought with us that of helped us accomplish the mission are safeguarded as we depart syria. >> i agree with you that that should be a priority. i'm asking what are those plan specifically. >> senator, i think it would be more appropriate for us to talk about what is under consideration in closed session right now but we are looking at different options. >> i'd be happy to. i worry there is a law of lip service right now about making good on our promises to the kurds and it seems that we are short on plans. i hope that is not accurate and i certainly hope we have a plan for how to the conflict turkey and the kurds because i think the consequences could be morally terrible if we don't. do you believe that currently
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the efforts in this area are adequate? >> i do right now. i think we have a leadership up and down the chain of command both in the department of defense and the department of state, they are fully aligned in our approach as we work through what is a very complex problem but i think we are very focused on exactly the challenge. >> i look forward to hearing more about that in a close to setting. general on february 3 president trump announced we would keep the troops in iraq to quote watch over iran. has our military focus shifted? >> it has not senator. >> i'm glad to hear that. i am concerned with the response in iraq as you probably know the iraq he president responded very quickly saying that the president and the united states to ask iraq about this so are
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you at all concerned iraq will now be skeptical of our motivations for being there and how will that perception effect our ability to relocate u.s. troops from syria to iraq? >> senator this is not particularly newfound. i think the government of iraq understands the relationship with the view we have on iran and understands our concerns with iran in the variety of destabilizing activities that they conduct around the region. having said that our mission, our military mission on the ground remains very focused on the reason that the government of iraq asked us to come there and that is the defeat of isis and preventing the resurgence of that particular organization. >> let me pivot just a little bit to russia. general votel as you know russia pledged to support iraq
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in its fight against isis in preparation for the united states withdrawal from syria. what is your current perception of russian influence in iraq? >> i think right now russia has limited influence right now in iraq. >> to we have plans or strategy for maintaining countering that russian influence once withdrawn from syria completely? >> i don't have any specific military task related to that senator but what i would highlight is one of the most effective tools we have is being good reliable partners on the ground. that is what we intend to do and that has always been our approach with the country of iraq. we are focused on what they have asked us to do and we have been very reliable partners to them. >> chairman i'm going to yield the remainder of my time. >> thank you. on behalf of the chairman and
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all of us. >> thank you for all your hard work and your service. we met i met the other day with opposition leaders from syria and while they expressed concern about how the withdrawal would have been they did ask what the ability would be to do a no-fly zone afterwards which they thought would have a positive impact of keeping turkey in place, do you consider that doable? >> again we are looking at a variety of options i will be happy to talk about in a closed session, i would not characterize this as a no-fly zone. >> okay. why do you believe russia has continued to be involved in syria? what is their strategic advantage to be involved? it is just to cause problems for us or is there truth he took
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strategic interest that they have? >> it does go back someways but certainly part of their motivation is making sure they have water access into the mediterranean and access in preserving that and they are interested in preserving a regime that is friendly and supportive to their motives and interests. i also believe they share an interest in trying to subvert our influence and interest in the region. i do think they see that as an opportunity for them and i think there attempting to exploit that. >> after president donald trump made the announcement to withdrawal have you seen turkey take different action on the ground? is there anything they are doing that has caused you concern? >> i think we could probably talk more about that in a closed session but in general
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we have seen them begin to posture themselves for what might come and we have seen that on all sides. >> thank you. >> [ indiscernible - low volume ] >> we are not used to such subtle and penetrating questions thank you. senator jones. >> thank you. thank you general for your service i echo that and also for all of the team behind you, i am well aware your success is only as good as the success of those who serve with you and i use that term appropriately as opposed to the chain of command and i appreciate all of the folks sitting behind you and all of those still there. i want to follow up briefly
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with a question that senator shaheen asked about the cnn report of our military equipment somehow getting into the hands of others but i want to come at it a different way. last year you stated due to clinical considerations some of our partners are seeking alternate sources of military equipment from competitors like russia and china when our partners go elsewhere it reduces our operability and challenges our ability to incorporate their contributions and efforts. i think it is critical we align our practices with what is necessary to achieve these goals as you alluded to and we want our partners to come to us. i am concerned when they are going to communist china or communist russia to get that because we are seeing around the world as
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the influence of those countries. my question is does this challenge persist today and if so could you talk more about those challenges and barriers that exist and partners coming to us and what steps we need to take in order to keep them coming to us? >> senator thank you. to some extent they do continue to exist today. i certainly recognize our military funding process must be a deliberative one. we should be very deliberate about the things we sell to people and that has to go through a process. i am concerned that the process is lengthy and it is not as responsive as our partners require on the ground. i am very much in support of trying to look at how we make those processes more responsive to the needs that they have on the ground. i think we should always strive
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for that. there are a lot of steps to go through that we go through to provide equipment to people. some of them are with in the department of defense some are within the department of state and some within congress. to the extent that we can have a more rapid process to answer the requirements of our partners i think that would be beneficial. in some cases if we are not going to provide things to them we should be honest with them upfront and tell them we will not be. i think it is always better to give them a yes or no answer then to string them along because i think that leads to more frustration for our partners causing them to go do other things. i also think our work on the ground before hand with our partners within the military is making sure the things that they are asking meet the needs of each of their countries in their own defense. we should
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try to steer them away from just buying things that they cannot maintain or sustain long- term, and we should be focused on the equipment that can be integrated with us and other partners in the region to provide a more affordable defense if needed. >> thank you. >> with regard to the iran nuclear deal it looks like we are out, how will the u.s. withdraw from the iran nuclear deal effect our posture in the area of responsibility? >> i don't know that withdrawal from the iran deal will specifically impact our posture , our posture will be more driven by the national defense strategy that it will be by a decision to depart from the jc poa. i would just add as i look across the region i ran does
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continue to present concerns to me. it is one of the it is the major destabilizing factor in the region and so while the nuclear weapons program was one aspect that was presented their facilitation of ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial systems and other lethal materials they are practicing use with in yemen and syria and iraq, other places and i think it should give us significant pause. their continued efforts to exercise control over critical waterways i think should give us continued cause. iran continues to present threats to us across the region and as we look at implementing the national defense strategy, and i agree with the power of competition and my best advice would be to ensure we do maintain sufficient capabilities and response
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capabilities to deal with the threats that remain in the area of responsibility. >> thank you sir. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> general thank you for being here and again for your service. i want to stay on that same topic about the national defense strategy and iran and just explore some of the tensions that the national defense strategy creates for your area of operations. can i ask you in your judgment are we in a position to remove, draw down forces or move forces from your area of operation to asia and europe in accord with the national defense strategy's priorities ? are we in position to do that and also engage if necessary iran should that nation provoke a conflict with us or should they continue to accelerate further? >> the national defense puts
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focus on the united states a competitive advantage in this particular case. i agree with that and we are absolutely supportive of that from a centcom standpoint. we do realize that will change our posture in the region. as we go through the discussions and planning aspects of that with the joint staff it is certainly with the services we will seek to maintain the capabilities we need to ensure we have the right response capabilities to address threats as they present themselves in this area. >> let me ask you more about that. the initial strategy calls for more efficient ways of operating in the greater middle east, the idea being again to maintain the focus on iran and
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terrorists and also to shift attention towards the great power conflict. can you tell me about your plans to make operations in your area of responsibility more efficient? what does that mean and what does it look like? >> certainly one of the areas where it will continue to be more efficient is how we operate along our seas. seems. with me i sherry boundary with yukon to the north and to the west. i think it is extraordinarily important as we look at managing resources that we look at positioning and employing these resources where they can be of maximum utility to multiple commands. today we actually do that with some of our resources in the region. you might be aware for example that after, supports us with what we require for our activities in the arabian peninsula and they also benefit
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the general and they benefit me. i think there are some smarter ways of doing this. certainly the departments focus on force deployment where we exercise strategic predictability but operational unpredictability i think is a good concept. we are able to move resources in a more agile fashion into areas where we see opportunities with this. i think this is another area that we need to continue to focus on. >> in this same we have heard and read some about light attack aircraft and security force assistance, can you give me your sense about the progress of those initiatives and what else you might propose in that? >> on both of those initiatives the security force assisted prograde my service the army i think did a significant service by establishing this organization. we talked about what this
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allowed us to do is it gave us a purpose built organization specifically focused on this type of advising and the type of relationship we wanted to have with our indigenous partners on the ground. the deployment of the first security force assistance brigade last year in afghanistan we saw significant improvement in our ability to do that. a higher level of capability, a much more focused organization, and i think we helped the army preserve its readiness. we didn't take a brigade and break it apart and pulled the leaders out to advise and assist, we had a purpose built organization so i think this is a very positive thing. the light attack aircraft being able to train our partners in terms of employing those things i think reduces the burden on us and it provides self- sufficiency for them. it does it without creating a
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significantly just go burden logistical burden. we see with the afghan security air force these i think are good investments and in both cases we have seen those resources be directly responsible to their forces on the ground. it is growing and we have to continue to support this but i think this is exactly the direction we need to go to enable our partners. >> you are satisfied and you think those programs are on track? you think we are making good progress in both of those initiatives? >> i do. i think both of those are excellent programs. >> thank you very much. >> thank you and thank you general for your testimony here today and your many years of distinguished service. general in your written testimony you describe the jordan as quote one of our most committed partners in the
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middle east and one of the most critical voices of modern islam in the region. your testimony goes on to discuss a role that jordan plays in hosting over 750,000 refugees from syria, iraq and elsewhere and jordan's contributions to the fight against isis and role in hosting exercise eagle lien which includes nearly 2 dozen countries training and counterterrorism. today in the senate we are debating strengthening america's security in the middle east and it includes a united states jordan defense cooperation extension act. the premise of the legislation is that jordan is playing a critical role in addressing the humanitarian crisis in syria and the fight against isis and therefore extends our defense cooperation agreement. could you describe and talk a little bit of about the contributions that jordan is making, what are some of the challenges jordan faces in making these contributions and why is this extension important? >> thank you senator and i
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would share everything you just said about it what a great partner they are. jordan is not a rich country so they face economic challenges by virtue of where they are. his majesty is working through that aspect of his parliament right now and with the international community i think we should continue to be supportive of that. as you have said we give them the chance to say no and they say yes every time to everything we see. i would share with you senator last week i was in jordan and i had the opportunity to visit the border between jordan and syria and i had the opportunity to witness the investments that our country has made in their border security initiatives. equipment training, command and control for this and what i witnessed there i think would make any member of congress or any american very proud to see.
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it was extraordinarily professional and very effective. they had good situational awareness and understanding of what was happening along their border and everything they were doing was sustainable and they had been doing it several years. with the prospect of continuing to do it in the future. this is the kind of investments we need to be making in these good partners right here like jordan. >> thank you. today in this bill it also includes the civilian protection act a bill named after a defector from the syrian army that shed light on asad atrocities yielding photographs of torture and significant human rights abuses. i know you are aware of that. legislation imposes sanctions on individuals that support asad's regime in syria by providing financial material or technological support and this does include sanctions on those that provide aircraft or spare aircraft parts for military purposes, sanctions on those
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who collaborate with mercenaries, military contractors, paramilitary forces, operating on behalf of syria, russia, or iran and sanctions on those who help the government of syria maintain or expand its production of natural gas and petroleum. were written testimony describes asad's regime excuse use of starvation as a weapon of war by denying humanitarian aid to be delivered where it is critically needed. my question to you is to what extent do you believe imposing additional sanctions on the asad regime including limiting access to aircraft and aircraft support and parts degrade his ability to attack innocent civilians and exert pressure in a positive direction towards improving the humanitarian situation there? >> my belief is history speaks for itself. we should continue to keep the maximum amount of pressure on them to prevent them from appropriating the atrocities they have in the past on their own people. i am supportive of all measures in that regard.
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>> last week the committee held a hearing on the threats posed by russia and china and you have answered some questions related to what we heard as to how we need to have more efficient use of resources in the middle east, what came up was the possibility of a review of the use of aircraft. those platforms might be better focused on dealing with our near peer competitors, my question to you is i have worked to extend and support a 10 operating and to make sure they have the wing replacements so that a 10 aircraft can continue to operate. to what extent is it necessary for you to conduct her mission in places particularly like moving beat ones and f-22's out? >> i don't think you will find any army guys that are going to argue against the a-10, it is an incredibly responsible capability that i think has
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served us extraordinarily well in the past. i know it is an old airplane and so i share some concerns about its sustainability but certainly it has definitely proven its worth to us and we will continue to require that type of support, some type of responsive post air support capability well into the future. >> do you believe congress should continue to support that program in your estimation? >> i think we should continue to support that program and we should be looking at other programs that would provide those capabilities in the future. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. general thank you for your service and thank you to your team as well. the national defense strategy makes clear that the departments focus is preparing to deter and if
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necessary conflict with china and russia. we also have several partners in the region and jordan is a great ally as was mentioned and so is israel. israel has reportedly agreed to allow chinese government shanghai international port group to run operations at the. this port reportedly periodically hosts joint u.s. israeli naval drills. from a u.s. military perspective do you have any concerns regarding this deal and if this deal goes forward how it might impact decisions to have the navy vessels there? >> israel resides outside of the centcom area of responsibility so general would be the best person to
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answer that question. i will share from you for you i am concerned about increasing presence of chinese maritime activity in the region and their continued outreach to different partners they are to secure military access that is likely linked to their economic objectives aspects that they propagate around the world but in particular in the area which i have military responsibility. i deeply share your concern. the united states in a number of our partners have long provided maritime security in this area, frankly i think china has been a free ride in this and has taken advantage of that now we see them beginning
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to develop their own infrastructure for their own purposes, not for the purposes of broader regional security in the region and i am concerned about that. >> in terms of how we separate out the different areas of responsibility and i respect the fact that you have specific areas most certainly activity communication with our ally israel is part of that responsibility. can you share with regard to how this impacts your ability and does it or is it simply a matter of being aware of it and other individuals responsible to handle it? >> we pay particular attention to our bureaucratic geographic seems out here so general scott bharati -- are very closely aligned with this with his support we maintain a close relationship with israel so
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that as we recognize many of their security threats reside within the military in which i have responsibility. i think this is another aspect of how we cooperate across our combatant command boundaries between sharing responsibility so i absolutely understand what you're saying and i am confident that the mechanisms we have in place are helping us address the concerns that all parties have in the region. >> another area of bureaucracy as much that is written about streamlining the acquisition processes can you comment on the process and the amount of time it takes to fill validated requirements in the centcom area of operations? >> i absolutely agree we should
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continue to do everything we can to address the needs of the war fighters and try to do it as fast as we can. i am aware of a number of initiatives underway to address that whether it is rapid prototype or other things we can do. our view is we confront emerging threats and we have tried to be supportive of the services by bringing in capabilities and trying them out, recognizing that some of these will fail. they will not succeed in the way they are but in the hands of our soldiers, sailors, marines on the ground they will begin to give direct feedback that will help these programs move along quicker. from a centcom standpoint what we are concerned about is making sure we have a system in place where we can bring things forward and rapidly test them and get them in the hands of
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our people. they can provide feedback and that goes back into the commercial or industrial base, they make improvements and then bring us what we can use. that to me is extraordinarily important in an area like centcom. >> thank you. >> [ indiscernible - low volume ] >> thank you. general were you aware of the presidents intention to order the withdrawal of our troops from syria before that was publicly announced? >> i was not aware of the specific announcement, certainly we are aware he had expressed a desire and intent in the past to depart syria. >> you weren't consulted before that decision was announced? >> i was not consulted. >> you mentioned in your testimony you use the word remnant with regard to isis, can you give us a better number than remnant? what are we talking about here? sen. tom cotton mentioned they are scattered around the world is
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that accurate? >> i think that is approximately what the intelligence committee has estimated, i think we would generally share with that including people of a variety of different characteristics that includes fighters and supporters and facilitators within not. >> how about syria and iraq? >> i think from what i have seen that is about the -- >> 30,000? senator this is probably a low to moderate confidence number. >> it is a low estimate, i am sorry, do you think it is a higher number? >> we don't fully have any specific accuracy so it will always be a range. >> one of my concerns about the withdrawal with that many isis
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fighters still in the area is they will just weed us out. if the president announces a withdrawal the saying i have heard is the americans have the watches but we have the time. are they just going to wait and hunker down for a couple of years or a couple of months and then resuscitate their efforts? if you were their military commander is that what you would do? say these guys are leaving and we will just bide our time? >> certainly senator but our approach as i mentioned is as we look to withdraw from syria we are in a very deliberate planning process for how we will work with the international community and with our partners on the ground and the rest of the coalition to ensure we can keep pressure on this organization to prevent exactly what you are talking about. >> i think it is important and perhaps you can share with the committee in a closed session
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what the strategy is for maintaining that pressure and how its success is defined that will allow us to withdraw. let me move on. with regard to again the withdrawal i sincerely hope in your exit interview with your successor which will take place soon that you emphasize the importance of protecting the kurds. if they are slaughtered by the kurds turks within reasonable proximity of our leaving it will be interesting on this country that will persist not only in terms of honor but also in terms of our ability to attract allies to assist us in future projects of this kind. that is my biggest fear about what is going on now and i believe the turks are waiting. >> senator again i think this
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is a key task we are looking at right now and that is the protection of those who have fought valiantly with us in ensuring they remain safe as our diplomats and united nations and others pursue a political solution here in syria. >> i certainly hope that is of the highest priority. you mentioned iran and listed a series of aligned activities in the region, which would you prefer the current iran or the iran with nuclear weapons? >> certainly i think an iran with nuclear weapons poses a more enduring and serious threat to us long-term so our approach does need to make sure we deny all paths for them to
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get to a nuclear weapon. >> unfortunately we just made an agreement that did just that, we can discuss that in another setting. the final question on afghanistan, i don't understand the negotiating unilaterally with the taliban and not involving the government of echoes in afghanistan. i don't understand how that will get us to a final result if we give it away things they are not willing to give away. >> again senator i think the way i would characterize the efforts is he is beginning to put together a framework that will allow the afghans and taliban to come together at some point to conduct negotiations. all of this is being done with the knowledge of the government of afghanistan. they understand what he is doing. i can't speak for the exact process itself but i do know he
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is in frequent consultation with the government of x in the sand to inshore they are best informed on the approaches he is taking to continue to get this framework in place. >> good i hope that is the case. thank you. >> thank you senator king. as a reminder you made several references as to a different setting for some answers to your questions. we will be having a closed meeting at 215 in the visitor center so you will have that opportunity. senator. >> thank you mr. chairman. good to see you again. i'm sorry thank you for your outstanding service to our nation and we appreciate it. i want to dive in more to this discussion on both sides of this idea as we are refining our force posture in the region
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this notion of having a robust counterterrorism force that can still focus on u.s. interests whether it is the isis or the rise of al qaeda, whether it is the i aligned activities of iran and i think some of my colleagues like to look up and i will ask you questions about that. what is that concept? this is something the president has talked about but your predecessor talked a lot about this idea of a forced component robust ct element in the middle east that can continue to focus on our strategic interests, how would that work and are you thinking through that? whether that is in iraq or other parts of the middle east? do we have the capability to
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not only go after our counterterrorism goals but let's say for example control the airspace in northern syria which is important even if we are not on the ground? >> senator i believe we do and we are in fact getting through the different ways we would continue to address our concern about violent extremist organizations operating in this region who harbor interests and come against the homeland. >> that is our overriding initial interest. >> yes and as we look at all of the activities we are conducting across the region i think safeguarding that particular interest has to be among the very top things we are doing. there are a variety of different approaches we can take with this, certainly the approach using partners on the ground enabling them to keep pressure on them is one way of doing this. in some instances
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it may require us to have some of our capabilities forward in different locations to make sure we can do that. >> are we looking at those options right now? >> we are looking at a variety of different options for how we might address this. >> are you confident we can address this not only given your role as centcom commander but your previous role? >> i am supremely confident in both of our forces in the ability to meet the missions in this area and in others. >> we talked about iran a little bit. my colleague from maine who i consider a good friend and deeply respect you mentioned the iran nuclear deal which gave iran the freedom to be on the verge of becoming a nuclear nation within 10 years anyway, we always forget that. that is a short time span in the middle east and that was the
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agreement. general dempsey when he was chairman of the joint chiefs and testified in front of his committee that when the iranians were supplying sophisticated ied's to the iraq he shae militias they were responsible for the killing and wounding of over 2000 american soldiers, airmen and marines, do you agree with that assessment? >> i do agree iran facilitated equipment to organizations that cause casualties on americans. >> massive casualties. >> yes. >> it often gets forgotten that iran was directly responsible for killing and wounding over 2000 american soldiers and other military members on the ground in iraq, isn't that correct? that is correct. >> so the iran nuclear deal , one of the big selling points was that it would moderate
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iranian activities, this was sold by secretary of state john kerry and even president obama who they moderated their aligned activities in syria. >> they have not. >> it has gotten worse isn't that true? >> it is my observation during the time that the agreement was in place we did not see a lot of [ indiscernible - low volume ] >> how about in regard to yemen? my colleagues forget who started the war in yemen, it wasn't the saudi's was it? >> -- >> [ indiscernible - low volume ] >> the saudi's were concerned about an iranian backed organization along their southern border. >> and with regard to israel they certainly haven't changed there activities have they? >> if you talk to the israelis they would agree with that. >> with regard to secretary pompeo giving a speech in cairo that was laying out what i
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thought was a very well articulated and robust counter iran strategy, how are you looking as a centcom commander to execute this strategy ? i think it is one of the most important things we can be doing in the middle east. >> senator i have responsibility for helping to put together the departments global military campaign for iran so as i look at that i look at a variety of different things we have to do. we have to inshore our partners. we have to challenge iran in the areas where they are trying to exert their influence. we have to be prepared to deter them and be prepared to lay and respond to their activities. as i look at the planning we are doing against that those are the types of things i am trying to incorporate into a comprehensive plan to address the threat of iran. >> thank you.
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>> thank you mr. chairman and general. i also want to recognize your command sergeant major is here and thank you for all of your years of work as well. general i want to go back because there is a theme you talked about in terms of relationship building and setting the groundwork with our partners before hand in the region and you and i touched a little bit on some of the programs that exist that allow us to build these individual relationships. i know the ranking member that and i would like to touch on the state partnership for peace programs. this is a program when i was serving i had a partner nation that we trained and worked with. i grew up in the military along with my polish counterpart from being young second lieutenants all the way up through our
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command time and that developed a relationship and an understanding of how that work. do you speak about the types of military exchange programs that you see implemented in the centcom region and do you talk about the values of those programs turning into a more of a fighting capability? >> let me talk about the state partnership program. this is an excellent program and we have several states have partnered with countries across our region and in almost every case these are deeply valued programs by our partners in the region and i believe by the state that orchestrate them. we get a lot of benefit out of that not just in the countries in the region but also again by people from those countries coming back to america to participate in exercises and build the relationships. i think this is an extraordinary program. it is long-term and enduring and i think it serves us well. you have already talked about the impact in this is an extraordinarily important
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program. i also think the program of exercises that we continue to orchestrate across the region are extraordinarily important in terms of building operability, in terms of readiness and in terms of building reliability with our partners. as we have continued to move forward i think this will be again we will continue to want to make these investments. with egypt we have restarted the brightstar exercise but we have changed it more to deal with the contemporary threats that we are dealing with and that egypt is dealing with in the terrorism realm as opposed to the sweeping battles of the past. that is not what we are doing. i think to our exercise programs we have the ability to make these very specific to the needs of the region and i would add one final program that i
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think is extraordinarily valuable. it is our combined maritime force where we invite different partners in the region, some from outside the region to come in and participate as part of our combined maritime forces operating in the gulf and in the waters of the region. these are extraordinarily important. we see countries like pakistan who stepped forward to provide significant resources and provide leadership to these organizations. this allows us to make sure we share the burden and leverage the capabilities that everybody brings and it adds to a much more collective approach to security in the region. those arches four key programs of probably several others that could be discussed as well. >> thank you general. that last point speaks to my logistical officer heart. when
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i look at a map of the centcom region i can't help but wonder how your j4 is able to transport equipment especially in light of competition and the changing environment. when i think about the potential for the iranians to restrict movement in the iranian golf going back to this exercises you just mentioned do you regularly exercise against this threat and how confident are you that our supply chain would not be impacted should conflict escalate in the region? one of the principal concerns we have is the mining of the streets and the impact it would have straits and the impact it would have. we do exercises in the maritime environment here. we have a big exercise planned later this fall with a number of countries but this is certainly something that we are focused on. you are hitting on the
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resiliency of our logistics networks in the region and i do think that our command and components and partners have really begun to address this. certainly you are familiar with the northern distribution network that goes up to the central asian states. that has been important for us and we continue to exercise that. it does certainly have some influence from russia and it is a more difficult network to orchestrate but it is not impossible. we do continue to move materials across that area across the arabian peninsula we have what we refer to as the trans-arabian network that links a variety of ports, cities and airports not only in the a arabian gulf but over to the red sea. it gives us extreme resiliency in terms of how we can move material in forces in to the region and respond with capabilities.
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we are very much focused on that and as we look at implementing the national defense strategy our focus on these logistic networks and our ability to have agreements i think become more important than they already have. we have tried to prioritize that and we will continue to do that as we move forward. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you first sergeant major thank you for your wonderful years of service and commitment to our great united states. we certainly appreciate that. gen. joseph votel many years ago a number of your colleagues and/or soldiers believed you would become a great leader and i have to say general they were correct. all of those years ago they were. thank you so much for your wonderful service. one of our most effective
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resources for building partnerships in capacity while maintaining the pressure we have on this violent extremist organizations is done obviously through our special operators and you are intimately familiar with that. have you seen a roll of these operators involved with regard to counterterrorism and capacity building as well as the role they more broadly have with the national defense strategy? you can talk a little bit about that role and how we are developing them. >> thank you. senator as you suggest the special operations forces will continue to play a key role in the centcom area of responsibility as we confront violent extremism here . they have developed a level of expertise and proficiency that is certainly unmatched anywhere else and so we will depend on that. i would add that one of the things i am most proud of as a
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centcom commander is how well our special operations forces and conventional forces are integrated in the areas in which we operate. in many cases it is almost indistinguishable. there is little concerned with who gets the credit or who is calling the shots, it is an extraordinarily collaborative environment between all of our forces on the ground and this will be essential as we move forward. as you know our special operations capabilities are limited and they are in great demand not just in centcom but in other areas . that will be brought out as we fully implement the national defense strategy. we are relying on conventional forces to use some of these things and to develop the same methodologies that our special operators have developed over the course of many years will become important as we move forward. >> general as we are drawing down the number of troops that
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we have whether it is syria, afghanistan elsewhere, we do continue to maintain advise assist and company missions. do you see that continuing forward as a force multiplier with partners in that region? what more can we do in that area? >> i do senator and i think this idea by with and through focusing on training, advising and enabling our partners is a proven method for us and i think it works extraordinarily well in this particular region. i do see that moving forward. going forward we must maintain these relationships. these are the relationships we depend on in this region and they are not those that can be put together in the course of a crisis. they have to be developed and nurtured over time and as the admiral often reminded us that
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when he was eight centcom commander you cannot search for trust in the times of crisis, it has to be done in advance. i think the lifeblood of what we do here will be the development of resilient trusting relationships across our region. >> i appreciate that. i appreciate the comments made by my colleagues as well about the state partnership programs and so on. those are very very important in developing that level of trust. very briefly because i am running out of time general, of course we do have some other big players in the region. we see russia of course and syria, we see china's investments in pakistan. where else do you assess that china and russia are involved in that and what is the extent of that and what are their intentions? >> starting with russia, russia
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has interest in the central asian states these being former soviet republics they maintain a long-term relationship they are so this will always continue to be something we will have to contend with in this particular region. we have seen in the past russia working with countries like egypt and others to potentially fill in voids there. we have to be mindful of those relationships as well. when you look at china i think their motivations are driven by their economic objectives. again really driven by the one held one road approach they are taking to link trade routes back to china and i think the thing we have to continue to be watchful of is their developing
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relationships with other partners across the region, particularly the maritime environment in the countries along the waterways in the region. whether it is the gulf states or whether they are are some on the african continent which would certainly give them good access to the centcom watchers. these are the areas i think we will have to pay attention to. >> absolutely. they have a long game and we need to pay attention. my time has expired but general my best to you and your beautiful family. thank you so very much. >> thank you mr. chairman. i join my colleagues in thinking you for your service and thank you for being forthright and for those answers today. i want to come back to my line
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of questioning that senator reid began about the money we are owed by the saudi's for air refueling. have we made a demand to them that they pay that money? >> senator we have presented all of those bills to the saudi led coalition. they have them and they have acknowledged receipt of that. we are working through to ensure the products we have given to them that they understand what it is and they will be able to respond. they have given us every intention indication that they intend to meet the requirements of reimbursement we have asked for. >> there is no question in your mind that that $231 million is owed to our country? >> that is reimbursement for fuel we provided for them and reimbursement for the flight hours associated with the aircraft that provided that
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fuel. >> when will they make that payment of reimbursement? >> we expect in terms of the fine hours, the bills have been presented to both saudi arabia and we will see responses as early as march and then likely for the fuel by the may timeframe. it is required that they provide reimbursement within 90 days of notification. >> these are u.s. taxpayer dollars they owe us to put it simply correct? >> yes senator. >> as you mentioned and i may have misheard you, there is the possibility of other instances where they or other countries where there were similar types of expenses? >> i don't think we have
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identified any others, i think the question is have we look more broadly across the region to ensure that we don't have this problem with others and we are in the process of doing that. >> you are reviewing others? >> yes to make sure there has been no oversight. >> have you found any indications of other failures to repay? >> i have not been notified thus far senator. >> i would like to ask you about the special operators and senator ernst asked you a number of questions. can they operate as effectively from bases in iraq as they can from where they are located now? >> senator i think there extraordinarily keep bull capable. in the beginning of our operations in both iraq and syria there was a time when we did not have footing on the
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ground but we were able to have a relationship with our partners on the ground in syria and we were able to do that from remote locations. we do that in other places. we will look at all options that we can use here. >> i guess my question just to rephrase it was not whether they can operate at all but whether they can operate as effectively if they are based remotely, aren't they more effective if they are in fact in the combat area where they are supposed to be operating? >> senator i would agree with you that it is always best to be with your partner and to be sharing everything they are experiencing. i think that is optimum but certainly i think we have demonstrated in a variety of different areas that through some level of remote location
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we can achieve the objectives that we are focused on. >> knowing how skilled and effective our special operators are have no doubt they can operate from very remote locations but i take it you would agree with me that the optimum situation from the standpoint of military impact would be to have them actually in on the ground where they are supposed to do their work. >> it is always best to be with your partners. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. general thank you for your career and dedication and sacrifices. sergeant major thank you for 38 years, don't ever think it was taken for granted it will never be forgotten. god bless you. in your ao are you have all
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five threads if you have assumed and believe north korea and iran have a particularly good relationship and across at least three or four domains. the question i have is relative to what china and russia are doing long-term as we think about our future in afghanistan. what china is doing in the china pakistan economic is handcuffing pakistan. billion, $90 billion is committed in the effort, that is huge in terms of pakistan. what i'm concerned about is what pakistan is also representing to china with regard to what china has done with their bri across the area. you mention the maritime interest and emma toda is just
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south of sri lanka and they've already foreclosed on their partner. it's a proprietary debt situation, they've done the same thing in 31 other places around the coast of africa and you just mentioned that. the question is, how are we as a military, i understand as a diplomatic issue as well, how are we in the military dealing with china's effort to develop the string of pearls, particularly in the perspective that russia and with china, in this area as we consider our future, how are we addressing the china and russia threat relative to their permanent strategy . >> i think you highlight a real challenge for us, as we look at great power competition, we have to recognize and i believe we do that the threat of russia and that china poses to us and in fact it is global so as we
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look at our plans to compete with partners, to pursue our national interests, we have to look in all areas where we do this. to include this area of responsibility. there will be things that we can do that can contribute to a broader campaign to compete with china and russia. so i think as we look at this, we have to look for opportunities where we can do that and how we integrate into a broader plan. more specifically, what i would tell you is i think one of the most important things, and i mentioned this earlier, arrested he was to continue to be seen by our partners in the region as a valued partner. as i look at the recent elections, i noted that the presence of u.s. and coalition forces on the ground was not an
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election issue. i think that's because of the manner that we presented ourselves in the manner we conducted activities so, i think preserving our relationships and continuing to be seen as reliable partners is perhaps one of the best defenses that we have against the influence of great power act there's, particularly in the send kon region, to the extent that we will continue to do that in the future, i think that will continue to be a key fact of this as we move forward . >> i think after 17 years we've earned the right and i hope we continue to do that relative to getting our allies to help us in that region. specifically you mentioned iraq and i have a question about southern syria. we have a request from the prime minister to consider
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keeping a permanent presence because of where it strategically located. there is a 34 mile exclusion area, what are the rules of engagement we currently have and is this currently being considered as a longer-term installation? >> this is a key part of the ongoing planning that we have going here. i won't comment publicly about what we might do there but it certainly is understood. our reason is principally driven by our defeat isis mission. that's what brought us there, that's what kept us there, we continue to confront it and it's located where we do see routine traffic from isis as we move from the valley to the western part of the country. it is a very good operational location from that standpoint.
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it has the derivative value of being along a principal line of access a line of communication that i ran and her proxies would like to exploit. so, while that is in the mission we do recognize the indirect impact that we have with that. so, as we move forward, the disposition will certainly be something that we consider carefully as we look at our overall withdrawal plans from syria . >> thank you, sir. thank you . >> thank you, mister chairman and thank you general votel for being here, i appreciated the chance to meet with you last week as you know i have serious concerns about our support to the saudi led coalition and its military campaign in yemen. at a hearing like this last year, i asked you if the u.s. government knew where the coalition jets went and what targets they bombed after receiving fuel from u.s. tankers. you said that they do not track
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the information. in late december, the new york times reported that american military personnel assigned to saudi arabia ready had access to a database that gets details of every airstrike, missions used in a brief description of the attack. so, let me just ask you, does this database exist? >> today we do have a database that does have that information and we have the ability to see that . >> and centcom has access to the database ? >> we do have access to this today is like this is troubling because it suggest that we can determine retroactively if correlation warplanes that bomb civilians it did so with american assistance. there is clear evidence that we enable and support the saudi led coalition in yemen. until
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recently we refueled their jets and provide military advice and intelligence support. we continue to sell them american-made bombs, bombs that public reports indicate kill yemeni civilians. we provide their air force with sustainment and logistics for support for their american-made fires. so, i'm asking you questions about the details of the help we give the saudis because they continue to conduct bombing runs and continue to perpetuate one of the worst man-made humanitarian disasters in the modern era. during the civil war, more than 85,000 children under the age of five have started a and tens of thousands of civilians have been killed. this military engagement is not authorized, we need to end u.s. support for the war now. so, let me ask you about detainee abuse. in section 12 74 of the fy19
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and daa, requiring the secretary of defense to review whether members of the armed forces or coalition partners abuser witnessed abuse of detainees during operations in yemen. dod submitted this report to congress and in the unclassified summary concluded that the dod has determined that personnel have neither observed nor been complicit in any cool, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in yemen. can you say a brief word, i just have a little time, about how dod reach this conclusion? >> we derive that based on the discussions and reports from the people we do have on the ground of what they've seen. we take this seriously and in
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positions where we might see some of this and are under the obligation to report this. i do routinely receive reports, many of them unsubstantiated, not just linked to yemen but to other areas in which we operate in which there have been people who have received a report of abuse and we have a reporting mechanism for that. we do take that seriously . >> this report says that neither observed nor been complicit in any cool, inhuman or degrading treatment. the human rights watch and the united nations all conducted their own investigations and came to a very different conclusion. they determined that our partners oversaw network of detention centers that regularly engaged in torture and other abuse. does dod find these independent investigations credible? >> we should take all these investigation seriously senator, but, i think what i'm
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saying to you is that we have no observations of our own from our people that have actually seen this . >> has dod reached any conclusions about whether or not our partners are engaging in detainee abuse, when dod personnel are not present? >> i have not reached any kind of conclusion that they are conducting these activities. certainly in our interaction with all of our partners, in this conflict and across the region, we continue to emphasize the obligations under the law of armed conflict in proper detention and dating -- >> i appreciate you walking through these and turning a blind eye is not acceptable. i will keep asking questions . >> senator, i've received your
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letter and we will provide a response . >> thank you mister chairman and thank you general for your time and to your team who is with you. we appreciate your service and your time. i do have questions that i want to ask this afternoon in closed session dealing with india. and the competition with russia and china >> let me go to syria, i will tell you that i think the administration has sent mixed messages about the terms of u.s. withdrawal from syria and whether there is protection for
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the syrian kurds, whether there's the total defeat of isis or the establishment of a safe sound with a turkey and what is a prerequisite. and, senator duckworth and i just recently sent a letter pertaining to the kurds because nashville has the largest curtis population in the u.s.. it is for this reason, in addition to the partnership in the mobile coalition to defeat isis, the protection of the kurds is very important to me and to a lot of tennesseans. i believe that any withdrawal from syria must be conditions based and clearly, there has to be a plan to protect the kurds. any plan to protect the kurds must clearly outline our
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expectations of turkey. so, i'd like to just hear from you, the withdrawal from syria, is it calendar base? is it conditions based if it is conditions based what are the conditions going to be on the ground? what has been communicated to the turks and what has been communicated to the kurds? >> thank you and i look forward to talking a little more about this in closed session but i would just say that i don't consider this to be either time- based or conditions based. the fact is the president made a decision and we are going to execute his orders to with draw forces from syria. as we do that, we are going to do that in a deliberate manner. we will do that in conjunction with the campaign plan and we are going to consider things
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like protection of our partners , we are going to consider the concerns that turkey has along their border and we are going to consider how we keep pressure on isis. all of that is taking place right now. so, i am not under pressure to be out by a specific date, and i have not had any specific conditions but upon me. i look at this as an additional task within the confines of the current campaign plan that we are operating in that is how we are approaching it . >> we recently got in the january 16 attack, we lost a chief officer who was at fort campbell. he was a soldier. that was, in montgomery county tennessee and clarksville, this is something that really, it was noted with great sorrow by
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so many that are there so, in one of the questions that comes up, from tennesseans who are involved in defense of our nation is, did we underestimate the power and the threat of isis in syria? >> senator, i don't think we did. i think those of us who have had the opportunity to be involved in this it and have developed a respect for our enemies, we don't agree with the things they are doing but we have to respect the capabilities they bring. we have always recognize that isis is a savvy organization and will look for ways to harm us, to hurt us, in the conduct of normal operations or certainly in the conduct of operations we have coming up as we get ready to depart syria. so, i don't
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think we underestimate their capabilities to exact a toll against us . >> i appreciate that and i have a couple questions and will save those for the afternoon. >> thank you, am i to interpret after six years on the committee, anything negative by the fact that i've been moved to a chair without my own microphone? >> thank you for your public service, we will miss you on the committee but i want to ask you, about an interview that trump gave on face the nation on february 3, a couple comments he made dealing with iran. he indicated that one of the reasons that i want to keep it, the base in iran is because i want to look a little bit excuse me and airbase in iraq,
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because i want to be looking a little at iran because iran is a real problem he was asked a question and said no because i want to be able to watch iran. i'm on the armed services in the foreign relations committee and i have not had a briefing either an open or classified committee during my time in the senate, suggesting that we are currently in iraq primarily to watch iran. my understanding is we are in iraq right now to watch iraq defeat isis, is that your understanding as well? >> that is exactly my understanding . >> as far as you know there's not a change in the defamation of the mission? >> i have no additional tasks given to me with regard to that . >> if the u.s. were to change his definition of the mission in iraq to be a mission about watching iran, wouldn't it be pretty important to have iraq agree that that would be the focus of the mission if we were to be having troops in their country to carry out such a mission? >> we are in iraq at the invitation of the government so yes, i agree .
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>> we were invited in the summer of 2014 to help them defeat isis is that correct? >> that is right, senator >> i like to put into record an article from the you are not new york times that trumps plan for u.s. forces in iran met with unified rejection in baghdad a general mention that one of the great things about the recent election was u.s. presence was not a political issue but the recent statements of the president, quote the problem for mr. trump was the unity was a collective rejection of the proposal and added momentum to propose legislation that could hamper american troops i like to put this in the record . >> second, president trumps said as follows, i'm going to trust the intelligence that i'm putting their but i will say this, my intelligence people, if they said iran is a wonderful kindergarten, i disagree with them 100%. are you aware of a single u.s. intelligence official of any position who
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has told president trump that iran is a kindergarten? >> no, senator i'm not aware of that . >> nor mike i've been on this committee and the foreign relations committee and we've heard opening classified testimony again and again and again about the dangers that iran poses. we've not heard a single intelligence officials say that iran is a kindergarten. we've had general dunford and secretary mattis before us saying that the nuclear deal was in america's national interest in that iran was complying with the deal on the house heard testimony from a variety of intelligence officials saying that iran was still complying with the new deal that the united states unilaterally withdrew from. i worry, and i'm not asking you the question, i'm worried that the president hears testimony like that and equates it with officials saying iran is like a kindergarten which i find completely illogical. third,
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president trumps this, when i came in as president of the united states my first i went to the pentagon two weeks after i came in and a short time after kai was given , because i wanted to know what's going on, we were in so many locations in the middle east, every single one of them was caused by the number one terrorist nation in the world which is iran. we did not go into afghanistan with u.s. military forces in 2001 because of i ron did we general votel? >> no, senator we did not . >> we didn't go to iraq in 2002 because of iran . >> we did not . >> we didn't go in august 2014 because of iran, we did not . >> in terms of where our troops are positioned in the middle east, some in syria also fighting isis, not iran, the places where u.s. troops are in your aor, we are not there
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because of iran. so, when the president says we are in the middle east because of iran, it causes me great concern. together with other statements made by this president and other members of the administration, i think that the president is inking about military action against iran is a good idea. let me put this on the record, at the current state of affairs i think it would be a horrible idea , classified i will ask a few questions about what planning has been done and what could potentially be a legal rationale for such a thing, but to think that we are in the middle east because of iran when in three areas we are not there because of iran, causes me great concern. thank you mr. chair . >> thank you mister chairman. good to see you general votel. thank you for your service and your sacrifice over the years. very extensive testimony on many issues, as someone who like many of you, and those
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with you today, have been to your region many times six deployments in my time in uniform, it's a very complex region as you've talked about and i appreciate, in your testimony, bringing us back home as to why are we there and what are our national interest in the region because our longer-term threats are more of the great state competition and central conflict. .com many of you have spent our entire military careers in deployment. this is all we know, dealing with desert storm and northern watch and southern watch, this is, we've invested so much into this, as you know. lots of love and treasure and sacrifice. it's part of our nature to give a little more time, just give us more time and more resource, we can fix the situation. am in particular thinking about afghanistan. it's our nature, were almost
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there and we almost have this where we want to be. it's very important and i appreciate that the administration, and as you testified were coming back to what are we doing there, what are our vital military interests, there's been tremendous strain over our military and we have to get back to the core of making sure there's no safe haven for jihadists and terrorists that will come kill americans and we've got to make sure there's no hostile power. that's a generational fight against terrorism started before us and will continue on and in all these countries. they will find them in other regions, and then , we want to make sure there's not a hostile power which is iran right now. i want to bring it home, it's hard for us because we wonder what were doing there, we need to build more schools, there have been many mistakes. we don't need to bring some of
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these countries to thriving 24 century democracies but it's not our natural interest. so, as were thinking of that and as you've testified that when you look at afghanistan and when you look at the safe haven in pakistan, there are 12 different terrorist organizations, our military's hands were tied and they were able to go after a lot of terrorists, how can we come as we move forward in accordance with national defense strategy, how can we make sure we achieve the mission and what does that looks like to keep america safe and focus on our drawdown while we still make sure we keep america safe and it's not a safe haven for terrorism? >> i think when i look at what is prevailing in afghanistan, it looks like two things to me, like a negotiated settlement and it looks like safeguarding our national interest.
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i think as you clearly said, we have to stay focused. our efforts need to be focused on those particular object lives and pass to those objectives. i think that is certainly my approach and i believe it the approach of general miller as we try to support this. i think my strategy is the right one. we've got to stay focused and i think we will meet our requirements if we can get a negotiated settlement and we can continue to safeguard our national interest . >> this is the largest state sponsor of terror. this one had maligned a hippity, killing of american troops. what is the focus there as we
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keep the eye on the ball because this is the biggest threat. we talked a lot about working with partnerships but what else can we do and what else are you doing to counter the threat . >> certainly i think one of the most important things we do is build partnerships and interoperability across the region and whether we look at integrated air and missile defense to ensure we can address the increasing missile capabilities coming out of iran, that's an important aspect whether we address maritime security issues that allow not just the united states but the countries of the region to better patrol their own waters and prevent the movement of illicit goods and weapons, i think these are the types of things that we can do that are very attainable to us as we move forward, to optimize
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the capabilities and more importantly to make sure that our partners are bearing the burden in taking responsibility for their own security . >> i'm out of time and i'm grateful for the statements i don't think we should use fifth- generation fighters to chase jihadists, we need the right tools for the mission while we use the next generation to deal with threats. thank you mr. chair, i appreciate it. >> we will recess the meeting until we get back together at 215 -- 2:15 pm, thank you very much. for a long meeting and for your answers. we will reconvene at 2:15 pm in
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the visitor center and we will recess this meeting. thank you very much.
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>> on c-span, the house returns at 10 am on c-span for general speeches. at noon, members take up five bills from the transportation committee. on c-span to the senate continues work on national
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resource management legislation. at 7 pm the federal reserve takes part in a teacher townhall. on cspan-3 at 10 am the house judiciary committee holds a hearing on preventing gun violence. 2:30 5:00 p.m., senator lindsey graham, chair of the judiciary committee seeks the first annual legislative branch review conference hosted by the article 1 initiative and the georgetown law center chapter of federal society . >> deb holland was voted to the house. she was previously the chair of the new mexico democratic party. representative shakeel torres small was working on water rights, she clerked in a federal court before that. prior to law school, she worked for new mexico senator tom udall, the congresswoman isn't the only member of her family news and politics, her husband
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is a member of the state house of representatives. arizona also has two new members in the congressional delegation, both democrats, greg stanton served six years as phoenix mayor before taking his seat in congress and he's also been arizona's deputy attorney general and a member of the phoenix city council. congresswoman and kirkpatrick join the u.s. house of representatives for the third time in her fourth term this year. she lost her first reelection bid in 2010, only to be reelected to the seat in 2012 she again left the house to run against the late john mccain for u.s. senate in 2016. representative kirkpatrick was a prosecutor and a city attorney earlier in her career. steve horse for is a former member who returned to the house this year and served one term earlier this decade before being defeated in his 2014 reelection bid.
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before that he was a nevada state senator serving four years as a majority leader he's also been an executive at a marketing firm in a job training company >> the congresswoman ran nonprofit organizations that help disadvantaged youth. the afterschool all-stars program ran after school f captivity and communities in schools of nevada help prevent kids from dropping out of high. the next phase is familiar across the world but new to congress. utah elected mitt romney to the u.s. senate. the 2012 gop nominee of tea served as massachusetts governor early in the 2000 and before that, headed up the 2002 salt lake city water olympics. this was his second run for u.s. senate his first was against the late massachusetts senator, ted kennedy in 1994. utah also has a new member of the house, democrat ben mcadams
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now represents the state fourth district, the former mayor of salt lake county is the only democrat in utah's congressional delegation. new congress, new leaders, watch it all on c-span . next, delaware governor, john carney gives his state of the state address at the state capitol in dover where he talks about the local economy and proposed changes to education, gun laws and voting rights. he began his term in 2017, prior to that he served six years as a member of congress. >> thank you very much. lieutenant governor, mr. president pro tem, mr. speaker the members of the 150th general assembly, members of my cabinet, distinguished members of the judiciary, invited guests and my fellow delaware indians.

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