tv Defense Secretary Esper Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Milley Testify Before... CSPAN July 12, 2020 10:02am-12:17pm EDT
of the communications and technology subcommittee, talked about information on social media and the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on telecommunications. >> when the people who run these platforms take a look at the country they created, because they have changed culture in this country, and if you don't see the division in our country right now that is cheaply being done by social media, it is just crazy how you can identify people's political affiliation based on certain actions on the internet. >> congressman mike doyle, monday night at 8:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span2. >> defense secretary mark esper and general mark milley are -- were on capitol hill to testify on the defense department's role in civilian
law enforcement following the military's involvement in recent protests around the country. they were asked about alleged russian bounties against u.s. troops, and the debate over military bases named after confederate soldiers. military bases named after confederate soldiers. chairman smith: i call the meeting to order. i welcome our witnesses, secretary of defense esper and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff milley. we appreciate you being here today. i do have to read an opening statement here about procedure in light of the fact that we do have members who are participating remotely in his hearing, in accordance with house rules. so i will do that and then a couple other programming notes and we will get started. i would like to welcome members who are joining today's markup remotely. those members are reminded that they must be visible on screen within the software platform for the purposes of identity verification for maintaining a coram participating, and voting. we will not be voting, but
participating members must use the software platform video function while attending the proceedings unless they experience connectivity issues or other technical problems and are unable to fully part is a -- fully participate on camera. if a member who is participating technical difficulties, please contact us and we will help you. participation will be broadcast in the room via the television internet feed. members are asked to mute their microphones when they are not speaking. members will be recognized normally for asking questions, but if they want to speak, they must seek recognition verbally. in all cases, members are reminded to unmute their microphone prior to speaking. members should be aware that there is a slight lag between when you start speaking and camera shot switching to you. members are re attend the proceeding. members may leave and rejoin. if members depart for short reasons, they should leave the video function on.
if members will be absent for a significant period, they should exit the software platform entirely and rejoin if they return. members are advised that i have designated a staff member to unnecessarily mute to cancel any inadvertent background noise. members may use the chat feature to communicate with staff regarding logistical support issues only. finally, members should see a five minute countdown clock on the software platform's display. if necessary, i will remind members when their time is up. the only additional note i will make to that is of parent lee -- is apparently if your microphone in here is left on when you're not speaking, it can generate feedback. so if you are not speaking, turn the microphone off so we can avoid that feedback. so, i'm going to make an opening statement. mr. thornberry will make a statement. we have a hard stop on this hearing at 3:00. i am not going to ask any
questions. i will go right to the first member on our side of the aisle. i will just let my opening statement stand. the purpose of this hearing is to look at the events surrounding the department of defense's response to the protests that arose out of the murder of george floyd in minneapolis. and sort of two-fold what i would like to accomplish. one, we would like to better understand what happened. how was the dod involved? what were the steps between the dod and the white house and decisions made at the various points about dod involvement specifically in dealing with domestic unrest. to begin with, there is the basic question of guard units. and this is pretty straightforward. we have used guard units for a member -- a number of different reasons to deal with emergencies across the country. the department of defense works with the governor of every state to determine that. but getting a little clarity as to how that process worked in
this case would be enormously helpful. then there is the more complicated question of how this applies to washington, dc. as we know, they don't have a governor. the department of defense has greater authority over the guard in the district of columbia than they do in states. how did that play out? how was the coronation handled between the mayor of dc, the police force in dc, and adding to the confusion, the department of justice has various security personnel that they employ within washington dc. there is considerable concern about how all of that played out. what was the level of coordination? why were there helicopters, military helicopters over the top of protesters in the middle of that protest? who made that decision? what was the level of coordination? and then connected to all of this, as we get beyond the normal use of the guard, is the insurrection act. is the ability of the president to activate active-duty military personnel over the objections of governors and use them to deal with civil unrest.
how is that considered in this context? there seem to be conflicting statements out of the white house and department of defense about how that was being used. we would like to know what came to pass in that regard, and in particular, the one group of active-duty troops that were called up, they were never deployed, but they were put on standby across the river in virginia for potential use in washington dc. what played out in that decision as well. but then more broadly than what happened in this instant, this is something that is going to involve our country in the future, without a doubt. we will have different presidents and different secretaries of defense and different chairman who will be happy to make decisions like this. so what is the department's view on the role they should play in dealing with civil unrest? what role should the guard play? how should they coordinate and
when do they think the insurrection act is appropriate? how does all that play out? more specifically on that is the question of how, regardless of whether it is the dod or the state or whoever, how do you deal with civil unrest? i was struck by the fact that there seemed to be a lack of coordination and a lack of thought in that response. i am not talking about dod. i am talking across the country, as people saw the protests rise up and in some cases turn violent. what was the plan for dealing with that? there is actually a lot of very well-documented history about how to deal with domestic unrest. ranging everywhere from civil war to protest movements. and we have studied this extensively. i have read quite a bit about it. what is our plan? you had a lot of the president's rhetoric that sounded like basically, we will crush you, so you better stop doing this, to a more nuanced approach. how do you deescalate?
how do you protect the legitimate right of people to protest while at the same time stopping crime, stopping protest movements from becoming violent? i think it is something that requires thought and all leaders in a place to make those decisions need to be better educated on how that comes to pass. and then the last two things i would like to touch on is the disturbing lack of coordination between what the white house was saying and what dod was saying, and in some cases, doing. the president started a lot of this with his announcement, and forgive me, i forget the exact words, but the general gist of it was we will bring order to this country and if the governors do not do it, i will use the active military to do it for them. that statement did not seem to be followed up by any actual actions to do it, but why would he say that if that was the case? and what sort of conversations went on between the department of defense and the president and others in the white house about
the best way to respond? and that gets to an interesting part of this and that is the difficult position that any secretary of defense and any chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is in. you work for the president. he is commander-in-chief, that is the way the flowchart goes, and his decisions are final. and you have to follow those. now, it is absolutely impossible that any person in either of your positions would agree 100% of the time with everything the president said. how do you handle those disagreements? how do you work through that? admittedly, you cannot come out in public and say, yeah, my boss is an idiot and i disagree with his decision. and it is something that happens in this committee all the time. i have been on this committee through four presidents. and whenever that is the case, invariably, the party that is up here that is not in the white house tries to get everybody at the department of defense that some decision, they don't agree with it. under president obama, it happened all the time.
we had dod personnel appear, -- up here, a decision was made, and usually don't think it is the right thing to do. i understand in my time, i have never seen a single solitary witness confess and say oh yeah, i thought that was stupid. that is not the way it works. i'm not looking for that. i'm looking for an understanding as to how the white house and dod can better coordinate. we have had a disturbing pattern not just on domestic unrest issues, but on a number of issues, of the white house, seemingly out of the blue, making bold policy statements that affect dod decisions that do not appear to have been well coordinated or certainly not well delivered. the decision to pull out of syria, the decision to remove troops from germany, the decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military. that one was particularly galling because it came within days after every service chief had testified that there was no problem with them serving. and then a tweet goes out and
dod has to respond. that sends a mixed message to the country about what our defense policy is. in particular happened in syria when that announcement was made and we had to figure out how to make that work. and so we are curious within those limitations, how does that coordination happen. lastly, there was concern about the politicization of the military. again, this is not unique to any one president. the commander-in-chief has a duty to guide the military and at the same time, has political interest. but how do we make sure those two things stay separate? the biggest concern is that obviously was the incident at st. john's church when the president and secretary of defense and a few others took a picture in front of the church and then it was quickly turned around into a political ad. i think it is incredibly important that we respect the institutions of our government irrespective of who is in charge.
we are a nation of laws, a nation of institutions, not a nation of any one individual. long after this president is out of office and all of us are gone from our current positions, there will be new people in those positions. and those institutions need to survive on their own, not to serve any one particular person's political interests. i am very concerned about the department of defense becoming unduly politicized. i will say for the record that i think both of these gentlemen have done, by and large, an excellent job of not doing that even in what is a very difficult environment. we have seen politicization happen in the department of justice and intel community. personally, i have not seen that at the department of defense and i respect that. i just want to make sure that it does not happen, because you make bad decisions in that environment. the decision is based on the loyalty to one individual instead of loyalty to the country, loyalty to the law, loyalty to what is our best interests.
anmakes and even -- it makes already difficult job even more difficult. i look forward to the witness positive answers to what happened and i think it is incredibly important that the public sees this in one straightforward situation where two people in the middle of this can tell them so that we can have greater confidence in those institutions that we so greatly need to make sure that we remain a stable and peaceful nation. with that, i yield to mr. thornberry for his opening statement. rep. thornberry: thank you mr. chairman, and let me join in welcoming them to be with us and we appreciate your flexibility in these unusual circumstances and locations and all that is required in the current situation. in addition to many of these specific questions that the chairman laid out, i think one of the most important things
that you all can help us do, which the chairman mentioned a couple of times, is help us look at these issues in context. both historical context, and a context of everything that the military is being asked to do. these days. because i am struck by the fact that even when you look at dod support to civilian law enforcement, obviously we think of the protests and what happened here in washington. but elements of the military have been doing a lot of law enforcement missions related to covid for months. again, it is primarily the national guard that has been doing that, but it seems to me since the beginning of the year, the military has been asked to
take on a number of additional missions unexpectedly that required different kinds of training and preparation. but at the same time, you still have to pay attention to the russians, the chinese, the north koreans, the iranians, and terrorists trying to kill us every day. it is in that larger context that i am particularly interested in your assessment on how our people are doing and also how our budgets are doing, because even when it is the guard in many of these situations that are being asked to do civilian law enforcement, dod is footing the bill. for that. so again, my point is in addition to a number of particular questions, the larger context, how the military is doing with these added responsibilities is important.
the last thing i just want to say is, agreeing with the chairman, the temptation here is to focus on a particular incident, a particular president, and particular political differences. i think what is most helpful for us, as the chairman said, presidents come and go, everybody in our jobs come and go. we are talking in part about the act that was passed in 1807 and has not been changed very much since then. so, the historical context is also, seems to me, important with the institutions. i keep always in the forefront of my mind the gallup polls that are done every year. what institutions do you respect the most? the military is at the top of the list. and that is a key national strength of this country. and whatever we do, we want to
make sure that the men and women who serve the military continue to have that exalted position of respect throughout the country as presidents come and go, and as issues and incidents come and go. and to me, that is a key responsibility of this congress. chairman, i am not going to ask specific questions. i will go to specific folks on our sides. again, thank you both for being here. chairman smith: thank you. mr. secretary? sec. esper: chairman smith, ranking member thornberry, thank you for the opportunity to be before you today. throughout our history, the united states military has demonstrated commitment to uphold our oath to the constitution and to support our civil authorities.
over the past several months more than 60,000 service members answered the nation's call for working on the front lines in the fight against the pandemic, saving lives and stemming the spread of the virus. at the same time, we are hard at work as part of operation warp speed to accelerate the development, manufacture, and distribution of therapeutics and vaccines at scale by the end of the year. and over the next two months we will likely be called upon by the states to support hurricane and wildfire relief efforts. no matter the challenges, our service members stand ready to serve. and i am incredibly proud of their dedication and commitment to our fellow americans. in may, our support to the civil authority's mission expanded in the wake of the horrible killing of george floyd and an officer being charged with his murder. a tragedy we have seen repeated too often and our nation. following his tragic death, thousands of our fellow citizens sought to exercise their rights
to free speech and peaceful assembly. while most of these protests were law-abiding, it is clear that some individuals exploited the situation to sew chaos and commit acts of violence and destruction and theft. that is why at the height of the civil unrest, more than 43,000 national guard personnel were called upon by governors across the country to uphold the rule of law, safeguard life and property, and protect the rights of americans, all americans, to protest safely and peacefully. as a formal soldier and member of the national guard, i am a firm believer that in these situations, the guard is best suited to provide domestic support to civil authorities in support of law enforcement. using active duty forces in a direct law enforcement role should remain a last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire situations. i want to make very clear that no active duty military units
engaged protesters or otherwise took direct part in civilian law enforcement or federal protection missions in the district of columbia or anywhere else in the country. and with regard to the role of the national guard played in lafayette park on june 1, i want to make clear the following, that the guard did not advance on the crowd, the guard did not shoot rubber bullets, that the guard did not employ chemical agents of any type. rather, the guard remained in a static role as backup for law enforcement if needed. a detailed account of dod's involvement in the civil unrest beginning may 29, 2020 is included in my written testimony submitted for the record. following the events that transpired in the district of columbia, i directed the secretary of the army to complete a full after action review by the end of july. i also directed investigations into two separate incidents that occurred that week.
mr. chairman, with your permission, i would like to enter into the record my directive to the secretary of the army with regard to the conduct of his after action review. chairman smith: without objection. sec. esper: as the american people continue to express their outrage at the killing of mr. floyd and long for meaningful change, we face the painful truth that racism is real in america. we also know that the department of defense is not immune to the forces of bias and prejudice, whether seen or unseen, deliberate or unintentional. these issues have no place in our military because they degrade the morale and readiness and cohesion of our force. while the military has often led on addressing these issues, the events of recent weeks are a stark reminder that much more work remains to be done. therefore on june 17, i announced three new initiatives aimed at advancing equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion across our force. first, i directed our civilian and uniformed leadership to
bring the concrete ideas that we could implement quickly, such as removing photos from selection boards. second, i established an internal department of defense board on diversity and inclusion which will provide recommendations by the end of the year on how we can increase diversity and ensure equal opportunity for all service members. finally, i began the process of establishing a defense advisory committee on diversity and inclusion in the armed services that will be a permanent structure composed of an independent and diverse group of americans committed to building upon the work of the defense board. these are just the first steps toward shifting our culture and creating lasting change across our enterprise. in doing so, we will build a better force, one that is diverse, inclusive, and more representative of the american people we serve and we protect. and while we may come from different backgrounds and parts of the country, we all make the
same commitment, to support and defend the constitution of the united states. we all strive to uphold that oath and serve in an apolitical manner at all times. by doing so, we earn the trust and confidence of the american people. meanwhile, while much has been focused on our support to our fellow americans at home, thousands of military personnel remain engaged abroad in harm's way to ensure that we can enjoy the blessings of this country. we take very seriously any threats to our forces, whether in afghanistan or anywhere else. i want our adversary to know we always do our utmost to ensure their safety and security. in closing, i want to assure the american people that the department of defense takes seriously our oath to defend the constitution. with many having paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the sacred rights and freedoms this document guarantees all of us. we will continue to defect our homeland, our people, and our way of life as we work to build
a better force, one that represents the diversity of our nation. thank you. chairman smith: chairman milley. gen. milley: chairman smith, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today with secretary esper. it is indeed an honor to represent the soldiers around the world protecting our freedoms. today as you know, we are operating globally and here at home. the past few months have been exceptionally challenging times for americans. the covid-19 pandemic has stretched our health system, our economy, and the social fabric of our communities. in addition, george floyd's death amplified the pain, the frustration, and the fear that so many of our fellow americans live with day in and day out. i have many policemen in my family, and i am personally outraged by george floyd's
brutal and senseless killing. the protests that have ensued not only speak to this injustice, but also to centuries of injustice toward black americans. we as a nation, and as a military, are still struggling with racism, and we have much work to do. we who wear the cloth of our nation understand that cohesion is a force multiplier. divisiveness leads to defeat. as one of our famous presidents said, a house divided does not stand. our troops are part of cohesive teams consisting of people of different races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations, working to accomplish their mission in peace and war all over the
globe. equality are matters in military readiness, not just political correctness. there is no place in armed forces for manifestations or symbols of racism, bias, or discrimination. we, the military, have a long history of inclusiveness, teamwork, and merit that is the keystone to american military success. in fact, this month, 71 years ago, 1948, harry truman integrated the armed forces of the united states, 17 years before the 1965 civil rights act. but we are not perfect, and we must thoughtfully examine our institution and ensure it is a place for all americans to see themselves represented and have equal opportunity to succeed, especially in leadership positions. and every member of our joint force including myself has sworn an oath to support and defend the united states constitution. this oath underpins my duties as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and i am deeply committed to fulfilling the
letter and the spirit of my oath, regardless of consequences to self. military,ited states hold dear the constitution and the principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the essence of our republic. my role as chairman is to be the principal military advisor to the president of the united states, the secretary of defense, the national security council, and the homeland security counsel. and throughout the recent period of civil unrest in our nation, i exercised this role exclusively. at no time was i ever in command of any forces. all of my actions have been consistent with my authorities explicitlyor who is not in the chain of command. the vast majority of the protests we saw around the .ountry were peaceful and peaceful protest means
american freedom is working. some protests, however, turned violent. n minneapolis significant violence began the evening of 26 ay where looting and arson overwhelmed the minneapolis firefighters and police officers. the governor declared state of emergency and activated the state guard and eployed them to minneapolis to support state and local law enforcement. the secretary of defense and i poke with the governor to better understand the situation and see if he required additional assistance. this helped inform my military advice. ver the night of 29 may the number of protests increased to to ajor cities escalating 34. by 1 june, 29 states and of columbia will ctivated the national guard totaling more than 17,000 national guard.
faced three , d.c. nights escalating violence starring may 29. the white house increased security and federal government buildings.rtain businesses in d.c. were looted ablaze. set with more than 420 arrests and injured it was reported it was the worst three days of violence in washington, d.c. in 30 years. there were troops and police different organizations not including those from active uty in the vicinity of the military district of washington. there were three major involved and there were national guard troops from 11 different states and chain of for the troops ran from the president to the secretary of arm se to secretary to major general walker and never changed. began i soughtst information to help me assess
state lity of federal, and local authorities to handle the situation and spoke with national guard leadership and army and y often and d.o.d. and department of justice and others with governors and officials. i continually assess and advise necessary to employ active duty troops in response o the civil up rest occurring in our -- unrest. it is my view that local, state federal police backed up by the national guard under and nor control could continually can effectively indle the security situation every case across the country. owever, i recommended to the secretary of defense and he ordered about 1700 active duty increased alert posture in the vicinity of washington, d.c. but none of there was sed and never an active duty troop used in any location in the united states. i repeatedly advised the
ecretary and he ordered eescalation efforts and these deescalation measures were implemented from 2 to 3 june and duty and national guard units began to deploy back station. a more detailed account is in the written record. of professionalism exhibited by the citizen soldiers that make up the national guard. operated in support of local and state governments throughout history responding to hurricanes, forest fires, health crises, covid-19 pandemic and forms of civil unrest. by my research i count at least times that national guard and militia troops were used in insurrection act and that was not invoked in the last several weeks. united states military comes from the people of our nation to the emain dedicate constituti
constitution. we will never turn our back on that document. we swore an oath of allegiance an idea embedded in that document and we will always protect it. i look u very much and forward to your questions. chairman smith: thank you. embers will now be recognized in the order they were here when the gavel dropped. five-minute limit. e will have -- we won't have enough time to get every member o i will be ruthless on the five men clock and a lot of times witnesses are in the attempting to not be rude or cut you off. i will try to let you complete members ask but as questions and witnesses answer to move on to the next member. with that first is davis who is participating remotely. for five cognized minutes. >> thank you very much, mr.
chairman. to secretary esper and general milley. joining us e your for this. , want to start with you mr. secretary. you mentioned the action review on july 30. that on force for the end of the month and will we be a briefing on that? sec. esper: i heard parts your question. is the after ked action review on track and will be briefed on it? if that is your question i spoke mccarthy.ry he played a prominent role in this and he briefed the weeks ago with general walker. but he is handling that piece of the review. his assessment currently is that it is on track. i'm more concerned about getting it right than getting it done
quick. be to make would that available to you. also something that i put forth directive to him was to be prepared to take his findings recommendations and have a similar type of review process law enforcement that was on the ground in d.c. because i think that is a very second step in that process to have that discussion o that we can have lessons learned and work them out among if this enforcement happens again. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i know we are all concerned about being prepared. i want to especially focus on the 1st of june. that there was concern that there was a great eal of violence that day and the understanding i think most people on the ground in terms of including the reporting of the "washington post" and others
-- that particular day it was peaceful and it may have been a incidents, i don't know, i was not there, but i understand from all the reporting that that case.he , in fact, the park police as you mentioned was there. general milley talked about the guard being there as backup. attorney general beill barr talking about the fact that it was violent and they needed forward because they things y worried of getting out of control. from where you sit today, do you that assessment that it was violent on that day and here was a need to even have the guard as backup? is that true? given further at reflection that isn't quite what
people thought? sec. esper: i think when you leading upt the days to june 1, you see a tremendous beent of violence that had building up over a period days. if i have my numbers right, over of three days i think etkpwhretably over 50 park police officers were injured, over 60 secret service agents were injured. we had six national guardsmen in the include one hit head with a brick and suffered a concussion. parts of d.c. including the church set on fire and other acts of vandalism. o there was a great deal of consternation by law enforcement of what might happen that 1.ning of june i think that is why there was the push to get additional law as soon as in possible backed up by national
uard so that you had enough presence to calm the situation degree of n some control and allow for americans o peacefully protest their government to express their outrage over the brutal murder allow ge floyd and to those things to happen free of violence from those individuals, who were trying to cause mischief. that is my assessment. the chairman may have something to add. > i was going to say, secretary, this is certainly an area to take a very hard look at and to be certain that it is documents.g the because even when wae ask those questions when we have army leadership, they acted like there were not clear about what was going on. they had situational awareness but they didn't know who ordered and learing of protesters -- ordered the helicopters
>> your time has expired. recognized for five minutes. > first i want to thank secretary esper and general milley for your leadership. great confidence to everyone on the committee and i strong words on the kill willing of george floyd george floyd of and fact that your whole focus people's first amendment rights is incredibly important and should be to dational and important this discussion. i appreciate your recognition of felt.trage that everyone nd i appreciate your condemn united nations -- condemnation nd we are dealing with this across all areas and you are being called at a difficult time. appreciate your statements on inclusion.
steps that i think will be helpful. you have three questions and we have limited times. one, you said that the guard is best to support these efforts. their dual e of nature of they are both private itizens and serve in the military? sec. esper: first of all thank ou for your comments, congressman. first of all, i think they are citizen soldiers and that they often come from those communities in which they may be serving. fellowe protecting their americans and they understand what is happening in the neighborhoods and communities so that is important. number two, they are trained in any cases to do civil disturbance and they are equipped to do it so it is part mission essential task to perform these duties and a citizen soldier myself i appreciate their bettery at this which is in many cases than active duty. >> i have a question for you
the nearness has of what is going to be helpful for all of us so i would if you let phaome finish question.e i understand the rules with respect to classified material happeneds that haven't are not classified. uring your time as secretary have you ever received an intelligence briefing where it russia had offered bounties for the killing of ?merican soldiers and if you had, wouldn't you think that is important enough thering to the attention of president? i'm focusing on the narrowness bounties.d and the people know the answer not able to give the answer because of rules but you are. your would appreciate answering it. have you received an intel stated, that included the word bounty with
killing o russians and uniform?ans in sec. esper: congressman, to the best of my recollection i have ot received a briefing that included the word bounty. >> i appreciate you saying that. the next question is, if you risen todn't that have the level of importance that you attention it to the of the president. that would be an action item, wouldn't it? was a per: if it credible, could be rated -- report that used those words, certainly it would have been brought to my by the chain of command and chairman of joint action andothers for it -- and we would have taken interagency ion an evident to make sure we -- it.eragency effort to take but we take force protection seriously and all those actions
of a credibility of report. back to this issue, the mayor of d.c. has a police chief. have access to other resources with respect to the guard. contrast compare an those? it is important to understand the mayor of d.c. being versus a governor being consulted and what their structures are. sec. esper: first of all i ptwa to commend the police chief of the metro police department. he worked well and he was helpful to the secretary of army so ig those difficult days want to commend him. as i understand it, he's the for washington, d.c. washington, d.c. does not have a tate police force like many other states have that they can if they will and the d.c. guard doesn't report to guard. the commander is the president
and i delegate it to me can delegate it down. so the capability of d.c. to unrest is limited to just the metro police department. is rman smith: mr. larson recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. appreciate the opportunity to ask a few questions. first off, secretary esper, this -- the o with the of a afteraction report and coordination. national guard leadership in response to the d.c. national the guard leadership is the only agency that runs through a chain command up to you. is that correct? yes, the d.c. chain of command runs from the
general, major general walker to the secretary of the arm, to me and to the of the united states. > and that was the only agency involved that ran through the the of the command to department. is that right? sec. esper: i'm sorry, could you repeat that. the second k up word. agency that e only an up through the d.o.d. chain of command in response to the d.c. protest. is that right? sec. esper: yes, that would be thatde of any active duty, is correct. with regard to title 32. otherwise all other national forces either in their home states or that eventually eployed to washington, d.c. remained under the command of the state's governors. was in activelker
control on the ground. >> so there is video of n federal government folks who were deployed to washington, d.c. presumably from the bureau of prisons and presumably at the request of the attorney general. you mentioned that you are doing an after-action report and that the apply only to department of defense and d.c. forward. is that where it stands right now? sentesper: yes, the note i to the secretary of the army is look at the national guard at him to focus cted also on the events in d.c. and to issues that aroz like the use -- arose like he use of helicopters and he's to look at training, equipping, findingsion, all those and lessons learned for future
of the national guard. >> thank you. at this time whether or not the head of the d.c. feewas aware of the eployment of these nonuniformed, presumably federal aw enforcement folks that created a perimeter around the on june 3? i think ave you concluded that was coordinated yet with the d.c. national guard? again, i'm not sure i understand your question. let me answer this way. i spoke with nd major general walker yesterday. he had an understanding of who ground in half -- afayette park and he was there and he knew they were in supporting role to the park police. >> can i stop you there. talking about lafayette park.
that is fine. but there were other law deployed who were non-d.c.y nonlocal, also deployed to take action of the he boundaries district of columbia. i'm asking if you know yet actions r not those were coordinated with the d.c. not.onal guard or sec. esper: my understanding is because i was with secretary of mccarthy, the chairman, we were at the f.b.i. joint center monday evening with representatives from a funnel of agencies. agencies, i r of can't list them all so i know it coordinated.ll secretary mccarthy did an utstanding job with regard to working that out and major general walker was by his side time.of the i will see if chairman milley has thinking to add on that. about 30 seconds. gen. milley: congressman, i
an't confirm or deny that all of those federal law enforcement agencies were tied into the d.c. personally.rd for walker, i would have to talk to walker specifically about that. all the federal agencies came underneath the department f justice except for the park police who were under the department of interior and metro under the control of the mayor. you.hank rodgers is ith: mr. recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for being here and your service to our country. justne you requested embers of the national guard under title 32, you made some eference to there but can you give us a more full picture of the commanding control structure and give usority is an organizational structure?
i . esper: are you speaking assume within washington, d.c.? >> yes, within washington, d.c. right, on : you are the afternoon of 1 june we knew available ve throughout that evening up to 1,200 d.c. and they work for ember general walker who was reporting to secretary of the arm and he was reporting to me. spatestimated we needed 3,800 additional national guard. myself weference with reached out to other states to seek the permission of the deploy elements of their guard to d.c. to support law enforcement area. 11 states i believe got that and little over 5,000 on the grounds. it took a period of days but it we needed numbers guard all times the
units coming outside were funded y the federal government and their role was to protect federal functions, property and and they remained upbltdz the control of their governors. to shift a little bit. mr. chairman, in your opening you made reference to the fact that 60,000 service embers have been employed deal with a variety of issues mostly law but some or enforcement, i know it is mostly national guard. nd this is kind of a follow-up to mr. thornberry's questions. holding up? with all of this variety and 7,000 are national guard working with covid. what is the state of the national guard right now given being spread re out and as a follow-up to that, impact to your budgets and what we are going to
?eed to backfill about 120,000 are on about active duty, r5,000 if i -- 45,000 from my briefing, about 45,000 are dedicated to covid and at the around 40,000 to unrest under l governor control, then about 30,0 doing tight 10 missions around the world or in the united states. total, which is significant. that is a big chunk of the u.s. and nal guard both army air. the reports to me are morale is good. good about their contribution and they joined the uard to make sure they make a contribution to the nation. i'm not particularly aware of any particular issues but they pretty fast at a high
empo probably fast except summer periods. >> what about the impact of to having them deployed in various missions that were unplanned? there's an economic impact. i don't know that -- i don't to break the ing d.o.d. back because of the umbers but there's an impact, absolutely. >> so you don't expect to be sking the congress for additional money to replace that -- backfill that. gen. milley: i will leave that up to the secretary. sec. esper: we have been keeping count. we have to make sure the numbers and how material they are. mr. secretary do you believe the insurrection act modification by the congress? sec. esper: the insurrection act of n extraordinary piece legislation as we know has
the past couple hundred years and under the exclusive authority of the so it would not be appropriate for me to opine on act.ial changes to the i would reserve that to the president. my view is that there's nothing has happened that strikes me as compelling to change it at this point in time. being k you both for here. i yield back. chairman smith: mr. courtney is recognized for five minutes. you to the witnesses for being here. particularly i want to recognize made very strong your ts and expressing the in terms of supporting first amendment and people's rights to protest peacefully. of that is freedom of the press and they didn't day on june 1 d at the natural resources
reporter from australia amelia brace who is a was at reporter lafayette reporter with a park police, the two of the officers completely live ted them on television. she was broadcasting into the and that is the equivalent of "the today show" i don't know if it is still coming through her but her described again the riot shield of the park police rammed into the chest and stomach of the cameraman and on you could be seeing her rubber bulletsth and both were hospitalized. i want to give you both an the record to go on to say we obviously as part of ecognizing the first amendment recognize that the media has a
role to play that is protected and the nstitution exempted mayor issued the media from the curfew that 1 and i would ne ask you both to comment on that. ecause this was on live television in australia and probably one of our closest allies. they sper: you are right are one of our most important allies. speakinghe other night with my counterpart in australia. we have said numerous times i oath to defend and uphold the constitution and not it but i se i did believe deeply in that and it uarantees our rights and democracy and you talked about the first amendment. hat includes the big five one of which is the freedom of the press. i think a free and open press is the efficient functioning of our democracy.
so, i think that is something we cherish and that is one reason why the national guard when it of civil defense authorities is out there is to give americans the right to and express semble their views and for the press to cover it. hopefully as accurately as possible so that the american people can have an understanding of what is happening in the country. congressman, i'm not familiar with the particular incident you are referring to, i'm deeply committed to a free press. the i said, i will die for constitution. it is an idea and part of that is free it is fundamental to our democracy. so absolutely, i am committed to that. >> this was front-page news in australia. i would just say it was the park police, it was not national
guard involved in that violence that took place there. the fact is, the d.c. national guard was acting in support of local police authorities including the park police. , i think frankly whenever the after action report goes out, the fact that media are present in situations where they have a legal duty, not just a right, but a duty to be there, which was recognized by the district of columbia, there has to be some training to make sure the people recognize that it is off-limits to meet them in any way that is inappropriate. which is exactly what happened. i would encourage you to watch the testimony which took place. it is quite shocking and given the fact that it happened to an ally of ours it will make you heartsick to watch it. with that, i yield back. >> thank you. >> i yield my time to the next republican on the list.
>> mr. lamborn, are you with us? ms. stefanik? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, gentlemen for your , service. i wanted to focus on an issue of importance to constituents in my district. i have had the privilege of hosting both of you. secretary esper when you are secretary of the army as well as general milley. given some of the recent press reports regarding afghanistan, as you know, i represent military families and soldiers who are currently deployed in afghanistan. i wanted to get your comments, general milley, on your commitment and the department's commitment to force protection at all costs. that is one of my top priorities. whether it is rebuilding military readiness, investing in
training, equipment, having the most exquisite exceptional intelligence that is verified out there. it is important for families to know the lengths to which the department goes to ensure that we are protecting the safety and well-being of our servicemembers deployed. i will start with you, general milley. gen. milley: you have 1000% commitment. i have three tours in afghanistan and a lot of tours in a lot of other places. i have buried many people in arlington national cemetery. i am committed to the nth degree to protect our force. we will ensure that they have all the right equipment, training, alerts, warnings, intelligence, etc.. i know what you are referring to specifically with the russians and i will say we were at the highest levels of force protection. units and people are and were informed and we will remain informed. we will get to the bottom of that. families thathe the force protection of our force not just for me, but every , commander down the line, that is the number one priority for all of us.
sec. esper: i 1000% agree. as a former soldier with one combat tour under my belt, this is something i talk about with the commanders all the time. general miller and general mackenzie, on multiple occasions, we make adjustments all the time. force protection is number one. to take care of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, they are our most trusted asset and we will do everything it takes to protect them. >> my next question. just so you know, i sit on the house intelligence committee so i have received a classified briefing, understanding we are in an unclassified setting. it is important to talk about how we know going years back russia has meddled in afghanistan, as well as other countries involving themselves in afghanistan counter to our commitments and our strategic goals. whether that is iran, china, using economic tools.
i wanted to get your comment on that. i think it is important to consider that long-term impact rather than this illegal leak. specific to the russians we , have known for years the russians have been involved for their own national security interests in afghanistan. the russians are not our friends. their involvement is worrisome. we monitor closely and take the appropriate actions. there are a lot of countries involved in afghanistan. many of them have issues with u.s. forces. we are aware of a lot of that, probably not everything, and we take appropriate measures. with respect to the issue previously asked, we are aware of the variety of intelligence and we are pursuing that. >> secretary esper, any comments? i share the same
views as the chairman. the russians have been involved in many other countries and players, nonstate players in afghanistan for a long time. we take all that into account. i can tell you on other occasions, we have adapted force posture, you name it. rules of engagement to make sure our forces are able to come wish accomplish their mission. >> can you discuss the damage illegal leaks have on our ability to collect intelligence? on our force protection measures? i am concerned about the damage illegal leaks have in general. >> i am conscious of the clock. the illegal leaks are terrible. they are happening across the government, particularly the defense department. i am pushing to remind people of op sec, whether it is predecisional unclassified items or classified items, it hurts our national security.
it jeopardizes our troops. it is damaging to our government and a relationships with partners and allies. >> mr. garamendi is recognized for five minutes. [no audio] are you with us? make sure you unmute yourself. don't see him. we will move on to mr. norcross. are you with us? >> yes, i am, thank you. secretary esper, you mentioned the national guard did not play an active role, did not use rubber bullets. you used the term static role. i want to focus on that and the events involving the army national guard helicopter. how would you refer to that as a static role?
i have a follow-up. sec. esper: congressman, i was referring to the static role with regard to the actions of the national guard in lafayette park june 1. the helicopter issues in question that you are raising happened later that evening around 11:00 p.m. or so. obviously that was different. that was not a static role. i was talking about the forces on the ground in lafayette park. >> thank you for clarifying that. when secretary mccarthy was with us earlier this month, he mentioned the report on the investigation was going to be very soon. we understand it might be finished now.
is that going to be released to us and the public? sec. esper: i spoke to sec. mccarthy about this. i launched the investigation within two hours of finding out about it. the investigation was conducted. it is completed. it is being reviewed by secretary mccarthy. the dod ig may take a look at it. it should be available next week to the committee. that is the latest report i got from the secretary of the army. is that correct? >> that is correct. the dod ig has to do their review. i would expect it pretty shortly, within days perhaps. >> i yield the balance of my time. >> that gets awkward. pause the clock. do you wish to take the time? if you do, you have to come forward.
beg your pardon? she is here. michelle, you are recognized for the remainder of the time. >> thank you. >> secretary esper and general milley, i echo the concerns about politicizing our military. given the attempts, the -- given the attempts at politicizing our military and the way the president attempted to control troops in the capital i wanted to discuss the legal , underpinnings. i am looking for a short time. -- i am looking for a yes or no if you do not know, let me know , you will take it for action. you have both testified you have taken oaths to the constitution of the u.s., is that correct? >> yes. >> that oath includes an oath to
support and defend the constitution of the u.s. against enemies foreign and domestic and bear true faith and allegiance? >> yes. >> yes. >> are you aware article of the constitution says two executive power shall be vested in a president? one or a single president? >> yes. >> yes. >> and are you aware it makes makes the commander in chief the -- article makes the commander in chief the two president the commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the united states. -- united states? >> yes. >> yes. >> are you aware the president's office cabinet officials from key national security positions including the secretary of defense is undisputed? >> can you repeat that? >> are you aware that the president's power to remove from office key cabinet officials, especially in national security positions including the secretary of defense is undisputed? >> yes.
>> general milley, are you aware the uniform code of military justice which applies to all uniformed officers criminalizes mutiny and sedition and soliciting or advising on the condition of mutiny or sedition? >> absolutely, yes. >> secretary esper, are you aware of the proposition the secretary of defense is selected by the legitimate president? >> yes and confirmed by the senate. >> and the legitimate commander-in-chief is the one who oversees the chain of command, correct? >> yes. >> yes. >> finally, the insurrection act states whenever the president considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or rebellion against the authority of the united states makes it impractical to force the laws of the united states in any state by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he may call into federal service the militia of any state and use the armed forces as he considers necessary to enforce those laws.
>> yes. >> unfortunately, the gentlelady is out of time. i do not see you on the screen. you are next. we will go on to mr. gates. mr. gates, you are recognized for five minutes if you are with us. mr. bacon, you are usually pretty good at this. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the chairman for your leadership. i wanted to ask if you can say it, the report on the bounties, is it originally from an intelligence agency within the military or is this outside of the military? >> i am sorry, i did not hear the question.
>> the intelligence report that talks about the russian bounties and afghanistan, did that come from outside of the dod like the cia? did it come from a military intelligence agency? >> it was not produced by a dod intelligence agency. >> i thank you for that. these leaks i think undermine our intelligence communities -- or thethe president intelligence organizations themselves. how active are you pursuing similar type leaks within the dod? i think it is imperative we start holding people accountable to the maximum amount the law allows. thank you. >> we are aggressively pursuing leaks within the defense
department. we had what i would categorize as bad leaks last fall. when we turned the corner of the new year i made an emphasis on upset was going to be a key thing. i have launched an investigation to go after leaks whether it is classified information or unclassified information that is sensitive. and also unauthorized discussions with the media. all of those things again hurt our nation's security. they undermine our troops and their safety, they affect our relations with other countries. they undermine national policy. it is bad and it is happening all over the government executive branch, legislative branch, it is something we need to get control of. this is not new. previous administrations have had to deal with this. it is bad and unlawful and it needs to stop.
>> thank, mr. secretary. i appreciate your comments. i appreciated your transparency in the report itself. you said it was not corroborated. that you did not have the level of the confidence that the president would get the briefing. is this still your opinion? >> it is the opinion of a number of intelligence entities, agencies that could not , corroborate the report. >> thank you. switching subjects or topics in -- on you briefly. maybe this is more for the chairman, what kind of training the guard gets when it comes to supporting law enforcement? is it universal to all cardmembers or certain specialties? how does that work? >> great question. the national guard, as the secretary said, we are talking about air force police and the
army national guard. as part of their mission essential task lists, most of the ground units will be trained explicitly in civil disturbance in support of law enforcement. those will be infantry units. primarily military police. the d.c. guard especially is trained in that. in addition to that, you get refresher training throughout the year and their weekend drills, etc.. they are trained. not every single guardsman, not every unit, but the ground force units most likely to work in the civil disturbance area are trained. >> thank you. i was sort of -- i appreciate the teamwork the guard gave the d.c. authorities and also the other cities they were a part of. what i am hearing from constituents is how appalled they are a church was firebombed. many of the memorials were
defaced. action needed to be taken. restoring law and order. i appreciate what the guard did to support law-enforcement and i yield back. >> thank you. secretary esper, can you explain the actual command structure? we had the national guard working with local police as well as park police. how did that happen? how were the communications between all parties involved? who was in actual command control of that area, lafayette square? >> that is a very good question. you understand chains of command from your service. it defies that in many ways. national guard under title 32 goes from the president, to me, to the secretary of the army.
the head of major general two walker. in support of law enforcement. law enforcement was, department of justice agencies and department of interior specifically park police, that relationship is more of a cooperative one. it is not something that we would understand as op con or tactical control. it is more of a cooperative relationship. law enforcement would say you would help us if you were here and here and we would agree or not agree to do that, but it was a good relationship that made that work out. any guard units coming into the city remained under the control of the governors. also reported to general walker but on a cooperative -- then a traditional military relationship. >> that being said, the deployment of the national guard in front of lafayette square the day of the incident on june 1, there was an agreement to join -- at some point there was a discussion that the national guard should stay here in a
static position on this day. there was a conversation. who was that between? gen. milley: i'm not sure specifically who, but i think it was secretary mccarthy and general walker. and the department of justice perhaps attorney general barr or representatives of the department of interior and the park police. perhaps a park police captain. i'm not sure the specific individuals. i can find that out and get back to you. >> i appreciate it. what was the method of communication? we are dealing across agencies. were they talking over cell phones? how do we actually communicate across all these agencies especially considering the tense situation? gen. milley: there is a command post set up. a combined command post with all of the different agencies. you have the metropolitan police, the park police.
secret service, fbi, dea, atf, capitol police, bureau of prisons, u.s. marshals, and various police forces from around arlington county plus the d.c. guard. they are all located in the fbi building. they did the larger coordination there. and then at the various monuments, that is department of interior. that is park police with the d.c. guard. >> just specific to lafayette square? gen. milley: cell phone or co-located face-to-face. one guy would have the radio for his agency. >> the national guard, when we were commuting with the national guard, that was done over radio? gen. milley: it was a combination. >> can we figure that out also? gen. milley: yes. >> especially if there was any communication over radio through the national guard, that the national guard used, i assume we have a transcript of the conversations that were
happening? gen. milley: that i am not so sure. >> could you check on that also? >> if it is a military communication, i doubt there is a transcript. if it is a radio. i may be wrong, but i doubt it. >> gen. milley can you check to see if there are recordings specific to the date of june 1 or any other recordings? gen. milley: the police force would normally do that, but we can find out. >> i yield back. >> i do have one follow-up question. do either of you know who specifically gave the order to clear the protesters out of lafayette square ahead of the president's visit to the church on june 1? you said the guard was in support. who gave the order and to whom to clear the protesters out of that square? >> we have had that discussion a few times. we had it the other day with
secretary mccarthy and general walker and it is still unclear to me who gave the direction to clear the park at that point in time. >> i find that hard to believe. i am sorry. it's a pretty big decision. a lot of people there and it just sort of happened? >> i'm not saying that, i just say i don't know. i have never inquired it. i never pursued it because you get caught up in other things more relevant. >> how did you know to have the guard hold back? there is a lot of testimony that said the guard did not participate. why did they not participate? >> congressman, we could get something from general walker. i don't want to quote him or get it wrong. i want to say that he was on the ground with the park police and what they had asked him to do was to stay static, not move. that is what he was operating from. i don't know at the moment when -- he was on the ground. he told me that yesterday.
or the day before. beyond that, maybe we get something from him to share with you. gen. milley: i don't know with certainty, but there was a planning session at the fbi building in late morning or early afternoon where they divided up who was going to do what. that is where the agreement was as to where they would be. as to who gave the order, i don't know. attorney general barr spoke to that publicly. i know that it has been mentioned the park police captain etc. i do not have personal knowledge as to who gave the order. >> mr. whitman, you are recognized for five minutes. didn't mean to surprise you. >> thank you. i would like to thank our witnesses for joining us. general milley, i want to go into more depth. you answered the question about the training that our national guardsmen have in responding to
situations like we have seen here recently. as we know, most americans associate national guard with response to natural disasters. they are not used to seeing them in the role that have seen them recently. you talk about some units being trained for the direct contact. are there instances where a guard unit may be called up the doesn't have that particular training or do they get the training across the full scope of what they may face? i understand how to organize, how to tactically address the situation. there are other things. the element of controlling emotions. those sorts of things, i call it the depth of training. to understand to get in the -- if you get in the situation we see police go through the , training all the time to be able to deal with the adrenaline and emotions of the situation. give us an idea, more in-depth.
>> your first national guard of choice is police. we guardsmen are often cops in their civilian life. they will get very specific training on use of force. they are not cops at the moment in time so they are not going to conduct arrest. they can do temporary detention. they are tasked with things like rules of conduct, de-escalation procedures, crowd control don't , react to verbal provocations etc. there is a wide variety of training. a lot of it is scenario training. they do that during the course of the year. in this particular case, they got quick refresher training as well. they are trained on their equipment and so on. in this particular case, you are looking at batons and shields and personal protective gear. none of them had weapons downtown or at lafayette square. they are trained on all of that
stuff and they are the military force that we would first call for civil unrest would be national guard military police. and then you would go for other types of units. >> secretary esper, i want to ask you about the 1033 program. it gets a lot of attention with the equipment that is used by the military that would be available to civilian law enforcement. does that militarize the police force? the questions always surround the central point of, do civilian police forces need that and what connection is there to the military being requested for that equipment. the determination as to whether or not it is applicable for that to be sent to the civilian police force? can you give us more lay down about what happens with the program and does that include the big equipment or is it things like protective equipment like vests and those sorts of equipment?
sec. esper: it is a congressional program. it is not something i have studied in much detail and i don't think i could speak to what law enforcement deems as its requirements. it is something i spoke with a general about it the other day. it is something i hope that come -- may come up as part of the after action review to get there -- their assessment. there is a wide range of items covered under that program. i can't pass judgment. i think we can all generally agree that if we had body armor, that would be helpful to the police to protect them, but beyond that, i would wait to see how our review comes out or i could take back your specific questions to see if the guard wants to take a look at it. gen. milley: i would say that in the case of d.c., with all of those forces, simple uniforms as opposed to other types of equipment, that became an issue. our guys are wearing camouflage uniforms.
some of these police have blue, camouflage, green. in terms of the lessons learned, that would be something i would put in there. as far as distinguishing. you want a clear definition between that which is military and that which is police in my view. and consistently, you want police, local police, state police, federal police, dealing with law enforcement stuff. if necessary, national guard under the governor's control. you want a clear distinction of that which is police visually. a visual distinction of that which is police and that which is military. when you start introducing military, you are talking about a different level of effort. >> the gentleman's time is expired. mr. esper was waving at me. sec. esper: one of the things we discussed that i want to address in terms of equipment, at one point the national guard cross leveled its riot shields and let
-- lent them to law enforcement. if you saw police using a military shield that is because we cross leveled and that is a lesson learned. we need to figure out a way to mask the name military police so we do not confuse who is doing the crowd control. >> mr. chairman, i learned early in my marine training that there are two types of courage. physical and moral. usually the toughest challenges i faced in iraq included moral courage. mr. chairman, your apology for the events on june 1 was not just an act of contrition and rightly so but an act of moral courage and i want to commend you for that. it is unusual in this administration. mr. chairman, you clearly recognize the value of unity. not just in our military but in our country. do you believe that other
countries, or adversaries are interested in taking advantage of divisions and unrest in our country? gen. milley: i not only believe that they would, i know they are. >> are you willing to elaborate on that in any detail? gen. milley: it would be best to do that in a classified session. >> very well. gen. milley: i have no doubt in my mind that foreign adversarial countries are trying to take advantage of civil unrest in the united states. >> it should go without saying in fulfilling your primary job, to provide forthright military advice to the president, i strongly advise you to advise the president to work to sew up these divisions rather than exacerbate them as he likes to do. as secretary mattis and others have described in intimate detail. mr. secretary, i don't think you get to pick and choose which leaks you like and which are damaging.
this white house routinely uses leaks to their advantage, but suddenly it is a problem. you and i have both commanded troops in combat, been responsible for their force protection. i can assure you that i also don't care about the semantics of an intelligence report and and whether or not a particular word was used or not used. that proves nothing. what matters is the substance. do of an intelligence report and whether or not a particular word was used or not used. that proves nothing. what matters is the substance. i have never seen in my time in combat when we didn't take any threat to our troops seriously. regardless of the confidence in the intelligence report which is never 100%. whether it was leaked or not, we take action.
so a very simple question. when were you made aware of russian material support of the taliban who we all know have been killing american troops in afghanistan for years and what action did you take? sec. esper: let me say on the first part of your statement, you talk about credibility of threats. as you have heard us say, the reports have not been corroborated. >> my understanding some intelligence agencies believe that. there is not general consensus. sec. esper: all the defense intelligence agencies have been unable to corroborate that report. to one of your points, you may have seen my written statement. what i said was regardless, we do, he does, the commanders take all reports seriously regardless of the degree of credibility or confidence and that is the point you were trying to make.
i want to reassure you of that. we have been in discussions with the commanders about this. i know general miller and general mackenzie, going back as early as january were pulling the threads and taking appropriate force protection measures. our troops are already at the highest force protection level. nonetheless, it is something -- when i talk to them, i talk to them all the time about how can we do better. >> mr. secretary, you mentioned january. what action did you take to counter russia? not to improve force protection of our troops but to directly counter this threat from russia? sec. esper: i didn't see the first report until february when it came out in an intelligence piece of paper. i think general mackenzie and general miller got some initial reporting on the ground that they began pursuing. neither thought the reports were credible as they dug into them.
general milley might be able to add more color to that. gen. milley: i don't want to go to the into the actual intelligence, but i have multiple tours in afghanistan as you know. i have been aware of russian meddling for years. >> i do apologize. >> the gentleman time has expired. we will take that for the record. >> i will get you the answer. i will give you the explicit answer. >> i will allow you to respond. to the death, duration of the russian campaign in afghanistan and perhaps the it predatesich this. >> i want to be clear. it is not just russia.
there are many other countries that are influencing various other actors in afghanistan. withare influencing them training, money, weapons, upper canada, international support and a lot of other things. i am not sure how we know that but we know that. russia is one of those countries that has been doing that for years. they have been doing for their own reasons. the military action for us, they are doing it for the taliban. us islitary action for for protection. regardless of who is providing weapons, we have these at the highest levels. as long as we have troops out there. >> to so i can focus the question. >> the technical and operational level, there is no particular military action that we are not doing that we should be doing. the issue is higher than that. the issues at the strategic
level. what could we be doing? are there phone calls? those sorts of things. doing as much as we could or should? not only to the russians but to others. some of it is quiet, some of it is not so quiet. don't think that we are not doing anything. because that's not true. now, i want to get specifically to the bounties, specifically to the bounties. that is a unique piece of information that is not corroborated. you've all been briefed on it. i have too. and i and the secretary and many others are taking it serious. we're going to get to the bottom of it. we're going to find out if it's true. if it is, we will take action. >> and i'm glad you mentioned the other countries. september 5, 2010, this is from
"the times of london," iran pays the taliban to kill u.s. soldiers. then also following up on that, there's a december 2, 2015 report from fox news, report iran paying taliban to kill u.s. troops. mr. chairman, i seek unanimous consent to enter these in the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> general milley, is it safe to say, given these reports, along with the testimony you just provided, that the environment in afghanistan, the very nature of the place and the very nature of the entities involved, means that our presence there does create these risks where our foreign adversaries create incentives and resources and opportunities for our service members to not be harmed. >> any time you commit u.s. military forces anywhere on earth, there's going to be risk. we went to afghanistan for a single purpose, to prevent them from ever being a platform to attack the united states of america with terrorists. we've been there ever since to do that. we are drawing down forces in accordance with the agreement that was signed with the taliban last february. there hasn't been significant attacks on forces since that agreement was signed. further direction of the president of the united states,
you'll be briefed on full coming into the fall. but there's always risk. i know you know that. there's always risk. there's nothing risk-free here. >> it's a risk i know you both appreciate given your service to the country. it's a risk i know the president appreciates. i've had the occasion to join him at dove when her my constituents have come back for dignified transfer, and that risk being so ever present seems to accentuate the importance of your mission to draw down troops, to create some semblance of normalcy in afghanistan to the extent to which that's even possible. and i believe that it is an unrealistic goal to say that we have to chase every terrorist into every case forever and stay there forever in order to protect the homeland. i think that we've proven that we can be more resilient at home without being more extended abroad, and that after 19, 20 years in afghanistan, our nation is growing very
weary of this. we're growing weary of the dignified transfers. we're going weary of the cost in terms of blood and treasure, and we grow weary of these circumstances, where our ad very varies, not just russia, but iran and others that are in the region, utilize our continued presence to utilize our, mighty say, unfocused extension of this conflict to try harm americans. so i wish you godspeed in the mission that you're on to draw down these forces, and i thank you for giving us the briefing, and certainly for enlightening us to the fact there was some flareup. the chairman's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman milley and secretary, thank you for joining us today to cover these very important
issues. i wanted to take a moment to mention, if vanessa guillen disappeared from fort hood after confiding in her family she had been sexually harassed by a sergeant. her remains were found a few days ago. i'm sure you're both aware of her story. i expect that you will do everything your power to ensure that a full and independent investigation is completed and continue to work to make our military welcoming and safe for our female service members. as for today's topic, both of you noted in your testimony, our country is going through a period of anger and self-reflection regarding how our society treats and includes certain members of our nation. while i appreciate your words, actions speak louder. secretary esper, what concrete steps have you already taken and what other immediate actions do you have in the coming months to ensure that diversity is substantially valued at all levels of our
military, especially the modern officer rate. >> congressman, thank you. first of all, you mentioned specialist guillen. what a terrible tragedy, murder. it's just horrible. tragic story. i feel for the family, and they have my deepest sympathies and condolences, and we will conduct a full and thorough investigation and get to the bottom of all that happened and hold those accountable as appropriate. with that, your question is spot on, but we recognize that race is a problem in the military, across the nation, discrimination, prejudice, bias. i talked about my quick action items. i have a list. i'll probably put that out next week in terms of immediate things that we will do to start getting rid of hidden bias in the military such as removing photographs from premotion boards.
i've also had the privilege over the last three weeks to hold over half a dozen listening sessions with soldiers, sarlse, airmen of all ranks across the country, and simply listen. beginning the conversation alone is something we've never really done, and the chance to sit down with these young men and women, i probably spent a total of 10 hours or so just listening, having the discussion, understanding that we don't even have the right terms and language and understandings of the definitions to have such a tough conversation, and i sat through many of them. so that will be part behalf we're going to begin. but i think in terms of standing up to defense board and ultimately the defense advisory committee that is mirrored, i want to believe in some ways it's an historic step, a major step forward to really get at this underlying issue that has hung around the neck of our country for well
over 200 years and to address the fundamental problems of racism and discrimination, prejudice, and bias, both conscious and unconscious, because at the end of the day, it's about having a cohesive, unified, ready force, and we rely heavily on persons from all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, genders, etc., to make us the greatest fighting force in the world. >> thank you, secretary. i want to ask another question. general millie and secretary esper, i would like to also take a moment to commend you regarding the statements you made at lafayette square, being there, you think -- you make mistakes and you learn from it. i believe there are many moments we can all learn from. regret is one thing, but what would you do different in a similar situation?
and while i understand we are having reports on specific instances, such as the national guard helicopters and recon sauns planes, what actions have the department learned about its response, and how would you -- how are you both working to make improvements? >> congressman, you go back to june 1, the evening of june 1, it became apparent to me late that evening, i think chairman milley and i had spent a couple of hours walking around d.c., speaking to the soldiers. we were at the world war ii memorial and the jefferson memorial, and it became very clear that we need to speak on this topic, and if you recall, and i think i entered into the record already, i put a statement out to the force within 18 hours or so that said very clearly that we have a note to the constitution, and that is our sworn oath to defend the american people and give the american people the freedom to peaceably assemble and offer their speech, and that we at all times must do our best to remain an apolitical institution. that, i believe, is why we have the highest regard and respect in the country and have maintained it for many years.
>> i apologize, your time has expired. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen. first of all, i want to commend you for the amazing professional job that you all have done, especially the national guardsmen, very, very difficult situations. mr. secretary, you just mentioned the oath to defend. our first amendment rights. just to review that, congress shall make no law respecting or prohibiting the free exercise of or bridging the freedom of speech of the press or of the rights of the people peaceably to assemble. and to petition the government for redress of grievance. what i have seen and what this country has witnessed in the last few weeks, i would argue has not been peaceable, and the
national guardsmen, these brave men and women who have roared and left their home to protect their country, they have faced, with only shields, they've been yelled at, called names that are unbelievable, they've had bricks thrown at them, they've been shoved. they've had frozen water bottles thrown at they want i've seen on tv fireworks being shot at them. and they have stood there. they have professionally taken it. they have defended our monuments and our treasures. i want to commend them. and at the same time, i want to denounce these actions of some
americans. this is violence. this is not peaceably assembling. and it should be treated as such. we've had questions about training, and mr. secretary, i know you were just at a fort a few weeks ago, and our community was so thrilled to host you. i know you have seen our missions there, including home to the military police school. hopely you've learned about the training. i'm wondering if you think it would be helpful to have centralized training to ensure consistency across all of the armed forces in military police actions, civil unrest behaviors. >> it's a good question, congress woman. i'd like to take that back. certainly for the national guard, how they train, you know, it is very important that, particularly for the guard that has this has a mission essential task, to make sure we have a solid baseline. i like to be delibsandrate thoughtful on these things and get back to you. >> oh, thank you. >> typically, it's not possible to do centralized training given the scale of the military in terms of the numbers. so what is typically done is training, essential plan the conditions and standards, each of the smbings lay out all the requirements, and then it is distributed for execution by unit commanders am that's for the forces that are in the operational force. all of the units and all of the
different services go through the training school house. so having one central location for all things civil disturbance, that can be ok for doctors, for tasks, conditions, standards, to lay that out, and that is typically what everyone does. but then the execution of the actual training that she needs to be more decentralized and distributed. >> thank you. the insurrection act has been mentioned as well. and you were asked a lot of questions, were you supposed to ask yes or no. so i'll carry on for just one more question. do you realize if it was not acted on in this recent days. >> yes. >> ok, now that we have that clear, could there be scenarios in the future for a president where perhaps an insurrection act might be utilized and could be helpful. >> congress woman, let me answer this way. let me offer history. the insurrection act was used in 1957 by president ice en thundershower federalize the
guard in arkansas and to also call up the 105st airborne division in order to protect nine african-american students known as the little rock nine so they can go to school. it was called up in 1962 to federalize the mississippi national guard to secure the university of mississippi oxford in order to ensure james meredith, an frain air force veteran, could go to school. the military police remained there for over a year. 1965, president johnson deployed active duty forces to protect peaceful protest marchers in alabama to ensure that they could protest peacefully, opposes, i believe, segregation and affirming their first amendment rights fumble look at history, you can see where it was used to advance civil rights. and in a very positive way, our history accounts fairly well. >> thank you. i yield back t. >> thank you. mr. brown is recognized for
five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have two questions. i will ask them quickly, and i hope that you can answer that briefly. the first for you general milley, i know that you have a history of warfare in the united states and our armed forces. you use that knowledge and understanding of our history to guide your decisions and thinking. you not only understand, but you embody the values that we live by and that we die by as soldiers. can you comment on the naming of army installations after confederate soldiers? does it reflect the values? are these confederate officers held up as role models in today's military? does it help or hurt the morale of service members, particularly that of the black and brown service members who
live and serve these installations today? >> congressman, we've had a lot of discussions in the department of defense and the joint chiefs, amongst the senior leaders on that very topic. i'll give you a couple of things to think about. i personally think that the original decisions to name those bases after confederate generals, the 10 bases you're talking about in the army, those were political decisions back in the 19 10's and 1920's and 1930's and world war i, world war ii time frame, 100 years ago. and they're going to be political decisions today. the military equity here is device siness. as you mentioned, cohesion. 43% of the united states military are minorities. and in the army, for example, these are army bases you're talking about, we're up to 20-plus percent african-americans, and in some units you'll see 30%. and for those young soldiers that go on to a base of fort hood, fort bragg, whatever, named after a confederate general, they can be reminded that that general fought for an institution of slavery that may
have enslaved one of their ancestors. i had a staff sergeant when i was a young officer who actually told me that at fort bragg. he said he went to work every day on a base that represented a guy who enslaved his granted parents. so the symbols -- it's not just -- we have to improve the substance in the military, but we've also got to take a hard look at the symbols, things like confederate flags and statues and bases and all that stuff. the confederacy, the american civil war, was fought and it was an act of rebellion. it was an act of treason at the time against the union, against the stars and strapes, against the u.s. constitution, and those officers turned their back on their oath. now, some have a different view of that. some think it's heritage. others think it's hafmente the way we should do it matters as much as that we should do it. so we need to have -- i've recommended a commission of folks to take a hard look at
the bases, statues, names, all of this stuff, to see if we can have a rational and mature discussion. >> thank you, general milley, i appreciate it. i want to get to secretary esper. i want to take a moment to thank you, secretary, for clarifying your position on the use of force and deploymentment of our military, exercising their constitutional right to assemble, to petition our government and peacefully protest. mr. secretary, as you stated in your june 17 statement, we strive to create an environment of diversity and inclusion in the military. you specifically stated removing bias and prejudice in all its form and ensuring equal opportunity and respect for all
will make us stronger, more capable, and more ready as a joint force. last month, both the u.s. marine corps and u.s. navy announced plans to ban the confederate flag and associated imagery on bases and installations around the world. this symbol honors those that fought to maintain oppression and slavery. furthermore, the confederate flag is used, albeit not by everyone, but is used by white supremacists and other organizations so you can spread hate and racism. we include a froigs ban the display on all property, so i believe immediate action should be taken. what is your plan regarding a department-wide ban of this symbol? >> thanks, congressman, first, let me echo what you said about the national guard. i'm reminded, this is a use of force card handed out, and here in bold says remember to preserve the peace and allow americans to peacefully assemble and exercise their first amendment rights. that's what our guard was trained on when they were operating in d.c. i have a process underway by
which to look at a number of issues, both substantive and symbolic. it will be a combination of defense and the advisory committee. we want to take a look at all those things, there is a process underway by which we affirm -- >> the general's time has expired. >> which we affirm what types of flags were authorized on u.s. military bases. i want to make sure that we have an approach that is enduring, that can withstand legal challenge, but that unities and helps build cohesion and readiness, and again, that process is underway. >> thank you. mr. walz, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you are deep in the water here.
we cannot understand you. can you give it one more quick try, or remay have to move on. >> how are we doing now? >> much better. go. >> i want to commend the guard. from my understanding, we have over 70,000, six divisions currently deployed for the homeland and overseas. that's for covid. that's for civil unrest. that's for ongoing overseas missions. we vanity even gotten into hurricane season in florida or wildfires or others. the guard's defense strategy points to demographic and economic trends that are critical to where we have the structure around the country and it says must be prepared to reposition guard force structure in light of those shifting trends, particularly shifting population, which as we know is shifting drat particularly over the last several decades, yet the structure hasn't followed. in fact, in florida, florida ranks 53 out of 54 bases and territories, the size of guard per capita. they know with every hurricane barring down every season --
can you come back to me? >> i'm sorry, once again, we can't understand you. i think the first part of your question was reasonably clear. mr. esper, if you want to take a stab at the guard situation in florida, take a shot at that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think from what i caught, i'll follow up with you offline. i think you were talking about this position or maybe the composition of guard force in florida and how it's changed over time were not with demographics, so maybe i'll
just follow you will with you offline, and i think you asked that we have a conversation with the general. that's what i took from that. >> yeah, mr. chairman, if you could hear me, just a slight tweak there. it's nationwide. it's how the guard is shifting to reflect population flows, particularly looking at the per capita. florida population doubled since 1980, yet it's guarded. >> yeah, you're breaking up. i apologize. we're going to have to move on. we've got a limited amount of time. we'll get that back to him. so we're going to move on to mr. keating, royalsed for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. secretary. thank you for your straight forward way, addressing lafayette square issue, and civil law enforcement. i appreciate that.
i want to circle back before poor done, because we know how a video clip can work. secretary esper, you were at -- i believe about -- i want to be clear, the question was asked, you might have reviewed regarding attacks on our troops. let me be clear. you can acknowledge that there was no bounty, that indeed there were reports that mentioned payment. is that correct? >> congressman, that's correct. i was responding to the specific question of do i recall use of the word bounties, and i think what i said is i do not recall the use of that word. >> i didn't want a sound bite at the end of this hearing coming out that said that you said that you never saw a report on bounties. >> i always try to avoid politics, congressman. naup any case, i didn't want you to be drawn into it unnecessarily.
how's that? in any case, the director, c.i.a. director haskell, just in the last few days, has said how important it is for force protection that the dissemination of information occurs to all national security unity members, obviously, all of you, and in an ongoing effort to secure our troops. she also was underscored clearly that the immediate sub elimination of that information is critical. are you satisfied that you're getting immediate transfer of this intelligence from our other agencies so you can act on that. can you state that for the record that you don't perceive any delays, this is really the last time. >> congressman, i get a lot of reports every day, an inch thick of material i try get through and read through. i know the hill, this committee gets reports as well, and i think you saw the same reports that i saw on this topic. it's hard for me to gauge the timeliness, because i don't know when they start or get it.
but clearly there's a process part of this, an analysis part that once they get information, converting it intelligence, all that happens, i don't have a sense of the timing. >> i don't mean to interrupt. >> i can follow up with her on that offline. >> please do, because it's essential that you get that information. i also want to know independently, some of these reports do a lot for family members. i deprom a family where we lost a family member in action, and particularly the casualties were there, the soldiers were lost. independently, you looking at those as well, given the intelligence, you have the april 2018 suicide bombing outside of an air base that killed three of our u.s. marines. are you looking at this independently based on the intelligence you have?
>> congressman, first of all, i share the concern, and condolences still to the family of those marines i believe who were lost. let me say this much, and i'll ask chairman milley to jump in here. general mckenzie is looking back over time. i think he stated publicly as well that he doesn't see causality with that one. and i believe that i got a separate report from one of think intelligence agencies saying they cannot find any corroborating evidence with regard to that alleged program with regard to that attack on those three marines. but chairman. >> congressman, as of today, right now, we don't have cause and effect linkages to a russian bounty program causing u.s. military casualties. however, we are still looking. we're not done. we're going to run this thing to ground. >> yeah. thank you. just as clarification from an intelligence standpoint without being wonky. corporation usually isn't a
term used. it's usually remote, improbable, even odd, highly probable, or certain. those are the kind of intelligence terms that are done linking things together. i'll yield back. i'm actually yielding back of time. >> thank you. mr. villar, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary esper and chairman billy, i've got two questions and it whatever time is left i would like to yield so she can get ready. my first question to vanessa again -- vanessa guillen and what i would like to do, i'm sure you are both as disturbed as we are by the events leading to her death and what i would like to do is give you an opportunity, she has family numbers in my district, i would like to give you the opportunity
to tell that family what we are going to do to make sure those sorts of things don't happen again. sec. esper: let me first speak to you but more importantly the family and express our sincere condolences with regard to what happened. it is tragic, it is horrible. i watch this over the preceding couple months in terms of how it unfolded. i can't imagine the despair the parents, not knowing the fate of their daughter. it is a terrible incident. i spoke yesterday for the day before with secretary mccarthy. they are on top of that. they have a couple suspects i
think have been arrested. they are digging into the investigation. i think we need to continue to pursue that and take a hard look at that and we have to continue to work with what is believed to be an underlying issue, and that was she was sexually harassed if not assaulted by the soldier in question, that is something that continues to be a stain on the profession. we have made progress over 10 years, but nowhere near we need to be. we need to get to zero tolerance of sexual harassment and assault and we need to make sure that everybody in our ranks knows where they can go to for help, where they can find help. we have to emphasize that and continue to empower the chain of command to make sure we do everything to make sure that we never have another incident like what happened to specialist guillen. that is my commitment and i know it is chairman's as well. gen. milley: i would echo every thing the secretary said. as a father of a daughter -- that is a nightmare.
my heart bleeds for that family and i can't begin to imagine what they are going through. i want them to know that we will do everything in our power to make sure that does not happen again. i don't know all the details, a full investigation bill, -- will come up. there were probably missed signals and one of the lessons we learned in other situations is when we get early warning, it is to take action and take action swiftly and appropriately. i think -- my guess is that will come out in this and that will be one of the things we need to lament for the future to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> thanks to both of you. my other question is for secretary esper. you recently extended the deployment of 4000 troops to the southern border. what i'm wondering is, just today, in the rio grande valley, hospitals were forced to set up
tents to serve as icu units and i'm wondering if there is any consideration being given to using those troops to help support local efforts to confront the coronavirus pandemic. sec. esper: i will answer your question two ways. first, you are right, we did extend -- reduce it but extended the limit. we are in support of the department of homeland security in as they give us mission statements, we try and be responsive and supportive of what they do. if they need additional medical support, that is something that we can provide if needed. beyond that, unless i misunderstood your question, we are reacting to incoming requests from fema. i spoke to the director the other night with regard to covid spikes in texas, as you may or
may not know, we have deployed a team of medical personnel to assist in texas and we are on the alert and looking for outbreaks in other states such as arizona, florida, california, to make sure we are responsive to the american people in terms of dealing with any outbreaks that may happen around the country. rep. smith: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. kim is recognized. >> thank you for coming on here
and talking to us today. as you referred to earlier, many of us members were briefed in this room earlier today about the intelligence about what we know, about possible russian payments to the taliban or militants to kill american soldiers and servicemembers in afghanistan. leaving aside the discussions about whether or not there is sufficient evidence regarding possible bounties or payments, whatever we want to call it, the intelligence and what we know about russian efforts in afghanistan were targeting our personnel is deeply concerning to me and general milley, you made reference to this saying something this is we have known for a long time. i want to ask this question. i could not help but think about a previous time we have been in this room together at the beginning of this year talking about iran and at that time, secretary esper and others were talking about how there was a threat to our personnel with regards to iraq and the region due to iranians -- iranian-backed militias. i want to hear from you, both of these instances, what we know about russia's involvement in afghanistan, both involved other nations directing militants to kill american service members
as a foreign terrorist organization, he was a terrorist leader of that organization, he had the blood of hundreds of americans going back many years on his hands, he orchestrated the rocket attacks that proceeded -- that occurred in december, and we had clear, credible information that he was planning additional attacks on american personnel in the region. a different circumstance between what we saw, the evidence we had, our understanding of the threat in iraq on that battlefield that was being orchestrated by soleimani and it was the consensus of the national security team that he was a legitimate target. very different from information or picking up with regard to russia, but i don't know if you want to add anything. gen. milley: something you said -- we have been aware for some time of russian involvement or iranian involvement in other countries, but there is a distinction between arming and directing. we know about arms, we know about weapons, we know about support. we don't have, in the case of the russians, we do not have concrete evidence intelligence to show directing. that is a difference -- a big difference. if we did, it would be a different response. we are not done looking. we are going to get to the bottom of this county thing. -- bounty thing. if it is bounties, i am outraged, just like every one of us in uniform is. if these bounties are directed by the government of russia or their to kill american soldiers, that is a big deal.
we don't have that level of fidelity yet. we are still looking. rep. kim: we will continue to go to the intelligence with you, regardless of whether payments are made, i felt there was significant information about directing, but we will continue that conversation going forward. >> gregor able to get a briefing today? rep. kim: i did. when we talk about the national guard being utilized, you were talking about the training they get, yet when we looked at it, out of the 5100 guardsmen and women who work here in d.c. last month, only 154 from the d.c. national guard were military police, 26 security forces, 83 were military police, four were security forces. that is 5% out of 5100. when you sent out you are notice of emergency diplomat, you focused on active duty military police units. why was not on the same for our guardsmen in terms of prioritizing military police personnel? rep. smith: this will have to conclude -- i understand the secretary has to go.
we are over time. up to you how long you wish to enter that, then we will be done. sec. esper: the chairman may be better situated. every soldier go undergoes training and we would not ask them to perform a mission if they were not leaf on the rules of engagement and had a basic level of training. your point is fair, we try to prioritize the best for these situations would be military police units. but you also have to go with what you have available to do that and that is why i'm proud of our guardsmen who were performing missions that were not core missions but where a core mission as a soldier or airman. >> i understand the secretary has to go. we would like to have the opportunity to submit to those questions for the record and get answers as possible. with that, we are adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> american history tv on c-span3, exploring the people and events that tell the american story every weekend. coming up this weekend, today at america, thereel american revolution of 63, a program on the status of the civil rights movement with protest from albany, georgia, birmingham, alabama, cambridge, maryland, and the northern city of inglewood new jersey, chicago , and brooklyn. at 7:00, a discussion on congress, political parties, and polarization. at 8 p.m., on the presidency, andrew cohen talks about his book "two days in june" 48 hours 1963 thathistory in
defined jfk's response to the nuclear arms race and civil rights. exploring the american story -- watch american history tv, this weekend on c-span three. handedsupreme court has down rulings involving access to president trump's pratt -- finances. in a seven to two vote, the justices ruled the manhattan district attorney can access president trump's personal and finance business records, including his tax returns. the court also ruled seven to 22 send president subpoenas for president trump's financial records back to the lower courts. you can read those decisions at c-span.org. next, hear the oral argument for the trump versus fans case which deals with the manhattan district attorney getting access to president trump's financial records. district