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tv   Reagan National Defense Forum Discussion on Global Security Partnerships  CSPAN  December 18, 2021 12:15am-1:17am EST

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>> military officials and defense experts took part in a discussion on u.s. security and the strength of military alliances and partnerships. hosted by the reagan national defense form. -- forum. >> ladies and gentlemen, welcome to panel five. in the interest of all, advancing international security with allies and partners, please welcome john aquilino, general richardson, dr. william imboden, ms. leanne caret, and moderator david ignatius of "the washington post." [applause] >> want a picture first? >> i guess we, yeah.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, welcome for your photogenic panel. i hope everybody had a good coffee break and is well caffeinated for our discussion of advancing security through alliances and partnerships. i don't have to tell this audience that this is a moment in which we have threats around the world that are concerning. we have in "the washington post" this morning a report that 175,000 russian troops may be prepared to line up along the ukraine border posing an extraordinary threat to ukraine and indeed to the nato alliance. in vienna, talks to restore the jcpo appear to have broken down a big concern for our allies and partners. and in asia, admiral acalan. to's area of responsibility,
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severe and rising concerns about china. in this world of danger, the united states has a unique asset and that is this network of alliances and partnerships that we have around the world. and so that's our starting point is this precious thing that we have gathered over the years. but i want to begin with a question for each member of our panel. i'll put it to each of you in turn. that a time when the theme of america first and pulling back to this country has resonance in both our political parties, there is some concern among some allies and partners that i talk to about our staying power, about our credibility as their partner. so i want to ask each of the panelists starting with admiral acalano to respond to that. what do you see in the part of
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the world that you cover and what can we do, whatever the level of credibility is now, to expand it? admiral acalano, you are living in the age of aucus and maybe that's the answer we should think about as a baseline but tell us how that question looks to you. >> thanks, david. great to see you again and it's an honor to be here with this distinguished set of panel members. so as i look through the pacific, you know, we have to remember for 80 years, we have generated the security and prosperity that's existed throughout the indo-pacific. the u.s. is a pacific nation. we've been there. we've been with niece allies and partners for all those years. so what i have seen in my travels, and i've just recently over the past seven months come back in the execution of realignment or the validation of our five treaty alliances.
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so japan, korea, thailand, australia, and the philippines. and everything i see from those nations as well as the rest of the nations in the region is -- there is no concern about the strength of the u.s. alliances and partnerships. again, our value and the value of our partners is clear in this region. so for me it is validated in every one of my meetings. additionally on the aucus piece, that's certainly a benefit when you look at the different sets of security relationships whether they're bilat real, or exercises in everything we do multilaterally, aucus is add active. so trilateral relationship with japan, korea and the united states, the osian nations who get together.
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the quad, all right? so a uflt cus is a different and an added security relationship that will be extremely helpful to keep that peace and prosperity in the region. so i certainly welcome it. australia has made a big step. and i think it will increase the security in the region. long term it is our allies and partners coming together to demonstrate the world-based order for the stability in the region, and to continue that. so we are stronger when we're together and again, i think that will be the focus of this panel. so we welcome all of our allies and partners for all of our ops and execution. david: i want to come back to aucus with you in a few minutes. but turn to general richardson who has just taken over the u.s. southern command. we have some great allies and partners in your area of
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responsibility. but they don't get the headlines. i want to ask you whether you worry that we're in danger of ignoring the partnerships that are in our own back yard sometimes, at least political debate in washington and how to go back to my basic question, time when people are asking questions about america's forward commitment, how would we demonstrate that better to people in the western hemisphere who are part of your a.o.r.? >> well, thank you very much. and thank you for having me on the panel. and it's my pleasure to talk about the south com area of operations and i've been in this seat five weeks and i've been able to travel to colombia and brazil so far, two of our biggest security partners. and i'm happy to say, you know, they've been by our side and our
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partners for a really long time. and colombia fought with us in the korean war. brahm fought with us in the world war ii. so we have a long history with our allies and partners in the regionallen and they want to partner with us. and they want to be with the u.s. and do things with us. and in fact in brazil it was kind of scratching our heads as to why don't we do more and what can we do more? because all of the challenges that we have the cross-cutting threats, challenge our collective security across all domains. and quite honestly we need to work together stronger. i think our allies and partners exponentially make us stronger. and so i think we have to look at that from that perspective of what they have to bring, what we have to bring. we have to look at it from their perspective and their lens. a lot of times we look only through i think our lens. i learned that working in north com and working with mexico.
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on how we look at the border issue and the southwest border and things coming to our united states border, they all feel like that's their northern border and they look at it from a different perspective and understanding those two different perspectives i think helps us work closer together. i see a lot of opportunity. and we can talk a lot about all the challenges. but i think in terms of the headlines, you're exactly right, david. this a.o.r. doesn't get the headlines. and when you're talking about the things that have happened in africa those things that happened in africa our adversaries are now happening in the south com region and that doesn't get any headlines. and so i would like to say i use the football analogy. you got to be on the field with their jersey on and number on and you got to be there looking them in the eye because they want to partner with us.
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they want to part flyer and they want to be teammates with us all the time. they prior -- want to do it and want to do more. and we have to capitalize on that. david: general reston, before i move on i want to take you up on your comment that some of our allies and partners in southern command want us to be doing more. are looking for more from us. as an ally. what are some of the things that you hear them asking for? not to say that it's policy decision, what are you hearing? >> they love to do exercises with us. and exercises lead to the -- the haiti earthquake that occurred a few months ago, not a lot was heard, the big news story was operation allies welcome. and bring in power afghan guests
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out of afghanistan into the country. well, meanwhile, south com was working very closely with nine partner nations responding to that haiti earthquake. 7.2 earthquake that occurred in haiti. and so you just look at the -- the partner nations that we have, the relationships that we have in that region is really tremendous. and so i think the exercises ars decreased a little bit this year. we're going from 11 down to eight exercises. but when you look at some of these exercises, unitas, hanamas, trade winds, exercises you've already heard of and have been around for many, many years. but it gives the opportunity to showcase the professional militaries that we do have and that these partner nations have. but then it also helps train them. they become key exporters of
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security as well in the region. so we're not only just participating in an exercise to work toward another one it actually trains them to be able to be better security partners in the region as well. david: that's a helpful specific. i just want to remind this audience and people who may be watching, streaming, that you can get in this conversation and ask your own questions. send them via the app, the rndf app or by twitter, #rndf and nel land on my screen as some just did this minute. so i want to turn to dr. will emboden in addition to running the clement center now was the director of strategic planning for the bush 43n.s.c. has thought about these issues a lot. allies are fickle. and they can be a nuisance. and they're a nuisance sometimes
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because they really don't pay their fair share. they look to us for security. but during the reagan presidency they showed they don't pay what they promise they will. from your perspective over many, many years, talk about the ups and downs of allieses -- alliances and whether i'm right in worrying that we may be losing a little bit of credibility. >> well, david, i'll try to both affirm and reassure your worries there. so i think for as long as the united states has had allies and alliances, we've had frustrations with our allies and alliances. and our allies have had frustrations with us. l.a. cohen is at the conference today and i'm a big fan of his work and his work supreme command is profiled on winston churchill. there's a great quote from churchill writing in the 1930's. and churchill says, the history of coalition warfare is the tale of the reciprocal complaints of
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allies, right? so it's kind of part of the warp and woof of fighting alongside each other and doing diplomacy along each other. going to admiral aquilino's last 80 years of american alibieses and what was there before that. and this is one reason why america's d.n.a. there is some skepticism among some parts of our political leadership in the body politick about alliances is because for the first 150 years of our country's history going back to washington's farewell address, we didn't have permanent alliances. and there were -- they were seen, two big reasons for that which continue as concerns today. the first is that allies will drag us into wars or fights or conflicts that aren't in our interest and don't want and second they won't pay their fair share and be free riders. now, as someone who is very pro alliances and i'll get into some reasons why there, i think it's important that we remember those parts of our country's deeper history because those concerns continue to recur pretty regularly and we're searing them
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in our debates today. but i think the really key inflection point is in that -- you know, post-war moment, 1945-55 when so much of the current structure of our alliance system was built. when we abandoned that previous tradition of no allies and embraced it, it's no coincidence that is also when the united states had our great debut on the world stage as the leading superpower, right? so our embrace of alliances went hand-in-hand with our increase in national power. and i think they've overall been mutually reinforcing since then. but given that there are these recurring tensions, we can't be complacent about it and say just because we had those tensions that therefore we don't need to worry about it. the reason we've been able to manage them is because they take proactive management for each generation, for each generation of political leadership. and i'll just mention the two areas that i'm really concerned about are -- first, there are five i think key factors that maintain the sinews, shared
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interest, threats from russia and china today, there are the treaties themselves, right? designed to transcend political pressures, especially when we're speaking about our nato allies for our allies in the asia pacific. there's the institutional connections, everything from the five eyes to even the shared nato using the same cartridge. those three factors are in pretty good shape. the next two key preserving the sinew of alliances are the ones i worry about and those are presidential leadership and public opinion. and this is not a partisan comment about the biden administration. our last few presidencies i think have failed to show the commitment to allies, to make the case for the american people why these matter to us. when is the last time we heard an american president give a full-throated endorsement of alliances and say why they matter. make the case to the american people this is why we have these commitments because of what they've -- what they've done for us. and then why we're seeing some of the diminishing public support. so i think it can be turned around. but it's going to take the last
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two factors of presidential leadership and public -- and moving the needle on public opinion. because there are other building blocks. the sturgessal commitments, treaties and shared interests are there. david: so you run boeing's defense and space business. what you're hearing as you talk to your international customers, customers generally about america's staying power and when the question comes up, how you answer that. how you say yeah, we're here for you today and we'll be here for you 10 years from now? >> well, thank you for the question. and it's just such an honor to be on this panel with admiral aquilino and general richard sop. we owe them incredible debts of gratitude for everything that they do every day for us. and as industry, you know, one of the big lessons for us has always been that our proximity to the fight doesn't define our contribution to the fight. and so we view ourselves as an extension of the services.
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we do so as wanting to be there to provide the equipment, the tools, the training, the services and the forward thinking and our own investment strategies to enable that. that ties directly in to what we're hearing around the globe. and despite the pandemic, we have maintained operating rhythm where we are talking to everyone either in person or as everybody else, zoom, and the different technologies. and then the message is clear. the support from the u.s. is still as strong as it's ever been. we have seen zero downturn in terms of believing that the u.s. is is a firm ally and partner to the nations. as a matter of fact, we're continuing to see even more progress within the department, in terms of how do we be more proactive in terms of when we're working cooperative relationships, when there's weapons systems, support that is needed, how can we help provide the information necessary so that not only does that nation
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get the benefit of what the u.s. has already done, but in terper turn, how do we take back from that benefit that we saw with that developing nation or in that weapon system and bring it back to the u.s. benefits? so we've seen this reciprocal behavior over the years and we're seeing it now as much as ever before. so there has been zero in my mind any indication that there isn't a belief that the u.s. military is in with the allies and that that support remains as strong as ever. david: let me take a specific example. our european allies and nato, still a very strong alliance, are precious to us. but we hear increasingly from some europeans, especially france, that they want to focus on an independent european defense capability. and they give all sorts of reasons for that. and you can understand why. i'm curious what that means for
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a company like boeing, whether that's going to complicate your life as the europeans move into their own space, all -- yes, we will be cooperative with nato. well, we want our own. is that going to make life harder for you? >> well, i'll start by saying competition is good. and, you know, i think it's really important to recognize in this day and age our ability to turn technology faster, to bring forward more innovative and creative solutions is critical. it's not just the weapon system itself. it's the interoperability. and as we think about moving forward with nations who have desires for different products and services, those -- they open up those competitions and many times to the global landscape as well. so we're competing at home and abroad. and it is up to us as industry to be proactive and look at where there's leverage opportunities. that interoperability is so key. because when the conflict
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happens, very rarely do you not see allies coming together and so even if they decide that they want to go invest and strengthen their industrial base, we still want to make sure that we're giving them an opportunity to offer them something that they can assess, look at. and we can be competitive in that. and we -- owe great service to the u.s. government who advocates on behalf of u.s. products in those situations. and so we work very closely with the defense security contract agency, with the state department, to see if what we have as industry here in the u.s. she's application around the -- has application around the world. david: i want to drill down a little deeper on aukus. aukus appears to all of us to be a big strategic idea. it's something is had a lot of churn because of french unhappiness initially. but it's a big idea. the nuclear navy has been a
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jewel of the u.s. navy, our undersea capability and it can't have been easy to open the apperture to truly take in australia and britain paz as partners in aukus. i'm sure the whole audience would love to hear how aukus over time will make life different for indo pacon and what will be done differently and your first thoughts on how china is going to react to this new extension of the area where we have extraordinary really unmatched capability, undersea warfare, how will the chinese react to that? >> thanks, david. let me start by i think highlighting one of the reasons that aukus came about, right? so what i know we're watching in the region is the largest military buildup we've seen since world war ii. that has driven the australians
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to assess the capabilities they need and this was an australian decision to be able to invest in a nuclear submarine program that provides the capabilities they need against the security threats in the region that they see. we certainly endorse their decision as we've partnered with them. we'll develop those capabilities. and what i think you'll see around the rest of the region is there is real concern from the nations in the area on the security challenges that you've heard articulated by my secretary, and the focus on the indo-pacific. there are true challenges. aukus is one solution. it is additive to the other security arrangements. to leanne's point, it's interoperability with the united states, all those allies and partners that is beneficial.
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we value that interoperability. and as the security apparatus works together, it does make us stronger. if i could jump on one of will's points here, the discussion was the fickleness of allies and partners. that's the problem i would rather have. because the other side of that coin is being the nations with no allies or partners. that's what we're looking at in the region. from the united states' perspective, we continue to work with these allies and partners. to laura's point n. indo pay com we conduct 120 exercises annually with our allies suspect partners. and we're looking to make those more mini lateral or multilateral. aukus can contribute to that. whether it's undersea, on the sea, above the sea or in space and cyber space, we want to expand that, whether there are
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increased multilateral events, if you look at the exercise rim of the pacific which will be upcoming in 2022. last time there were 27 nations with maritime forces, ground forces, air forces, right? so from where i sit, that's what wright looks like. that's what's been going on for 80 years. so we need to continue down that path. and we welcome those other sets of security exercises, relationships, however you want to characterize them. the work with the quad nations associated with exercise mala bar. we would see that expanding. so aukus is a small microcosm that applies to the entire rest of the security apparatus. and we're here to support all of our allies suspect partners who would like to expand or increase their capability. david: i want to be sure i understand the specific question of whether aukus itself should be as a few people have begun to
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suggest expanded, should new zealand be part of aukus? should other nations that can contribute specifically to the mission set of aukus be considered as additional members? or is this tripar tide pact fine the way it is for now? >> i think it's going to start there. there is certainly technology sharing agreements and other things that would have to work. we haven't discussed specifically adding to aukus with other nations at this point. but that shouldn't subtract or detract from our ability to execute increased cooperations through other means other than just nuclear propulsion. we're ready to take on any of those additional efforts that our partners and allies are interested in and start those discussions. david: we'll come back to the quad in a subsequent round. but i want to turn to general richardson. as we're talking about china,
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and the challenges to put it mildly that china presents, one overlooked area is latin america. and your staff sent me a figure which astonished me that 19 of 31 countries in the hemisphere have signed up to the belton road initiative. assuming that number is right, it's startling that china is making inroads to that extend. talk from your perspective as the new combatant commander about the chinese presidents in your a.o.r. and what we should be doing to counter it. >> so thank you for that. i would like to say that the -- that china's playbook for africa has taken place in latin america now. and so while there might be the
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news talks about i watched a news program that was highlighting what's happening in africa. i think the news was a little bit behind. and it's been happening in africa for years. and if we're not careful, what's happening in latin america, well, in five tore 10 -- or 10 years, have the same impacts. so yes, out of the 31 countries, 16 dependencies, those folks that have -- countries that have signed up for the belton road initiative, the 19 of 31, i'll tell you that in -- i mentioned the cross cutting earlier that collectively challenge our -- make challenges for our security and that has to do with covid. and covid is still very prevalent in our nations and countries in latin america have suffered pretty good at the hands of covid and are still
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dealing with that. and so that -- in my mind has changed the geo political landscape for some of the countries as they continue to deal with covid. and we continue to try to help them. vaccines are continuing to be deployed to the different countries. and the u.s., when i was there in brazil last week, was donating astrazenaca, 2.2 million doses of vaccine while we were there. so continued work that we have to do. but when you have -- when you look at the effects of that, and then you talk about the projects. so if you're having a problem with your economy already, and the chinese come with the belton road initiative, with projects and money and they're ready to start, it looks very attractive. and to some of our countries that are having a hard time with their economies and certainly there are certainly what i see
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over time it will be interesting. like i said i've only been in the seat five weeks and as i go through this and see the things that the different countries sign up for, there's a buyer's remorse at some point. the host workers are not used for these belton road initiatives. chinese workers come in and then that in my mind helps with the spread of the p.r.c. and the military bases and the state-owned enterprises that china has and is using throughout our a.o.r. in latin america. david: just to follow up on that, one way in which the united states might combat this attempt to draw countries into the belt and road initiative and into china's economic agenda, is greater sharing of technology, ideas, relationships, there's an
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interesting component of aukus that i want to talk about further which is really about broad technology sharing. but we have a u.s.-e.u. council that met in pittsburgh where technology discussions were a big part of it. same thing with a quoted. we don't have anything like that that i know of with our own hemisphere. and whether that's a missing piece. brazil is pretty technologically advanced country. it's got a lot of things that we probably ought to be talking with them about. would that be a good idea, do you think? >> i think it would be a good idea. and you know, if you don't mind, i would -- talk briefly about one the proximity of this. david, you said back yard. i would like to use neighborhood because neighborhood resonates with our allies and partners in latin america. and they -- the proximity to our homeland here in the united states, folks don't realize how
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close the south com a.o.r. and all of these 31 countries in the caribbean, central america, south america, i can go to 83% of the countries in the south com a.o.r. in a shorter time distance than it took most of you to come from d.c. here to this forum. and i was talking to my father, my parents are still living. and i went from -- to visit colombia, my father was like are you in the same time zone? like how far away from -- are you? how long did it take you to get there? dad, you're in colorado. i can get here faster to colombia than i can to colorado and i'm on the same time zone. eastern time zone. and didn't even change time zones. you think about the proximity. but when you think about what is in latin america in terms of the amazon. they call it the lungs of the world. you have 31% of the world's freshwater is in latin america. you have the lithium, 60 pefers of the -- 60% of the lithium in
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the world is in the -- argentina, bolivia, chile. you got a lot of rare earth minerals, resources, and capabilities that in my mind go hand-in-hand with what the chinese are doing with the belt and road initiative. and expanding their reach into latin america just like they did in africa. and so a lot of folks don't understand all of the rich resources that are really there in latin america and in our western hemisphere. in terms of trade, i'll just talk about trade. if i talk about western hemisphere add canada suspect mexico to it, $1.9 trillion. western hemisphere, u.s. is number one trading partner with $1.9 trillion. and so it's just -- it's off the charts what this a.o.r. offers. and so just -- i want to share that because as i've learned all of the great things about this region, i think it's very vulnerable.
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and so that goes to the point of why we have to be present all the time working really closely, using all the levers available to work with our partners as they deal with these cross-cutting challenges. david: dr. imboden, i want to continue on this question of technology partnerships as the next phase in our strategic partnerships. the biden administration thinks it has a big idea here, that this network that includes aukus, the quad, useu dialogues, going to stitch together what over time they imagine is a kind of alliance of technologically advanced democracies, quasidemocracies. but that's the big idea that they're trying to frame. you've been thinking about studying alliances like this for a long time. do you think this is a good idea, a? b, do you think it's realistic
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when we have countries like france, like india, that are pretty darn resistant to some forms of cooperation? and what would you do if it is a good idea, what would you do to make it better? >> i think it's a great idea. again, i strongly -- i strongly affirm it. this goes back to thinking about, you know n. our area of new era of great power commission what are america's asymmetric advantages? two of the big asymmetric advantages that we have that china and russia, for example, largely don't, first, is our alliances. and if we doubt that just look at the view from beijing or moscow. if you're disi kin ping your closest friends in your neighborhood? well, maybe north korea, maybe cambodia, not a very good list, right? if you're putin your closest friends, belarus? maybe serbia? this is why those guys are spending so much time trying to split and break apart and undermine suspect weaken our alliances is even if america doesn't appreciate how important our alliances are, the bad guys
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do. and that gets to the technology part that you were asking about. and this is our second big advantage is the united states is still all things considered the world's leader in technology and innovation. we're losing our edge in some areas, and this is nothing to be complacent about. and yet there's a tremendous multiplier effect. both in terms of supply chain security and there was a great panel on that just before us here. and also in -- thinking about the next generation of weapons platforms and essentially being able to deepen our alliances through this technology sharing and partnerships and gain a real advantage over our adversaries. and to invoke our namesake. i think there's a great precedent in the reagan administration's playbook, right? it wasn't just reagan's deep personal commitment to the allies. although that was a big part of it. but it was the technology sharing that was going on, with the strategic defense initiative, bringing japan in as an important partner in that. bringing the united kingdom in as an important partner in that, bringing in west germany in,
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right? president reagan related not just about outspending the soviets but outsmarting them. and we can outsmart them with better weapons if we are working with our allies and leveraging that joint -- those joint technology advantages. even with a difficult country like france which you asked about, and there are always a little bit of the outlier and they had already -- withdrawn from the nato military command by the type reagan came along. as david -- and in some ways historian of the intelligence community, one of our best most successful intelligence programs in the entire cold war came from the great technology partnership with france over the farewell dossier, right? and again, great book that can be read on that. even if there are other frictions at the surface level there can be some deep quiet potent joint cooperation on the tech front. so i think there's a great precedent for the biden administration to take a page from the reagan playbook. david: and i want to ask you to close out this discussion about technology partnerships because you really are at the cutting
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edge of that in a company like boeing. this administration sometimes speaks language that we associate with industrial policy. kind of centrally managed white house directed efforts to mobilize and direct the private sector. do you worry about that taking -- all the obvious benefits that all the panelists have -- do you worry about too heavy a hand and are you trying to express that as a company and make sure that you still have the freedom to operate and be innovative outside of whatever alliances and partnerships evolve in the technology sphere? >> well, i'll build on some of the remarks with regard to the allies that interoperability, the work together, the collaboration. there are different types of
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relationships between the u.s. and different partner nations. and what we have seen and aukus is a really great example of this is the conversations starting to turn about the sharing of technology. and how do we do that within the appropriate channels? and what i have actually seen, the department do, and has been working on this for a period of time which is to understand what those technologies are, where is their comfort in release? how do we simplify that process? because probably one of the biggest opportunities we have in front of us is when we are offering a new system, a new -- a new technology, whatever it may be. what is that benefit to that ally nation and how do they get the maximum benefit from it? and then how do we make sure from a sharing perspective, we can each learn from each other? and an easy example that won't cause anybody to, you know, too much stress, what about when
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we're testing out a new system and what level of testing have gone on here within the u.s. or what is needed on a different -- for that same weapons system or slightly different variant of it in another country? how do we share certification efforts? a lot of what we have opportunity here to do is to make certain that we're able to deliver capability faster. and so what i'm impressed with is we are starting to have those very real conversations already. i think aukus is actually going to accelerate. because it's going to bring in some certain country relationships that are going to give us the benefit to working together and to that cooperative partnering. david: that's helpful. so admiral quinelao, probably top of most people in this audience when they by strategic dangers is taiwan. and the potential chinese threat to deliver on their repeated statements that they intend to reunify taiwan with the
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mainland. and i want to ask you straight up, what is the united states doing to strengthen taiwan's ability to defend itself against what china announces is its goal? >> thanks, david. so we are doing what we have been doing since 1979 at the passage of the taiwan relations act followed up by the three communication and six assurances that we are contributing for the ability for taiwan to defend itself. that's responsibility and a task that's been provided to me. and we are operating in accordance with both policy and law. so we have consultations. we do training. and like i said, we've done the same things despite what you read in the press on doing different things, we are not. we are doing exactly what we have been tasked in accordance with the law and the u.s. policy.
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david: so i want to ask you to take that a little bit further. one issue obviously is what weapons will best help taiwan defend itself against an increasingly sophisticated chinese threat? i mentioned to you before our conversation that was a very interesting article in the journal of war on the rocks that i'm sure many in the audience read that several weeks ago asked is taiwan buying the right things for its defense against this adversary? it's buying more subs, traditional legacy systems as they're called, more subs, more jets. doesn't it need more swarms of drones, more weapons that would complicate the chinese adversaries -- adversary's planning? you're not buying weapons for
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taiwan. but i'm curious whether you think there are ways that jointly the u.s. and taiwan can think about new systems, not the traditional hardware that we've had, you know, going through the taiwan straights and standing on our show but things that speak to the ability to deter this very advanced adversary? >> yeah, thanks, david. certainly taiwan is currently under pressure as you read about and we've seen over the past number of months and you could argue years. recently, we've seen extensive maritime pressure. we've seen air pressures or pressures in the air domain, certainly in the cyber domain, undersea, on the sea, above the sea of the that's a pretty tough neighborhood. and we execute our responsibility. we talk to taiwan about capabilities that we think will be beneficial. that said, they get to choose.
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and because there are numbers of challenges, they're going to have to figure out how to decide which of knows capabilities they want to invest in. and with the help of the defense industry, we hope to put those capabilities in their hands so that they can ultimately defend themselves in accordance with the taiwan relations act. david: so we'll come back again to china. but i want to turn to general richardson and ask about a part of the challenge in the western hemisphere in the countries that are in your a.o.r. that is very hard to get your arms around but seems central to their security issues, and that's corruption. of which narciso trafficking is the most -- narco traffic something the most visible part. but sometimes you look at these countries and worry that they're being eaten from inside out.
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you're a combatant commander. you don't run a drug enforcement agency. but are there ways that you can help these countries deal with corruption problems that really do seem in some cases to erode the integrity of the state institutions? >> that's a real good question and i'm happy to balk it. i think what the transnational criminal organizations and this problem in the western hemisphere creates the wedge for corruption, poverty, crime, all of those things to flourish. and it allows a great opportunity for our competitors to come in and capitalize upon that. so i mentioned covid before. and then you add this on top of it. the $90 billion business that these transnational criminal organizations are involved in. and it's very serious. the impact in the united states
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is 100,000 deaths a year. so we are being impacted by in as well. and so make no mistake. it affects all of us and back to my point about the shared neighborhood and the proximity matters, it absolutely matters. i'm very proud of the organization that south com has underneath it, joint interagency task force south, jiata for short, out of key west and i'm sure many of you know about that organization but the fact that -- in my mind is -- as obviously a best practice, 16 law enforcement agencies are within that command, 22 partner nations. as i talked about earlier about the exercises and working with our partner nations and making them stronger, training them to do, help themselves, is that we
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think that we can see about 10% of the entire problem. and within that 10%, our partner nations are about 60% conducting their own actions. so we help with detection and monitoring and actionable information that with those partner nations that are with our jiata south and our law enforcement agencies, that that is -- that's a good news story. and the fact that we can share that actionable information in order for them to do their own interdictions is really tremendous. tremendous. but it's a big problem as i said. we think we're only getting after about 10% of the problem. and generally what comes in the -- what's in the south com a.o.r. ends up in our -- in our homeland. and so i think quite honestly, we have to continue to take that
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very seriously, continue to work with our partner nations. the capabilities that i need and my command to be able to see obviously is very important. and so we use very non-standard in some cases because of the ability to not get enough. we use a lot of non-standard ways of being able to hide the information and use the information and use it as actionable information. david: we've gotten some good questions from our audience from all over. i don't know where they come from. but they're on my screen suspect i'm going to ask one of them to dr. imboden because it gets us to an area that's urgently important. but we haven't talked about enough. the question is given its proximity to russia and threats to ukraine, how can we be more strongly encouraged germany to take a bigger role in maintaining global security? and i'm going to add a little
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add-on to that question. how would you rate the biden administration's efforts over these recent weeks to deal with this very menacing russian threat on the ukrainian border? >> well, putting professor mode on and give him a grade it would be incomplete. but not trending too well. and i worry in some ways that the biden administration is playing catch-up there. but i was, you know, critical at the time of the decision to waive the nordstream two sanctions and understand the strategic bet that they were trying to make which is if we give germany a pass on this because most of the pipeline is built maybe germany will play ball with us in other areas but it seems to no have the not cultivated any more good will or cooperation from the germans and has sent a sign of weakness and failure of deterrence to putin. so i'm pretty worried and i'm not privy to whatever is going
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on internally. and like i said in some ways they're inheriting a weak hand as far as the last several years have not been good for the u.s., ukraine relationship and the past three administrations now. and it's tough because one of the unique aspects of this area of great power competition we have is china is the first and primary threat. russia is a very significant one. and putin is very savvy it seems like he follows american politics and policy closer than most of us do. and he knows as we're focusing more on china there may be an opening for him to make a play toward ukraine. i do worry about the administration perhaps almost kind of deterring itself about worrying if they take stronger actions, whether sending more lethal weapons to ukraine or making them more explicit. and defense commitment that it could cause an escalation spiral. i do think putin at the end of the day is a rational actor and going to take everything -- everything he can that he thinks he can get away with. and so i think there needs to be a more clear deterrence there.
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david: and any thoughts on the specific question raised about germany? we have a new government in germany. they seem to be more interested if anything in the defense cooperation with the united states than chancellor merkel did. so interesting even though nominally more left wing. what do you think about that? >> i do think there is a potential opportunity there. their defense much more hawkish on china than many of us had expected to see and there are opportunities there. and again, and to invoke our namesake here, i think reagan had a great model -- and the front row paula debaranski, on the national security council staff of thousand deal with some of these complications with germany. sometimes it's an ally that's frustrating and you not doing enough. you can either hit them or hug them. and sometimes you need to hit them and other times you need to hug them. and generally when germany, i do think overall the hug 'em approach has worked a little more. in the way that reagan grabbed
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helmut kohl and hugged him tight and got his support for deploying the pershing two and ground launch cruise missiles over domestic opposition and played a key role and what became the i.n.f. treaty and getting the soviets to back down and withdraw there. so there's a precedent of embracing germany a little tighter but while we're hugging them also delivering some hard words. and since there's this new government perhaps a chance for a reset. at the end of the day, germany will need to see that it's in their own interests, too, to take a stronger line against russia. david: ms. caret, two questions from our audience that are about the defense industry issues. and i'm going to put them to you. and you choose what in this you want to answer. >> or neither. [laughter] david: as the speed of warfare increases what role does technology play in order to leverage alliances? that's a complicated one. more specific one, does the
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current export controls framework support now we need to partner with allies? and i assume the question is sheer are we too stinting in terms of what we're willing to share, stuff that you're producing that you think you could easily sell, is that something we should think about? and then second question, where are we on the burdensharing debate and where does it need to go? how do we balance the defense industrial needs of our allies and our industry? should the u.s. be buying more from our allies? so pick and choose among those. >> well, how about i'll start again with where i started on the first question you posed, david, which is we work -- we are an extension of the u.s. government. from a policy perspective or expiate perspective, we aren't making those policy decisions. we are making sure we stay in line with what the u.s. policy is with regard to a specific nation in the country and a weapons system.
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and depending on what that weapons system is, there could be a lot more latitude in terms of the purpose of it and where it can go and how much additional capability it can have or have not. or what restrictions might be applied to it. where it may not be releasable. what's important for us as industry in this entire conversation is to make sure that the u.s. government is really informed of what we have to offer. and understand that the development and understand which is where we do a lot of information sharing on our research and development on of where we're taking the future. now, how this all becomes relevant in this new age where -- and let's be frank. there is not going to be enough money for everybody to do what they need to do. and the -- world needs to figure out out how to pay for the pandemic. we have actually put ourselves back in this more for less environment once again. there are tough choices that need to be made. not only here in the u.s. but around the world. and so as we think about the key which is if we are truly
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collaborating together, if we are truly interoperable with our partners and our allies, then what is that level of information sharing not only from the key critical technologies that maybe releasable, but how do we get mutual benefit from the efforts we're undertaking on any specific configuration so that we don't have to redo, recertify, rework and drive out time and money? now, one way which we believe you achieve that is through the how. industry for years has been chasing the defense department's budgets and trying to anticipate what that next capability is based on what that next concept may or may not be. what is even more interesting as technology has continued to evolve is the how. how are they designing? how are we building? how are we testing? how are we supporting these weapon systems so that they can be modernized in a rapid way
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relevant for that nation for that partner? and so this starts with our investment in the entire digital journey. and having that digital life cycle from concept to support and it takes our development programs from a 10-year cycle to perhaps from concept to first light in two or three years. and when you start doing that, the affordability issues also take on an entirely different conversation because now you're talking about what level of digital definition are you going to release? what does the u.s. government want to have more control around? and how do we build upon that to keep these weapons systems relevant for the future fight? and so i think it's actually -- none of the questions you posed were easy. nor are they simple yes-no answers. what i would say as technology has evolved it is a building block. it's a framework in partnership with the u.s. government about
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how do we approach interoperability so that we can bring the best capability to the fight wherever that fight may be and whatever multiple areas it's cursing? david: so we're basically out of time and one question for admiral aquilinoo one minute straight at you. we talked about the quad. you mentioned the maldiswrabar exercises -- you mentioned the malabar exercises. and we want to know whether we're on the way to the quad being a partnership that has more of a security dimension? i want to say more of a military dimension. with japan, with india, obviously with australia. >> david, so that choice is going to be up to the individual nations. those are political discussions. what i can tell you is the quad nations, militarily, operate together frequently.
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but again, as we talk about the security discussions throughout the region, i would almost like to expand it just for a second to global. so laura and i are sitting here talking about -- talking about stove pipes in this security environment i would argue don't exist. the problems we're discussing are global. we talked about -- you said belt and road. i say one belt, one road, which was the original name it was given, right? and there's a reason it was one belt, one road. and that's because it was good for one nation. but the problem is global. as my secretary said, the indo-pacific is the most consequential theater for the u.s. and our partners and allies' future. but it expands to -- the quad is one aspect of that. you talked to will will germany and the e.u. nations. the united kingdom just deployed the queen elizabeth to the indo-pacific in recognition of the importance
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two thirds of gdp flows through the end of pacific to support a global set of nations. that is why it is important. we talk about france, a great partner with the largest gdp of the indo pacific of anyone and i have operated with them across the globe since i have been doing this business and they are a great partner. the expansion of the security relationships with allies and partners is the key. it is not just the indo pacific. laura has a number of pacific nations with coastlines in the pacific, because the region is important for the security, the stability, and the prosperity globally. thanks. we have to end there. it is a perfect note to end on.
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