tv Reagan National Defense Forum Discussion on Defense Spending CSPAN December 18, 2021 1:16am-2:16am EST
good afternoon. thank you for joining us. it is an honor and pleasure to be with here. i am an editorial writer for the washington journal. i want to remind everybody we are taking audience questions. we would love to get your questions so you can send them on the app or twitter. i would love to ask them. please feel welcome. come one, come all. today, we are having this budget discussion at a moment in washington machinations that we will get to shortly. i want to start out more broadly and go down the line and know, what is your top priority for the defense budget in the coming years? i will let you answer how you like but i want to know, what is your core priority? what are you focused on? what must the country do over
the next five years? with that, like i said, they are across the hall talking about the chinese challenge and the specific -- pacific but we are talking about the resources that will bolster that challenge. rep. smith: my top priority would be to get the appropriation bills done so we can spend the money. [applause] rep. smith: i don't mean that facetiously. it is really important. we are tracking battles over 1000 different things but the basic running of the government continues to be enormously important. we have to make sure congress functions to do that because 740 billion dollars is worse than a full appropriations budget. i don't want to alarm you all about the 700 number but to have these and do the appropriations normally is invaluable as anyone
who works in this will tell you but beyond that, the huge priority is innovation and updating and integrating our weapons systems so they are more survivable and our information systems works better, where the fight is going. we have seen it across the globe. however you want to put it, the idea of making sure our systems are better protected and more clearly and easily communicate with one of another is the future and we have to get there asap. rep. talent: where to begin? at the moment, i would say there priority is to avoid the extension of the cr. you can only have a year-long cr and that would be devastating. let me get broader than that. we need stability. one ask i have of the congress
is to allow to require -- retire airplanes to free up the resources. the secretary of defense has talked about responding to what chinese is doing with their military modernization program. it is an anchor holding back the air force and we have to get rid of those aircraft's so we can get on with modernization. >> you will find unanimity on that we need appropriations bills instead of seat -- cr. it handcuffs the department and i'm disappointed we don't have the leadership decisions on a bipartisan basis to get that done. i would say my priority is that we come to grips with what we are going to have to do really through the life of this and in
a 10 year timeframe, which is not only to do the rdt&e, which is essential for are the reason said and for which the secretary went on. by the way, we cochaired a task force for the reagan institute. we don't win the battle for innovation, we do not win. that is clear. we have to have a force through the racks of this decade -- rest of this decade. the problem is we have not recapitalized the force since the 1980's. we are using the inventory created during the cold war years. this began in the 1990's. my career has gone through this whole thing.
i think we need a topline increase. jim matta said a three to five percent increase. if we have that by fiscal 23, we will have a topline. that is how far off we are. with the additional money, i would excel the right -- accelerate f-35 . with cular, in terms of naval strength and we don't have the shipyard capacity. i would buy shifts -- ships. we have to invest in personnel and buyback readiness.
they're doing what we wanted them to do, transforming the marines. one priority. one priority. when you are first fired and you increase the topline -- >> from a defense enterprise point of view, military-civilian leadership, congress, the most important priority is to take advantage of the opportunity still accelerate commercial technologies into the enterprise and do it to enable rapid capability developments along the way of development platforms and programs. i think that is opportunity. there will be modifications to the budget and if the chairman says we can do that effectively, i think the party will go after it. >> karen smith, what can wait --
chairman smith, what can we expect from congress over the next 30 days? what confidence do you have we are not heading back to the continual desk continuing regiment -- continuing resolution future? rep. smith: i will give you the bad news and the good news. the bad news increasingly is we have seen congress the very difficult. it is more individuals than collective action. everybody has their priority and their mission is to force the priority, whatever damage is done. there is not as many people in congress focusing on knowing we have to pass an appropriations bill and raise the debt ceiling. we haven't mentioned that but that would be a catastrophe if we did not. increasingly, members of congress -- there are too many focused on being celebrities in -- instead of legislators. they are focused more on winning the message of the day than they
are on the hard work of getting it done. i'm in the middle of that, trying to negotiate the ndaa. if i clear one screen, i got to have this, i gotta have that. we have to get the work done and increasingly, the country is rewarding that type of individual approach to legislation. you can blame it on congress if you want, but we are the ones electing people acting like that. marjorie taylor greene raise $3 million in the third does first quarter of this year. some people like the approach, right and left. there are still a lot of people who do understand all of that. we have appropriation bills and have to pass the ndaa and raise the debt ceiling. we have the skill set to get it
done but it is difficult because we try to do it and if i am against that, i will bring these people with me and you won't have the votes to bring it down. cut the deal, come back, and everybody says good. they're gone. we have to bring these people in. it is a 50-50 call. the most important thing is between now and february 18, to get all of the appropriators in a room and actually start negotiating. we cannot start negotiating from agreeing to everything i want. we have caucuses. we are not going to get what the caucuses are asking for. we do have to at least try. i would say in the next 30 days, the issue is now february 18. . we know what we have to do in the decision is whether we can do it. >> what are some of the
priorities that would be a danger for another continuing resolution? rep. talent: they are across-the-board. one thing that is on the table would be a pay raise or cost-of-living increases. that is not fair to our air men and anyone else in uniform. we have a number of programs that need to scale up our nd. we have production programs that we need to scale up to get more efficient rates. we just need to move forward some programs. one of the biggest problems with the cr is you move time. time is not a recoverable asset. you can't get it back. we lose the time, facing challenges. secretary alston talked about the rates for military modernization and the introduction of innovation into the force. we heard a lot about innovation and the importance of that. we cannot move forward and you
cannot do the start. we cannot start with things we don't have funded currently so it is a devastating outcome to have that impact and we need to do everything to avoid it. >> a year ago, there was a report from the commissioning on national military safety connecting the dots between revolutions and preventable accidents. are you concerned about the dynamic if you go back to dysfunctional budgeting? rep. talent: we were doing what we could to manage what we had to avoid that thing. try to keep it as highs we could. we have cost-of-living increases in those areas. there are risks of things like safety associated with that. 9 >> you looked at readiness closely in congress.
how would you rate it where we are today purses over the course of your career? rep. talent: after the sequester and everything sense, secretary panetta was here and said it would be like shooting ourselves in the head and it was. because of the way it happened, it was terrible to take that much money and there was no way the department could get out of anything except current readiness. we already had backlogs in trade and maintenance depot, all the rest of it, so everybody took an enormous hit. jim matus i think was able to buyback readiness. from what i understand, about two thirds of the army's brigade teams are fully ready. the secretary can speak for his service and he has valued that but it was in very bad condition a few years ago.
the marines are moving ahead with the transformation. i'm concerned about readiness. we don't have the navy here but certainly the outward sides are not good with what we are seeing in terms of the accident. i am concerned about the reputation it projects and what may come, a near -- maritime theater. we have to continue working on readiness and we can't recover from losing 500 -- $500 billion to the budget projected over the course of about six to seven years without having enormous knock on effects. >> i want to talk about the navy but before, how does the budget dysfunction affect your planning cycle? how do you think about that? >> it makes it difficult for us to pivot to the priorities
secretary kendall and the chairman have talked about. three of them i would point to is one would be hypersonic's. we expected an increase in hypersonic r&d investment and preproduction that will not be able to happen. as you said, losing the year in that race with china and russia is unaffordable. there is an anomaly to be had if that is the case. the second thought is important is modernization for the f-35 is we need to start now to make sure it is done in time for the increase that will come down the road so if we can't get an increase in the budget at least by transitioning, it will be a year-over-year lose that is essential to competitiveness. a third one i would point to is man operations. there is no funding vehicle craft today. those one of the areas i think
we can draw these digital technologies and get rapid capability advances but if there is never any way to allocate funds to that because there is a cr for yet another year,. we. will be behind as well in that area. those are three i can think of after that. >> secretary kendall, you would like to retire aging assets. what do you make of the criticism and invest strategy means to the air force -- leaves the air force extremely vulnerable over the next six years, what analysts are calling a window? how does the air force plan to manage that vulnerability? >> we have a number of assets when i first came to office. if it doesn't run in china, why are we doing it? our assets are required that were very useful in sounder in -- counter insurgencies but are
not threatening to china. we have to refocus -- the secretary went on about the chinese threat and the challenge it poses. what i have watched for over 10 years, and it goes back 20 years before that, is china's modernization, which is focused directly on defeating american power, and they have added since the first gulf war and required high-value assets, of which the numbers are fairly low. we had to respond to that. time is our enemy. so is the reluctance for resources and places used to do the things to combat that threat. assets are things like reverse, some c-130s, some older tankers, e-10s. these are all programs with great value.
they're aging and their utility against the pace and challenge is limited. we have to make changes there. what i encountered as i was coming up for confirmation is i would talk to senator after senator who would talk about how much they understood the threat of china and the next senator would say "don't touch my aircraft in my state." we have to get a common understanding of the seriousness and a sense of urgency. i don't think we have enough of that in congress right now. >> how would you advise your republican colleagues how to think about that question about the need to modernize but also the need to be ready? >> we keep coming back to what is the elephant in the room, which is that we are not able to prepare for all the threats in the country. having sufficient funding is not
sufficient by itself to do what we need to do. it is necessary but not sufficient. all the great things secretary kendall is doing over his career for a number of years. what industry is doing is tremendously important but we have to have the funding and we don't. it is one thing to make hard choices and it is another to make selfish choices where we decide to guard against one threat but not another, because we don't have the funding to build the capacity. i just have to say, you know, you can import 10 pounds of potatoes in a five pounds sack. they can do 10 pounds in 8.5 sacra nine pounds sack. we will have to get funding up. in the meantime, it is a difficult choice, because the secretary is right.
china is facing threat, a maritime domain, a different kind of warfare, certainly the counterinsurgency in eastern europe. at the same time, bob gates said we have a perfect word -- record of producing the next war. we have never been right. is 100% wrong. and i always think, if one big threat is thinking you only have to guard against the greatest threat, because the enemy or adversary has a choice. i'm not answering the question. i suppose if i had to do it, china would get the money. for heaven sakes, get us airframes, not five years down the road. get the frames now. >> first of all, when it comes to the threat environment -- number one, it matters how you
spend the money. we don't really talk a lot about that. we talk about how much more we need. one of the big things the pentagon needs to do and in this chart you haven't put up yet that we can see -- i don't know if they can see it --tells about where the american public is out on where we are spending our money. basically, that is too much or too little. infrastructure, education, health care, border security, it is 61% say we are not spending enough on infrastructure, 58% say education, 56% health care, 47% border security, 27% say military. we have a problem in the country with not really agreeing the most urgent thing we are facing is to spend more money on the pentagon. we have to ask ourselves why. why does the public feel this way? two important reasons are the
spectacular amount of money the pentagon with the help of congress has wasted over the course of the last 20 years. when you look at a variety of programs, they have not come in where they were supposed to come in. i'm not supposed to mention specifics but this is important so we have to. you want more money? you can't dance around with that. the fact that that program is $2 billion over budget and did not deliver, this stuff happens. we shouldn't talk about that. the public sees that, man. they don't care about you and all of us. they tell us we need more money for the pentagon and i just read a story about the sustainment cause and f-35 -- it is a hell of a lot higher than they should have been. the tankers we were supposed to deliver were crazy over budget. future combat systems became an epic disaster. you know, maybe if we actually
cleaned everything up and fixed it and did it as sufficiently as it can be done, and i argue with my constituents all the time about this that it is not as easy as it looks. okay? it is really complicated. we are trying to have a system that can survive. there is not a single person in this room that if you were asked honestly, even with all the difficulties, couldn't make it a hot -- a hell of a lot better than we have been doing, wouldn't you say yes? we don't talk about that that much. if you want to try to get better, you have to convince people we are trying. step #1. number two, there are increasing numbers of people in the country on the left and right who look at the rest of the world and say, "what are you doing? china is not our problem. i am worried about her infrastructure, education, health care. we spent 20 years in afghanistan and all that money and lives and i got one for that?" please understand i disagree
with those things. i will sum it up simply. the world is a better place, in my view, if the u.s. has more influence and russia and china have less. you don't get there unless you actively engage and have a robust military. we, in congress, are elected not by you so much but buyer constituents. if our constituents look at it and go a don't know what you're talking about, you're going to spend that money. you will spend it really well. #2, what we're doing in the world matters. we are not making the case. we are arguing about having tenney percent -- 10% -- wha tever. the country is going, what the hell are you talking about? we, in congress, have to deal with that. you have to fix those problems before -- everybody and everything they do in life say they would like 35%
over inflation but you have to deliver that the american public is going to support it and congress will support it. >> in that case, does not undermine a spending bill on other priorities? rep. smith: let me say this. i have said this to my constituents, who are up in my chops about supporting a 5% increase. i am in a 70% democratic district who would be on the 26% side of the military chart. i support the 5% increase. i said we just spent $8 trillion in the last year on everything but defense. i think we have a good argument. on that case, it is undermined if i say we don't have enough money to spend on defense
because we spend all this other money. but you have to make those other two points. if you don't, we will have a hard time getting there. >> let's get back to the comments about the budget size and different elements of the budget. all budgets are an attempt to balance -- there is no question about that. aggressively, it is an increasingly difficult challenge for us. it's not the only problem we have. you talked about ukraine a lot downstairs a few moments ago. there is still a good concern about countries like north korea and iran. those problems will not go away or be ignored. every president i have ever watched or had experience with for over 50 years in national security has always submitted a budget to the congress that he thinks is adequate to secure the
nation, to do the things we need to do. all the years we ran with syquest ration under obama, president biden will submit a budget. i guarantee that. we will deal with those other challenges i mentioned, but we have to be allowed to make changes. the numbers are important. the budget in 2022 what's below what the administration planned to submit, 1.5%. whatever money was appropriated, we will find a way to spend it, hopefully beneficial to national security, but 1.5 does not move the needle. we have to orient the money we get to problems that are more severe. that is what we will have to
have it for dealing with threats we are confronting now, particular china. >> you have a background in this process. what you think about the idea lockheed might be able to improve business? >> it is flexibility. that is within and across programs. i can give you an example. there is a basic problem. there is an advancing threat. there is no denying that. it is multi-front. we are in space and cyber. there will be a flat budget environment, and that drives the efficiency argument. how can we get more efficient with the budget? what we have been good at has
been applying physical or newtonian world technologies to the requirements that are designated by the defense department and delivering programs, products, systems, and platforms. i think we need to turn this process on its side and have a more objective outcomes where we can compete on that, but have flexibility in how that goal is achieved, rather than very specific requirements on how to achieve it. that is one place to add flexibility. the second places reallocation within the services, and maybe have the combatant commanders have some flexibility solving the problems. what we are finding in the year and a half i have been out that the industry, we have been demonstrating some interesting capabilities that were cheap to put together.
one quick example is we can tie together a bad missile system and radar and a fire control system the navy has onboard ships already, and network, and bring a network effect of those existing programs which improves the defensibility of the fleet. we demonstrated that. then we packed it up after everybody loved it and took it home because there was no program for it was no funding for it. they will advocate for this, but it is in the process, so more flexibility is a key thing. >> the panel is budget-based, so how do you put that in its proper role where we decide first the strategy, then let the budget flow downstream
from that? i am open to anybody's thoughts. let's put it to secretary kendall. >> it is one of my favorite topics actually. we allocate resources to the strategy. you heard from secretary alston what you can expect in the strategy. there is a strategy that is already out that the general pointed to. president biden has been clear about the challenges. we have been working on this for the last few months in government and before, how do we align our resources, planning, but balance risk over time. when thing is -- one thing is the way risk are changing and how we need to think about how we deal with current problems and current readiness, which is a priority, and support combatant commanders, and make investments we need for the
increasing whiskey world we live in. i don't think anybody says the world be less risky in 15 years. part of the planning process is understanding that. in the pentagon, we are working with strategy in parallel with the budget. >> many have heard me pontificate about this. it's not strategy or budget. it is both. there are finite resources. most of my time is around groups of people the first thing they try to do is convince you money should not be an object with what they want. i can understand that, if you're coming from that perspective. i don't have any sympathy for that outlook, because we live in the world of finite resources.
you have to deal with both. i have often said this, i had a vc said i have not found the entity you can't cut 10% from and get better at what you're doing. there is something to be said for understanding you have finite resources in the forcing mechanism you have. gentlemen, we are out of money, now you have to think. it's not just a matter of giving me that. you have to a balance that. arbitrarily if we could cut 50% of the requirements, that would be in a norma's improvement to efficiently spend money -- an enormous improvement to efficiently spend money. you have to be flexible on how you get there. that is the single most important thing we have to do to get to that place where we are spending the money better. >> do you want to go next? >> this is a question about how
the department spends money. i did it mostly when i talked to republicans, although everybody will raise it. one of the things i say to my fellow republicans is we are the ones always think that the government cannot operate as efficiently as the private sector. that is a classic republican theme. i think it is right. you tell the department we will not give you the money you need until you do it like walmart. they will never do that. the response to bureaucratic and political dynamics, those limits, it is pretty good. this is an agency that for 3.2% of the nation's gdp, the number of missions the air force is capable of performing at a moments notice, moving forces, the movement you do every day, every one of the services all over the world in a contested
environment, and the reality is, i am on the u.s.-china commission to the congress, standing commission on the chinese-american relationship, and we did a report last week, unanimous, totally bipartisan, and china is at or near the initial invasion capability for taiwan. every secretary for 27 years has devoted himself to reforming the pentagon. i am all for it. it is not going to change the basic issue. we need to do a lot of different things, but in my opinion, we will continue accepting risks to the homeland of vital national interests unless we get realistic about the top line. beyond that, i love the emphasis on innovation and modernization.
we did a report a couple of years ago on china's advanced weapons programs. it is tremendous. if i had to choose, i would continue that, but we need other things, and we need those now. >> general? >> i want to respond to chairman smith comments. i spent a good deal of my career trying to make programs execute efficiently. i will give you an analogy. the thing we tend to get criticized the most for in this industry and government's overruns in our development programs. our average program overruns by 25%. in the commercial world, programs are overrun all the time also. it is not visible because people aren't telling you about that, but it is visible when the government does it. i would love to have gone that number down to 10% or 15%. i think we did to a certain
degree. which are doing and development is something that has never been done before. we have a tendency to ask our partners to do very hard things that have never been done before, then we ask them to bid against each other to tell us if they would do it faster and cheaper than anybody else, and we give the contractor that person. the system is set up to have overruns and develop in. it is designed almost that is an inevitable result. we don't want to stop trying to do hard things. we need to be willing to accept that is what we get when we have that thing. i get comments from the hill about waste and so on and a lot of comments that they were not taking enough risk. why aren't you taking more risk? 25% overruns on average, i think we are taking it. >> one quick comment. i agree with you, by the way. i totally agree with you.
we have not been talking about how we get the public to agree with this. if you are consistently running 25% over, why don't you increase the estimate upfront. i think the answer is because you want to sucker us in. not you, sorry, not you. but a fair number of folks in the audience like to do this. let's deal with that. if it's going to be that high, not 25%, like the airlines, if you say you were sober 10:00, why not say 10:30. i just wanted to throw that out there. >> i agree with with the chairman was just saying, but a couple of things. we have had an enormous consolidation. it is fragile and frail. we all need to do something
about that. obviously fewer competitors, less competition, prices go up. you also have supply chain issues that are a huge problem. every time i have looked at this or talk to somebody really successful, the way to get the procurement and acquisition, the best hope you have of getting good programs is centralized authority to the secretarys and chiefs, tell them to come up with good plans on hold them accountable. you need a tight chain of authority. we have too much input. it has to be, chairman, it has to be the chief and secretariess. give them the authority and hold them accountable.
that's what i was told in the 1980's. >> we will go to the person who has been waiting. >> if you give that flexibility and authority to a small number of people, we will be able to go about things in a different way. our industry response on products and platforms is very specific and narrow in scope. what we are doing at our company , and i don't know if it's the platform, but we will try it anyways, keep doing that, be good at it, and basically say we will map out the missions that we think are important to the department of defense and we will try to understand how we can network existing platforms together in order over time to increase mission capability. now, that may cross services. it may cross allies.
it may cross existing develop in programs, but we will try to come up at least, you have 14 missions we are after now. we have three pretty close to done. if we can address the mission capability improvement versus give me a new or better product, i think you can accelerate change like the general is trying to do, and do it more efficiently. the last footnote is when i go back to my old industry, i have had great success talking with ceos about working with us, to insert their ip and accelerate technologies into mission solutions for our customers, and they also tell me, thank you, i don't want to deal with them directly, by the way, because they are 1% from 2%, 3% of my revenue, and i will not set up a system it takes to comply with the rigidity of that process. so we think there is a way to do this by mission, but it will
take a lot of change on the part of government, congress, and industry to do it, but we will see if it sticks. >> i want to move on to other subjects. we have an audience question. if you talk about the need for compromise to get the appropriations bill done, what was one of your priorities for the cycle? >> oh gosh, there were about 1000 of them. it is a good time for that question. i can't get into it. if i tell you that, the deal will -- [laughter] >> we are not supposed to announce outcomes. if i told you, my phone would light up with 100 desperate phone calls to change my mind on what i gave up on. i hate to do this, but me answering the question is professionally hazardous. ask me in one week. i will be glad to give you the list. >> i know you have discussions
about a larger navy. i want to hit that topic. you have been critical of the more ambitious plans for larger navy. we are dealing with a maritime challenge. of course, the capabilities matter. it is not simply a numbers project. what do you see as the appropriate size and character of the navy? what is that going to cost? >> my main focus on that criticism was to move us to that question. i don't pretend to know exactly what the answer to that question is, but i have some ideas, but others do as well. every time we did one of these big studies, the main focus was we have to have a big number so we look ambitious. that drove me insane. you need flexibility and capability. i'm not say building a 100-should navy and they will be so magic they have all the capability you need.
you need a certain number, but so much of the focus in discussion is that out. we can debate the relative capability that it, but -- of i t, but it was designed to meet a number as a closer capability. that would be an example of why i cap obsessing about the number, ok? so let's talk about the capability. the point sec. kendo made about does this scare china was a pretty good place to -- secretary kendall made about does this scare china was a pretty good place to start. ethiopia is falling apart as we speak. we have some americans there. we need to get them out. that is going into an environment with the capabilities for that. that is what i want the focus to be. i can't tell you into sentences the exact capabilities, but the
obsession with numbers is a problem. we had this debate in some kept saying we had more ships in the navy during world war i than we have right now. i'm like, really, that is the point you are going to make? i can take 10 of the ships we have now and blow that navy out of the water. can we move on to a more intellectual point of what is the capability that doesn't require that many ships? i'm trying to get us to the point of your question. i think many people are very focused on answering it. good. all these reports cap coming out. the number that came out with your guy was 500 or i forget with a number was, and i know firsthand that was driven because the administration wanted a big number. >> how much time do we have for
that substantive discussion if china is building a blue water navy pretty fast and we are haggling over destroyer? >> we don't have a lot of time. that's why we need to get started, ok? >> the chairman is asking the question, which is how should the navy be sized and shaped. i think the answer begins with reference to the missions of the navy, which is to win naval battles and support the other services and preferably deterring them a bit if necessary, winning battles, but also being present in carrying america's credibility and presence around the world. if you want to have allies in the secretaries talking about integrated deterrence, secretary austin is correct. people need to see you, so you do need numbers. the chinese think numbers are important.
naval intelligence estimates for 25 ships by 2030 -- 425 ships by 2030. if we don't take actions quickly, we will still be at 300. it may be lower because the navy wants to retire some. that is the same position secretary kendall is in, and that is a problem. generally speaking, at the end of the cold war, it was estimated that kind of force we would need, and they drew down the cold war force a lot and thought we would need a 451-ship navy. this was in a unipolar moment. there were no significant threats. there was no iranian nuclear program. there was no rising china. russia was friendly. no global war on terror. and he thought we needed 451 ships.
no matter what index you look at, numbers matter in the capability's matter -- matter, and the capabilities matter. i think we need to substantially increase the navy going forward. >> the last thing i would talk about is how big of a navy we need. [laughter] if he was talking about how big of an air force, i would be upset, too. i want to talk about the nature of the conflict with china and what it requires. i want to set the record straight. i have been misquoted recently on this. we are in a race, if you will, with china, race about military modernization, about quality in the capabilities and the things we have. it is not about quantity. it is not a race to build more battleships. they have thoughtfully come after our key assets, and they have done things to do that is
efficiently as possible. we need to be thoughtful about what we buy to go after their phone abilities. it is not a symmetric situation. one thing we have been doing is experiment with hypersonic weapons. they have already bought a great many conventional weapons. that alone is enough to give us a serious challenge. we need to be thoughtful about this. we need to respond intelligently. it is about modernization. it is not about quantity. we need to make that clear. we are in a race with china, but it is more of that nature than what we would traditionally: arms race. it is a different race. -- traditionally call an arms race. it is a different race. >> if you go back to the writings and believe the chinese government still looks at that, 95% success rate before they
take action. they would do this for a long time and surreptitious, but when they are 95% they will do the physical attack and achieve their objectives. the goal i have for a digital twin is to move the goalposts to get to 90% to 95%, if you are the chinese decision-maker. we can do that rapidly with some of the digital technologies by connecting space assets to air, ground, and see assets -- sea assets, command-and-control secant just cut one and blinder leadership. -- so you can't just cut one in blind our leadership. if we can keep moving those goalposts, including our commercial partners, to get him involved moving those goalposts, i think it will have a positive effect. >> how are you looking at the
effect of inflation on the air force budget? >> we will manage on the inflationary curve. i am not an economist, but i have spent a fair amount of time studying it. the now is being driven by covid. -- inflation now is being driven by covid. so i think there is reason to be hopeful. we will see how it plays out over the next few months. i have a memory that goes back far enough to remember pretty well the hyperinflation in the 1970's. i don't think we will see anything like that. i think this will be much more manageable. we will make adjustments and manage whatever we see. i don't think it will get out of control. it does not keep me up at night. >> i want to put up our second slide. we are short on time. we have been discussing
confidence in institutions generally, and we been looking at -- >> i love this chart. you have to go a long way to construct a chart where congress comes off the best. [laughter] your ability to do that is greatly admired. [laughter] >> yes, anyway. we will take that under advisement. [laughter] >> [indiscernible] >> looking at this chart today, i want to get your thoughts on it. what is this going to do to your ability to get the services and resources they need? i would like to hear from each of you how you use your influence to improve these numbers. four >> this much of my life, talking
with constituents and trying to convince the u.s. government works better than they think it does. i think this is the central challenge we face as a country. we have become frustrated for a variety of different reasons with the way government works, with the way institutions work, and people are throwing up their hands and rejecting the very idea of working together to solve problems. that's it. number one, we have to work and do a better job, whether congress, be responsive to people, listen to them. the other thing is we have stopped educating the american people about what government is, what representative democracy is what politics is. there is this level of expectation that cannot possibly be met. bringing diverse groups of people together and stopping them from killing each other as a starting point is an enormous challenge. bringing them together and
getting them together to figure out how to live together and decide you give up this, i will give up that, it is difficult. that is what representative democracy is. we don't teach about that. what we teach people about now is how to be activists, how to recognize what you don't have been to fight for it. that's great, but at the end of the day, that is a selfish way of looking at the world. what does the person across the street from you want? if you don't work with him, there can do the same thing and you will not get along, and then we look to institutions to solve this impossible problem. it feels like every negotiation begins with the premise of this process, so let's start here. i will get everything i want and i will not care about what you want. how does it work? it doesn't. we have to start educating people, because the frustration in that chart, people are not happy with outcomes. we have to teach them about the
process to build that level of support in our institutions. >> secretary kendall? >> two people spoke elegant about what's happening here this morning. we have two problems when it comes to trust in our institutions. we are under external attack. we have a former kgb operator running a country that is dedicating resources to dividing americans and making them distrust their institutions. we have been under attack for some time. it has been incredibly effective. there is nothing covert about it. that is what they are doing. we are amplifying those messages ourselves to a large extent in the u.s. i wrote a piece for forbes that said president biden, if elected, his greatest challenge will be convincing half americans at the other half are not people bent on the destruction of america. we have a large faction of americans right now who don't trust democracy because they
don't see it working. we are doing this in part to ourselves, and it is done to us in part by people outside the u.s. the direct purpose is to divide us and tear down our institutions. sadly, as these numbers show, it is working. >> i agree with everything said, especially the chairman's point he made earlier about the fact that too many people in institutions today, as compared to when i started and even when he started, are using the institutions as platforms for performance, without loyalty to the norms and purposes of the institution itself, not just the my guess is everybody here in this room is participating. i'm not sure what to do about it but it is a problem. >> the adjunct to the military's reputation, industries keep getting better at what we are supposed to be doing operationally.