Copyright ©2009 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500, 1000 Vermont Ave, Washington, DC 20005 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service at www.fednews.com, please email Carina Nyberg at email@example.com or call 1-202-216-2706.
SEN. LEVIN: (Gavel sounds.) Good morning, everybody, and welcome to our witnesses.
Today, the committee meets to receive testimony from General John Craddock, commander, U.S. European Command, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Europe; and General James Mattis, commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Transformation.
This will probably be General Craddock's final appearance before this committee as he will be retiring in June. And let me take this opportunity, on behalf of all the members of our committee, to thank you, General, for your dedicated service to our nation, and to -- please pass along our congratulations and our thanks to your family.
Also, to both of you, please express our gratitude to the men and women in your command, their families, for their commitment and sacrifice in carrying out the missions of the U.S. European Command and the Joint Forces Command. We are very proud of their achievements and ask that you pass along that appreciation.
The trans-Atlantic relationship with Europe remains central to U.S. national and collective security. Our commitment to this relationship is demonstrated daily by the more than 40,000 U.S. troops forward deployed in Europe. Pursuant to the last administration's Global Force Posture Review, these forces are scheduled to be cut to a level of 32,000 by no later than 2013.
It has been reported that General Craddock is reviewing a proposal from General Carter Ham, commander, U.S. Army-Europe, to halt the draw-down plan and retain four Army brigade combat teams in Germany and Italy, rather than deploying two of those teams to the United States. I'd be interested in hearing General Craddock's assessment of the impact of the currently planned draw-down of forces in Europe; what that impact would have on EUCOM's ability to engage with our European allies and on their capacity to operate in coalition with U.S. forces.
One of the notable activities of EUCOM is its engagement with our European allies through Coalition operations like the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force aimed at bringing security and stability to Afghanistan. The vast majority of the 42 countries participating in ISAF are in the EUCOM Area of Responsibility, contributing most of the 30,000 troops fighting alongside an equal number of U.S. forces under ISAF command.
By all account(s), a critical component of our Afghanistan strategy must be building the Afghan security forces so they can take responsibility for providing security for the Afghan people. Yet, to date the growth of the Afghan army and Afghan National Police has been painfully and unnecessarily slow. Not because of a shortage of Afghan recruits, but mainly because of a lack of trainers, including, in particular, U.S. and NATO training teams to embed with Afghan units and the lack of equipment.
General Craddock, in my office, cited a current shortfall of 13 NATO embedded training teams, or OMLTs, as they are called, which could grow to 29 teams by next year. Given the security situation in Afghanistan, it's mystifying to me why we and our allies aren't doing all we can to fill this shortfall and accelerate the growth of the Afghan army and other Afghan security forces.
While our NATO and other allies need to contribute more to the mission in Afghanistan -- whether in terms of troops, equipment, training, or the financing of the build-up of the Afghan national security forces -- and to lift national restrictions on the use of their forces, we also need to recognize the sacrifices that our ISAF partners have, and are making, particularly in the volatile southern region of Afghanistan.
The European Command faces a number of security challenges within its Area of Responsibility. In recent years, Russia has grown increasingly assertive. Russia's invasion of Georgia last August led to a suspension of business-as-usual in the NATO-Russia Council. And, this past winter energy security became a major issue as nations throughout Continental Europe suffered energy shortages as a result of the Russian-Ukraine natural gas dispute. The Balkans remain a potential source of instability, particularly as the 15,000-strong NATO-Kosovo force gradually steps back to let the newly established European Union Rule of Law Mission take increased responsibility for security in Kosovo.
There also appears to be new opportunities for improved security in the EUCOM Area. The committee is interested in hearing from General Craddock regarding the implications of France's decision to fully reintegrate into NATO's military structure at the NATO 60th Anniversary Summit next month. The Obama administration has called for resetting relations with Russia and NATO ministers have decided to resume discussions within the NATO-Russia Council following that summit.
As commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, General Mattis is responsible for the training, certification and mission readiness of our armed forces. U.S. Joint Forces Command is also entrusted with the important role of NATO's Allied Command-Transformation. Joint Forces Command was established in 1999 with significant impetus coming from this committee. One of the committee's goals was to promote more effective coordination with respect to joint operations in DOD organizations, policies, programs and culture.
Another goal is to help drive the transformation of the military to meet the anticipated threats of the future. Significant time, personnel and resources have been invested by JFCOM in its activities and programs. I hope that General Mattis will discuss what the return on those investments has been and, specifically, how JFCOM has changed DOD practices, policies and culture in support of achieving those original goals.
Persistent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to stress the readiness and resources of our armed forces. U.S. Joint Forces Command's leadership as the Joint Force provider for present and future operational needs for the Department of Defense remains essential. U.S. Joint Forces Command faces the challenge to integrate all the various methods, authorities and military cultures to provide a truly joint force.
We're particularly interested to hear General Mattis' views on U.S. Joint Forces Command's contribution to the generation of forces and the development of capabilities to meet the requirements of the combatant commanders. And we're also interested in hearing your assessment, General, of the readiness of both deploying ground forces and non-deploying forces.
Again, we thank both of you for your dedicated and continual service to our country. We look forward to your testimony.
And I'll now call on Senator McCain.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you to the witnesses for your testimony here today.
And, General Craddock, I know this will be your last time before this committee, and I thank you and your family for your long and distinguished service to our country. General Craddock, as commander of U.S. European Command, you are charged with fortifying some of America's deepest and oldest alliances. And often much is made of the influence has had on America's past, but I believe that Europe will play a vital role also in our future.
The U.S.-European relationship is built on our common dedication to freedom, democracy, prosperity, and security, and so our shared values and our commitment to trans-Atlantic security -- that has provided the stability and the prosperity in the aftermath of the Second World War, transformed the world.
I believe that in order to ensure that NATO remains relevant today and in the future we must win in Afghanistan. Defeat there would risk the return of Afghanistan to its former status as a terrorist sanctuary; strike a historic blow in favor of the jihadist movement, and would spell disaster for NATO.
As the administration finalizes the elements of a new Afghanistan strategy, it should keep the end success firmly in mind. I also believe that leaders here and in Europe must do much more to prepare their publics for the expense, sacrifice and patience that will be necessary to win. I think you and I agree this will be a long, hard struggle and we'll do ourselves no favors by evading this truth.
As we recommit to Afghanistan, we should take great care to ensure that the trans-Atlantic allies don't let their occasional differences cloud our collective will to prevail. In recent years, our alliance diplomacy has led to frustration on both sides of the Atlantic. As the U.S. has increased the number of troops it contributes to the fight, and asks the allies to match our efforts, it's grown frustrated with some allies ' refusal to do so.
On the other side, our allies have expressed that their contributions have gone unappreciated, and that haranguing from Washington only makes the war less popular at home. I believe the United States should continue to invite European contributions and press to reduce restrictions on their use. I also believe we should move away from stressing what Washington wants Europe to give, and make greater use of what Europe itself is prepared to contribute.
In many areas, non-combat related contributions -- from police training, to a trust fund for the Afghan National Army, will be necessary to success as more European troops is. General Craddock, I look to your -- forward to your thoughts on this. I'd also invite your thoughts on our relations with Russia. While I don't believe we risk a reversion to Cold War tensions, there are a number of disturbing trends in Russian domestic and foreign behavior, including its suspension over the winter of natural gas deliveries to neighboring countries.
As you address these matters, I hope you'll also comment on the future of U.S. missile defense systems in Europe. In light of signals that the administration may back away from the commitments that the U.S. entered into with Poland and the Czech Republic last year, the Polish foreign minister said over the weekend, and I quote, "We hope we don't regret our trust in the United States," unquote. The administration must have firmly in mind the possible effect that dramatically shifting course on this issue would have on some of our closest allies in Europe, and what signal it would send to other countries in the region.
General Mattis, as commander of Joint Forces Command, you have the diverse mission that includes providing trained and ready forces requested by our geographic combatant commanders, and transforming our nation's joint military capabilities. I'd like to hear your views on the current state of readiness of our nondeployed forces in the Continental United States.
I'm also interested in the progress we're making in the development and integration of interagency and multi-national military capabilities. Because of your role in Joint Concept Development and Experimentation, the committee would benefit from your perspective on future trends and challenges that will face our operational commanders.
You also wear a second hat in serving as NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Trasnformation. In that capacity, you're responsible (for) promoting and overseeing the continued transformation of NATO's forces and capabilities. We don't hear much about that effort. I'd like you to describe the progress you're making in transforming NATO's military structures, forces, capabilities and doctrines to meet changes in the policy landscape; changes in the nature of war; and lessons learned in Afghanistan.
I thank the witnesses.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator McCain.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Mr. Chairman, may I ask that my written statement to this committee be submitted for the record?
SEN. LEVIN: It will be. Is your mike on?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Chairman Levin, Senator McCain, distinguished members of this committee, thank you for the opportunity once again to appear before you to represent the dedicated men and women of the United States European Command.
Here with me today, if I may, are my European Command policy adviser, Ambassador Kate Canavan sitting behind me; and my battle buddy, Command Sergeant Major Mark Farley. And I would like to also comment that I am, indeed, honored to appear here today with Jim Mattis, who, as Senator McCain said, along with (many ?), (comprise ?) NATO's Supreme Allied Command. I could not ask for a better wing-man here today, or every day for that fact. Thank you, Jim.
I'm very proud of the day-to-day work and superb achievements of the members of the U.S. European Command. Their endeavors range from planned partnership capacity-building events, such as members of the 86th Airlift Wing training with their Polish counterparts on C-130 aircraft; to crisis response actions, such as the Army's 21st Theater Sustainment Command facilitating humanitarian support relief to the people of Georgia last August.
In today's world, nations are repeatedly called on to do more. It is in this call that EUCOM's efforts in building partner capacity is so important. The multi-national operations of today and tomorrow succeed only if allies can work together effectively. Their interoperability and increased partner capacity are essential, and our Force presence is indispensable towards that end.
Since 1952, dedicated men and women of the United States European Command have remained committed to security in defense of our great nation, and your continued support allows us to sustain this proud tradition, and I thank you for that.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, General Craddock.
GEN. MATTIS: Chairman Levin, Senator McCain, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify and provide an update on Joint Forces Command and Allied Command-Trasnformation, alongside my shipmate who's carrying a very heavy leadership role right now, John Craddock.
I request my written statement be accepted for the record, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: It will be.
GEN. MATTIS: And I'll speak for just a couple of minutes, leaving as much time as possible for questions.
As you know, my command's primary missions have strong joint and coalition, current and future aspects. We support current military operations by providing those combat-ready forces to the combatant commanders, and we see the reduction of force levels in Iraq and the increase in Afghanistan well underway.
The units deploying overseas are highly ready. We also prepare for future conflict, thinking ahead so that we're not caught flat- footed in the future. We are co-located with NATO's Allied Command- Trasnformation, which I also command, and that brings an essential coalition focus to Joint Forces Command.
We recognize that we can never predict the future precisely, and we must expect to be surprised, but must plan so the surprise is minimized and not lethal. We purposely set out to create a shock absorber in our force to withstand the shocks that we know will come.
Changing DOD culture is one of our responsibilities, Chairman, as you have noted. Militaries throughout history have changed based on one thing -- it's a very clear understanding of a specific military problem that they needed to solve. And to this end, we have provided you and the members of the committee with our Joint Operating Environment document and its companion document, the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations.
Joint Operating Environment, or we call it the JOE, is our analysis and identifies the problem, as we can best discern it, in a future of persistent conflict, hybrid enemy threats, global instability, increasing access to weapons of mass destruction, the rise of regional state and non-state actors, and the unpredictability of security threats.
The Capstone Concept, the companion document, is Admiral Mullen's vision for how the joint force will operate in the future. While the JOE is our problem statement, the Capstone Concept is our proposed solution to future security challenges, and we will experiment with it to determine if we've got it right.
As far as change in NATO, we also have underway a plan right now to deliver to the secretary general within 30 days an eight-month effort to define the problem that NATO faces. In this regard, sir, when I got there, it was clear that there was not a clear understanding of the threat to the population of Europe, and the Multiple Futures Project is our effort to try to come to some agreement on what those future threats will be.
One thing is clear. We must make irregular warfare for the U.S. forces and NATO a core competency. For the U.S. Command, it is Joint Forces Command's top priority. By institutionalizing the lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan and our study of second Lebanon war, Chechnya and other fights, we want to apply those lessons to our efforts.
At the same time, we must have balance, as Secretary Gates has clearly articulated, institutionalizing irregular warfare capability while maintaining our nuclear and conventional superiority, behind which the international community derives great benefit, and at the same time, bringing together the whole-of-government approach that is vital to maintaining our nation's security in the future.
I'd like to end here and leave the time for questions, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, General.
Why don't we have an eight-minute first round?
General Craddock, according to a recent Department of Defense report, the current plan is to grow the Afghan National Army from its current level of 82,000 to 134,000 by the end of 2013, but this could be accelerated with additional resources.
Senator McCain and I wrote Secretary Gates recently to ask him to look into what needs to be done to expedite the training and equipping of the Afghan security forces. We spoke yesterday in my office. General, you indicated that the long pole in the tent for expanding the Afghan National Army was the lack of U.S. and NATO training teams to embed with and to mentor Afghan security units.
You indicated that NATO is currently short 13 operational mentoring and liaison teams, called OMLTs, and that that shortfall is expected to increase to 29 teams by 2010. And these are the teams that are embedded with an Afghan battalion of around 500 soldiers, build their capacity over a course of a year and a half to two years. Having these additional training teams on the ground would help to expand the Afghan National Army by thousands of soldiers, accelerate the date when we can turn over responsibility for Afghanistan's security much more to the Afghan security forces.
First, in terms of the numbers, am I correct that NATO currently has a shortfall of 13 embedded training teams and that that's expected to grow to 29 teams by 2010?
GEN. CRADDOCK: That's correct, Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Now, what assumption are those numbers based on in terms of the growth of the Afghan army?
GEN. CRADDOCK: That's based on the 134,000 number that the Afghan army has as their target right now. They originally planned by 2013 to reach that. The minister of defense, General Wardak, has said he will reach that by 2011. He's going to accelerate the growth by two years. We have, working with the U.S. (SISTICKI ?) Alpha, the training organization, received our allocation. That 13 today and 29 by December 2010 is the current best number.
I would like to clarify. There is no shortage of U.S. -- United States embedded training teams. The U.S. provides teams when NATO doesn't. NATO needs to step up, fill their responsibility, so they can displace the U.S. teams to go do police training. So NATO has a shortfall there, and we must step up to what we committed to do.
SEN. LEVIN: "We" being here NATO.
GEN. CRADDOCK: As the Supreme Allied Commander, Operations, we as NATO, yes.
SEN. LEVIN: And even though we're not the source of the shortfall of the embedded teams, is it expected that the additional 17,000 troops, when they go to Afghanistan, are deployed there this spring and summer, will carry with them some additional training teams?
GEN. CRADDOCK: It is my understanding they will. And additionally, some of those will have a dual purpose to not only be combat forces, but also to train and mentor at the same time when they're partnered with the Afghan forces.
SEN. LEVIN: Is it correct that it takes approximately six months for the United States to generate a U.S.-embedded training team?
GEN. CRADDOCK: I believe that's correct. I'm not an expert on their time lines, but from identification to the preparatory training and deployed forward, about six months, I believe. I'd have to maybe pass that to General Mattis.
SEN. LEVIN: Do you know the number?
GEN. MATTIS: Yes, sir. That's approximately correct, sir. The teams are already in place. We could probably do it a little bit faster if they're already constituted, but generally six months from start to finish (if ?) necessary.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. It takes our NATO allies, I believe, somewhat longer. Is that right, General Craddock?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Recently, when we've had nations forming OMLTs -- I've been checking on this -- it's about a one-year period from the time they commit until we can get them in Afghanistan on the ground.
SEN. LEVIN: Now, at our committee hearing on Afghanistan and Pakistan last month, we heard from General Barno that another long pole in accelerating the expansion of the Afghan army is the lack of equipment due to the lengthy U.S. process for acquiring basic equipment for Afghan forces, and we will await that answer from the secretary of Defense to the letter that Senator McCain and I wrote in order to learn what we can do to expedite that process for providing equipment.
General Craddock, first you. Do you have any ideas as to how we can speed that up?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Chairman, I don't have any specifics. I do know, based on my experience in previous assignments, we were working through foreign military sales. It does take time. The same gear that the Afghan army needs is the same equipment that we need to replenish and replace for our own forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. So I wouldn't know exactly the time lines on that.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. Now, the cost of equipping the Afghan security forces could be picked up by NATO's Afghan National Army trust fund, as Senator McCain said. Is that correct, General?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Sir, NATO has established a trust fund at the request of the United States for contributions from nations to provide for equipping and transporting the equipment, then, that's donated to Afghanistan, yes.
SEN. LEVIN: Now, that trust fund, I understand, has a target of a billion dollars in Euros -- or a billion Euros. Is that correct?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Yes, sir, a billion Euros.
SEN. LEVIN: But it's a pretty sad statement, as I understand it, when we learn that -- a pretty sad state of affairs that there's only $18 million in that trust fund, or 18 million Euros in that trust fund. Is that accurate?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Chairman, I believe total contributions to date have been somewhere around 18 (million) to 20 million, because it's difficult to track pledges versus actual cash in the bank. Of that, our balance today is about a half a million Euros.
SEN. LEVIN: So there's a target of a billion, but all that's been deposited in that trust fund is 18 million Euros.
GEN. CRADDOCK: That's correct.
SEN. LEVIN: When was that target supposed to be reached?
GEN. CRADDOCK: I don't know that a time line was set.
SEN. LEVIN: When was the target announced? Was that months ago, a year ago?
GEN. CRADDOCK: I think it was about nine months ago when the trust fund concept was first announced.
SEN. LEVIN: Well, I agree with Senator McCain's comment that we've got to focus on the elements that the Europeans and our NATO allies are willing to provide. But when they make commitments, we've got to also, it seems to me, put some maximum pressure on them to carry out those commitments.
Secretary Gates has done that rhetorically; others who have gone over to Europe, including both my colleagues, my colleagues, Senator McCain, Senator Lieberman and others, who have gone to Europe and reminded our NATO allies of their responsibilities. I think we have to continue to do everything we can to remind them that this is a joint effort and that they've made commitments and that we expect them to keep their commitments.
But there's also a troop shortage, not just a euro shortage. And the Dutch general who is in charge of providing security in southern Afghanistan was quoted recently in The Washington Post as saying that we are not stopped by the insurgency, we've just run out of troops. Is that a fair assessment from your perspective?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Chairman, I think, from the perspective of Regional Command South, that's indeed the case. The strategy is to shape, clear, hold and build. We don't have enough forces right now between the Afghan security forces trained and in place and ISAF to be able to clear out the insurgents and then hold that so that development and reconstruction can occur. And that's why the additional United States contributions will go into the south.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Craddock, I understand that in an interview in February, you said that NATO wouldn't oppose individual member nations making deals with Iran to supply their forces in Afghanistan. And I quote, you said, "Those would be national decisions. NATO should act in a manner that's consistent with their national interests." And with their ability to resupply their forces, I think it's purely up to them. Have any NATO partners completed bilateral arrangements to use routes through Iran?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Senator McCain, I'm not aware of any. At that point I was asked, is NATO going to use an arrangement, an agreement with Iran? I said, not to my knowledge, but I don't make those decisions. That would be a political judgment, and nations will do as they please. I know of no NATO nations now with bilateral arrangement to do that.
SEN. MCCAIN: Last week, the NATO secretary-general said that ISAF needed another four battalions, each about 800 to 1,000 strong, in time for the August elections. Do you think that's any possibility of that happening?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Senator, I was in Afghanistan last week, and I talked to COM ISAF. His judgment is that in the north, the nations will contribute what's required, that's one more battalion he sees as coming. In the west, one more battalion he sees as coming from the Italians. What we do not have sourced are two battalions in the south. I'm hoping for contribution by the United Kingdom, but that's problematic right now.
SEN. MCCAIN: By who?
GEN. CRADDOCK: United Kingdom, U.K. We're still working on that. We are short (two ?) battalions, I can confirm, in the south that we need to generate between now and August.
SEN. MCCAIN: And unfortunate, the south is where we have the least amount of control. Can you talk to us about counterdrug operation in the last few months. Have we got some kind of unanimity on policy as far as counterdrug efforts are concerned and operations?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Yes, sir. COM ISAF has indicated publicly and again in conversations last week to the North Atlantic Council, who I took to Afghanistan, he has all the authority he needs now, both from a NATO perspective and in his role as the commander of U.S. forces Afghanistan to pursue the facilities and the facilitators in the drug trafficking. That's the laboratories and the traffickers. He indicated there's been an eight-to-ten-fold increase in the operations and activities against the narcotraffickers. We have seen actions in the east in Nangarhar province, that has taken out several labs and actions in the south and west also.
We are continuing to partner closely with the Afghan counternarcotics force in targeting these labs and these traffickers. Indications are that it is causing turbulence in the trafficking network, which impacts the insurgency. So we think that what we've done today is favorable. It's not enough, we need to continue and increase the effort.
SEN. MCCAIN: Have you seen any examples where a EU-NATO country chose to divert resources and troops to an EU mission such as countering the piracy problem rather than to ISAF?
GEN. CRADDOCK: The diversion from counterpiracy rather than ISAF, no, because it's a maritime program, so we haven't seen that. What I will say is -- it's probably a harsh judgment, but it's my judgment -- that I think that some nations, partner nations and member nations, will commit forces to K4 in the Balkans or commit forces to the NATO response force as opposed to committing forces to Afghanistan. And what that does is short our requirements on the ground and leave forces unfilled. So I think that there is a risk aversion in NATO that must continue to address and push nations.
I talk to the chiefs of Defense routinely. These are the chairman of the Joint Chiefs counterparts. And generally, they want to contribute, they feel they have the ability and the capability. But politically, they are constrained --
SEN. MCCAIN: Because of the public opinion within these countries.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Yes, sir, I think that's the case.
SEN. MCCAIN: General Mattis, last year, Secretary Gates expressed concern about NATO and told this committee, quote, he feared a, quote, "two-tiered Alliance in which you have some allies willing to fight and die to protect people's security and others who are not." That's a quote from Secretary Gates. Do you agree with that assessment, General?
GEN. MATTIS: Sir, there are many indicators of that. However, there is also a certain amount of intellectual disarray about what are the threats they confront. And I think if we can come to some agreement on that, we can then actually get at the problem, not the symptoms of the problem.
SEN. MCCAIN: General Craddock, do you think we're making progress in resolving this kind of dual-command structure that exists in Afghanistan?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Yes, Senator, I do. I think with the designation of COM ISAF, dual-hatted as commander of U.S. forces and then Central Command giving him operational control of the training mission and others, he is able now to leverage that in a very competent and capable way. We have seen better effectiveness, that's the first thing, and efficiencies in doing that. So I think that those decisions were well-founded, and it appears to be working better than it was a year ago.
SEN. MCCAIN: Still very bothersome, though, that the restraints on operations and combat operations is still extremely bothersome. Could you give the committee one or two examples of how that really hampers our ability?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Yes, Senator. In terms of NATO's nation and partner-nation caveats, restrictions, constraints on the employment and use of their forces, at Bucharest summit last year, the heads of state affirmed that they would reduce caveats. We at that time had 83, today we have 70, and so we've reduced 13, not near enough. We went last year from 13 caveat-free nations participating to today 18 of 42 are caveat free. But what happens is these caveats constrain the actions of a force. For example, if COM ISAF provides a frag order for a force --
SEN. MCCAIN: A frag order is?
GEN. CRADDOCK: A fragmentary order, an order to conduct an operation -- he first has to ensure that what he is telling the force to do of nations -- let's say it's a regional command's forces -- he'll have to check to see if they're constrained by caveats from doing that, either the function -- we want you to do counternarcotics here, and maybe they're caveated for that -- or the location geographically -- I need your forces to go here. So that's an everyday, typical constraint.
SEN. MCCAIN: And sometimes when there's an area that needs reinforcement or resupply, they are unable to do that because of these restraints imposed by the government.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Indeed. We've had cases where we needed to move Afghan national army forces from one region to another, and the OMLTs, the mentoring teams with them, were restricted from moving with the battalion, so we had to have U.S.-embedded training teams pick up the responsibility then when the Afghan battalion moved to a new area.
SEN. MCCAIN: And I don't mean to pick on any of our allies, but that's true with the troops of the Federal Republic of Germany.
GEN. CRADDOCK: That's correct.
SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator McCain.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (ID-CT): Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
General Craddock, thanks for your distinguished service, and good luck in the next chapter of your life, and congratulations on being one of the few husbands to keep a promise to a spouse that he would retire by the age that he actually said he would retire. We hope our wives and husbands are not watching today to hear that you did that.
You in your statement today as you leave service, I think, give us some real straight talk about Russia from the point of view of your position at the European Command. You warn, and I quote, that "The relationship with Russia is likely to be more difficult in coming years than at any time since the end of the Cold War," end quote. You cite the Russia-Georgian war of August 2008 and the Russian's restrictions on natural gas supplies to Europe this past winter and caution, and here again, I quote, "Russia's overall intent may be to weaken European solidarity and systematically reduce U.S. influence in Europe," end of quote. And I appreciate the directness, and I wanted to give you an opportunity to share some more now about why you, at this moment when you're about to leave this command, you give us these warnings.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Thank you, Senator.
My judgment in that is that the events of last August in Georgia essentially changed the assumption that we made 15 years ago or more. And the assumption after the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact was that there were no borders that were under threat of invasion -- that in Europe and Eurasia that that would not be the case.
So we moved ahead on that assumption and I think that that has -- that assumption's been now proven false. And it has caused and raised a concern and angst, if you will, among many of the nations in the European area of operations.
And the concern is basically -- is Article 5 -- Article 4, the threat to violation of borders; or Article 5, violation or invasion -- is that still a NATO guarantee and is it extent? Is NATO ready to respond accordingly? So I think from that perspective, we changed the geopolitical situation.
Also, I think we see here in this period, rapid dynamic change. The rise of oil prices, the fall of oil prices. We see significant political turmoil. Now, the economic downturn is causing also considerable problems for many of the nations -- both those who are new into NATO and others.
So we're seeing this constant turn and turmoil. And I think that there is -- has been, quite frankly, a strategy, if you will, by the Russian Federation as to how they want to approach NATO. We've seen that. And after Georgia, we broke contact. And essentially, then, you know, I'm in a situation in European Command where we're waiting for the authority to resume military-to-military engagement. And also NATO, and as was discussed, that will probably occur after the NATO summit.
So I think that we had engagement. We had the opportunity to communicate, dialogue and discuss and that was helpful. We've lost that for a while. And sometimes -- in my experience as an armor officer -- when you break contact and you lose contact on the flanks with friends or break contact with a foe, then everything gets a little bit more confusing and ambiguous in our business. It's not what we like.
So I'm concerned. I think we need to have a "whole of government" strategy as to how we approach NATO and NATO's approach to Russia. We need to include, I think, a broad spectrum of issues -- not just military-to-military, but economic, social, informational -- energy is a big one -- so that we understand where we are and where we want to go. And I don't think we have that right now.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: I appreciate that answer very much. I hope we take it to heart in both regards -- both about the Russians are -- the Russian government is not exactly behaving the way we hoped it would at the end of the Cold War and we've got to keep our eyes open on that. It's unpleasant for both our European allies and us. We'd much rather see a calm horizon without any challenges, but we have to be realistic.
The second point I think you're right about is that we ought to be talking, but that -- and I know you believe this, talking itself is a means to an end. It's not the end.
I want to ask you a specific question about something you said, because last August, Senator Lindsey Graham and I went to Eastern Europe after the Russian movement to Georgia. And we visited Georgia, but we also visited Poland and Ukraine.
And I must tell you, I was really struck by the extent to which people high up in those two allied governments of ours expressed doubt about whether NATO would exercise its Article 5 responsibilities to come to their defense from either conventional or now, quite realistically, unconventional -- particularly cyber attack from Russia.
I'm sure you've heard those same doubts. What do you say to them when they express those concerns?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Senator, I have heard those.
The argument is we have asked NATO to transform the militaries from large, static territorial forces to agile, expeditionary deployable. And the fear is, in being agile and expeditionary deployable, they don't have the capability to defend the borders.
I think General Mattis would agree we think that's the wrong perspective. If the transformation is done from a perspective that deployable away also means defendable at home, this still works. So that's the first thing.
The second is we are always looking in the military what we do is planned. So I tell those defense ministers, chiefs of defense, foreign ministers that I discussed, my headquarters will always be doing what we call prudent planning, so that we can think through some areas and be arranged and postured as best we can to accommodate whatever may arise.
The last point is the NATO response force that was ordained, if you will, conceived in Prague in 2002 reached full operational capability in 2006. And midsummer 2007, I told the secretary-general we are not fully capable. We have struggled to keep the NATO response force working. We are still trying to find the solution.
I will take to the defense ministers in June a proposal for a NATO response that will have the capability for Article 5 guarantee. We have to craft it to be not only a response force, but a rapid response force so that the NATO nations know that there is indeed capability behind the promise.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Well, I thank you for that answer. Obviously -- and that's within the full range of what anyone could ask of you.
The other question I think on their minds is a question that's up to the political leadership of the NATO members, which is whether we will have the will to defend them -- we hope and pray none of this never happens, obviously -- we will have the will to defend them as we've promised to do.
But I thank you for all you've done to bring us to that point.
General Mattis, let me -- first, I can't in my opportunity here but to thank you for naming your important document "The Joint Operational Environment" which is called the JOE. I take this personally and I thank you very much for it. Other combatant commanders might want to think about documents that have acronyms that spell CARL or JOHN -- it's just a suggestion that I would make. (Laughter.)
Very briefly, because -- let me just ask this question briefly, and maybe give the beginning of an answer: These are very important documents -- this and the capstone concept you've put out. But critics would say that ultimately, your Joint Forces Command does not have the statutory authority you need to direct the military's services doctrine or modernization plans -- although the organization has chartered, yours, to develop concepts that apply across the services; that too often in the end, you're a bystander to the actual decisions that each service makes about what concepts to pursue.
And I wanted to give you a chance to respond to that.
GEN. MATTIS: Yes, sir.
Most of my authority right now is persuasive. But I would point out that there is nothing like the absence of alternatives to clear people's minds. The active operations over the last seven years have put us in a position of no longer needing to sell the reasons for interoperability at lowest tactical levels for having the ability to fight irregular, as well as conventional war.
I don't go into any arguments about that. Having come in here today, I walk in with an assumption we're going to do it. I don't get any pushback. We get into the how we do, and in that regard, I'm convinced that where we have come up with good, sound ideas we can gain the support that we need.
We will experiment with the CCJO -- the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations, which is our solution statement to the problem defined in the JOE. We will experiment against a pure competitor and a failed state and a globally networked terrorist organization, in order to make certain that we're not picking an enemy that we like to pick, because it's easier than to go against them.
I've got some red team people -- including Andy Krepinevich -- to look at it. And I think when you put together teams like this, you create the groundswell of support that you need if we're going to carry a big change like this forward in the military.
I don't think I need more authority, sir. I could use a few more hours in the day as we try to define the problem and solve it. But we're on the right track right now with the authority I have.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thanks. I'd like to continue that discussion.
But thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Lieberman.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I had to leave for a few minutes and came back and you've already talked about the NATO situation -- how to encourage them to fulfill their obligations that their clearly not doing now.
But General Craddock, looking at the EU -- the European Union. They have resources; they have money. How can we get more involvement out of them?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Thank you, Senator.
Indeed, I think that the ability or the opportunity for the EU and NATO to partner -- to cooperate as opposed to compete -- is long overdue. I think that we have got to find opportunities here to bring the EU onboard.
In Afghanistan, there is a police-training mission, (EUPOL ?), that is very small. But that's only the first step. I think we have to look at what else? What core competencies does the EU have? And I think that when we talk about the comprehensive approach, it's not only military contributions, but we need civilian contributions. The EU could help with that.
We need civil servants, mid-level bureaucrats, technocrats to go in and partner with not only at the central government, but out in provinces and districts with government leaders to be able to mentor and teach them how to manage. So that's one thing.
Secondly is financial contributions -- monetarily. It's my understanding that there's large -- enormous coffers in the EU. And there's resources there for development and construction -- generally in Europe, but it could be, again, the EU and NATO could partner.
It could be, I think, used for Afghanistan also, which would be quite helpful.
But I -- I think militarily we've got to find the opportunities -- training, exercises. The counterpiracy here might be a good one, because the E.U.'s there; NATO's going to be there.
We need to create a template that allows us to step-by-step integrate our efforts over time.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah. That's good. I --
We talked in my office about the concern that we all have with -- in Poland and the Czech Republic. Senator McCain quoted one of the statements that Prime Minister -- Foreign Minister Sikorski stated.
Let me give you whole quote: "When we started discussing this with the United States, the United States assured us that they would persuade the Russians that it was purely defensive. It would be a non-controversial decision. We signed with the old administration and we patiently wait for the new administration. We hope we don't regret our trust in the United States."
At the same time, the Czechs were now looking at not bringing it up in their parliament. And the real reason, if you dig down into their discussion, is that they're not sure where this new administration's going to be. And so why should they take the political risk until they find out? It makes sense.
But if you would just, for a minute, talk about the seriousness of this if something should happen and we did not have this -- the interception, the radar sites in those two locations.
Do you want to elaborate a little bit on the risks that we might be facing?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Well, thank you, Senator. The -- it's known as the European third site. Essentially, the construct was as additional protection against a rogue attack on the United States from the Middle East. So there would be a risk there because it would be the absence of a first shot against the -- a long-range ballistic missile.
I think, secondarily, NATO, for example, the NATO ministers, over 18 months ago, foreign ministers, accepted the fact that there was a risk of a ballistic missile attack.
As recently as 3 December in 2008, this last December, the ministers, foreign ministers, said that the planned U.S. defenses, the planned defenses in Poland and Czech Republic would make a substantial contribution to protecting the allies from the threat of long-range ballistic missiles.
Now, that initiative, the U.S. third site initiative, is the catalyst, if you will, for an integrated approach for NATO for short- and mid-range.
So right now, I think that we have only national short-range and mid-range protection, but there is no integrated, if you will, anti- ballistic missile protection that would -- will come underneath the umbrella of the U.S. third site.
SEN. INHOFE: And General Mattis and General Craddock, I've always at these hearings want to bring up some issues that I think are very significant and get your response to, and that is the programs of the train-and-equip 1206, 1207, 1208, the CIRF -- the CCIF and the -- and IMET.
Any comments you want to make? And then, General Craddock, I'm want to get -- move on to the funding flow problem that we're having with IMET. Would you like to both --
GEN. MATTIS: Senator, these funds are absolutely critical.
As we look toward this future that we've, as best we can define it, shows increasing irregular warfare going on, the best way for us to address this is using indigenous forces that we assist.
The only way we can do this is to have the funding authority and the operational authority to move out and work with countries on foreign internal defense so they defend themselves.
Now, that's not to say we'll never have to deploy U.S. forces, but certainly we can start using this authority and using it well to create whole government efforts inside those countries -- integrating their military security forces, their own economic people, their educational people, to try and reduce this sense of failed-state hopelessness that feeds our enemies' opportunities, Senator.
So this is absolutely critical to us, not having to always use U.S. troops to address these kinds of situations.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah, General Craddock, I know you agree with his comments there, but would you elaborate a little bit on the problem that I was not really aware of that in the IMET program, the funding levels could -- might not be all that bad, but the problem is the flow situation.
In other words, how much more good we can get from that program if we are able to change the funding flow for the same amount of money. Do you want to kind of get that into the record here?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Thank you, Senator.
Well, over the past several years it's been my experience at both -- as commander of U.S. Southern Command and now U.S. European Command, that in the IMET program the key here is that we have to work closely with partner nations to determine their needs and then we have to match their needs to the U.S. military school system.
So the services all run their schools. And they do it over a fiscal year approach, and they have so many classes per quarter per year.
The problem we're facing is that with IMET our funding stream is not always, I guess, graduated through the year. We don't get a quarter of it every quarter. So we get a little to start here, and we plan then to be able to put students in courses.
But without the commitment of funds, we can't commit to the course, yet the course doesn't get all the seats filled, or a majority. Sometimes the service cancels the class because they -- because of efficiencies.
And then, by and large, generally speaking, we get the remainder of the money at the start of the fourth quarter of the year. And under the IMET rules, we have to use it by the beginning of the first quarter of the next year.
So by the end of the year, many classes are not available or are already filled up. And then we have to try to plug these students in where we can, into the first quarter of the next year. It's inefficient and oftentimes ineffective.
We need a continual stream throughout the year. So if we get a certain amount, we know that every quarter we can plan on having that amount of money to buy that many courses, to put that many students in.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah. Mr. Chairman, I think this is something that we could, as a Committee, look into and address. Because it's one of these rare times where you're not talking about more money into a system, but making it much more productive with the same -- amount of money that we had.
My time has expired. I'd just like to ask you, for the record, so you could maybe both submit something, your sense of -- your concern over our aging fleet of everything. And I'm talking about tankers, the Paladins, the -- all of the -- problems that we have that everything we have is between 25 and 44 years old, and how that -- what negative impacts come with that -- maybe for the record, or a later time.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Inhofe, I was just trying to figure out the best way to follow up on your suggestions relative to the IMET funds and the -- the Foreign Relations. We'll also have some jurisdiction here.
What we would do is take this testimony, this question and answers of yours and General Craddock's and refer this also to Foreign Relations, see if we can't together with them work out a better flow.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah. Mr. Chairman, that'd be very helpful, because I think now it's not like it used to be when we had the IMET program. We thought we were doing a great favor to other nations.
And in reality, now they're doing a favor to us, because there's competition. We know what the Chinese are doing, and others.
So that would be a good idea for our Committee to do that, working with Foreign Relations. I appreciate it.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
Senator Ben Nelson.
SEN. BEN NELSON (D-NE): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, General Craddock, and good luck in your future. I know you'll be productive, and keeping your commitment is always a wise thing to do. I'm glad that you were able to do it, but we're sorry to see you leave the military.
Sunday, the president stated that a comprehensive strategy in Afghanistan, including an exit plan, is a key to America's priority mission of preventing an attack on the U.S.'s interests or its allies'.
And apparently the plan will most likely cover the next three to five years and include such items as building economic capacity in Afghanistan, improving diplomatic efforts in Pakistan, and coordinating more effectively with allies.
Inevitably, as we begin to embark on this endeavor with more troops, there is always the possibility that we'll run into what's called the fog of war. And to ensure that this fog doesn't get us off our end-state goal, I've suggested that we need to have metrics to evaluate and measure progress toward meeting the goals in Afghanistan.
And I've written letters to both Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates urging the administration to develop a series of benchmarks, as we did in the case of Iraq, to objectively assess the military and political progress in Afghanistan so we don't get into the position where we were in Iraq of having one person saying we're winning, another person saying we're losing.
They're looking at the same set of facts, and they can't both be right. But they can both be wrong in trying to assess it in that context, as opposed to are we making 25 percent of the progress we need to make in certain areas, or are we falling short.
What would be your top three priorities -- metrics, if you will -- that we could use to track the progress in Afghanistan over the next three to five years? One of them could be in the development of usable intelligence. There are others as well.
Do you have any ideas that you might be able to share with us?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Well, thank you, Senator. I could not agree more that we must have objective metrics.
Right now, our assessments of progress are anecdotal, and they vary daily, weekly, with whoever makes the observation and where they are making it.
In my headquarters, I have, for the last 18 months -- we tried to do this internally, to develop a set of metrics that we could measure and judge our progress in ISAF, in Afghanistan, and the task was overwhelming, we could not do it, are not structured to do that. Have since brought in a NATO organization who has systems research analyst and we -- I'm supposed to get my first report in April. But we have to do that.
What metrics should we track? I think in NATO, I would submit to you, there are three lines of operation; one is security, one is governance and the other is development. We have to find the metric that tells us whether or not more or less of a country is secure. And right now it's based upon incidents in a district and I don't know if that's right. One incident, gunfire in the bazaar counts the same as a suicide bomber killing 30 people, and that's not correct. So we have to get more refined than that.
Secondly, governance. I think there it's -- we have to look at the opinion of the people as to whether or not the government -- district, provincial or central -- is a positive factor in their life. We have to measure that.
Development may be the easiest but the fact of the matter is there are more databases on developmental issues that are not integrated or coordinated than you can shake a stick at. We've got to bring that together and I think we can get a feel for is our development coherent and does it reach the needs of the people.
So those would be the three areas. Now we've got to refine that but I certainly, certainly would welcome that effort.
SEN. NELSON: In connection with the NATO trust fund, you know, that 18 (million dollars) to $20 million that's in there, that's about 8 percent of the AIG bonuses. So you put it in the context of how small it is we understand how much more progress needs to be made there.
Is there something that Congress can do or the administration can do to shake loose the money to that it goes into the trust fund? I think the American people are concerned about not only our carrying a disproportionate share of the war in terms of military personnel, but also in terms of the cost of the operation. So sooner is better in terms of getting the money in there so that it's not all U.S. dollars or not disproportionately U.S. dollars that go toward funding the operation.
So -- I used to laugh when I was governor about calling something a trust fund -- it was because you probably couldn't trust people to keep their hands off it. In this case, are we just trusting that they're going to give their money to the trust fund? Or is there something that we can do to see that they do step to the line and write the checks?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Thank you, Senator. I'm on record as saying in NATO a trust fund is an oxymoron. And I think right now there's seven trust funds that have been established as a means to pay for things, budget things, in lieu of common funding or national requirements, and we've only got one of the seven that's net, or even close to meeting what's needed.
So, what is the forcing function? I think first of all it takes continued engagement. Secondly, I think that the NATO parliamentarians could be a forcing function. We have representation there, it needs to get into that forum so our representatives to that body can push on their counterparts to go back to their parliaments in the NATO countries. And we've got to continually remind that the sooner we can build a competent capable Afghan national security force the sooner they will take over and the sooner the cost will be reduced to us to be there.
SEN. NELSON: General Mattis, in connection with JFCOM, I know that you say that you're working effectively with others who are jointly working with you to coordinate the development, procurement of joint equipment that can be used so that we don't stovepipe procurement or development of equipment.
What can we -- how -- what can you show us that's at least anecdotal if not percentage of success, that the various branches of the military, for example, are coordinating their procurement, or at least the kind of acquisition process and compatible equipment in the area, let's say, of aircraft; in other words, so that we -- there's some compatibility between what the Navy is seeking in aircraft and what the Air Force is seeking in aircraft and what the Army is seeking in aircraft so that there's compatibility and that'll save us money, plus, be more effective in the use of such equipment if there's compatibility.
GEN. MATTIS: Thank you, Senator.
When you look at the varied domains within which our services operate and then the effort jointly to integrate them, what you're really looking at is command and control. We understand why certain airplanes are built with certain types of landing carriages on them, to land on aircraft carriers, for example, we understand that mission oriented.
Command and control is what gives us the opportunity to tie it all together. In that area, the secretary of Defense has given me capability portfolio management systems -- fancy words that say on anything to do with command and control I will be the capability portfolio manager. And in that regard, I make certain that those Navy airplanes can talk to Army troops on the ground, that Air Force planes can talk to Marine airplanes and Army helicopters. And that's where I think we actually get this synergy, this joint interoperability.
In that regard, I have the authority to move forward on this. On a couple of occasions I've had to exercise it. Generally, we simply go to the service that's got a problem, we lay it out and they correct it. Once in a while we've had to go beyond that, frankly. And in those regards, for example, on the position location, the Army and the Marines had a disconnect. They were pursuing two things, two lines of approach that were not compatible. The JROC, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, came to me and said, figure it out. We got the Army and the Marines together, in 10 weeks we had a policy that was archived, put into effect, and the two services moved out smartly.
I also, on occasion, can go directly to the deputy secretary of Defense if I see that it's breaking down. Frankly, it's very infrequent that I even have to engage. You'll find that on various boards in the Pentagon there are communities of interest where they're already putting these programs together, so when I review them, they're actually working.
SEN. NELSON: Well, are you making progress as it relates to whether or not, apart from landing craft on a carrier, were there differences in requirements between the various branches for helicopters that could be combined so that we don't -- every branch doesn't have to have its own species, if you will, of helicopter, versus something that's across the board from compatibility in addition to interoperability?
GEN. MATTIS: Senator, this goes to the heart of the complexities of war and the inability to have a crystal ball. History is full of examples but I'll just tell you that we see the services' varied capabilities as a strength right now. In a world as unpredictable as ours is, we had never anticipated, for example, going into Afghanistan and yet we've been able to deploy in there using cargo helicopters that were air refuelable to bring assault troops in. Was it the way we expected to use them, no. But because we had these varied capabilities and we had not come up with one size fits all we were able to adapt.
My point is that I think this is actually a strength as long as it's not allowed to go willy-nilly without a sense of purpose guiding it. If there's a purpose behind it and the purpose is strong enough that they can justify that program in front of you, I would suggest that I've already looked at it and I buy into their point. The reason I say this is we are confronting an era of increased unpredictability and I am not confident that any once service has got the market on the right way to go. So if we were to do what the British air force did in the interwar period and say only the royal air force will determine what kind of airplane will be flown by the royal navy and the royal air force, they'd have biplanes taking off aircraft carriers to go out to the Bismarck.
There's an advantage for having this competition, this diversity, so long as it's disciplined and it's not self-serving. And I have the authority to look at any program, as does several other outfits like OSD/PA&E program analysis folks, and we can bring this, our authority, to bear if someone is doing something that doesn't make sense from a joint point of view.
SEN. NELSON: Thank you, General.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Nelson
SEN. MEL MARTINEZ (R-FL): Chairman, thank you very much.
General Craddock I wanted to tell you, first of all, that we appreciate your long service and look forward, I mean, wish you the best in your future and perhaps look forward to having you back in Florida where we still miss you and appreciate the service you gave there on the southern command for many years, so --
I wanted to go back to the issue of missile defense, if I could, briefly, and ask in light of the recent events in North Korea the continued threat that they present and pose, as well as, obviously, the situation that's still unresolved in Iran, it seems to me that the missile defense system still makes a great deal of sense for Europe's defense as well as for our own defense.
And I wonder whether you felt like Russia's position, which seems to me to be not only to try to impose its will on not having the system deployed, but in addition to that, to also perhaps even dictate where it should be deployed. I believe Foreign Minister Lavrov -- I heard him say recently that he thought it was not so bad if it was in certain places but not in others, which perhaps may really get to the root of their concern, which may have to do with the very reasons Poland and the Czech Republic are happy to be part of NATO.
Can you comment on that situation and whether you see that as still an ongoing concern and a real necessary defensive system that we should have?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Thank you, Senator.
With regard to the threat, I think that, again, as I said, 18 months ago, almost two years now, the foreign ministers accepted the statement of the threat of potential ballistic missile attack from Iran. They affirmed that in December. So I think that if we assume that is the case, then there has to be a countermeasure.
We know -- I think it's documented over and over again -- that the Missile Defense Agency had many meetings with the Russian Federation military about this, about the concept, the location, the geometry, the physics, and why those locations work as a countermeasure for that specific threat. And then, unfortunately, it got into a political rhetorical issue, and that's kind of where we are today.
I would hope that there would be a way to find agreement between the Russian objections and the U.S. and NATO intent here. And I think that there has to be continued dialogue and discussion. While there is a threat, in my judgment, we must protect U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in Europe. And obviously, then, the third (site ?) is a protection for long range for the continental United States.
So given that circumstance, if you will, I still think that we need to find a way. And if we have to continue to engage and seek opportunities -- and it may well be that there's a little wiggle room back and forth to be able to do that, but it has to be addressed at some point, given the fact that we've accepted there is a threat of ballistic missile attack.
SEN. MARTINEZ: I realize this may be more of a political question than a military one, but I know that the Czech Republic and Poland have taken pretty forward-looking steps in accepting the systems. I realize all the final votes are not in and that sort of thing, but it appears to me that they've been fairly forward-leaning in saying, "We will do this."
Now, all of a sudden, for us to not fulfill our part of that deal and to simply back off of that system, would that leave them in a bit of a political vulnerable situation, given the fact that, you know -- I mean, do you see a problem with our retreating on our commitment to missile defense?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Well, indeed, sir, it is a political question. Let me approach it this way. In discussions with my military counterparts in those nations -- and I was just in Prague two weeks ago -- they are concerned that -- and this is the language they gave me, the military leaders -- that their political leaders have spent significant capital in gaining approval, or at least pushing the effort to gain approval, for these installations. And they're concerned that they need to continue to do that, but they need U.S. support to stay the course.
SEN. MARTINEZ: It makes sense to me.
General Mattis, I wanted to ask you about the NATO situation as it relates to Afghanistan. I know that the president has indicated an additional 17,000 troops. I was looking at some of the earlier estimates of the troops that might be needed for deployment. General McKiernan last year had asked for 30,000 more to add to the U.S. current 38,000, and NATO's combined 50 (thousand). And I realize that the Afghan situation is under review.
Can you share anything with us as to your views of the number of troops that might be necessary, given the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan?
GEN. MATTIS: Senator, the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating, or at best a stalemate, in the south. But I cannot tell you what number that would be. I'd defer to the operational commanders for that. However, I can tell you that we have looked very closely at what we anticipate could be the high end as we look at do we have the ability to meet that number coming out of U.S. Joint Forces Command. The answer is yes, and we could do so with properly trained forces, not just numbers, but they would be trained and ready to go. So we are prepared to meet that requirement, but I need to wait and see what the requirement is as defined by the operational commander and determined by the commander in chief.
SEN. MARTINEZ: And you could meet that need without 15-month tours?
GEN. MATTIS: Yes, sir.
SEN. MARTINEZ: How about the logistical situation if the troop number was to be substantially increased? And I know the situation has been made more difficult by recent events.
GEN. MATTIS: It has. Again, I don't want to go outside my authority here, but obviously I take a keen interest in this for supportability reasons, and I am absolutely confident that we can logistically support the increased number of troops. I have no doubt whatsoever.
SEN. MARTINEZ: General Craddock, going back to this issue of the caveats in the Afghanistan situation, it seems to me, listening to Europeans talk, that they view their contribution and ours as being complementary, meaning the Canadians, the Americans, perhaps the British and a few others, will engage in the fight and secure while they will complement that with the building of bridges if it's safe, the building of a school if it's safe, and creating other civil sort of society issues, which are important, and I don't mean to minimize them by any means.
But do you anticipate that over the long term our alliance can continue to be a strong alliance if we have this kind of a two-tiered alliance where some fight and others are there to be complementary?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Well, Senator, I think that we've got to use the Afghanistan experience to build solidarity in the alliance. I think that there will be continuing discussions, continuing dialogue. The fact is that all nations will protect their forces. They all have the eminent right to self-defense and they all practice it. The difference lies beyond that in the rules of engagement as to whether or not they're offensive in nature or default back to force protection.
So we have to continue to work this. But I will say that if we devolve or get to a two-tier, it will weaken the alliance and we will have much work to do. And we have to get ourselves arranged for the next mission, the next operation that we send our forces to. We should not do another one arranged like this one in NATO.
SEN. MARTINEZ: I would agree. Thank you, sir.
Thank you, gentlemen. My time is up. But I appreciate your service and being here with us today.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Martinez.
SEN. MARK UDALL (D-CO): Good morning, gentlemen. Thank you for being here today with us.
General Craddock, if I might, I'd like to discuss the situation in Europe dealing with energy. There are many analysts for a while that have talked about the European Command being a quiet command, all quiet on the western front. But it's certainly not quiet on the eastern front, and you've had a series of important challenges.
Russia is in a position and has used that position to threaten critical energy supplies to Europe at large. And I know this is in the domain of the energy ministers as well as the foreign ministers. But could you elaborate on what EUCOM is doing in that regard to encourage options so that Russia doesn't have the dominant role when it comes to energy supplies?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Thank you, Senator.
Indeed, we are in EUCOM very interested in energy security and access, because it is right now becoming, if not already, a significant instrument of national power. I think that there was a discussion that's been ongoing for some time, not only in the European Command bilateral relations with nations, but also in NATO, with regards to whether or not the threat of lack of energy access or security becomes a threat to the alliance and how might we deal with that.
Does NATO need an energy policy? Absolutely. Do we have one? No. What could NATO do in terms of assurance of the flow of gas and oil, assurance of the flow of liquid fuels on the high seas in terms of the large super tankers or tankers? And how might we arrange ourselves to do that?
So from two perspectives -- one, EUCOM bilaterally -- we talk with, work with nations to find out what their dependency is and where the flow is and where the vulnerabilities are. We inform, then, the other agencies in the interagency about that. We get quite a bit of information from the Department of Energy, actually, because they're very good about that.
A NATO perspective, I think it's time. And I'm hopeful that the tasking from the summit, which will be to generate a new strategic concept, will include energy security in it so that NATO takes an active role. With the melting of the ice cap, we've got new routes over the Arctic that are going to change the dynamics, and we need to understand that.
I think the offshore deposits north of Scandinavia are going to be issues that we're going to be dealing with in the long term, if not the short term. And also, then, the flow of energy, whether it's the northern pipeline, Nabucco or whatever from Central Asia west into Europe, but also east into China and other locations.
So we've got to first see what's happening, and that's the hard part is to assess what's going on; secondly, determine the impacts of what's happening; and lastly, look at the vulnerability.
So we're working out closely with State Department so that I can get specialists on my staff both from an economist perspective and also some energy specialists so we can better understand the dynamics because it is critical to many of the nations, and, quite frankly, many of the political decisions are influenced by the energy perspective.
SEN. UDALL: Thank you. General Mattis, if I might turn to the recent report that Senator Lieberman mentioned, the Joint Operating Environment, also known as the "JOE," in that report there was the following passage: "For the past 20 years Americans have largely ignored issues of deterrence in nuclear warfare. In effect, there is a growing arc of nuclear powers running from Israel in the west through an emerging Iran to Pakistan, India, and on to China, North Korea, and Russia in the east."
Could you talk about the role that you're playing, either through the Joint Forces Command or through your NATO Transformation position, to help combat the proliferation? And what steps would you recommend to this committee to be most key to addressing these issues?
GEN. MATTIS: Thank you, Senator. I don't think there's any more pressing issue today than non-proliferation. I have advisors who have given me, from seven deadly scenarios to other explanations of what we face in the future. I think one point is we have got to start thinking the unthinkable again because if we don't we will not come to grips intellectually with this issue.
I think once we understand it beyond just that we don't want proliferation but how are we going to actually do something about it, what it will do is drive a whole of government effort. And there are enormous powers from the United States, United Nations, working in league with NATO that we can bring to bear. They're not all military; I would even suggest some of the most compelling are not military powers. And if we employ them correctly, the penalty will at least slow down proliferation if not stopping it in certain areas. And we have seen some nations give up nuclear programs -- no need to go into those here, you know them very well.
But I think this is a critical aspect of the joint force and what it must be contributing to and it's why as we move toward a more irregular warfare-capable force, we do not want to surrender our nuclear superiority or our conventional because under the paradox of war, if an enemy thinks we are weak in one area -- they perceive that -- they will move to that area. So it's absolutely critical that we maintain a very safe and capable nuclear deterrent, and that is where I work with U.S. Strategic Command and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs as we try to craft the military part of what is a much more complex issue.
SEN. UDALL: Thank you for that answer and for the focus on what I agree is one of the most existential challenges that we face and one that we can't ignore at our peril -- the world's peril.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the time. I did, as I conclude, want to note that the picture behind both of you generals is one of jointness with an Air Force colonel and a Navy captain and somebody from the civilian world. But I can tell you, these two sergeant majors have the look that I'd love to travel with them anywhere in the world, and we're very fortunate to have their service. Thank you for your service.
SEN. LEVIN: And my spouse wishes I looked like one of you two guys too, by the way. She won't admit it, I just know deep down in her heart that's it. (Laughter.) Senator Thune?
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): Thank you Mr. Chairman. And I too want to add my appreciation to you gentlemen for your service and thank you for the sacrifices that your families make and those who serve under your command -- we appreciate everything that you do and hope that you'll convey that to those folks as well.
General Mattis, a couple of observations with regard to the joint operating environment publication that came out last year under your leadership. One of the implications discussed on page 44 of the JOE is that the United States may not have uncontested access to bases in the immediate area from which it can project military power. And it goes on on page 44 of that document to state that, "Given the proliferation of sophisticated weapons in the world's arms markets, potential enemies, even relatively small powers, will be able to possess and deploy an array of longer-range and more precise weapons." And the document concludes, "That with such weapons these small powers could hold hostage our ability to project military power and make the battle for theater access not only the most important but also the most difficult."
And I guess my question has to do is with the proliferation of asymmetric anti-access weaponry, will our ability to perform long range strike missions into high tech air defenses be important to future operations?
GEN. MATTIS: Senator, those operations will be critical to the ability to carry out those long range strikes in conjunction with the rest of the missions; in other words, you would not separate it out and expect that you'll come up with a political conclusion that you're happy with. We're going to have to use that to enable other military and non-military efforts. But absolutely, they're critical.
SEN. THUNE: Given that, the future environment we're going to be dealing with, how important would you say that the Air Force continues its plans to field a next generation bomber by the year 2018?
GEN. MATTIS: Sir, to maintain that capability -- and there's a number of them we're going to need -- is going to be critical. We have got to be able to reassure our friends and checkmate our enemies, and this is one of the ways in which we do so.
SEN. THUNE: Assuming, again -- and with our bomber inventory, much of which pre-dates the Cuban Missile Crisis and we've only got 16 combat-ready B-2s that are currently available with the kind of stealth technology to hold targets deep in heavily defended air space at risk -- what is your assessment of the Joint Operating Environment over the next 25 years if we don't have a next-gen bomber developed by that 2018 timeframe and -- which was directed by the 2006 QDR?
GEN. MATTIS: Sir, the ability to penetrate and hold at risk what the enemy treasures is fundamentally critical in an imperfect world where we don't always achieve with diplomacy what we try. So I would just tell you, sir, that whether it be the manned bomber, new UAVs, there are a number of ways to address this issue. You want to be very careful of having only one arrow in your quiver. And I would consider this to be important.
SEN. THUNE: One other observation in the JOE also, General, had to do with the future of global energy requirements and in it the Joint Forces Command predicts that the medium and conservative growth rates of global energy production would need to rise by 1.3 percent per year by the 2030s -- demand would be nearly 50 percent greater than today. And it goes on to predict that there is a massive expansion of oil production -- unless there is a massive expansion of oil production and refining capabilities, a severe energy crunch is inevitable and could have dire consequences. And then it talks about how a recession caused by a global energy crisis could cause deep cuts in defense spending.
I guess I'm concerned about the addiction to foreign oil and what it means and the fact that we spend up to sometimes I think even in excess of half a trillion dollars on foreign oil, transferring huge sums of money to foreign nations -- many of which are not friendly toward the United States. And the Department of Energy has also predicted that oil imports from the Gulf alone are going to double by the year 2025. So this heavy reliance on oil is certainly not going to lessen, at least based on our forecast today, and I would argue that it undermines the national security. But I want to get your take on how that U.S. dependence on foreign oil and whether you believe that it does, in fact, weaken our national security now and into the future?
GEN. MATTIS: Senator, I don't think energy independence is achievable, I think we can certainly lower our dependence on foreign oil; this is something that's going to require a very broad effort by the country. And from my perspective as a military man I will just tell you that when you are putting this much of your national treasure overseas -- including the countries that are not necessarily friendly -- you are creating the potential for increased friction and obviously a sense of vulnerability by those who want to intercept those oil supplies and bend us to their will.
SEN. THUNE: The Department of Defense is one of the largest consumers of oil and the Air Force alone last year -- or in 2007 I should say -- spent $5.6 billion for aviation fuel. Now since last summer oil prices have moderated and a lot of people say that the issue has significantly decreased and it's not as pressing as it once was. I think oil prices, it's fair to say, most of us would agree, I would think, are going to go up again in the future. There's no better time than the present to address what is a national problem and one which I think has national security implications.
So one of the things that the Air Force is doing is moving in a direction that will reduce its dependence on foreign oil and last year Secretary Donnelly signed an Air Force energy program policy memorandum establishing the goals of certifying the entire Air Force fleet to use a synthetic fuel blend by 2001 and to acquire 50 percent of the Air Force's domestic aviation fuel requirement to be an alternative fuel blend by the year 2016.
And given the fact, General, that the military has often led the way in adopting innovative solutions to these problems and, in many cases, that have ultimately benefited society as a whole, in your view, can the military best confront the significant challenge of reducing the military's reliance on foreign oil by adopting some of these solutions like those I just mentioned? And are there other things perhaps that are innovative that the military ought to be pursuing? I guess getting at just the broader question of what you think the posture ought to be in terms of the military's use of energy and maybe if there isn't a way where the other services could adopt some of the things these proposals that are being implemented by the Air Force regarding synthetic and alternative-type fuels.
GEN. MATTIS: Sir, I don't think there would be any argument. The Air Force's leadership in this, I think, has been exemplary. All the services have energy conservation programs. I don't know that they're quite as far-reaching as the Air Force, frankly, but I don't think you'd get any pushback out of the department. This isn't really in my lane as a joint warfighter but, ultimately, the less fuel consumption we have, for example, in ground vehicles means the more operational flexibility we have. And we do have what Dr. Tony Tether in DARPA, several efforts under way, looking at how do we cut ourselves free from this use of fossil fuels. Some of those are pretty far-reaching efforts, experiments by Dr. Tether. But there's a number of efforts going on. I can get back to you for the record as part of a review of what those are and work with the undersecretary of Defense ATNL to get you a better answer than I'm prepared to give you today, sir. But you'll get argument, I think, from anyone in DOD of what you just proposed.
SEN. THUNE: Good. I appreciate that, General. And again, I think it is a major issue that confronts not only our economy but I think also our national security interests abroad.
So thank you, again, both, for your testimony and for your service to our country.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Thune.
SEN. ROLAND BURRIS (D-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome, generals and commanders. I want to say that Senator Udall stole my comment in reference to the support staff that you have. I've been sitting here admiring the support staff and the rank and, as we say in my old age, the spit and polish these servicepeople are displaying for us. So congratulations to the staff. You guys look wonderful.
To the commanders, especially on the European side, I notice that recently that French President Nikolas Sarkozy has announced France will rejoin NATO. He responded to critics of his decision to return France to NATO by telling critics that there was little significance in the plan to formally rejoin NATO. And President Sarkozy has argued that France's full reintegration into the NATO structure of the 26- member Alliance will have no impact on the Alliance. However, the plan to rejoin NATO is seen by some as the most significant change in French foreign policy in nearly 50 years.
So General Craddock, what would this change mean to the United States and the transatlantic relationship with France should they come back into NATO?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Well, thank you, Senator. I believe that the full participation of France in the military structure of NATO will strengthen the NATO structure. So I do believe there's an impact. Now, the perspective of the French population as to what it means, I cannot attest to, I don't know that. I can only share with you what the French chief of Defense told me when we discussed this issue. And he said that, by and large, the general perspective of the rank and file of the French people is that if France fully participates, they believe that all French military is under the command of NATO at all times. And that is not the case.
What it means is they will rejoin the command structure. In that command structure, they will have generals and admirals who will fill staff positions and command positions. And they then will have officers and noncommissioned officers who will also, down the ranks, fill out those positions. I think, because of the capabilities of the French military, they're very talented, they're capable, it will strengthen the Alliance, and it will bring them from the outside to the inside. And that's a good thing.
SEN. BURRIS: So are they looking for some of their generals to be in the line of command in successions? I would assume that they would be looking for several positions as well, right?
GEN. CRADDOCK: I think that's the case. The NATO Military Committee, the chairman works that with all the chiefs of Defense. And he has a process which is called flags to post. And that takes all of the flag-officer positions and assigns a country to fill them. And that is ongoing now to accommodate the French full participation. Yes, sir.
SEN. BURRIS: Now, General Craddock, are there other countries that may be joining NATO in the next 24 months? What does the future look like for other countries who are on the brink of wanting to come in?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Yes, sir. Right now, we expect at the NATO summit that there will be an enlargement of two more countries, Croatia and Albania. They have been invited by NATO to join. We expect that that will be consummated at the summit, and we'll be up to 28. Macedonia was invited. There is an issue of the naming of the country with Greece. They're working through that now, but they haven't reached accommodation. But we would expect when that agreement is reached between those nations as to the naming convention then they would also become members. That would put us at 29. And there are several nations in a membership action program which takes time, requirements to be met, security sector reform. So right now, there is several different levels, intensified dialogue, membership action plan. At the (lower ?) level, partnership of peace. So we've got several nations who in the coming years, I think, will want to continue to increase their capabilities, their security sector reform and modernization and transformation to then apply for membership.
SEN. BURRIS: Are there any countries that are thinking about leaving NATO? Or at this point no?
GEN. CRADDOCK: None that I know of.
SEN. BURRIS: Thank you.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Many want in. I don't know of any that wants to leave.
SEN. BURRIS: Good. Glad to hear that. Can I shift to Africa just a little bit in terms of what role, General Craddock, do you see NATO playing on the continent and all of these various wars really that are going on on the continent in the various countries? And there are some NATO forces, I think, that are deployed in some of these countries, which is very limited. Do you have any comment on that?
GEN. CRADDOCK: NATO has what's known as a Mediterranean dialogue that we have with the north African countries, all of the countries of Africa that border the Mediterranean Sea. That's been ongoing for several years. We bring them in, we have discussions. We try to get them to participate in our operations and exercises. They do, to a certain extent. We right now may soon have Morocco in our Operation Active Endeavor which is a maritime operation in the Mediterranean. So we're hopeful that that will come to pass.
Additionally, we provide staff trainers, a small number, in Addis Ababa to the African Union to help grow and enhance their staff capabilities to the African Union element there. And upon request, NATO will provide air transport to move battalions to African Union missions on the continent.
SEN. BURRIS: And specifically, are there any NATO assistance in Darfur in terms of that conflict in Sudan?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Not at this time. It's my understanding that is more in the EU area. NATO has not participated or agreed to do that.
SEN. BURRIS: They have not done that.
Mr. Chairman, that ends my questioning. Thank you very much.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Burris.
Senator Bill Nelson.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Craddock, you're getting ready to retire, a very long and distinguished career. Is there something happening that the United States Southern Command becomes a conduit to the supreme allied commander in Europe?
GEN. CRADDOCK: One could make that argument, Senator. Indeed, I think if you look back you can see that there has been some (precedent ?) to do that. So we'll have another -- this will be the third time that I've been relieved by Jim Stavridis. I can't think of anybody better to do that, so I welcome that.
SEN. NELSON: Well, congratulations on a career, and thank you for your service.
The same to you, General Mattis.
General Craddock, I want to ask you about the possibilities of us dealing with Russia on missile defense. If Russia cooperated with us on the missile defense of Europe, what do you think would be the effect upon Iran?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Well, dealing with theoreticals here, and this is difficult, my personal judgment is cooperation between the United States and Russian Federation in dealing with the ballistic missile threat from Iran would be a positive factor in either minimizing, reducing or eliminating that threat. I think it would be positive. I don't know how else -- in other words, if we cooperate, there has to be a common goal, and the common goal has to be increased security to both countries and all the countries then kind of contiguous to those locations.
SEN. NELSON: And the cooperation could be something like that we share in the radar as opposed to them actually being a part of launching the missiles.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Senator, I was presume that's possible. I'd have to defer to the Missile Defense Agency. But you know --
SEN. NELSON: It's my understanding that that's really the cooperation that we're talking about.
I'm getting this from -- the chairman has me as his subcommittee chairman on Strategic Forces and you think about cooperation with the Russians, you think about them sitting there with you in the launching of whatever you're going to launch as the shield for Europe; when in fact, it could be a cooperative arrangement on utilizing their radars with ours and tying them in together so that you get a better resolution of the potential incoming threat.
Now, part of a missile defense shield -- they're looking at it in layers. And the first layer would be utilizing a sea-based Aegis or a ground-based THAAD kind of layer. You want to expound on that about the protection of Europe against a threat from Iran?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Right now the NATO construct is an alternate- layered theater ballistic missile defense that would be comprised of short-range -- right now Patriot, there is no THAAD, the Patriot -- intermediate, that could be the Aegis, if you will; and then long- range which would have been -- will be, if it's fielded -- the third site in interceptors in Poland and the radar in the Czech Republic.
The catalyst for that would be the third site and that would move NATO into what has to happen, which is a command-and-control structure and shared sensors. I think the vice chairman talked yesterday at a conference about we have to look at how to integrate the command and control and the sensors so that we all have situational awareness -- a common picture. And if we integrate the short, intermediate and long range, then it's a shared picture and understanding.
Now, beyond that, other things have to happen, but I think that's the first step. And that's where NATO is looking right now to be able to integrate from the southern shoulder then through the continent to the north.
SEN. NELSON: Now, are you referring to this most-recently installed missile defense command-and-control battle management and communications system that the Air Force has installed?
GEN. CRADDOCK: That's the U.S. system that would have to be integrated with NATO systems. In NATO, we are fielding an air command-and-control system through our air operations center. So we'd have to net those two.
SEN. NELSON: So I take it that the installation of our command- and-control definitely facilitates helping the NATO alliance's command-and-control?
GEN. CRADDOCK: I'm told that it is possible to integrate the two and we could -- we could black box the two systems together for a common operating picture.
SEN. NELSON: With regard to Poland and Czechoslovakia, if the threat from Iran were not to be an ICBM with a nuclear payload, would THAAD and Aegis be a sufficient defense?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Senator, I don't -- I'm not familiar with the technical specificity. If it's not an ICBM, you know, it could be an intermediate-range or short-range. And then THAAD or Aegis, indeed, would be a defensive system. But I don't know the dynamics right now.
SEN. NELSON: Sure.
Let me shift to cybersecurity. You had said in your testimony that the network is our most vital non-kinetic weapons system. You go on to say "We must continue to support initiatives for defending our networks and building our cyber operations force."
What resources, General, do you need to be more effective in this cyber domain?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Senator, right now we get significant support in the systems from the Strategic Command -- STRATCOM, General Chilton's folks. And also, because the services have proponency for the equip side and for their component commands and European command, they have service responsibility then for those networks. And we depend on the services for the defensive measures or the management of those systems.
Now, on the NATO side I have an organization -- command-and- control organization -- that performs the same function. And we also have supported Estonia in the establishment of a cyber center of excellence. So we can inform our NATO networks and also, then, we share that to the extent we can back and forth with U.S. systems.
We depend on STRATCOM services, and then in the NATO side, we have some in-house, but also the capabilities of our other nations.
SEN. NELSON: Thank you.
General Mattis, there was a Joint Environment Report that was done with regard to calling Mexico and Pakistan a possible future failed state.
With regard to Mexico -- and I've heard this said not in the defense context, in the military context. I've heard this said from people -- respected journalists like Tom Friedman -- worried that Mexico is going to become a failed state. Tell us what you're thinking with regard to this report that came out of the Joint Forces Command.
GEN. MATTIS: Thank you, Senator.
The Joint Operating Environment does not predict the future. And you'll notice in my introductory -- my introduction to it that's what I say. We completed it last summer. I signed -- last editing and all and I did not want to bring it out prior to the new administration being elected. In other words, I wanted to not make a political issue, so I waited to sign it.
But it highlights the challenges that we could face. And if there are two nations completely different, facing very different situations, that would cause us extreme duress if something went wrong in them -- or went further wrong -- it would be Mexico and Pakistan. There was no effort to link them in terms of similar situations.
I think that in terms of Mexico in particular, your question: What we see is the illegal narcotics dollars from the United States making a significant impact on the stability of that country. And it starts there and then all the problems accrue from that point.
So if there was a message there, it is that we are going to have to face the challenges that I tried to highlight if we want to basically write our own headlines -- we don't want someone else writing them like drug cartels and this sort of thing.
President Calderon's, I think almost certainly heroic leadership -- courageous leadership -- is getting full support from our nation right now -- as much as we can support them. But I think until we get this situation -- the drug demand down -- we are going to continue to see billions of dollars pouring in in illicit ways with exactly the kind of result we can anticipate right now.
SEN. NELSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Nelson.
Let's start round two.
I want to pick up on some of Senator Nelson's questions on missile defense, General Craddock.
I think everyone agrees that there would be and is a threat already in Iran, because of its support of terrorism. And if it ever got its hands on a nuclear weapon, it would be a huge -- perhaps a threat which would be greater than any threat that we've ever faced, in terms of nuclear weapons, because we always felt we could deter the Soviet Union. And I think most people think we can deter North Korea. But whether or not a fanatic religious regime is deterrable is a very, very different issue.
And so two things become important. One would be a missile defense against a potential delivery system -- a nuclear weapon; and the other one is to try politically to deter Iran from going in that direction. And the key to that may be whether or not we can join with Russia in that effort. And you point out that, I think, you support very much the resumption of the meetings of the NATO-Russia Council after the summit. I think you already indicated that.
I asked Secretary Gates a month or so ago when he was here whether or not NATO would support our discussions -- U.S.-Russia discussions on a joint missile defense. And he said, "very much so" -- not just would NATO support those discussions, but he made it more emphatic than that. And that's true, even though NATO has already supported the installation of the systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Would you agree that it would be very useful -- let me put it this way: Would you agree that NATO would support our sitting down with Russia and seeing if we could work out some kind of a joint missile defense, without knowing for certain that it would succeed, but at least that we make that effort? Do you agree with Secretary Gates in that regard?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Senator, I never want to predict the political decisions of NATO.
I think my judgment would be it would be received favorably. I'll just leave it there, yeah.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. Now, I gave a speech yesterday to the missile defense community about this issue. I guess the vice chairman followed me an hour later. I look forward to reading his remarks. I wasn't able to stay for them, so I'll be reading them. But the point here is that if we are able to unite as a world against Iran -- and by the way, Gorbachev told us a week ago in our Democratic caucus lunch that he felt that Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a greater threat to Russia even than it is to us. And that's the same message I got yesterday (in person ?) from the deputy foreign minister of Russia, that it is a serious threat to Russia. Of we can somehow or other work out a joint defense or tell Iran we're going to work out a joint defense against them with Russia, it could be a game changer in terms of the regional geopolitical situation if Iran saw us and Russia being able to come together in that way against them, it could actually change the geopolitical dynamic in that region. That was the point of my remarks yesterday. It took me 25 minutes longer to say that yesterday than right now, but that was the major point of what I was saying. And I think that that's an important thing for us to add to this equation. It's not just where would the best and most reliable defense be against an Iranian missile, but what would be impact on deterring them from getting it if we located it in some way. And Senator Nelson correctly points out that this would probably be the radar that we're talking about in some kind of a joint effort with Russia. So the implications of those discussions are huge, just sitting down seriously and talking.
Now, you're a military man. You're not a politician so I won't ask you the political question directly. But do you see a security plus coming from those possible discussions, just the act of sitting down with Russia in an attempt in a serious way to do something jointly in that way? Do you see that as a security advantage for us? And do you think NATO would -- again, you've already answered that question. But I'll ask you personally now, do you see that as a plus?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Again, Senator, theoreticals. I think that any time there is a bilateral approach to a common problem that has not occurred, that would be a plus. That would cause the owner of the threat to take notice. As a military man, I'm responsible for the security and the force protection of U.S. forces in Europe and also for allied command operations in and out of theater. However we can minimize, mitigate or eliminate that threat, and if it's only by military means, then that's my charge. But if it's by informational, diplomatic, economic or other means, then I'm all for it.
SEN. LEVIN: Okay, thank you. Now, in terms of the parliamentary approval of the systems, the radar and the missile system itself in Poland and the Czech Republic, as I understand it, the Polish parliament has approved it, the Czech parliament, one house has and it was withdrawn from the -- is it called the upper house of the Czech Republic? I'm not -- I think it's called the upper house. How long was it in front of the Czech parliament, this proposal of their executive? Do you know?
GEN. CRADDOCK: I don't know exactly. I know it was there for several months. It's been in their parliament, one chamber or the other, for some time.
SEN. LEVIN: For some time. In other words, I think at least the middle of last year perhaps?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Don't know exactly, Senator. I'll take that --
SEN. LEVIN: But this is not some recent proposal to the Czech parliament. It's been there for some time. Is that correct?
GEN. CRADDOCK: To my knowledge, it's not new or recent. It had been processed for some time.
SEN. LEVIN: All right. I want to shift to Afghanistan. You and I have talked about the economic development that is necessary in Afghanistan as a way of supporting their security, putting the Afghans in charge of their own future and being part of the exit strategy or partial exit strategy for us. And I've asked you about a program called the National Solidarity Program, when we met. And I'm wondering if you could give us your impression of that program.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Yes, sir. The National Solidarity Program is a program sponsored by the World Bank, and it is the delivery of infrastructure, social welfare and services down to the municipal level. It bypasses the central government, the provincial government down to the community, the district level, to the villages across Afghanistan. In my judgment, as I go down to the country, and I visit there quite often, I get more favorable comments on that program than any other development program in Afghanistan. I think that it now is even better because there's better coordination and integration with the provincial reconstruction teams and with the Afghan national development strategy which is integrating the development efforts of the entire international community. It's not fully integrated, but it's getting better. I think that the integration of that solidarity program with the other efforts will even leverage it more. So I'm a big proponent of that program, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Okay. We thank you very much, General, for that.
SEN. BURRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just one other question, Commanders. In his testimony before the committee last week, General Ward, the commander of AFRICOM, discussed AFRICOM's intent to expand military-to-military engagement with Libya via military educational exchange and foreign military sales. NATO also has several mechanisms through which is engages non-NATO members. But the critical region partners such as the Mediterranean dialogue and the Istanbul cooperative initiative, these (seem to ?) provide an opportunity for NATO to expand its security and cooperation initiatives to North Africa and the Middle East, both areas of the world are critical to our counterproliferation and countersmuggling activities. Libya is currently the only North African country that is not a member of NATO's Mediterranean dialogue. So General Craddock, does the absence of Libya from the Mediterranean dialogue create any notable cooperation or intelligence gap that would concern you as supreme commander? And what would be your view of adding Libya to the Mediterranean dialogue?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Thank you, Senator. Obviously, the exclusion of any nation creates gaps in information understanding. However, I would have to provide to you for the record the rationale as to why there was either an invite extended or not or, if extended, not received. So I don't know if NATO didn't ask or Libya didn't accept. So I'll provide that to you for the record.
I think that the NATO North Atlantic Council would have to decide if they want to offer again or if they ever did an invitation and accept that, and it would be based, I think, upon a recognition of shared values and representative of democratic ideals. So I think that would be the basis of another offering. But I will respond for the record and let you know the history of that.
SEN. BURRIS: And (some thought ?) of our relationship with Libya would have some positive direction on that, wouldn't you say?
GEN. CRADDOCK: I think that would have to be taken into account, yes, sir.
SEN. BURRIS: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Burris.
SEN. NELSON: Mr. Chairman, just a quick follow up to your line of questioning to General Craddock.
Today, is it not correct, General, that Iran has hundreds of short and medium-range missiles that can reach eastern portions of NATO, such as Turkey?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Senator, I'm not exact as to the number. They have the capability with short and intermediate-range missiles as reported to be able to reach the southern shoulder of NATO, yes, sir.
SEN. NELSON: Right. And it would be the present systems of Patriot, eventually THAAD and Aegis that would provide that protection.
GEN. CRADDOCK: That's correct.
SEN. NELSON: Okay. And you're satisfied as the supreme allied commander that that protection is there to protect Europe and specifically Eastern Europe?
GEN. CRADDOCK: It is right now not an integrated air defense command and control by NATO, it is based on national capabilities for those systems. NATO's goal, and as an alternative layered theater ballistic missile defense, is to integrate those capabilities so we have a NATO system.
SEN. NELSON: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: The NATO system then would be based in the first instance on the Aegis and then the THAAD. In other words, the first layers would be integrated into a NATO system, is that correct?
GEN. CRADDOCK: The first layers would be Patriot.
SEN. LEVIN: Patriot.
GEN. CRADDOCK: And then it would go to THAAD and Aegis, and they would be integrated into then the NATO system which would incorporate the third site.
SEN. LEVIN: And if there were no third site, would it still be incorporated into a NATO system, those two first layers?
GEN. CRADDOCK: The intent is yes, the goal is yes, but it will lack a forcing function.
SEN. LEVIN: A lack of what?
GEN. CRADDOCK: A forcing function to do so because the carrier for that is the U.S. command and control system.
SEN. LEVIN: Right. But what I'm saying is that if there were no third site, you still would find desirable the integration of those two first layers into a NATO system.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Okay.
SEN. NELSON: And, Mr. Chairman, there would have to be, under that circumstance, a command-and-control system for NATO with Patriot, THAAD and Aegis. Is that correct?
GEN. CRADDOCK: Well, right now all that's available for NATO are national systems, under national control. NATO would have to get a agreement with those countries owning those systems to be able to commit them into a NATO command-and-control system, indeed.
SEN. NELSON: That's what I was trying to understand. Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: And that would be a big plus for Europe's security, our security, if that occurred?
GEN. CRADDOCK: It would be a plus for the southern shoulder, which is within the range of short- and intermediate-range missiles from Iran, yes.
SEN. LEVIN: Right. Okay.
I think I misspoke, apparently. I said that the Polish parliament approved the deployment, and I'm not sure that that is accurate. I just got a note here that that may not be accurate, that they've not considered a deployment. Do you know whether --
GEN. CRADDOCK: It was my understanding that we are only waiting to complete the SOFA agreement, and then complete the technical -- my responsibility in EUCOM is the technical arrangements, which is all of what has to happen to begin to dig and put brick and mortar together. So, --
SEN. LEVIN: In Poland?
GEN. CRADDOCK: In Poland, yes.
SEN. LEVIN: But, in terms of -- so, we can find that out precisely for the record. We don't have to --
GEN. CRADDOCK: I'll submit it for the record.
SEN. LEVIN: -- (inaudible) --
But, on the (Czech ?), it's apparently the lower house. I said the upper house, but apparently it's the lower house which has decided twice to delay consideration of the (Czech ?) agreements. So, I misspoke maybe twice in one minute. You don't have to agree with that, by the way.
GEN. CRADDOCK: Whatever you say, Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Okay, just a couple other quick questions.
NATO enlargement. There is apparently -- there were a number of reforms which the recently established NATO-Georgia Commission is either considering necessary for Georgia to take next steps towards membership, or in order to create some kind of a roadmap for Georgia.
Is that correct -- there's a certain number of specific reforms which are being considered?
GEN. CRADDOCK: It's my understanding that the NATO-Georgia Commission will develop a template, or a framework, if you will, of reforms both in the security sector -- which, in the military, falls underneath that; and other, much like what's required for membership action.
SEN. LEVIN: All right.
General Mattis, under your command -- the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency is under your command, and the report of this committee showed that the JPRA, or Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, provided information and training relative to how techniques which are used in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training, or so- called SERE training, could be used affirmatively, offensively in interrogations.
Now, that training, as we have shown in some detail, gives our soldiers a taste of abusive techniques to which they might be subjected if they were captured by an enemy that refused to follow the Geneva Convention, in case they were captured. These techniques used in SERE school include things like stress positions, sensory deprivation, forced nudity, walling, placing people in small boxes, and even waterboarding.
Now, on September 29th, 2004 the JFCOM chief of staff, Major General James -- is it Soligan, you know, or Solegan? -- (General Mattis responds off mike) -- Soligan issued a memorandum to the commander of the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, JPRA, said that, quote, "The use of resistance-to-interrogation knowledge for offensive purposes lies outside the roles and responsibilities of JPRA."
And then, in a February, 10th, 2005 memorandum, from JFCOM's then-deputy commander, Lieutenant General Robert Wagner to the DOD inspector general, it was stated that, quote, "Requests from various sources for JPRA interrogation support were inconsistent with the unit's charter and inappropriate."
Are you aware of General Soligan and General Wagner's memoranda? Is that something that -- are you aware of those?
GEN. MATTIS: I'm aware of them, sir. Obviously, they happened before my arrival there, so I have archive data on it -- yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Do you agree with General Wagner that requests for JPRA support for interrogations to be used offensively are inappropriate?
GEN. MATTIS: Yes, sir. That's outside our mandate on that.
SEN. LEVIN: Just one final question from me, and that has to do with the Acquisition Reform bill that we recently introduced -- a number of us here, the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009.
General Mattis, this would be for you. First of all, are you familiar with that bill? Have you had a chance to read it? It's kind of detailed and it's technical, but have you looked at it?
GEN. MATTIS: I've read a summary of it, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Okay. In one of the sections there's a provision -- Section 105, a provision requiring the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, JROC, to seek and consider input from the commanders of the combatant commands in identifying joint military requirements. As it currently exists, JROC allows you to contribute to decisions as the commander of JFCOM, to contribute to the decisions of that body.
Is that, in fact, going on? Do you -- are you fully involved in those decisions? And, if not, should you be? And is there anything that we need to do to make sure that you or your successors are involved in that way?
GEN. MATTIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
There is no restriction on any combatant commander from walking into the JROC any time they determine they wish to. I have taken advantage of that authority on several occasions. I think that, right now, if I was to define my job in the terms of the future, it's to how do we look out for the combatant commander-after-next.
The combatant commanders right now are dealing with a full plate. I try to look further out. In this regard, the integrated priorities lists that the various combatant commanders submit, I review each one of them and then I watch what goes on in the JROC. I send my three- star deputy in there routinely to make certain that we've got our finger on the pulse. And, infrequently, I've had to interject things. Generally, they were received with no argument.
SEN. LEVIN: Would it be -- would it be better if you were actually a member of JROC?
GEN. MATTIS: I don't think -- Chairman, I don't think that gives me any more authority than I have now. I'm pretty straight-forward when I see something I need to get involved with. And between the JROC and my direct communications with the deputy secretary of Defense, there's no reluctance to get the Joint position forward.
SEN. LEVIN: We thank you both --
SEN. NELSON: Mr. --
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Nelson?
SEN. NELSON: Mr. Chairman -- General Mattis, JFCOM, of course, has played a leading role in the use of modeling and simulation technologies. And what I'd like to do is submit three records -- three questions to you for the record. If you could see that they are answered in a timely fashion.
And, we've got a lot of those technologies down in Orlando, and I want to invite you to come down there with me and see some of that.
GEN. MATTIS: Thank you, Senator. We'll respond swiftly on it. It's an area of high importance to us.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you both. It's been a very useful hearing. We, again, wish you well on your retirement, General Craddock.
And, thank you both for your service, and your families.
We stand adjourned.