Good morning. It is aprivilege to speak with you this morning as part of the National DefenseUniversity Foundation Capitol Hill Breakfast Seminar Series. It is my first time speaking to your group,and I want to thank Peter Huessy and NDU for inviting me to share some of my experiencesand perspectives on U.S. National Security.
As Peter mentioned, I represent the First District of Florida whichstretches from the very west coast of the Florida panhandle eastward across sixcounties. Our largest cities arePensacola and Fort Walton Beach, and the district contains the largest numberof veterans in the entire country. Someof you may have visited the beaches of the Emerald Coast, and I am proud tocall it my home.
Most of you in this room, however, are likely more familiarwith our military bases. My district coversall five branches of the military and includes the "Cradle of Naval Aviation" NASPensacola, as well as NAS Whiting Field and Corry Station, which houses theDOD's cryptology school. We are alsohome to Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, and the largestair base in the country, Eglin Air Force Base.Eglin is the future home of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and next yearit will welcome the Army 7th Special Forces Group as a result ofBRAC 2005.
With such a huge military presence in my area, I have madenational defense issues a major focal point of my career in Congress. This year,I have the very unique role in the House of Representatives in that I am theonly current member of Congress to serve on the Armed Services, SelectIntelligence, and Veterans' Affairs Committees.
As Ranking Member of the Terrorism, Unconventional Threatsand Capabilities Subcommittee, I deal with this country's national securitystrategy and policy on a daily basis. Ourcommittee is responsible for oversight and legislative jurisdiction over DoDcounter-proliferation and counterterrorism initiatives, special operations, andinformation technology programs, including cyber security. Combined with oversight responsibilities as amember of the Intel Committee, I see the grave threats our country faces day inand day out.
Three Main Threats to the United States
And in considering a topic for today's breakfast, I kept coming back to thisissue of the dangers we face as a country.In other words, what threats keep me up at night? But more importantly, what facets of theUnited States national defense strategy let me sleep better knowing that wewill defeat our enemies and continue to protect our homeland.
There are a variety of threats that our nation must tackle,but from my experience on HASC and the Intel committee, there are three majorconcerns I believe are critical to national security and want to focus on thismorning: the proliferation of WMDs and their potential use on American soil, terroristactions against American assets overseas, and the growing threat of cyberwarfare.
Some of the actions, and really the IN - actions of the newAdministration to address these threats deeply trouble me. It is no longer enough to review Bush Administration policy. It is time to act. President Obama must now make some immediateand tough decisions on national security strategy in order to protect anddefend this country.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
The first major threat is also considered the most dangerous:weapons of mass destruction used on American soil.
The threat from nuclear weapons is very real and veryrelevant. Since the first and onlyatomic bombs were dropped in World War II, the United States has relied almostexclusively on a policy of nuclear deterrence.What we used to called MAD or mutually assured destruction. And this strategy worked quite well when wecould focus on a single country. But thenuclear threat is changing and re-emerging as a major national concern.
Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive in their rhetoricand military actions. North Korea hasdemonstrated nuclear capabilities and continues to pose a regional -- if notintercontinental -- threat. And finally,we can all agree that Iran is pursing nuclear capabilities, and thus far allsigns point to their desire to acquire weaponized nuclear ability.
And although we must not take conventional threats fromtraditional state actors like Russia and China lightly, the more imminentdangers are posed by countries like Iran and North Korea who have yet todevelop missiles capable of reaching the United States, but could have asignificant impact against our allies.Iran's leaders have been unrelenting in their criticism of Israel, andtheir thinly veiled threats to destroy Israel are troubling. We must not allow the specter of Iraniannuclear weapons threaten stability in the region.
With saber-rattling from Iran, Russian aggression againstformer Soviet countries like Georgia, and the region's overall instability, itis absolutely unacceptable that the President would abandon our missile defensein Eastern Europe. The United Statesmade a commitment to Poland and the Czech Republic, and this Administration hasnow turned its back on our allies. Andfor what? Russia has given us ZERO inreturn these efforts, and we have done lasting damage to our credibility withtwo NATO allies. We need to take thethreat of a nuclear-armed Iran and an aggressive Russia much more seriously,and provide a credible and powerful response.
Additionally, unstable countries with less than stableleaders are highly susceptible to the dangers posed by non-state terroristsacquiring a low-yield nuclear weapon.
Do I think this will happen today or tomorrow? No.But the threat is there, and we must continue to develop a strategy fordealing with the unconventional threats posed by conventional nuclear weapons.
I was elected to Congress in 2001, less than 2 months afterSeptember 11th. Since 9/11, theDepartment of Defense, DHS, and the Intel Community have done an excellent jobof preventing another attack on American soil.But we must not become complacent in our efforts. It seems almost every month we catch anotherterrorist, another cell, another group plotting to attack the United States orone of our allies.
We must continue to be vigilant in deterring bothconventional nuclear threats from sovereign countries, as well as theunconventional dangers posed by terrorist groups.
Besides nuclear and unconventional weapons, we also face a significantthreat from non-state terrorism and insurgency, especially in our continuingoperations abroad. This threat is basedless on advanced technology or weapons and more on people -- both the soldierson the ground and the native population.
The TUTC Subcommittee has been intimately involved in thediscussion on terrorism, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency in Afghanistanand Iraq. Over the Columbus Day Weekend,I had the chance to visit Afghanistan, to speak with our soldiers, and seefirst-hand the success we have had in combating terrorists and insurgents inthat country.
As you know, commander of the NATO ISAF, General StanleyMcChrystal, provided his assessment of Afghanistan in late August. He describes the growing insurgency as"serious," one that requires significant action in the next 12 months or we mayrisk defeat.
But defeat is not an option.The U.S. has a recent history of turning its back on our allies, ahistory of bringing our troops home before the desired end-state has beenachieved. Had we not left Afghanistan andignored them throughout the Bush 41 and Clinton years, we may not have foundourselves back there today.
Congress, the Administration, and our NATO Allies must work togetherto provide a winning strategy in Afghanistan, one that will achieve ourobjective of protecting and stabilizing the people of Afghanistan, and one thatwill bring about a peaceful end-state.
Our options in Afghanistan range from immediate withdrawalto limited counterterrorism operations conducted by a small number of specialoperation teams to General McChrytal's strategy of a comprehensive,fully-resourced counterinsurgency.
The Armed Services Committee reviewed these options, and Istrongly agree with General McChrystal's assessment that the only way toachieve our strategic and operational objectives is to conduct an expandedcounterinsurgency operation.
A coordinated counterinsurgency, supported by additionalISAF troops from our allied countries, will allow us to regain the momentumagainst the insurgents and achieve victory.By providing additional troops, we can protect the people of Afghanistanand provide stability to both the people and their government.
And the people of Afghanistan must be our focus. Because it is the people of Afghanistan thatwill ultimately determine their own destiny, their own end-state.
Eventually, the Afghan National Security Force will providethe stability their country requires.
But that time has not yet come. The ISAF must work to accelerate the growthand training of the ANSF, while continuing to provide protection frominsurgents for the Afghan people. Wemust prepare the ANSF to take the lead in security operations, but continue tobe prepared for the interim challenges we face until that transfer can takeplace.
To understand the importance of a counterinsurgencyoperation, we can take a look at the commander on the ground advocating forthis strategy -- General Stan McChrystal.General McChrystal, THE expert on limited counterterrorism operations isstrongly arguing for a more expanded counterinsurgency. That should tell us just how important acounterinsurgency campaign will be in winning the war.
The arguments for troop withdrawal from those on the farleft are eerily similar to their outlandish claims when conflict first startedin October of 2001. Dick Cheney calledit the drumbeat of defeatism. We weretold we couldn't win in Afghanistan, couldn't win in Iraq. But the fact is these critics were wrong inIraq and they are wrong in Afghanistan.If the U.S. provides the necessary resources requested by our theatercommander, we will beat back the insurgency and once again achieve victory inAfghanistan.
President Obama outlined a winning counterinsurgencystrategy for Afghanistan back in March, and now he seems unable to implementthis strategy. The time has come for thePresident to make a decision on Afghanistan.
If we continue to work in partnership to defeat Al Qaeda andthe Taliban insurgency, we will provide security for the Afghan people, we willpromote stability in the region, and we will prevail against our enemies inAfghanistan.
Finally, the third major threat facing the United States isthe rapidly emerging danger from cyber warfare.
The month of October is National Cybersecurity AwarenessMonth, and several recent events remind us all that cyber-war is happeningright now and has an immediate and substantial effect on how we develop andacquire Information Technology. Theseattacks are growing more frequent and more devastating.
A year ago this November, an attack on the Pentagon'scomputers took down as many as 1,500 computers.The attacks damaged networks in US Central Command--and highlighted thepotential impact on our continuing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In April, the Joint Strike Fighter Programwas hacked, and some electronics and design systems of the aircraft werestolen.
Abroad, we have seen the potential scope of malicious cyberactivity as well, such as attacks against government computer systems inEstonia in 2007 and similar attacks in Georgia in 2008. And Congress is certainly notimmune--Representative Frank Wolf's office experienced a cyber attack by acomputer with an IP address located in Russia.
As a nation, we must now ask ourselves many difficultquestions: how well can we determine the origin of attacks, when do they reachthe threshold of terrorism or warfare, and what is the most appropriateresponse for the nation and the international community.
Cyberspace is now a major battlefield for National Securityand is found throughout our national lexicon.Technologies and social media are becoming more and more pervasive. If I had given this talk a year ago, my so-calledweb presence was limited to a website.But now I keep a blog, you can find videos on my YouTube channel, orlook up my profile on Facebook. All ofwhich is to say that technology is now ingrained in all aspects of ourlives. The technology systems we needtoday must be developed and acquired rapidly--with the knowledge they will entera highly contested, and highly integrated, network.
This network did not evolve overnight, and it is importantto consider how we got here. TheInformation Revolution dramatically changed how we do business as a nation--butit has also significantly impacted how we provide for the common defense. Information technology has completelypermeated the national security enterprise.As the technology fueled a revolution in military affairs over the pasttwo decades, the DOD also developed a significant number of people, facilities,and capabilities to combat the growing threat.
In the 1990's, the DOD finally gave this revolution a name:Network-centric warfare and this was later changed to Network CentricOperations to provide a more nuanced view of how these technologies were beingutilized.
Cyber attacks from individuals and countries targetingeconomic, political, and military organizations will increase in the future andpose a severe threat to US national security. In fact, given our increasingreliance on a connected world, from governmental functions to a privatecitizen's on-line banking, we need to seriously consider what constitutesnational security as it relates to cyberspace.
Oneof the largest and most difficult challenges is developing and implementing abasic strategy for the nation to address cyber threats. We saw the first steps toward this with the2003 National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace by President Bush and in 2008 theComprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. In May, the President released his 60-dayreview of cyber space policy, declaring that U.S.information networks would be treated as a strategic national asset.
Developing a comprehensive cyber security strategy willbe difficult. There is no oneCongressional committee and no one executive branch agency that oversees ourcurrent policy. It is a patchwork ofvarious oversight responsibilities.We've seen some of these complications play out in the media withvarious executive branch cyber security leaders resigning over inter-agencydifficulties.
It is also complicated by the fact that a vast majorityof our network is owned and operated by the private sector. So we need to ask ourselves what roleindustry should have in cyber security. For the most part, the currentacquisition process has created a situation where technology comes fromindustry and requirements come from government, but these are often separateactions with limited coordination. I believe that enhanced collaborationbetween government and industry is the best way move forward.
One of the key concerns that we need to address in theimmediate future is our ability to defend against an Electromagnetic Pulse, orEMP, attack. EMP is something that nottoo long ago was only seen in the movies.But today, EMP from both a high-altitude nuclear explosion as well asfrom smaller non-nuclear RF devices is a significant threat to our homelandsecurity. Damage from an EMP attackcould run into the trillions of dollars with significant lives lost in thelong-run.
We have the capacity to defend against EMP. The technology is out there. Congress has legislation that would invest insome of these technologies to harden the system and protect our electronicinfrastructure. We need to make surethat we consider the dangers from an EMP attack and then put the necessarymeasures of protection in place to mitigate the potential damage from an EMPevent.
The US will continue to exploit the advantages of IT andnetworked operations. Quite simply,every major defense acquisition program today has some level of IT in thesystem, from Future Combat Systems to the F-35.We are and will continue to be a net centric force because it is anenabler and force multiplier. Itprovides increased efficiency and capabilities in a cost effective manner. Finally, it enables better decision makingand results in fiscal responsibility. As the department continues to evolve--themanagement of all IT across the federal government becomes of paramountimportance. We must now focus onproviding a solid cyber strategy, a coordinated way forward for our informationtechnology assets.
Threats from WMDs, terrorism, and cyber warfare evolve rapidly. Our national security response must evolvejust as quickly. I strongly urge theAdministration as well as my colleagues in Congress to provide the resourcesour commanders and our troops require without delay.
Finally, I just want to remind you that while these threatsexist and should never be taken lightly, our country since 9/11 has done anexcellent job in preventing another attack.DHS, DoD, and our Intelligence Agencies have taken the necessary stepsto protect our country. They have andwill continue to be supported by us in Congress with the necessary resourcesand budgetary funding to continue to ensure the safety of America.
Thank you again for having me this morning. I believe we have time for some questions.