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Public Statements

Hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services - Confirmation Hearing of the Nomination of the Honorable Charles T. Hagel

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Chairman LEVIN. Thank you very much, Senator Sessions.
Senator McCaskill.

Senator MCCASKILL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the six years
I have served on this committee, I have served under Senator War-
ner as a ranking Republican member, and Senator McCain as a
ranking Republican member. And I have got to tell you that there
has never been a time that I did not sense that we all agreed that
our work on behalf of our Nation in terms of protecting our country
and defending our country, that it was a bipartisan effort.
I believe very strongly that this committee needs to be bipartisan.
And I hope that the new ranking member holds the same regard
for that as Senator McCain and Senator Warner did, because
at all times I felt that they were respectful and were willing to listen
to our disagreements. And I am hopeful that that will continue,
and I will be optimistic that it will.
I am going to ask a series of questions, and then at the end of
them, if you need more time, just say so.
Do you believe that all options should be on the table when we
confront Iran?

Senator HAGEL. Absolutely.

Senator MCCASKILL. Do you believe Iran is currently a state
sponsor of terrorism and provides material support to Hezbollah
and to Hamas?

Senator HAGEL. Yes, and I am on the record a number of time
saying that.

Senator MCCASKILL. Do you believe--do you support sanctions
against Iran?

Senator HAGEL. Yes.

Senator MCCASKILL. Do you believe that the United States
should unilaterally eliminate its nuclear arsenal?

Senator HAGEL. No.

Senator MCCASKILL. Do you agree with four national security
leaders, including Mr. Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William
Perry, and George Schultz, President Reagan's Secretary of State,
when they said, and I quote, ""The four of us have come together
in a nonpartisan effort, deeply committed to building support for a
global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their
spread into potentially dangerous hands, and to ultimately to end
them as a threat to the world. We remain committed to working
towards this vision and advancing the steps essential to achieve
this goal.'' Do you agree with those four bipartisan national leaders
in the area of national security and foreign policy?

Senator HAGEL. Yes.

Senator MCCASKILL. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk
about some of the things we talked about in my office, and some
people on the committee are going, oh, here she goes on contracting,
but auditability of the Defense Department.
I know you stated in some of the advanced policy questions that
you want to hold people accountable on auditability. I do not think
most Americans realize that as we face shrinking budgets and as
we want to secure the preeminence of our military, and not hollow
out the spending at the Defense Department, that auditability is
a crucial ingredient to us being able to figure out whether all the
money that is being spent there is being spent like Americans
would want it to be spent.
Can you reassure me that auditability, as prescribed by law,
coming through this committee, that it needs to happen no later
than 2017? Can you make a commitment to me today on the record
that that will be a priority of yours, making sure as, Secretary Panetta
did and Secretary Gates before him, that auditability will be
an essential priority of your time as Secretary of Defense?

Senator HAGEL. As I told you, Senator, I will. I make that commitment
to this committee.

Senator MCCASKILL. And then turning to contracting, I have yet
to have provided to me, other than raw numbers that we spent,
any data that would indicate that major infrastructure rebuilding
as part of a counterinsurgency strategy works.
There are many things that work in a counterinsurgency strategy,
and one of them, as it was originally posed to me back some
six years ago on this committee by General Petraeus, was that the
CERP/F funds--the commander's emergency response program,
that those--that walking around money to fix plate glass windows
in neighborhoods, that that was an essential part of the COIN
strategy.
That morphed into our military building major infrastructure
projects without really any data ever to indicate that the billions
of dollars that we were spending was, in fact, advancing our mission--
our military mission.
In addition to that, it is clear if you want to look at Iraq and the
failures that Iraq represents in some ways, one of the failures is
the crumbling investments that this country made in Iraq: the
health centers that never opened, the water parks that sit crumbling,
the power facilities that were blown up before they even had
an opportunity to operate. I can go down billions of dollars of waste
because we didn't do the analysis on sustainability after we left.
I am convinced that we have made the same mistakes in Afghanistan.
And I would like your response to this issue of major infrastructure
building while we are in a conflict being conducted by our
military, not by AID, not by the State Department, and whether or
not you would make a commitment to come back to this committee
with a report analyzing whether or not there is data to support
that aspect of the COIN strategy.

Senator HAGEL. Well, I will make that commitment, and it is
part of the larger series of questions and factors always involved
when a nation gets clearly committed, as we were, and still are, in
Afghanistan, and were in Iraq for eight years. When you are at
war, the highest first priority is to take care of your people. And
as a result of that, all the rest of the normal latitude, and guidance,
and theory, policy, is secondary.
And so I think in both of those wars, because we got ourselves
in so deep with so many people, and the welfare of our men and
women was paramount, we tried a lot of things. We had never been
this way before. We had never seen anything quite like these two
situations. And as a result, and you know, our special inspector
generals have come up with billions and billions and billions of dollars
that are unaccounted for, corruption, fraud, waste, abuse. It
really is quite astounding. But when you think about the universe
of money that went into both those wars, no one should be surprised.
Now, how do we fix it? What do we do? To your point, how do
we learn? How do we learn from this? We need to learn from this.
And it wasn't the fault of the military. The military was asked to
do everything. We overloaded the circuits of our military. We said,
you do it. You've got the money. You've got the structure. You've
got the organization. You've got the people. Now go do it.
And so we put these people--these young captains--you talked
about CERP/F funds--in very difficult spots. These young captains
were given $100,000 in cash, essentially walking around money to
take care of tribal chiefs and so on and so on. It wasn't their fault.
They were told to do this. This is what was part of the strategy.
So I do not question necessarily any particular strategy or part
of it, but I do think it is part of the whole that you are talking
about. And if I am confirmed and go over there, I will take a look
at this, and we will go deeper and wider into this because we owe
it to our people. We owe it to the people of this country who pay
the bills. And for the future, what did we learn for future challenges?

Senator MCCASKILL. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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