U.S. Strategic Command

 

Speeches

Senate Armed Services Subcommittee Testimony

By General Kevin P. Chilton | Washington, D.C. | March 19, 2009

LEVIN:

Good morning, everybody. We have with U.S. today three of our combatant commanders to get their assessment of the issues and challenges facing each of them.

And on behalf of the committee, I'd like to welcome Admiral Tim Keating, Commander, United States Pacific Command; General Kevin Chilton, Commander of the United States Strategic Command; and General Skip Sharp, Commander of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and United States Forces-Korea.

The committee appreciates your long and faithful service to our nation and the many sacrifices that you and your families have made for us. And please thank, on behalf of the members of this committee, the men and women that you lead, both military and civilian, for their service and patriotism. And their selfless dedication helps keep our country strong.

Now, this may be Admiral Keating's last hearing with U.S. as commander of the Pacific Command, as his new -- I guess as his current tour is soon going to be over. That's what we've heard. That's what the announcement yesterday was, and it's an expected announcement, so it comes as no surprise.

However, there's obviously an element of sadness because you've been terrific, and you've been a wonderful help to this country, to our committee. We congratulate you on a successful tour at PACOM, and we -- again, thanks for all the cooperation and support and counsel that you have provided U.S. over the years. We wish you and your family all the best.

Although much of our nation's military and diplomatic efforts are understandably centered on the ongoing challenges in Afghanistan and Iraq, it's critical that we also stay engaged elsewhere in the world. In today's hearing, we will hear the views and assessments of the senior U.S. commanders in the Asia and Pacific region, together with those of the commander responsible for our worldwide strategic capabilities.

The U.S. Pacific Command's vast geographic area of responsibility includes 36 countries, over half the world's population, three of the world's five largest economies, and five of the world's six largest militaries. Security and stability in the region is vital to our interest and the interest of our allies and our partners.

And while the region remains largely stable, we cannot afford to take that stability for granted. Indeed, there are pockets of significant instability in the region which demand our attention. We must reassure our allies that we will continue to work with them to further our mutual interests and continue to make it clear to those who would contribute to instability and threaten security that we're prepared to stand in their way.

China's influence continues to grow regionally and globally. In 2009, China will increase military spending by nearly 15 percent, which is their 20th straight year of double-digit growth in defense spending. In addition, China's economic growth, although slowing, appears to be on track to surpass Japan as the number two economy in the world.

And we need to continue to assess what this military and economic growth means to the region and the world while also, of course, continuing our efforts to find common ground.

To this end, mutually beneficial military-to-military relations with China need to be developed further. The recent incident involving the harassment of the USNS Impeccable by Chinese ships in the South China sea, while disconcerting, appears to be less about military might and more about a disagreement over claims of sovereignty and freedom of navigation. Such a disagreement is an example of what we may benefit from if we had meaningful military-to- military conversations designed to reduce misunderstandings and to avoid miscalculations.

Admiral Keating, we're interested in your assessment of China's military modernization and the way forward on establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relations with China.

On the Korean peninsula, North Korea's rhetoric has grown increasingly acerbic in recent months, and their plan for a satellite launch in the next few weeks has raised concerns.

The six-party talks have stalled, frustrating efforts to identify nuclear capabilities and to move to phase three, which would go beyond phase two's disablement requirement into a verifiable dismantlement of the full North Korean nuclear weapons program.

At the same time, the U.S. alliance with South Korea remains strong. And this week, our two militaries are wrapping up another round of combined military exercises.

General Sharp, the committee is interested in hearing your assessment of the US-South Korea relationship, the progress being made toward the force positioning in command and control changes which are planned in the next several years, and what needs to be done to ensure peace and security on the peninsula as those changes reach fruition.

In South Asia, the interests and fates of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are linked. The Mumbai attacks of last November and the aftermath remind U.S. that tension still exists between India and Pakistan, and that stability between these two countries is important to stability in the region.

Likewise, the recent unrest in Pakistan and the continuing threat of terrorism in both Pakistan and India highlight the precariousness of the situation there and raise questions about what more can be done to stabilize Indo-Pakistan relations and to address the threats that are common to each.

This is of particular concern, as both Pakistan and India possess nuclear weapons. And a regional nuclear arms race would be dangerous and destabilizing.

The challenges and responsibilities of the strategic command are global, varied and vital. From an operational perspective, strategic command has three main mission areas - strategic deterrence, space operations, and cyberspace operations.

In addition, strategic command has coordinating responsibilities across the combatant commands for missile defense, combating threats of weapons of mass destruction, allocating high demand/low intensity intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, the ISR assets, and integrating information operations.

Over the course of the last two years, our nuclear program has come under necessary increased scrutiny, as lack of discipline appeared. Now, after multiple panels, Boards and teams have completed numerous reports, it is time for action to be take to ensure that discipline is restored.

General Chilton, we look forward to hearing from you on your view of the status and progress of the security of the U.S. nuclear forces, the safety, security and reliability of nuclear weapons. A new nuclear posture review is due at the end of the year, which I hope will bring about a new and carefully considered discussion of the role of nuclear weapons in national strategy and the size of the stockpile to support that role.

The START treaty also expires at the end of the year, and a new replacement treaty will need to be negotiated. CTBT remains un- ratified. Strategic Command will be closely involved in the analysis to support the decisions that will be reflected in those efforts.

And General Chilton, we look forward to working closely with you to ensure the necessary reductions are made in the size of the nuclear stockpile and that excess weapons are dismantled.

A second domain over which the Strategic Command has responsibility is space. As the leading space-faring nation, the United States must sustain and protect its space assets. On the other hand, how these space assets actually contribute to military operations is not always well understood. Today, we have an opportunity with General Sharp and Admiral Keating here to understand the importance of space systems and what would happen to our military abilities if these capabilities were lost or degraded.

Finally, the role of the military in combating weapons of mass destruction and how these capabilities are integrated with other elements of the U.S. government and the international community is an additional challenge confronting the Strategic Command. The Asia- Pacific region continues to be one of the hotbeds of proliferation for both nuclear and missile technologies. Remnants of the A.Q. Khan network may still be active in the region. And with A.Q. Khan recently released from house arrest, what becomes of this network is very uncertain.

It's, again, a pleasure to have each of you with U.S. this morning. We look forward to a very interesting discussion on the range of very challenging topics.

Senator McCain?

MCCAIN:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to join you in welcoming the witnesses here today. I want to thank each of you for your long and honorable service to our country and express my appreciation of all the men and women who serve under your command.

Perhaps no region of the world is undergoing change as rapidly as the Asia-Pacific. Nine years into what some have termed as the "Pacific Century," we see economic power migrating East and Asian militaries growing in strength as well. The United States, as an Asian nation, has vital national interest in supporting stability, prosperity and human rights throughout Asia. And I look forward to our witnesses' views on how we can further that interest in the future.

Key to that endeavor is maintaining and strengthening our alliances. I have long viewed our alliances with Japan and South Korea and northern Asia, together with our alliance with Australia in the South Pacific as the pillars of U.S. engagement in the region. Now we have opportunities to go further, with closer military ties to India, Vietnam and Indonesia, among others.

MCCAIN:

As a country that faces terrorism within its own borders and cooperates with the United States and its counterterrorism mission, Indonesia is a key partner in the war on terror. Admiral Keating, I'd invite you to comment on our current military-to-military relationship with Indonesia and how we are assisting Indonesia in developing more effective counterterrorism strategies.

I'm especially interested in hearing about how our IMAT program is fostering closer military ties with the Indonesian military.

I also look forward to hearing our witnesses' views on how to deal with the challenges that plague the region. Burma remains a pariah in the world, where Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. Minorities and political opponents face certain retaliation, and the junta shows no sign of relenting in its violent oppression.

The military imbalance across the Taiwan Straits continues to grow. And there have been repeated naval skirmishes in the South China Sea, and Islamic terrorists are still active in the heart of Southeast Asia.

With respect to China, I am growing -- and we all are growing -- increasingly concerned about China's irregular engagements with U.S. vessels in the Pacific. As Chairman Levin pointed out, last week's Chinese fishing boats harassed the ocean surveillance ship, USS Impeccable, which was conducting standard operation in international waters east of Hainan Island. Very much appreciate your comments on that.

Asia Pacific boasts some of America's most mature and formidable alliances, none as robust as the U.S.-Japanese alliance.

Admiral Keating, I'm interested to hear your views on the strategic benefits to the Asian region of the Defense Policy Review Initiative, specifically our agreement with the Japanese government to invest over $10 billion in the next five years to relocated 8,000 U.S. Marines and their families from Okinawa to Guam.

I'd like to ensure this committee understands the full range of benefits to be gained from the substantial costs of this move.

North Korea continues its belligerent and inscrutable ways. And I'm encouraged by testimony before this committee that the U.S. can intercept a North Korean missile targeting our homeland. Pyongyang still poses multiple threats to the world -- from assisting other countries and developing ballistic missile programs, to the atrocities it commits against its own people, to the chaos that a collapse of the North Korean regime may threaten.

General Sharp, I look forward to hearing about the progress of transferring wartime command to South Korea, and your assessment of the readiness and capabilities of both the South Korean and North Korean military.

General Chilton, the United States Strategic Command serves as a steward and advocate for our nation's strategic capabilities. In the face of an increasingly complex strategic environment, USSTRATCOM is a vital element of our national security structure, and the mission of your command is critical to our nation's defense and long-term strategic goals.

I look forward to hearing your assessment of the progress you're making in adapting our strategic forces to deal with today's new threats.

Admiral Keating, I understand this will be your last appearance, at least in uniform, before this committee. I want to thank all three of you for your service to the country, but especially you, Admiral, for a long and outstanding career of service to this country. And I thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you so much, Senator McCain.

I understand that there are three votes scheduled at 10:50, at least as of late yesterday. And then there's going to be, I believe a 30-minute debate, and then a final passage. So, we may have as many as four votes here this morning. And it's our hope that we'll be able to work right through those votes.

Admiral, let's call on you first this morning. Admiral Keating?

KEATING:

Chairman and Senator McCain, members of the committee, thanks very much for the opportunity and the privilege to represent the 325,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of the United States Pacific Command in annual testimony before your committee.

I would like to introduce three members of our party. I use that term loosely. You'll understand what an understatement that is. First, Chief Master Sergeant Jim Roy, who is our senior enlisted leader, a man who has remarkable impact in his travelings throughout our area of responsibility.

Next, Ambassador Gene Christy, our foreign policy adviser, who is making great strides in helping us realize and implement smart power throughout the Asia Pacific region.

And finally, most important, my wife, Wanda Lee, proud mother of a naval aviator, and mother-in-law of a naval aviator. So, she, too, serves in very important ways for all of us.

LEVIN:

A special thanks to your spouse, but welcome to all of you.KEATING:

Thank you, Chairman.

MCCAIN:

Where did they go wrong?

(LAUGHTER)

KEATING:

We should change places, I think.

Chairman and Senator McCain, as you both highlight, the importance of our region to the United States and to the world, we think is hard to overstate, particularly given what all of us expect in the future, given current e economic energy and demographic trends.

We at the Pacific Command are pleased with our current conditions in the region, and we are optimistic about continued progress. We're proud of our legacy and leadership role in the region, and we're committed to doing everything we can to guarantee continued success.

We want to ensure our capacity and capability to succeed in our primary mission is not diminished; and that is, to defend our nation and our allies and our interests in the region.

To do all that, we employ a strategy which concentrates on partnership, readiness and presence. We think this is a blueprint for enhancing United States relationships. And we think we take advantage of a capability of our allies and regional partners to address challenges and leverage significant opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

We want to enhance our position as the indispensable partner with all of those in the region through sustained and persistent collaboration and cooperation, and by employing those forces that are necessary to strengthen the partnerships and support all those conditions which preclude the necessity for combat operations.

Senator McCain, you asked for a little bit on the Defense Policy Review Initiative. We regard Guam as a strategic centerpiece for us in the decades ahead. It is a United States possession. We have our flag flying there. And so, any and all efforts we can make to ensure continued access to the waters and the air and the training areas around Guam, we think are vital to our strategy.

Our region is characterized by what is today a remarkable level of stability. The continuation of those conditions that underpin freedom and prosperity is not a foregone conclusion. There are challenges, to be sure, and you both addressed some of them. Foremost is the spread of violent extremism, or curtailing and extinguishing violent extremism in our region.

You asked for an opinion on Indonesia, senator. Indonesia has become an increasingly important partner of ours. We have the Leahy Amendment to observe, and there are aspects of that which cause Indonesia certain problems. I'd be happy to elaborate on those, if necessary.

Writ large, however, we are increasingly active with Indonesia. I have been there three times. The efforts of Indonesia to curtail terrorism are beneficial and productive as a direct result of 1206 funding from this body. The Indonesians are cooperating in a much greater fashion with the countries in their region, as a direct result of this cooperation, enhanced by or improved by 1206 money. Incidents of terrorism and piracy in the Strait of Malacca have gone from 45 or so three years ago in 2006, to two in 2008. And we think that's a direct reflection of the support provided by 1206 money, amongst other reasons, including cooperation and collaboration by those countries.

The second important challenge, and we work with Chilli and his folks, is the spread -- curtailing the spread -- of weapons of mass destruction and watching technology proliferation in the region.

Of course, of particular concern there is North Korea. And we work closely with Skip Sharp and his folks in that area. Happy to address that in questions.

And finally, a few words about the People's Republic of China. We think we made some real headway in the first part of 2008, after, you will recall, the denial of court access by the Chinese to the USS Kitty Hawk battle group for Thanksgiving of 2007.

Since then, we've installed a hotline. We've provided several immediate response efforts, a couple of C-17s each time, to cold weather and earthquake relief.

We've had senior level officer exchanges. Aforementioned Chief Master Sergeant Jim Roy led an inaugural senior enlisted leader delegation to China. And they reciprocated by coming back to our headquarters in Hawaii. All that said, the relationship certainly isn't where we want it to be.

The Chinese suspended mil-to-mil activity following the announcement of our arms sales to Taiwan, and the USNS Impeccable incident two weeks ago causes us significant concern.

Those are vivid reminders that a mature, constructive mil-to-mil relationship is hardly the reality today. And the PRC's behavior as a responsible stakeholder has yet to be consistently demonstrated.

To be sure, the slight warming in relations across the Strait, particularly following the election of President Ma in Taiwan, we think that warming is a good sign that China and Northeast Asia are somewhat stable and are willing to consider alternatives. But the Impeccable incident, certainly a troubling indicator that China, particularly in the South China Sea, is behaving in an aggressive, troublesome manner, and they're not willing to abide by acceptable standards of behavior or rules of the road.

Thanks again for this opportunity, Mr. Chairman. I think the more familiar you all become with the region and the issues, the more you appreciate and experience our environment, our people and our challenges, the better you and our nation will be able to retain, influence and remain indispensable.

Thank you very much. We'd be happy to take your questions.LEVIN:

Thank you so much, Admiral.

General Chilton?

CHILTON:

Thank you, Chairman, Senator McCain, members of the committee. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to be with you here today. And also appreciate the opportunity to testify with my colleagues and friends, Skip Sharp and Tim Keating.

And if I might take a moment to add my congratulations to Admiral Keating and Mrs. Wanda Lee. I had the distinct pleasure of being their next-door neighbors on a previous assignment when he was the commander of NORAD NORTHCOM. I think it's not insignificant that this nation has had the trust in this man's leadership to command two combatant commands back-to-back -- two very important combatant commands to this nation. He's done it in such a spectacular fashion.

And I can't begin to describe the love and passion this couple has for the men and women under their command. I saw it in person as their next-door neighbor, and I've admired it from afar. So, I give my best congratulations to them both.

Sir, since my last opportunity to testify before this committee, which was in the fall of 2007, I've been honored by the committee's counsel and the close relationship we have. And I want to thank you all, and your staffs and their time, for the time they've spent out at Omaha at STRATCOM, and visiting our folks, and getting to understand U.S. Strategic Command's mission even better, and particularly for your strong support of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civil servants in the U.S. Strategic Command, which make the mission happen for us every day.

Today, America faces unique national security challenges, and equally unique leadership opportunities. These challenges include global population changes; serious economic difficulties, both at home and abroad; resource competitions; bids for regional and global power; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and in an era of often persistent and irregular warfare, coupled with an exceptional rate of technological challenge that often outpaces capabilities and policies.

These challenges make this year an especially noteworthy year, as we look forward to the report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, and prepare to conduct both a Quadrennial Defense Review, and a Nuclear Posture Review.

The recommendations made in these studies will shape our national security capabilities long into the future. As a combatant command chartered with a global and operational perspective, our responsibilities and relationships uniquely position STRATCOM to execute global operations to support the regional combatant commanders, and to close potential seams between those combatant commands, and provide a clear and consolidated warfighter position on future global capability requirements.

I'm pleased to tell you that today, U.S. Strategic Command's capability to execute deterrent space and cyberspace operations has been enhanced and continue robustly every day.

Additionally, our unique global perspective has given us a good platform for advocating for the nation's needs for missile defense, information operations, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, and the things we need to both enhance our information operations and our planning for combating weapons of mass destruction.

Focusing on our three main lines of operations, today deterrence remains as central to America's national security as it was during the Cold War, because, as ever, we prefer to deter war rather than to wage it.

Last year, the secretary of defense approved our strategic deterrence plan, a significant first step toward integrating deterrence activities across our government.

Still, credible deterrence rests first on a safe, secure, reliable and sustainable nuclear enterprise, including our stockpile of weapons, on delivery, on command and control systems, and on ISR platforms, on space-based capabilities, on our laboratories and industrial base, and mostly of all, on our people, our most precious resource.

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has substantially reduced our deployed nuclear weapons, dismantled our production capability, and ceased nuclear testing. And despite our reductions and lack of modernization of weapons and infrastructure, other states still seek nuclear weapons (inaudible).

Additionally, many of our closest allies continue to rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. This reliance should be considered as we look forward to address nuclear proliferation issues.

CHILTON:

The most urgent concerns for today's nuclear enterprise lie with our aging stockpile, our aging infrastructure and our aging human capital. This year will be an important year to act to relieve growing uncertainty about the stockpile's future reliability and I emphasis "future" because it is safe, secure and reliable today, and the stockpile's sustainability by addressing these important issues.

Space aged capabilities provide our nation and our forces essential but often unnoticed abilities to act and operate. The satellite constellations that carry these capabilities, however, require more careful attention to eliminate delays that can leave us just one launch failure away from an unacceptable gap in coverage in the future.

We have made progress in space situational awareness. The capability gaps remain and require sustained momentum to fulfill as evidenced by the recent collision between an active communications satellite and an inactive Russian satellite.

Turning to cyberspace, this domain has emerged as a key war- fighting domain and one on which all other domains in the war-fighting environment depend. We remain concerned about growing threats in cyberspace and are pressing changes in the department's fundamental network culture, conduct and capabilities to address this mission area and share our best practices. Still the adequate provisioning of the cyber mission, especially with manpower, remains our greatest need.

Finally the command's advocacy efforts for missile defense, ISR management, information operations support and plans to combat weapons of mass destruction continue to mature and I believe positively influence acquisition processes with inputs that we collect from all of the combatant commands.

In this uncertain world your support is critical to enabling successful execution across the command's assigned missions and realizing our vision to be leaders in strategic deterrents, preeminent at global war fights in space and cyberspace. Thank you again for this opportunity and for your support and I look forward to your questions.

LEVIN:

Thank you, General Chilton. General Sharp?

SHARP:

Now, Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, members of the committee I am honored to be here before you today and I would also like to thank and recognize Tim Keating and Wanda Lee for their friendship over the years. I had the honor to be able to follow Tim as the Director of the Joint Staff and then continued to work with him while he was at NORTHCOM and now at PACOM and I have learned a lot and it's been a great, great honor.

As the Commander of United Nations Command, Republic of Korea, U.S. Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Korea, it is a privilege to represent the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Department of Defense civilians and their families who serve in the Republic of Korea. On the behalf of all these outstanding men and women, thank you for your continued commitment to improving the readiness of our forces and the quality of life for all of our service members and their families. Your support is vital and it allows us to ensure the security of the Republic of Korea, promote prosperity and stability in northeast Asia and protect our shared national interest in that region.

The Republic of Korea plays a vital role in the region that accounts for 22 percent of all U.S. goods. It is a first-class economic power, our seventh largest trading partner and one of the most technologically and scientifically advanced countries in the world. It is also our partner that must I believe to be considered our strongest and most successful alliance, an alliance that has maintained its strength and grown stronger over the last 50 years, an alliance that was forged in blood and maintained by an enduring commitment to the friendship and the commitment of the Korean and the American people.

The Republic of Korea Armed Forces have fought alongside Americans in Vietnam, they participated in Operation Desert Storm and deployed troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Republic of Korea has participated in United Nations peacekeeping operations and currently have presence in six of those operations around the world. The Republic of Korea deployed a 4,500 ton destroyer and an anti-submarine helicopter to the waters off of Somalia for the conduct of anti-piracy operations.

And most recently the United States and the Republic of Korea demonstrated their enduring commitment to the alliance by signing a special measure agreement that will provide ROK funding, Republic of Korea funding support for U.S. forces in Korea over the next five years.

I want to thank you, the members of Congress, for passing legislation that elevated the Republic of Korea foreign military sales status to that of a level of par with the countries of NATO as well as our other nations that we have long-standing U.S. alliances. This legislation will go a long way to enhancing the alliances combined war-fighting capability.

And if I might note, the Republic of Korea now has over $12 billion worth of FMS cases that are open, 566 FMS cases, and this legislation you passed will continue to contribute and increase our war-fighting capability.

While northeast Asia generates a significant share of the world's commerce it is also characterized by uncertainty, complexity, rapid change and is constantly posed the most difficult security challenges. Beyond the North Korean threat the presence of four of the world's six largest militaries and two proven nuclear powers as well as historical animosities, territorial disputes and resource competition all combine to pose long-term regional security challenges.

The Republic of Korea sits at a nexus of a region that is influenced by and they are influencing an emerging China, a resilient Russia and a prosperous Japan. North Korea remains the primary threat to stability and security in northeast Asia. The regime's survival remains North Korea's overriding focus. The North Korea remains the world's leading supplier of ballistic missiles and related technology and remains a major proliferator of conventional weapons as well.

North Korea's recent provocation actions to include severe restrictions on the Republic of Korea activity at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Mount Geumgang tourist resort, threats to the Republic of Korea in the West Sea, unilateral nullification of South-North Basic Agreement, the North Korean's stated inability to protect the safety of civilians airlines travelling through their airspace and its intent to launch a ballistic missile are all an attempt to ensure regime survival, improve its bargaining position at international negotiations to gain concessions.

We continue to be concerned with the threat posed by North Korea's large conventional military, artillery, ballistic missiles and special operating forces all located very near the Republic of Korea in the north Korean border.

My first priority as the Commander is to maintain trained, ready and disciplined combined and joint command forces, that is prepared to fight and win in any potential conflict. Facing any number of challenges that could rise on the peninsula with little warning, our commitment to the alliance spans the entire spectrum of conflict. Given the very potential challenges our forces constantly strive to maintain their highest possible level of training and readiness.

My second command priority is to continue to strengthen this great alliance. In addition to improving combined military capabilities, U.S. and the Republic of Korea forces are adapting to the changing conditions in this dynamic region and are transforming into a more modern and capable force. This will enable the Republic of Korea forces to retain war-time operational control on April 17, 2012. An enduring U.S. force presence in Korea after OPCOM transfer in 2012 will ensure a strong alliance which is fully capable of maintaining security in this critical part of the world. I am absolutely confident this transition will be a success for both the United States and the Republic of Korea and will serve as the key foundation for future regional stability.

My third command priority is improving the quality of life for all service members, DOD civilians and families serving in Korea. Our goal is to make Korea the assignment of choice for all service members and their families. Our implementation of tour normalization which is normal three years tours for the majority of our company service members will significantly increase our war-fighting capability and improve the quality of life for our personnel while eliminating long and unnecessary separation of service from their families.

The Yongsan relocation program which moves U.S. forces stationed in Seoul to Camp Humphreys which is approximately 40 miles south of Seoul and the Land Partnership Program which provides for the relocation of the Second Infantry Division to south of the Han River will also significantly improve the quality of life for our service members and their families as they move into world-class training and living facilities.

The U.S. presence in northeast Asia is a long-term investment in regional stability and the Republic of Korea U.S. alliance today is more relevant to the national security interest of the United States than it has every been before. The alliance will remain essential to the protection and the advancement of U.S. national interests in this strategically vital part of the world well into the future.

The ROK-US alliance could not have been successful over the last 50-plus years without the significant contribution of the non- commissioned officers serving in Korea. The Army has declared 2009 to be the year of the NCO and it is my great privilege to be head of the dedicated and professional NCOs from all services defending this great alliance. Without them none of the advances we have made in the Republic of Korea U.S. alliance would have been made possible.

I am extremely proud of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, the DOD civilians and families serving in the Republic of Korea who selflessly support the alliance and help maintain stability in this important region. On behalf of them, I want to thank you for your continued support and know you will agree how important it is to provide these fine Americans the very best working, living and training environment possible. Again, thank you for your support of our troops and their families and I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much, General Sharp. General, let me start with you and ask about the situation on the disablement of the nuclear facilities in North Korea. By the way I think we'll have a seven-minute first round here, try again to work through it. We now expect these votes I made reference to to be at around 11 or 11:15 rather than 10:50.

In October of 2007, General, there was a so-called Phase II Actions agreement signed at the Six-Party Talks including North Korea and it was in that agreement North Korea pledged to disable a certain facilities and I understand that eight of the 11 disablement tasks have been completed and the ninth task is 80% completed. Is that accurate, first of all?

SHARP:

Yes, sir, it is.

LEVIN:

All right. Now, there was a threat last year by North Korea to halt their disablement activities after the talks broke down. In fact, are the Phase II disablement activities ongoing?

SHARP:

Yes, sir. The halt was when we initially did not take them off the terrorism list. Once we did take them off the terrorism list they started up again the disablement, meaning specifically they started disabling and taking some of the rods out of the reactor. They are continuing to do that today, however at a very slow pace.

LEVIN:

Now, there's also commitments made to deliver I guess fuel oil to North Korea as part of this agreement. Have we lived to our commitment in that regard?

SHARP:

Yes, sir. We have.

LEVIN:

Has Russia?

SHARP:

Sir, I'll have to get back to you on Russia, I'm not sure.

LEVIN:

Do you know whether Japan has lived up to their commitment?

SHARP:

Sir, again, I'll have to get back to you on that.

KEATING:

If I could, it is my understanding that Japan is withholding movement of fuel oil pending some resolution of the abductee issue.

LEVIN:

And was there a condition to their commitment to deliver fuel oil in the agreement that was reached with North Korea?

KEATING:

I am unaware of it. We'll find out, sure.

LEVIN:

Admiral, you made reference to military relations with China and the importance to try to improve those relations. Would one helpful improvement be if there was a direct phone line between you as commander and your Chinese counterpart?

KEATING:

It would, sir.

LEVIN:

And has that been proposed to the Chinese?

KEATING:

It has.

LEVIN:

And what has been their response?

KEATING:

There has been no response. Now, to be clear, Chairman, there is Washington Beijing hotline which has been used recently by the Chief Naval Operations. I have used it from Hawaii but it is not a direct link from me to my counterpart.

LEVIN:

It is not a what?

KEATING:

It is not a direct link. We have to go through other switchboards.

LEVIN:

And so the most direct link and a dedicated link would be is if you had a line directly to your counterpart in China?

KEATING:

That's correct, sir, and we do not have that.

LEVIN:

All right. But you would like it and have proposed it?

KEATING:

You bet.

LEVIN:

Admiral, what is the U.S. Pacific Command doing to assist with counterterrorism efforts in India?

KEATING:

Several efforts, Chairman. We have sent our lead intelligence team, comprised -- led by our Rear Admiral Rogers to India in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai attacks to begin the process of just initiating intelligence and information sharing with India. That is underway.

We have had a team -- a previously scheduled exercise, that is scheduled before the attacks on Mumbai, which we elected to continue as -- with the support of India for counterterrorism training for some special operations forces in India. And we have increased dialogue with the senior levels of the Indian leadership, during which we discuss aspects of counterterrorism and counter-insurgency.

LEVIN:

Thank you.

General Chilton, the director of operational tests and evaluation has issued two recent reports that express concerns about the operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability of the ground-based, mid-course defense GMD, missile defense system. And one of the reports says, excuse me, says that "GMD flight testing to date will not support a high level of confidence in its limited capabilities." I -- you and I have talked about these reports. Would you agree that it's important to address the concerns that are raised by the Director of Operational Tests and Evaluation about the GMD system?

CHILTON:

I would, Senator. And I've met with General O'Reilly, the new director of MDA and I've taken a review, a high-level review, of his plans for addressing testing issues as they -- as we go forward there, and I think he's on the right track to address some of these important points.

LEVIN:

In general, your predecessor at the strategic command, General Cartwright, had constructive interaction with his Russian counterparts. And you've essentially become commander of the strategic command. I don't believe you've yet met with your Russian counterparts for strategic forces or for space, either one. Do you believe it does make sense to pursue engagement and cooperation with Russia on security matters? Including the possibility of cooperation on missile defense efforts?

CHILTON:

Sir, I've always been a great supporter of mil-to-mil dialogue with both friend and potential adversary for the benefits that, I think Admiral Keating has spoken about, transparency and understanding. But I think they have to be in line with, of course, from a mil-to-mil, it has to be in line with our greater government policies.

You're correct. I have not had the opportunity to engage with either my Russian counterpart in space or in the nuclear area. The last time those engagements occurred were with General Cartwright, back in 2006. And those positions have turned over, as they've obviously turned over here in the United States.

As we look forward to this administration's policy adjustments with regard to Russia, I'm anticipating and hoping that there will be opportunities there to reestablish those mil-to-mil contacts.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Admiral. Senator McCain made reference to the relocation of the Marines from Okinawa to Guam. In your estimation, are there any hard spots that could complicate or delay this move?

KEATING:

Sure.

LEVIN:

Could you identify what would be possible problems that could arise?

KEATING:

There is an environmental impact statement affecting the construction of the Futenma replacement facility in the northeast portion of Guam, the initiation of which is essential to begin moving our marines out of Camp Schwab, so that impact statement, which is being -- working its way through the system, that is -- could possibly delay our initial move.

There are some infrastructure challenges in Guam that will have to be addressed as we move 8,000 Marines and a number of their family members from Okinawa to Guam. So there are several aspects of the initiative that could be challenging.

LEVIN:

Are you expecting, however, to -- this will move as scheduled and those hurdles can be overcome? Or are you worried that they may not be overcome?

KEATING:

I'm sure they'll be overcome, Chairman. And the goal remains implementation by 2014.

LEVIN:

Thank you so much. Senator McCain?

MCCAIN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and again, thanks, witnesses, for being here. Admiral Keating and General Sharp, today there's an article that states that Japan's ambassador to the United States said Wednesday that North Korea should not escape punishment from the United Nations if it goes ahead with the planned missile launch. And we all know that North Korea has announced that they'll launch a "communication" satellite between April fourth and April eighth." But the United States and other countries think it will be a test of a long-range ballistic missile that could reach Alaska.

One, what is your assessment of that launch? Do you recommend any action taken of any kind if that launch takes place? And what is the potential, if that launch is successful? Is it a threat to the United States? Or is it -- exactly what is this all about? I don't care who goes first here. Maybe the oldest, Admiral?

KEATING:

Senator, we at Pacific Command are continuing our planning efforts to support various contingencies that would be coordinated with --.

MCCAIN:

First of all, in all due respect, what does this mean? What does it mean, that they announced that they're going to launch a satellite, which is interpreted as could be an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach Alaska?

KEATING:

I think it means nothing more or less than that, Senator. There are activity -- there is activity underway --.

MCCAIN:

I mean, is that a threat? Is that --?

KEATING:

No, sir. I would not think North Korea would have issued it as a threat. It is a normal notification process, which they didn't do in 2006, when they attempted a launch from the same facility. But there are -- there is equipment movement and there are personnel, increased levels of personnel --.

MCCAIN:

I guess I'm talking about that capability along with the nuclear weapon. Does that pose a long-term threat to America's security in your view.

KEATING:

That would pose a long-term threat. Yes, sir.

MCCAIN:

A short-term threat?

KEATING:

It could be a threat as early as four April.

MCCAIN:

Okay. Please continue.

KEATING:

We're continuing our planning efforts to support the lead element, Department of State Diplomatic Efforts, to ensure that our government is fully prepared to respond. We, through the military channel, should it be so directed. Should that response be so directed.

We're watching Taepo Dong carefully. We're talking with Skip minute by minute. We're getting reasonable intelligence as to the activities around Taepo Dong and we'll be prepared to respond.

MCCAIN:

If a decision was made, do we have the capability to shoot that down?

KEATING:

The United States has the capability to do so. Yes, sir.

MCCAIN:

General?

SHARP:

So first off, if North Korea launches any sort of ballistic missile, as they claim they will do, somewhere between the fourth of April, it is against UN Security Council Resolution 1718, which specifically says -- demands "That North Korea not conduct any future nuclear tests or launch of a ballistic missile." And it goes on to say that "The moratorium on this -- for launching it is very clear that this will be against UN Security Council Resolution 1718."

Secondly, I think that the threats that Admiral Keating was talking about is real. And it is felt in South Korea, the threat of having the capability to be able to deliver any sort of warhead anywhere in the world is indeed a threat and we call on North Korea not to act in this provocation -- do this provocation, but instead go back and focus on what they've promised to do during the six-party talks.

MCCAIN:

We're not the only country that has the capability of intercepting that launch. Is that true?

(UNKNOWN)

Senator, if I could...

MCCAIN:

Yes.

(UNKNOWN)

... try to address that, for a launch from there that might threaten the continental United States...

MCCAIN:

YES.

(UNKNOWN)

... or threaten the islands of Hawaii, I believe we are the nation that would have the capability -- and rightly so -- to defend ourselves.

MCCAIN:

Thank you.

General Sharp, I don't expect you to have a great answer to this, but what do you make of the obviously very erratic, even more erratic, behavior on the part of the North Koreans, who have always been erratic. But there is rumors about the health of the dear leader. There's threats of retaliation against South Korean naval exercises. I mean, you could chronicle them for the committee and for the record. What do you make of all this behavior on the part of the North Koreans and how do you feel that the Chinese -- what's your view of whether the Chinese have been constructive or not in our efforts to rein in some of these activities in the most oppressive regime on earth?

SHARP:

Sir, I think Kim Jong Il is doing everything he -- in his power to try to ensure regime survival and his personal survival. I think the issue that he had, health issue that he had, last summer maybe woke him up and his people up a little bit. And saw that he is not immortal.

And if you take a look at some of the actions as far as the balloons that have been going into North Korea, that have been telling the truth about Kim Jong Il, the fact that Kim Jong Il has cut off in the western industrial complex the ability to be able -- for workers to bring simple things like CDs and newspapers into North Korea, if you look at the number of open-air markets that are continuing to stay open longer than they have in the past. I think that Kim Jong Il realizes that some of the people, a small amount, but some of the people within North Korea right now are starting to realize what an oppressive regime they have and what conditions they live under and how just south of the DMZ, they are living in totally different conditions.

So I think what he is trying to do is, number one, demonstrate he is in control. He has control of his military and to be very, very forceful of that within North Korea, all going back towards two things, regime survival and getting the most he can out of the international community as far as concessions.

MCCAIN:

And the role of China?

SHARP:

Sir, I believe that China, through the Six -Party talks, has tried their best to be helpful. Their influence in North Korea, I think, is questionable as to now and into the future. But over the recent history of six party talks, especially after the nuclear tests that North Korea did in 2006, I think that they've been helpful. And Admiral Keating has probably -- has done much more talking to them, but I believe they've been helpful in those lines.

MCCAIN:

Well I -- are not the Chinese balancing the problem they would have, huge problem they would have, with the collapse of the North Korean government and the subsequent refugee and economic problems, with the need to cooperate so that we don't have an escalation of profound consequences in the region?

SHARP:

Sure they are. Yes, sir. I mean, they would be happy just to have the status quo in a non-nuclear North Korea if they could get to that point, where they're not threatened in any case, I think.

MCCAIN:

So the question of succession will -- is of leadership in North Korea is a very big factor, you think, in some of the behavior recently, particularly since the illness of the dear leader?

SHARP:

Yes, sir. I think that there is -- Kim Jong Il was schooled by his father for many, many years before he actually took command, took the leadership role. And not much of that, if any, is going on at this time. And I think the illness, not only for Kim Jong Il himself, but within the leadership of North Korea, they're looking much more at, "Okay, what is going to be the future?"

But at the same time, I can't underestimate Kim Jong Il is in charge. Every major decision is coming directly from him. I believe that he's trying to shore up that ability right now.

MCCAIN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator McCain. Senator Lieberman.

LIEBERMAN:

Thanks, Mr. Chairman. As I said to the Chairman while Senator McCain was asking his questions, on this committee, we think of Senator Levin as the dear leader.

MCCAIN:

And a great leader.

LIEBERMAN:

And a great leader, sorry.

LEVIN:

Yes, I decline both, but thank you.

LIEBERMAN:

Thanks to all three of you for your service and leadership. Admiral Keating, it's been a great honor to know you in your various commands and I thank you for everything you've done. I thank your wife, the way she's supported you, it strikes me, may I take the liberty to say, as I look out at the two of you, that you must occasionally be asked the question I'm asked, which is "How did you end up with such a good looking wife?" You don't have to answer that question, though.

I want to get serious, of course, because this is serious business. I want to focus in on missile defense. Both because of the extraordinary progress, I think we've made remarkable progress in developing missile defense, but also frankly because this program, as well as others, may be recommended for cuts in the budget we're going to get. And I -- so I want to explore this with you and I want to go to the North Korean situation that we talked about.

LIEBERMAN:

Admiral Keating, do you agree that there's good reason to believe that the North Korean launch will not be a communication satellite, but more likely a test of the Taepo Dong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile of North Korea's?

KEATING:

I don't think we can make that definitive a statement, Senator.

LIEBERMAN:

Yes.

General Chilton, General Sharp, do you have an opinion on it?

CHILTON:

I would agree with Admiral Keating, but I would say, just looking in history, at our own history, we used similar rockets, the Atlas, the Titan, to do both the intercontinental ballistic missile mission and to launch payloads into orbit. So even if there is a satellite launch on this as the North Koreans have said it will be, it will help advance the technology of long-range missiles.

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

General Sharp?

SHARP:

Sir, I agree. They have said it's going to be a satellite launch.

And just to reiterate what I said a minute ago, even if it is a satellite launch, it's still in violation of the UN ...

LIEBERMAN:

Still in violation. That's very important point. I'm glad you made it.

Assuming it is a Taepo Dong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile, how close could it come to U.S. territory, including, obviously, Hawaii and Alaska? General Chilton?

CHILTON:

Well, first of all, Senator, this is all theoretical ...

LIEBERMAN:

Sure.

CHILTON:

... Estimations, because they've not successfully flown this version of the missile.

But we worry about defending -- its ability to reach the West Coast of the United States, as well as the Hawaiian Islands, and of course Alaska.

LIEBERMAN:

OK, so that's serious.

Admiral Keating, let me ask you this question. Based on the current state of our missile defense, if the North Koreans did fire a missile, an intercontinental ballistic missile, that was aimed at the United States, what's the probability that we could knock it down?

KEATING:

We have a high probability, Senator.

LIEBERMAN:

In other words, that we have brought our missile defense, presumably what's in Alaska and in California, to a point that you're prepared to say that there's a high probability that we could knock down, hit an incoming missile.

KEATING:

Yes, sir. We can provide you specific probability of intercept numbers through Chile and Northern Command Center. But in this form, we could say we have a high probability.

LIEBERMAN:

Good.

General Chilton, you want to add anything to that?

CHILTON:

The only thing I would add, sir, and that's if given adequate warning, which obviously I believe we have, collection (ph) capability, because the system still does revert back and forth between test and online. And that's one of the things that U.S. Strategic Command oversees and monitors and makes recommendations on.

LIEBERMAN:

So we've come a long way in the development of our missile defense. General Maples from Defense Intelligence Agency was here testifying last week and sighted what he described -- I believe the words were, "Rising threat of ballistic missile capability," not just in North Korea, in Iran, but a lot of other countries that might not wish us or our allies around the world well.

General Chilton, in your testimony, you emphasized that the missile defense programs provide a critical deterrent against certain existing and potential threats, increase the cost of adversaries' already expensive technologies, and reduce the value of their investments. You also emphasized the importance, and I quote, of "Increasing the redundancy and depth of the ballistic missile system."

General Sharp, in your testimony, you point to the importance of the development of airborne laser systems. I want to ask the two of you -- and Admiral, if you want to get into it -- about how important you feel it is to fund the ongoing development of our missile defense, including the redundancy of it, the various systems that we're developing.

CHILTON:

Well, Senator, I'll start.

LIEBERMAN:

Good.

CHILTON:

First, I think it's important that, when we talk about missile defense, we look at it in a couple contexts. One is with regard to our strategic deterrent, because it was developed under a policy that included that in the calculus of how we position ourselves to deter against a potential adversary like North Korea who may not be looking for a one-on-one confrontation with the United States, but for an opportunity to perhaps blackmail the United States or perhaps dissuade the United States engagement in the Pacific region or on the Korean Peninsula in a conventional conflict.

So that links, then -- so we have to be taken in the total context, which is why the NPR this year -- having an NPR this year is important, I believe, to see if that still fits as part of our nuclear posture review and our calculus for deterrence.

We also need to look at it with regard to how the missile defense system writ large, which not only includes the defense of the United States, but also includes technological development to defend our troops deployed forward and all the regional combatant commanders. And in my view, I think we have to make sure we strike a careful balance between those two and continue to look at missile defense in light of its strategic importance for the defense of the United States, but also for its operational and tactical importance for the defense of our regionally deployed forces.

LIEBERMAN:

Well said.

And General Sharp, do you want to add anything to that?

SHARP:

Just that, with the number of missiles in North Korea and that threat, the ability to have a multi-layer defense, to be able to not only see them early but to be able to knock them down at various stages after they launch I think is critical.

LIEBERMAN:

Admiral Keating, let me ask you a final question, and it's this: obviously, our nation's focus, generally speaking in recent years, has been in the Middle East, and now South Asia.

But it strikes me that, within the context, allowing for the exception of the threat that North Korea represents, and the challenge we have, but we're doing pretty well at peacefully, constructively managing our relations with China, my impression is that our relations in the region that you've overseen, the Asian-Pacific region, are about as good as they've been in a long time, with growing alliances with Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, and a lot of smaller nations.

Do you agree?

KEATING:

Senator, I do, and we do. Wanda Lee and I have been able to visit nearly 30 of the 38 countries in our AOR in two years. And to varying degrees -- Roger that -- but each and every visit we have, not just mill-to-mill, but with Ministries of Foreign Affairs, with other international bodies, including commercial partners, they regard all of them, the United States, as the indispensable partner throughout the Asia-Pacific region. So I think your statement is correct, sir.

LIEBERMAN:

I thank you for the very important role that you've played in bringing us to that point.

SHARP:

Mr. Senator, if I may, one more comment on the Taepo Dong-2. Just to remind the Senators, last time when they tried to launch a Taepo Dong-2, about the same time they also launched six other missiles. And we are watching very closely to see what else they will do between the fourth and the eighth April, and that we're prepared for that.

LIEBERMAN:

I appreciate you -- so we should be prepared for more than the one launch. Thank you.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Lieberman.

Senator Inhofe?

INHOFE:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am reminded that this week is the 26th anniversary of the initiation of the program that's dominating this hearing right now. And by Ronald Reagan, I think it would be appropriate to read two sentences into the record that were made 26 years ago this week.

"What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack? That we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies? Wouldn't it be better to save lives than to avenge them?"

I think that's a very appropriate statement (inaudible) be reminded of today.

During Senator McCain's questioning, General Sharp and others, I think your response on Kim Jong Il was that he would do anything. He's at a point in life where he would try almost anything.

Then the scary thing is, to me, anyway, that they're going to be launching a missile. And is it correct -- do you feel that there's any way of determining, when something has been launched, whether it has a warhead or whether it's a satellite?

SHARP:

I'd like to defer to General Chilton. He's been studying that very hard.

CHILTON:

Senator, that's a really difficult problem. There are different trajectories that you would fly, depending on whether you want to go to space or a ballistic missile. Ballistic missile typically goes on a very high trajectory. Space usually flattens out early and it tries to accelerate because the velocity is very important to stay in orbit.

But being able to make that determination real-time can be very difficult for us.

INHOFE:

Yes, which is scary.

We were talking about where our weaknesses might be. I have a chart that I've been using for quite some time. And I know this thing's changed, but it's my understanding we have some level of comfort when you look about the boost phase, the mid-course phase and the terminal phase. In terms of the mid-course phase, we actually do have some redundancy, and the terminal phase. It's the boost phase that concerns me. Can you respond as to what our capabilities are, and then what we're looking forward to to try to improve that?

CHILTON:

Right, Senator.

I think the approach for missile defense has been a layered defense, as you've described, that looks at opportunities to engage in the boost phase, in the mid-course, and then terminal. The boost phase is attractive because this is -- obviously the vehicle's moving slower, a lot of heat coming out of the back of the rocket, and so it has some easier signatures to track.

Now, the mid-course phase gets more difficult, and relying heavily on radar today. And then, the terminal phase, of course, the issues with that is it's hard to have a broad area defense in the terminal phase. You've really got to have your defensive capabilities pretty closely located to what could be an indeterminate target coming in on the (inaudible) of the adversary.

So we look for capabilities, and advocate for capabilities in all these areas. And I would say the area that's least mature is the boost phase.

INHOFE:

Yes.

Well, the reason I bring that up, because there's always resistance. They say, "Well, we have redundancy. You don't need both systems." And I think that we're all on record saying, "Yes, we want redundancy in all three phases."

Anyone disagree with that? No.

During our command hearings, I have wanted to get a response from all commands that deal with some of my favorite programs, the 1206- 1207-1208, Train and Equip, which Admiral Keating, you and I talked about and you've already mentioned in your opening statement, as well as the CERF program, and then the globalization -- what is it, CCIF, I guess, the program, and IMET.

Could you comment on those programs and the significance of those programs?

KEATING:

Thank you, Senator.

Each of those, to the Pacific Command, are very important. We cited 1206. We hope to continue support there. 1207, of similar importance, Commander's Emergency Response Fund. We did not enjoy funding in 2008. We would enjoy re-initiation of that support. It can be of critical importance to our allies who have less capabilities than we do. And if our forces are not in the immediate area, we can provide funding to a country who has been adversely affected by natural disaster, and they can use that money for immediate relief. Short-term relief is probably a better term.

INHOFE:

And so, the CERF should continue to be globalized?

KEATING:

We would appreciate it, yes ...

INHOFE:

Outside of just ...

KEATING:

Yes, sir.

And on the issue of IMET, it is one of the most important tools in our box. We have around 185 students attending various educational institutions, foreign students attending various educational institutions in United States ask we speak. There are some 70 foreign students at our military academies. These are sort-term investments that will have significant long-term dividends.

INHOFE:

Yes.

I think, General Sharp, you made some comments to the value of that program in Korea, IMET.

SHARP:

Sir, we -- of course, Korea pays for their own way to come to send students, but the philosophy of being able to have students from other countries attend all of our schools, which Korea has hundreds of them doing, just pays great value that we see over and over again.

INHOFE:

Yes. I bring that up because there was a time when people thought that, when we had an IMET program, that we're somehow doing them a favor. And I've always felt that -- and that's why we made the change in the Article 98 requirement, that they're really doing us a favor, and that there are countries like China out there that have aggressive programs, and they would be doing it if we didn't, which I think you probably would agree on that.

Admiral Keating, you mentioned this President Ma. You referenced him and the president. And the fact that he's reached out to China in an effort to improve the relations, how much success do you think he's having?

KEATING:

We would regard his success as significant, Senator. The measures of effectiveness are not quite that startling, perhaps, exchange of rare animals, increased cross-channel commercial flights, the consideration of confidence-building measures. All of these steps relatively small in and of themselves, but they have led to an obvious decrease in tension across the Strait, and that each day goes by that there isn't (inaudible) military activity. We would view that as a day closer to an eventual solution, and President Ma's efforts have been significant.

INHOFE:

And you mentioned the mill-to-mill is always a good idea, but I think, if I understood your testimony, it hasn't achieved the success that we'd like to have achieved with Russia so far.

KEATING:

Is that from the Pacific Grand (ph) perspective, Senator?

INHOFE:

Well, actually, I believe it was General Sharp that made that comment. Maybe it wasn't.

OK, fine. My time has expired. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Inhofe.

Senator Reed?

REED:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me join my colleagues in thanking you all for your service to the nation, and particularly, Admiral, for your distinguished service, you and your family, to the Navy and to the nation. Thank you very much.

Let me follow-up on this line of questioning about activities in North Korea and I'll address to Admiral Keating first, but General Sharp, General Chilton, please feel free to respond. Does the intelligence community have any indication that North Korea's planning to launch a ballistic missile? Or does it assess that this is a launch of a satellite which are two different systems? Admiral Keating?

KEATING:

Senator, I don't believe the intelligence community has information that would specifically rule out either option. It is a missile body that could be used for either.

REED:

General Sharp?

SHARP:

I agree with that completely.

REED:

And General Chilton?

CHILTON:

I would agree. We have just the North Korean's statements that the intent is to be a space launch at this point.

REED:

If it turns out to be a launch of a satellite, does that automatically assume that they have the capacity to launch a ballistic missile, an intercontinental ballistic missile? Or is there much more work that has to be done to design a re-entry vehicle, to design a system that will deliver a missile?

CHILTON:

Senator, there's other elements that would have to be matured. As you point out rightly a re-entry vehicle which is not a trivial thing. Obviously the difference between a re-entry vehicle for a shorter, medium range and a long range are different because it's a much hotter environment for a long range flight to survive. So work on the re-entry vehicle and then weaponization is an issue as well. But we have no insights into their efforts in this area but certainly they also require a booster with that performance capability.

REED:

So at this juncture we have their statement which offers a range of possibilities and in fact is from your previous testimony this statement is a warning that they didn't give prior to the previous launch and the statement would be ironically I think more consistent with the practice of nations who are prepared vehicles, is that correct?

CHILTON:

You're correct. They did not make a similar statement last time and today space-faring nations around the world do make announcements of their plans for launching into space.

REED:

So again, this is hard to ascribe to North Korea but they seem to be at least procedurally what other nations in terms of a preparation for the launch of a satellite or any type of space vehicle, correct?

CHILTON:

I would say there may be an attempt there not probably as specific procedurally as done but I would also pile onto General Sharp's comment that there's this UN resolution there that is really the big, big difference.

REED:

This might be completely inadvertently complying with the rules of the road but it is something I think that you've noted and I think there's emphasis. Let me shift gears. Admiral Keating, we have Special Operations forces that are stretched considerably, the situation in Iraq, build-up in Afghanistan. You have an area of operations running through Indonesia, through the Philippines which requires and have extensive commitment of Special Operations forces. Do you think you have sufficient Special Operations forces in your state of operations? And associated resources?

KEATING:

We could use more, Senator. An earlier question to the dialogue we have, the activity we have with India is a case in point. If we had access to more Special Forces it is likely we could conduct more small unit level training with countries who have terrorism challenges beyond those that we are conducting now.

REED:

And a related question is the platforms, the deliver platforms, the social operation troops, the surveillance platforms, again you could use more?

KEATING:

Same answer.

REED:

General Sharp, in your state of operations do you feel a pressure in terms of Special Operations forces and capacities?

SHARP:

Sir, of course we have a very small contingency that's actually assigned to the Republic of Korea mainly to help bring in additional Special Operations forces during times of conflict. In fact we have a number that are there right now joining our Key Resolve/Foal Eagle annual exercise doing training with a Korean SOC which are also very good. They are key to our war fight because of the ability to be able to get into North Korea, to identify ballistic missile launches, to identify different locations, so their requirement is key to our war fight.REED:

Let me pose a question to both General Chilton and Admiral Keating, that is in January 2007 the Chinese demonstrated the capacity to knock satellites at low-Earth orbit which would be significant challenge to our infrastructure, telecommunications, GPS, etcetera. What do you make of that? You've had continuing dialogue with the Chinese. Was that part of a conscious strategy to suggest their ability? Or was that an activity that was now is being reassessed and perhaps not being pursued? Can you comment on that, both gentlemen?

KEATING:

We visited China shortly after that anti-satellite test, Senator, and the military officials with whom we had conversations kind of shrugged their soldiers and said it wasn't any big deal, the shot wasn't any big deal, what's all the commotion? When we mentioned the fact that it was unannounced, that it was in violation of the same United Nations resolutions that Chilli and Skip have cited, that it introduced massive amounts of space to debris which remain a challenge for us, those Chinese military officials said, they indicated something less than full knowledge of the event, shall I say. So we encouraged them to be more forthcoming, this is a recurring mantra in our discussions with them. As to their continuing pursuit of that technology, I think Chilli is much better capable of I of addressing that part of it.

REED:

General?

CHILTON:

Senator, clearly in my view that was an irresponsible move on the part of the Chinese. We're very concerned about debris in space. They added over 2,000 pieces of trackable debris. We expect tens of thousands of other that won't be up there for days, months and years but decades at an orbital altitude that impacts other nations' low-Earth orbiting satellites. A day does not go by at US Strategic Command where I do not receive reports of potential conjunctions or collisions or close passes from debris from that test with other satellites that are of interest to the United States of America and other counties.

And so contrast that to what the US did a year later where with the great work and coordination with US Pacific Command to intercept an errant NRO satellite for the sole purposes of protecting the populous of the Earth. We did that responsibly at an altitude that all the debris, all of the trackable debris from that intercept has reentered the Earth's atmosphere and no longer poses a threat to orbiting assets. Clearly there's a difference between those two tests, clearly the Chinese were developing an anti-satellite capability, and I think irresponsibly.

REED:

Do you think that they have received that message that you've just made very clear to us?

CHILTON:

I would anticipate that they have, sir. I've spoken of this, we have all spoken of this on many occasions. I'll turn to Admiral Keating.

REED:

Thank you. Do you have a final point? My time is expired but is there a final point, sir?KEATING:

It's been a subject of discussion and they've no doubt received it, Senator, whether or not it has sufficient impact or not, I can't say.

REED:

Thank you very much. Thank you, Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Reed. Senator Thune?

THUNE:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen. Thank you to all of you for your outstanding service to our country and to all those who serve under your command. Admiral Keating, during last week's hearing on current and future worldwide threats, Lieutenant General Maples, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said, and I quote, "China from an air defense standpoint has developed a very modern layered air defense capability and depth and is seeking additional air defense capabilities that will project even out to a range of 400 kilometers. This significantly affects potential US operations in that region."

In an article published in the Foreign Affairs Journal in January 2009, Secretary Gates wrote that China's improved air defenses coupled with investments in other asymmetric capabilities such cyber-warfare, anti-satellite warfare and anti-ship weaponry all threaten our ability to project power in the Pacific and will require us to rely on long- range over-the-horizon systems such as the Next Generation Bomber. My question, Admiral, is do you agree with Secretary Gates' and Lieutenant General Maples' assessment of China's anti-access capabilities?

KEATING:

I do, sir.

THUNE:

As the Combatant Commander that's responsible for the Pacific theater, how important is it to you that the Air Force field a new long-range bomber in the 2018 timeframe that's capable of penetrating these advance defenses?

KEATING:

Any capability that our country can provide to the men and women in uniform should the necessity arise to engage in that sort of conflict is a capability we would support, sir.

THUNE:

That would include the Next Generation Bomber?

KEATING:

That would be true, sir.

THUNE:

General Chilton, as the Combatant Commander who is responsible for long range strike missions, how important is it to you that the Air Force field a long range bomber in the 2018 timeframe?

CHILTON:

Senator, thank you. As an advocate for the regional Combatant Commanders and the expressed need for the penetration capability for the conventional bomber capability we would advocate in support of that, development of that weapon system. But also when I look at our nuclear deterrent, our current nuclear deterrent posture, we look to the future. Part of the credibility of that air-breathing leg is the ability to get to the target to deliver its weapons and so from a nuclear posture, deterrent posture, we also support that type of platform have a nuclear capabilities in line with current policy where we are today. Of course this will be an issue that we'll look at that in the next nuclear posture review as well.

THUNE:

Right. And that was going to be my next question is that from your responsibility of maintaining deterrents, the importance of making sure that that system has nuclear capabilities is a high priority?

CHILTON:

In our current strategy and policy today that is an important and one that we have advocated for in US Strategic Command and the Air Force has told us they will include as part of the requirement set for that weapons system.

THUNE:

OK. I would just as sort of a follow-up to that make I guess the observation that the B-52s are old, the B-1s don't have that nuclear capability anymore, the B-2s are becoming less survivable against modern defenses and having said states the importance that you placed, priority that you place on developing that bomber, I guess my question is is that something as the DOD and the White House and their F.Y. '10 defense budget as they go through that process, is that something that you are advocating for that's on your priority list in terms of modernizing the Air Force and the weapons systems that it provides to your command?

KEATING:

Yes, sir, it is part of our integrated priority list for Pacific.

CHILTON:

And although I can't discuss any deliberations out of ignorance, at some level, but certainly as I've said we have advocated for the nuclear requirement on the so-called Next Generation Bomber as a requirement that should be part of that and supported the need for a penetrating bomber capability under our current policy.

THUNE:

And I'm not asking you to divulge your internal discussions but it's simply saying as the people responsible for the commands, you are in the best position to determine what those requirements are.

CHILTON:

Absolutely, Senator, and we have a seat at the table.

THUNE:

OK. Terrific. Thank you. That's the only questions I have, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Thune.

Senator Akaka?

AKAKA:

Thank you, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Let me express my welcome and my aloha to our esteemed panel of military leaders and also express my appreciation for all of the men and women of the military reserve under you and with you who secure our country. And also my personal and warmest mahalo to my close friend, Admiral Keating and his lovely lady, Wanda Lee, for being here today and coming all the way from Camp Smith in Hawaii. And let me thank our panel for the dedicated service that you've given to our country over the years.

And I want to commend Admiral Keating since we've learned that this is his last appearance here in Congress and thank him for his outstanding leadership for maintaining the high level of capacity among our military and secondly for the good relationships that you've brought internationally with other countries in your Asia-Pacific jurisdiction and thank you so much for that.

AKAKA:

Admiral Keating, I'm afraid this morning that due to the importance of PACOM to my own state of Hawaii all of my questions will be addressed to you.

Admiral, only a few weeks ago, and this was mentioned by Senator McCain, he asked about the United States and China incident that occurred off Hainan, with the vessel, a U.S. ship, Impeccable. And I read some of the accounts that happened there. My question to you, and because of your relationships with China, what do you think this incident has shown to our country? Is it a sign of increased military aggressiveness from China?

KEATING:

Senator, the short answer is I'm not sure. To elaborate a little bit on that, at the same time the Chinese are behaving in such an irresponsible, one would say illegal, fashion in the South China Sea. As you know, they have three ships conducting anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, working in close concert with the commander of the task force there, working for Vice Admiral Bill Gortney and General Dave Petraeus. While in the Gulf of Aden, they're doing things the right way, if you will.

And our commander has gone to have lunch with their commander and vice versa, they exchanged bridge-to-bridge communications, they e- mail each other. So at the same time they're playing by the rules in the same sandbox, they're clearly in violation of long-standing, centuries old rules of the road and responsible maritime behavior. So it's conflicting to us. And it is confusing. And this goes to the root cause, we think, root issue of what are really their intentions? What is their strategic intent? Where does China expect to be 10, 20, 50 years from now and do we, the United States, have a prominent role in their mil-to-mil calculations.

I think the answer to that question is, yes, we do have a prominent role, but to us to realize productivity and benefit, we have to engage in discussions and right now we are not able to do because they have suspended mil-to-mil relations.

AKAKA:

Thank you, Admiral.

I am very pleased that PACOM has developed an approach to its mission of protecting our nation and enhancing the stability of the Asian Pacific region, through the strategy of partnership, presence and military readiness. And I pointed -- as I pointed out, I think you've done a tremendous job in this area. And I feel that PACOM's emphasis on these three components will go a long way towards preserving the security of this region. Do you feel that the civic command has the military personnel, equipment and facilities to effectively implement this approach?

KEATING:

Yes, sir, we do. We report our readiness on a monthly- basis and on a classified level to the secretary of defense and in two years, our readiness remained steady. There are, of course, assets, as Senator Reed mentioned, in particular -- as an example, special operations forces. We would like more of them, and it's not just a case of give us more, more, more. We think we can utilize a wide range of forces, both the capabilities and services, across a very broad spectrum throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the JOs and the command have a bumper sticker now that says "Virtual presence equals actual absence." Nothing replaces boots on the ground, jets in the air, Marines coming to shore, whatever the service component you want to describe and for us to continue to do so will require significant support from the Congress and we hope we can continue that.

AKAKA:

You have mentioned that China is looking towards the future and I -- so I'd like to ask you, Admiral Keating, about China's continuing their efforts to become a viable blue water navy. For example, I recently saw a report that China was considering adding an aircraft carrier to its navy. And cooperation, collaboration, partnerships with -- will be vital if China continues to build this blue watery navy's capability. What is your assessment of China's ability to extend its operation region to the high seas in the near future?

KEATING:

China's ability is growing in terms of power, projection, capacity and capability. It is not close to that that we enjoy in the United States at Pacific Command, but it is growing, Senator, and it is a cause for concern for us in the United States Pacific Command.

AKAKA:

And finally, Admiral, you recently completed the U.S.' signature exercise in Asia-Pacific region. This is exercise Cobra Gold. This multi-national exercise has long been on -- an important mechanism in our commitment to fostering multi-lateral relationships to enhance stability in the region. What is your -- the biggest take away from this year's exercise?

KEATING:

This is about -- it's about the 30th Cobra Gold exercise we've conducted, Senator. Maybe 25 to 30, something like that. Each of them more complex, each of them more demanding, each of them more sophisticated, each of them literally field training exercises. Thailand affords us a great opportunity to train in a multi-lateral, multinational joint way, coalition way.

Interestingly, the People's Republic of China Liberation Army forces observe this exercise at our invitation for 3.5 days during this latest Cobra Gold. So you counter that, their desire to watch these exercises, and we hope eventually participate to a degree, because an aspect of Cobra Gold included humanitarian assistance, disaster relief exercises in United Nations peace keeping operations. So Cobra Gold is, as you say, "It's a signature event for us." It gets tougher, harder, each year in terms of the level of engagement and the quality of play by all those involved and it's a very important part of our theater cooperation plan.

AKAKA:

Thank you very much for your response. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much, Senator Akaka.

Senator Ben Nelson?

Both -- excuse me for interrupting, Senator Nelson.

BEN NELSON:

I was just checking on the votes.

LEVIN:

The first roll call has just begun. So at least some of us, hopefully, can vote -- excuse me, vote now, early in this roll call and then maybe at the end of the second roll call. There's no certain way of figuring who will go next, but our staff will do their best to keep this in order.

And Senator Nelson.

BEN NELSON:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you, Admiral Keating. We -- I know I'll look forward to a very happy voyage into the sunset years and we appreciate your service. We thank General Chilton and General Sharp for your service as well.

General Chilton, you've testified before and we know that within DOD and STRATCOM is the global war fighter for cyberspace. It's charged with operating and defending the global information grid, planning and acting when directed to maintain our freedom of action in this domain. Obviously cyberspace is a key front and is itself a war- fighting domain upon which all others depend on one degree or another. So those who hack into the network vary from the unsophisticated to trained military hackers who can target industry, academia, government and the land, air, space, maritime domains.

So we know that U.S. STRAT -- USSTRATCOM is protecting DOD, but I guess the question is who's protecting the networks of www.gov sites, such as our networks here in Congress? And my question truly is: Is this a mission that STRATCOM could or should undertake?

CHILTON:

Senator, if it -- the policy has been that that mission set, beyond the defense of the military networks, defending the remainder of the critical networks of America, is a mission set for the Department of Homeland Security, one that has not been given to the Department of Defense. That said, we are asked to support the Department of Homeland Security and we have been sharing lessons learned with them, exchanging personnel between our command and control centers, so we're -- we have learned a lot, I would say, in the Department of Defense, and particularly in the U.S. Strategic Command about what it takes to defend our DOD networks and we're ensuring that we're sharing those lessons in support of the Department of Homeland Security today.

BEN NELSON:

Are you comfortable that in sharing the lessons learned that the Department of Defense -- or the Department of Homeland Security is achieving some level of excellence in its ability to protect the www.gov sites?

CHILTON:

Senator, this mission set was just given to the Department of Homeland Security last year and then funding is just beginning to flow into this area. And so they are still standing up, but we have been working this problem in the Department of Defense, since I believe, the mission was first given to U.S. Space Command.

BEN NELSON:

Yes.

CHILTON:

Back in 1998, '99 time period and of course that mission transitioned to U.S. STRATCOM when it -- when U.S. Space Command merged with us, along with our space mission.

So we've had the advantage of working this problem for 11 years in the Department of Defense. So we not only just share information -- we do more than just share information with the DHS team. We also share knowledge we have, of threats that are coming in, and how we're addressing those specifically.

BEN NELSON:

So it's more than the technology, you're also sharing information and intelligence, right?

CHILTON:

That's right.

BEN NELSON:

Well, in -- I think it was last week or the week before, in the hearing on worldwide threat, I asked Admiral Blair "If we have the capabilities to determine if an intrusion into our cyberspace is a criminal act or an act of war?" In other words, can we determine the perpetrator by the intrusion?

I guess, I'll ask you, General Chilton.

CHILTON:

The question on whether -- how do we come to grips with activity in cyberspace and whether or not they are acts of war is one that is still open for debate and discussion and need to be looked at. There's some easy things to say, that is if some activity in cyberspace caused death or destruction of America -- American citizens or American resources, and I think that would be an easy one to --.

BEN NELSON:

Sure.

CHILTON:

To say. But there are other issues as well. For example, stealing of information or espionage, which is classically handled in this country by the FBI. And so -- and then there, in the middle, there's criminal activity. Espionage, criminal activity and then threat to life and property in the United States of America.

So how we think about that and lay that out for the future, I think, is an important discussion point.

BEN NELSON:

Well, we wouldn't necessarily be stumbling over ourselves in trying to determine that. I suspect we would be talking to the appropriate entities to try to straighten out and assign responsibility at this point in time, into the future as well?

CHILTON:

Absolutely, Senator. Today we work very closely with the other agencies to include the FBI and other intelligence agencies and other authorities. Because as you can imagine, the cyber domain crosses multiple authorities here, Title 10, Title 15, Title 18. And so it's key for us to, and we have put in place in U.S. Strategic Command, a group that allows us to make sure we're integrating and coordinating across those various bodies and authorities to make sure we follow the appropriate instructions.

BEN NELSON:

And in another field, we've been reducing our nuclear warheads around the world for some period of time, as an indication of reducing the level of hostility potential and to try to develop deterrent factors or to -- having them work as dissuasive efforts of others to not engage in nuclear development. Given the fact that we're faced with -- as North Korea and Iran, in moving toward their own nuclear capability, do you think that our efforts at reducing our own arsenal with the former Soviet Union reducing its arsenal, have we achieved any deterrence or dissuasive effect in your opinion?

CHILTON:

Senator, a couple of facts here. One, both the Soviets and -- the former Soviet Union, now Russia, and the United States have made dramatic reduction in our strategic stockpiles, inventories, since the end of the Cold War.

Two, there have been new actors on the international scene that in spite of that reduction, have launched or continued, more likely, new nuclear weapons development programs.

But also there are -- we can count many, many friends and allies who have not started nuclear weapons programs because of their confidence in the U.S. strategic deterrents, which they can still maintain today, and should.

CHILTON:

So there's linkages between friends and allies and confidence in our ability to support them and proliferation, potential proliferation. But there's also a fair question to ask, has our reductions influenced certain countries? And the hard part is to prove the negative. Maybe there was another set of countries out there who have observed this reduction, and have not started programs that they otherwise would have.

I think this area bears further study.

BEN NELSON:

Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Have you voted, Senator Nelson?

BILL NELSON:

I have not.

LEVIN:

Do you want to start?

Or should we just put us in recess?

BILL NELSON:

May I just ask a couple of quick...

LEVIN:

Sure. After you're done, if there's no one else here, would you put us in recess until someone returns?

(UNKNOWN)

OK. How much time...

(UNKNOWN)

Six plus five.

(UNKNOWN)

Six plus five.

(UNKNOWN)

OK.

BILL NELSON:

General Chilton, what do you feel is our highest missile defense priority? Should it be to provide our regional combatant commanders with an effective missile defense against the many existing short and medium range missiles?

CHILTON:

Senator, we have to look at both, support -- in my view -- support to the regional combatant commanders, but certainly defense of the United States of America. And so, I think we need a balanced missile defense program that goes forward, that addresses both those critical needs, both for our citizens at home and for our deployed forces abroad.BILL NELSON:

OK. Let me ask Admiral Keating and General Sharp. Since you all are commanders that are facing many of these short and medium range potential threats from North Korea, would you agree that you don't have sufficient missile defense capabilities to meet your operational needs, to defend against those existing short and medium range missiles?

KEATING:

Senator, we could provide for the defense of American citizens and American territory in the Pacific Command AOR with the assets that we have. We could obviously use more assets, in that it is -- we are not at a one-to-one ratio. They have more potential offensive weapons than we have extent defensive weapons.

SHARP:

Sir, North Korea has got over 800 missiles. We have currently on the peninsula 64 Patriots from the U.S. And the Republic of Korea just purchased 24. And we're starting to incorporate those into the defense also.

Could we use more? Yes. We are working hard to make sure that the ballistic missile defense of the Patriots are properly linked together, that we have the intelligence to properly queue (ph), and that we have them positioned at the right places to be able to defend our most critical warfighting assets.

But it does leave other areas uncovered, and we could -- both we and the Republic of Korea -- could use more, and we're working hard at that.

BILL NELSON:

So, for the two of you, your highest missile defense priority is fielding effective capabilities to meet your operational needs.

KEATING:

Yes, sir.

SHARP:

Yes, sir.

BILL NELSON:

OK.

General Chilton, hackers are trying to invade our military computers. And you recently had a statement, which was very good. Every day -- and I'm quoting you -- every day there are attempts to penetrate our network.

And since I'm down to three minutes to go to vote, let me say that we are working at a lot of different levels -- classified, and I just came from a hearing with regard to non-classified computers in the Commerce Committee -- to try to get our arms around this problem, which we have to.

This senator has had his office computer -- I have had my office computers invaded three times in the last month. And one of them we think is very serious.

So, we're going to have to continue this. And I underscore that for you.

And if you will excuse me, so that I can record my vote, the committee will stand in recess, subject to the call of the chair.

Thank you.

(RECESS)

UDALL:

The committee will come back into order, if, admiral and generals, if that fits your pleasure.

Thank you for responding. We have a series of votes on, as I think everybody knows. But the committee is eager to take full advantage of your presence here, and thank you again, all three of you, for being here.

I thought I would, General Chilton, with no due (ph) respect meant to your colleagues here, turn to STRATCOM and ask you a couple of questions in that area. And it's great to see you here. I know both you and Admiral Keating have Colorado ties and Colorado roots. And you were a great leader at the Space Command, as was Admiral Keating at Northern Command.

General, in your testimony, you noted the strengths gained from our space-based and cyber-enabled capabilities. But you also warn that asymmetric advantages carry asymmetric challenges. We can't rule out the need for capabilities force-on-force conflict areas.

But you also note in the near term, it's unlikely that any state would choose such a course with the United States. I think we probably all agree that that's the reality.

In your view, how do we best prepared for such an uncertain future at a time when our resources are so constrained? And you talked in particular about cyber activities, cyber attacks. So, if you would respond, I'd appreciate it.

CHILTON:

Sure. Thank you, senator.

U.S. Strategic Command is our (ph) Department of Defense cyber command. And we take that mission of defending the DOD global information grid exceptionally seriously.

What I believe we need to do in the cyber domain is to look at our culture, our conduct and capabilities, the three C's, I say. We have grown up with computers on our desks, and they have been looked at as a convenience. I think all of us in America have. At first we ignored them, and then we got used to them. Now we're kind of chained to them.

But we have to change the culture. And when we think about our military networks in computers to clearly appreciate the fact that they are integral to the way we conduct military operations. And so, they are no longer a convenience. They are a necessary.

The conduct piece, we need to make sure that we approach our systems from a commander's perspective. Every commander needs to be concerned, not just about the readiness of their airplanes, the readiness of their ships, the readiness of their tanks, but the readiness also of their networks to support their operations.

And in the capability area, there are technologies that we can field and field faster, that will help us better understand what's going on on our networks, who's trying to get in them, what the configuration of the defenses of our networks are, et cetera.

And I think it's important to invest in those. In addition, I would say, in our people. We still, in my view, have not adequately resourced the people element of this to address the threats, the requirements to operate.

In the other, what I would say asymmetric advantage domain that we have, and that would be in space operations. Again, space capabilities have become integral to not only our daily life as Americans, but also to military operations, whether it be missile warning from space, the communications that we rely on to control predators from the United States of America on the other side of the world, or to pass critical command and control information in support of nuclear forces, GPS, weather warning.

We have come to take these things for granted, I would say, sometimes. But they are -- they have become dependencies.

And so, as we look to the future, we need to be thinking about these constellations as something that we could not ever afford to gap, or have a degradation in capability. And we need to take better care, in my view, as we look to the future, to ensure that we never put ourselves in a position where we're counting on every single launch of a satellite capability 100 percent to be successful, because history tells us, we know that that won't always happen.

Thank you, senator.

UDALL:

Admiral, did you want to make a comment? I think the general covered it quite well, and certainly covers all the service branches and the concerns that have been expressed.

I'd like you to talk a little bit about this space situational awareness concept and this collision we experienced recently. And if you might just explain how this has happened, briefly, and what can we do to take some steps to ensure that we reduce, if possible to zero, the probability that this happens in the future.

KEATING:

Happy to, senator.

We took a real close look at this most recent collision between a U.S.-owned and operated communications satellite and a non-functioning Russian satellite. And our conclusion is, looking at it, that there really wasn't much -- there was nothing, in fact -- that could have been done, given the way that satellite operator operated their satellite, and given the way we surveille space today and do our work today, that could have prevented that collision.

But as we look to the future, there are things that we can do to improve space situational awareness, in three areas.

One, increase the amount of surveillance capabilities that we have. So, we surveille space with radars and telescopes today. We need to have a more robust -- sustained, but we have it, also spread out, that capability. And there's opportunity here, I believe, to partner with other nations to increase this.

Believe it or not, geography matters in this case, as you surveille the heavens. Most of our sensors are in the northern hemisphere, placed there because we were most interested in the Soviet Union, of old.

But we do need to increase the amount of energy we put up, if you will, to collect and refresh our databases more frequently on what's up there and it's position.

Secondly, as you bring that data in -- and oh, by the way, there's opportunities to cooperate with other satellite operators that can give us the information we need, rather than us having to look for it.

Once we bring that data in, we have the opportunity to improve our computer capabilities and our display capabilities at our Joint Space Operations Center, to improve the fusion of that information, which today we're still kind of trying to do in the commander's head out there, by looking at PowerPoint charts.

And then, improving the calculation capability, to calculate and anticipate potential collisions in the future, is another area that we could improve.

Today, we only do collision analysis on the top priorities for the United States of America, with your manned space flight vehicles, space shuttle, space station, and then our most valuable national security satellites.

So, we're not doing collision calculations for the 19,000-plus pieces of debris and the 1,300-some-odd active satellites up there today. We don't have the capacity.

We can get better at that, I believe, in the future.

UDALL:

Thanks. Thank you for that analysis.

And it's tempting for me sitting here as the acting chair, to continue to ask questions and prevent my colleague from Alaska from having the floor. But I did want to yield to him with one comment for the record.

You and I have talked about continuing our work for a comprehensive space treaty. And there are some in place. But there are certainly some analogs in the way we treat the Antarctic, as one that's been mentioned. It's not one-to-one, obviously. There are differences between space and how we treat, as a world, the Antarctic.

But there's still more work to be done there. And I look forward to working with you and through the committee, to find a way to use space as we all want to, for peaceful purposes, for economic development, for all the marvelous advances that it's presented us with.

So, thanks again to the panel, and it's an honor to yield to the senator from Alaska, Mr. Begich.

BEGICH:

Thank you very much. And thank you all for being here.

And, you know, when you're toward the end, most of the questions have been asked. But I'm interested in especially, because I saw so many senators interested in Alaska and the missile defense. So I was very pleased about that.

I hope that continues as we get to the budget process.

But let me follow very quickly on what Senator Udall mentioned on cyber security. And I don't know who could answer this question.

Within all the military -- and I might have missed this, because I came in toward the end of his commentary on this -- is there a coordinating body that works together within the military operations on cyber security? Not by just agent -- by Army or Air Force, but a coordinating body that actually looks at how to improve the technology, and what you can do together?

CHILTON:

Well, in our command, in the combatant command of USSTRATCOM, I have two component commanders that work together very closely for operating and defending the network every day. And that requires sending out orders, sending out updates to anti-viruses, checking on the status and configuration of the network, supporting degradations in the network.

It also includes a great and robust relationship with the National Security Agency, which provides us tremendous intelligence support in this area.

CHILTON:

And when we think about, as directed, if we are directed to do offensive operations in cyberspace, we need to have close ties with all of the potentially affected parties within our government and we have established a coordinating body to do that whether it's with the FBI...

(OFF-MIKE)

(UNKNOWN)

Exactly right, Senator. And so we recognize the complexities in this area and have put pieces in place to address them. Again, I'd say our biggest challenge is properly manning those command and control elements, those centers for the future.

BEGICH:

Let me if I can, and again any one of you three can answer this or all of you, but again I appreciate your commentary and your discussion on the missile defense system especially because in Alaska, not to be too parochial but we think it's important where it is strategically and otherwise and I think you've laid it out many reasons because of the issues with North Korea.

Can you, and if this puts you on the spot, just let me know but on a one to ten scale if each one of you could kind of give me a sense of how you see North Korea in the overall global picture of threats, and especially to our country but to around the world? I know that's -- and if you don't feel like you want to put a number on it because I'm sure people here at this table, the press will probably pin you to it, so I won't hold you to it. I just wanted to get kind of a feel of how you see -- because from Alaska we are very concerned with the missile activity or their launching activity, I'll just say, their launching activity and it does concern me. It concerns out community and their capabilities of what they will do or what they say they will do and -- really, what will really happen? Admiral?

KEATING:

Senator, from a theater perspective as we talk with countries throughout our region, the 37 in addition to North Korea I would think it would be fair to characterize North Korea as the largest day-to-day concern in the eyes of most of the countries in our region. And it is not just because of potential Taepodong activity. And Skip is the best qualified amongst us so I'll stop in just a second. Their leadership is perhaps characterized as erratic. The succession, which Skip discussed earlier, is not clear. What happens next is not clear. Their day-to-day activities are unpredictable and can be very confrontational. They close certain international air space routes, they close their own border to their own economic disadvantage so writ (ph) large, North Korea is probably one of if not the most unsettling, their policies are the most unsettling of any in the region.

BEGICH:

Very good. Do most people agree with that?

SHARP:

Yes, sir. And I'll just add it's a regime, that in order to survive, depends almost solely on provocations and their ability to get what limited amount they can by selling technology, missile technology and proliferation and have publicly stated that they have a -- that we know that they've done a nuclear test and they're working hard to be able to show the world that they have a power to be able to do to deliver that anywhere in the world. So it is definitely I believe a regime that we have to watch very closely and we have to be prepared for.

BEGICH:

Very good.

CHILTON:

And Senator, just from a global perspective at STRATCOM I look at their activities, that give me greatest concern. Nuclear development of a nuclear weapon and a long range missile capability that could hold the continental United States at risk and their proliferation activity with regards to their missile technology and it gives me concern with where they might go with proliferation of their nuclear technology that they've developed given the characterization that the other commanders here have given of the motivations of this country in the past. So I look at their behavior and they do give us pause.

BEGICH:

Very good. Thank you. I have maybe one or two more questions. And again, if these have been asked, I apologize. How do you see with North Korea and China the international impact of the economy around the globe and how that's impacting their ability? Or are they accelerating their capacity to move to improve or add to their military capacity? In other words is the economic conditions of the country, of the world having an impact on them in a positive or negative way? Or are they taking some efforts because of the situation to take advantage of what's going on? I just want a little discussion on that. Admiral?

KEATING:

To the best of our ability to determine, Senator, there has been no short-term demonstration of a reduced capability, capacity or intention on the part of the People's Republic of China in terms of military development. It's counter to that with the observation that containers are stacking up in Shanghai so their export market is reduced, there have been numerous, hundreds and hundreds of factory closings in the past couple of months, their economic growth while a number that might be the envy of other countries, 6 percent to 8 percent if that's an accurate forecast, it's down by about 50 percent from what China had been advertising 12 percent to 15 percent growth hoped for in '09.

So all of that combines to lead us to be a little skeptical of their professed percentage of gross domestic product applied to defense in the People's Republic of China, those are suspect numbers to begin with. The Chinese tell us we in China are beginning to understand that the cost attendant to an all-volunteer army. They don't have that yet but they are realizing, because of the efforts of folks like Chief Master Sergeant Jim Roy, how important a senior non- commissioned officer corps is, how expensive quality of life improvements are for their forces. And they say most of their percentage, a large percentage of their budget is going to those human factors and elements and less toward hardware and technical capabilities. We don't necessarily subscribe to that theory. Long answer to a short question, we don't see any short-term impact because of economic downturn. We're watching it very carefully.

BEGICH:

And North Korea?

SHARP:

The same. North Korea because of their very few amount of exports, the amount of money they come in has for years and Kim Jong- Il just recently said again in his, if you will, State of The Union address several months ago that it's a military first policy and that he will do everything to make sure that his military is as strong as possible and had even went as far as asking the common people to understand the shortages that they will have to endure in order to be able to maintain and continue to improve a strong military.

BEGICH:

Thank you very much. My time has expired and I do have to go, so I'm turning it back to the Chairman and even though I would love to hold this away from him, but I will turn it back to Chairman Udall. Thank you.

UDALL:

Thank you. I think Senator Begich and I are thrilled to be able to have a chance to have a conversation with all three of you and I know the second vote was voiced and we're now in the process of debating the third vote so I'd like to take advantage of your presence and also alert you all if there's something you didn't have a chance to mention in your earlier testimony you'd like to touch on, I'm happy to make sure that we hear it.

But Admiral, I thought I'd turn just to an interesting question, I know you're well aware of this but when you look at the interface between CENTCOM and PACOM, you have oversight on India, General Petraeus has oversight of Pakistan. So much of what we see in Pakistan we believe is the northwest territories and that interface with Afghanistan but when you drill down into what's happening in Pakistan historically and politically often it's about their relationship with India. Would you talk to whatever extent you're comfortable about that relationship and how you interact with General Petraeus and his important responsibilities?

KEATING:

Yes, sir. Thank you. It's a great question, it's an important question and it's topical. There are those who think a re- examination of the Unified Command Plan which as you describe affords CENTCOM authority and oversight of Pakistan and affords Pacific Command oversight and mil-to-mil relations with India. We at Pacific Command think the Unified Command Plan is well-written, it is sound and we don't think that there is sufficient reason to change the border between CENTCOM and Pacific Command with respect to the India- Pakistan border itself.

Reasons are several. I had the privilege of going to India in the mid 1980s as a member of the Pacific Command staff and I have been there once, I'm going in a couple of weeks and as I mentioned earlier we have frequent dialogue at many levels of mil-to-mil and diplomatic agencies throughout India. The dialogue today is much healthier, it is more robust, it is more vigorous, it is more comprehensive, it is more forthcoming than that I observed in the mid 80s.

So in addition India is a significant strategic partner for us, the United States writ large and our specific command in particular. Their demographics are significant, their economic engine continues to churn, they are the world's largest democracy of course and their national elections are coming up. All this combines for me to recommend to you that the Unified Command Plan as written is sound and that I assure that the mil-to-mil relations between Pacific Command and India are solid and actually bearing direct productive fruit.

UDALL:

Thank you for that insight. And of course India is already a strong economic powerhouse, as you point out the world's largest democracy and I see nothing but a bright future for our relationship with the kind of leadership and the kind of connections we have. I too spent time in India. They're wonderful people, fascinating culture, long history, much older nation that the United States of America. They have the potential to teach us.

General Sharp, they're trying to hook me but I thought I'd give you a chance to talk a little bit about the point you made that one of the challenges is insufficient training range capacity and capability when it comes to our Air Forces in Korea. You have some ideas I'm sure about how those challenges could be mitigated. Could you take a minute or two and share those with the committee?

SHARP:

Yes, sir. And I also have a connection with Colorado in that my son will have graduate, will get his Master's degree from the University of Colorado in climatology on May 8 and I look forward to visiting back to your state on that day.

UDALL:

Outstanding. Well, forgive me for not mentioning your connection as well.

SHARP:

You had a better intel officer (inaudible)

UDALL:

Maybe one of my fellows could be out of your intel office?

SHARP:

Yes, sir. So first let me comment upon the strength of this ROC-US alliance and capabilities that we have and what we need in the future. First, I was stationed in Korea in 1996 to 1998 as a Colonel of one star and the Korean military at that time were good but the professionalism and the capability that has improved over those 10, 11 years is absolutely phenomenal. They track and abide by and believe in our training, the way we train our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marine. They completely work through the AAR System, After Action Review Systems and they really have got a strong capability right now, especially on their ground forces in order to be able to do what we're going or be prepared for any sort of contingency.

I am absolutely confident when they take command of the war fight and take control on April 17, 2012, they will be ready for that. We are going through many different exercises in training and establishing plans, processes and organization to make sure that we are ready for them to do that.

After OPCON transfer the US will be just as necessary but we'll be in a supporting to supported role rather than the opposite. The 28,500 troopers that we have there now from all services I believe to be about the right number for the future, well past OPCON transfer to stay in this very, very important part of the world in a country that has wanted us there for over 50 years and is key to the security and stability in northeast Asia.

We are working very closely with the Republic of Korea military in order to make sure that we do have all of the training ranges that we need in order to be able to properly train our service members and the most difficult one is the one that you mentioned is that ranges for the new modern systems of our Air Forces to be able to have significant size and safety in order to be able to drop the ordinance given the precision and the safety requirements that we have. And they're committed to it, we're committed to working this very closely together to be able to do it.

And the last thing I'll say is the agreement by our Department of Defense and the direction to move to a three year accompanied tours also will greatly increase the capabilities we have in Korea. Three years instead of one year at a time just gives me great capability. It reduces stress. Why have an accompanied tour anywhere in the world if you don't have to and then it really does show our commitment, not just to Korea but to all of northeast Asia which I think goes straight back to the security and stability for this important part of the world.

UDALL:

Your point's important but Wanda Lee's really nodding behind you like that would really make a big difference. I thank you for your indulgence and behalf of the ranking member, the Chairman, thank you all and the committee's going to stand in recess until further notice and thank you very much.

LEVIN:

Well, you folks have been around here long enough to know how the Senate works. I want to apologize for us, it just goes with the territory.

We'll be back in order and Senator Webb is recognized.

WEBB:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and if any of you gentlemen can figure out how the Senate works and let me know, I would appreciate it. So -- right. It's the one body in government where they say you can keep things from getting done rather than doing things. It's a -- we tend to be pretty good at that.

Gentlemen, I would apologize also for the delay here. We've got a couple of hearings going. We've got a hearing on Russia in the Formulations Committee this morning and also these other delays. I would say, first of all, I appreciate the visits that a number of you have made personally to my office to talk with me and with my staff and I hope we can continue to do that.

General Chilton, as you may know, my father served in the Strategic Air Command, we had a discussion about, I'm very proud of his service. He was not only a bomber pilot, but was a pioneer in the missile program, put the first Atlas missile in -- for the United States Air Force. And I think I told you, I used to play baseball right across the street where you live right now. So I have great memories of the Air Force and also of -- off it.

And Admiral, I'd like to wish you and your wife the very best into the future and thank you for your long years of service. And actually as some of this testimony was going back and forth, I was thinking about how long I've been doing this as well. I think I was in my last year at the naval academy, your plebe year. We were talking about the move to Guam. I actually wrote about this -- proposing this 37 years ago. It's kind of scary to say that.

I wrote my -- the first book that I wrote on our strategic positioning in the Pacific and how it would affect the Guam, Mariana Islands, access, I went out, I spent time as a consultant to the governor of Guam, walked or drove every square inch of that territory in Guam, Tinian and Saipan. I'd like to reiterate my offer to your staff or your successor, if they want to come by and bounce any of these thoughts off of me, I'm happy to respond. I don't think Guam and Tinian have changed that much over the years.

I've had a number of conversations with the Marine Corps in terms of what they are attempting to do. And Mr. Chairman, I would like to say something. I had a long conversation with Admiral Keating in my office the other day, with respect to China. I'm not going to go into in the same kind of detail during my time today, but I would like to say that I have concerns. I think that our players, and any of those that have been expressed, at least in the parts of the hearing that I've been involved in today, one of the things that Admiral Keating and I were discussing is what is this going to look like 10 years from now? And it actually came back to me that I wrote fairly extensively on this 10 years ago.

I wrote a piece 10 years ago last month on the New York -- in the New York Times about China's change in military policy from defense to power projection. And I wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal right after the E-P3 incident in April of '01, expressing my concern about how vulnerable we've become strategically to the Chinese. Not only in the military sense, but an overall national strategic sense with the way that we over invested in their economy, to our potential detriment.

And I just think we tend, when we have these hearings, when we talk about these snapshots, to confuse the ramifications of tactical confrontations with what we might be taking away with respect to China's larger strategic goals. And I think we must keep those on the table.

I think that these tactical confrontations, it's rather interesting thinking about the P3 incident, eight years ago because it was very similar in terms of responding on a tactical level to what had gone on, to the incidents that occurred earlier this month, that we...

These tactical confrontations are largely data points. That if we think about them, can eliminate the larger changes that are taking place in this region. And they're not simply military issues, which makes them difficult to discuss in a military context, or even in this committee. They are very largely, with respect to the waters off of East Asia, sovereignty issues. And they have taken place on concert with our unprecedented vulnerability, in terms of our own economic situation and our trade policies and these sorts of things.

And they aren't limited to us. You can -- you could do the data points on the Spratly Islands, from 1996, when I was out there as a journalist. '96 and '97 compared to today, in terms of China's presence and its military capabilities. So we've seen incidents in the Shikoku Islands, which are claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China. I was in Vietnam in December and they were very concerned about, as I mentioned to you, Admiral, during our meeting, with the pressures that the Chinese government have been putting on American companies doing business in Vietnam.

So this isn't something that can clearly be addressed in the context of an incident. But I think it's very important for the record, Mr. Chairman, that we attempt to examine these issues in a larger strategic framework if we're going to make judgments about what relations really look like between our two countries.

The piece that I wrote in The Wall Street Journal, I started with a quote from Sun Tzu, when he said "Draw them with the prospect of gain, take them by confusion, use anger to throw them into disarray." And that -- if you compare the tactical with the strategic, that's probably a fairly good summation of the way that these incidents have accumulated.

So I don't really even have a question about that. I wanted to say it for the record and I wanted to extend my appreciation to you, Admiral Keating, for all the service you've given to our country and all of you for what you've been doing to try to maintain the balance in that region as we sort this out, hopefully, on a national perspective.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Webb.

General Sharp, let me go back to the issue of the Six-Party talks with North Korea and who hasn't done what and who has done what according to the Phase II Agreement.

My understanding is there was a commitment and exchange for dismantlement, that there would be a delivery of some fuel oil, about, apparently, 1 million tons of fuel oil to the North Koreans. And I guess the right word is disablement instead of dismantlement. Phase II is disablement.

The -- my understanding is that we and the South Korea and Russia have completed our 200,000 tons. The republic of Korea -- I'm sorry. We, China and Russia have completed the 200,000 tons. The Republic of Korea has gotten most of it, like 145,000 tons. But the missing piece of the million is that Japan has not provided any energy aid because of the question of the abduction. Is that a fair summary of where we are?

SHARP:

Yes, sir. The -- very close. I've got 146 is what the republic of Korea has donated, so 54 short.

LEVIN:

Oh. Right.

SHARP:

I think I ought to point out, also, that the agreement was kind of a step-by-step in order to be able to make sure that, as much possible, North Korea lived up to its expectations.

So of the, really, the 11 steps that need to be able to take place, as you noted, eight are complete. So around 80 percent, about 80 percent of the rods have been pulled out of the fuel pond. So again, about 80 percent. And the amount of -- or the amount of heavy fuel oil that has been given to the Republic of Korea is right at 75 percent . So again, it's -- there's a balance there, I think, of them, North Korea, doing what they promised as this fuel oil gets delivered.

LEVIN:

All right. And my understanding is it's eight of the 11 disablement tasks have been completed and the ninth is 80 percent completed. Is that correct?

SHARP:

That is correct. And the ninth being the taking of the fuel rods out.

LEVIN:

Right. Now the -- whether or not the Japanese work out with the North Koreans, the issue, obviously it's a major issue in Japan, the million ton commitment is not conditioned upon the Japanese and the North Koreans working out their differences. In other words, the million ton commitment's got to come from somewhere.

SHARP:

I'd have to go back and look at the exact language, whether each of the five countries promised 200,000 or whether that was a million total promised.

LEVIN:

All right.

SHARP:

And I'll get back to you on that.

LEVIN:

If you would, that would be helpful.

Now, one other question. I think you were the one who testified about the interest of the North Korean regime to being their own survival, essentially. That's it. I mean that's their goal. They'll starve their own people in order to support their military, but their goal is the survival of that regime. Number one, number two and number three goal. Is that basically fair? Okay.

SHARP:

Yes, sir. That is fair and I think they've proven that over the years and will go to any measure in order to be able to make sure that happens.

LEVIN:

Is there any doubt, you think, in their mind that if they attack the United States that that would be the end of their regime?SHARP:

There's -- I think there's no doubt, if they attack the alliance, the Republic of Korea alliance and the United States, which has been so strong over the last 50 years, that they would not be successful and that their regime would end. They would cause huge damage though, on South Korea.

LEVIN:

I understand that. The damage is clear. But is there -- could there be any doubt in their mind that if they attack us or the South Koreans, that that would be the end of their regime?

SHARP:

Sir, there should not be. Because I believe it would be.

LEVIN:

All right.

(OFF-MIKE)

LEVIN:

General Maples, who's director of the DIA, at our hearing a few days ago, said that the North Koreans announced that they are going to do a space launch. And I believe he said that's what they intend. That's DNI. I'm sorry, that's our DIA director. Is -- do you have any reason to disagree with his assessment, any of you?

Well, let me start with you, General. General Chilton?

CHILTON:

I wouldn't disagree with the DIA assessment on that.

LEVIN:

All right.

CHILTON:

That's what their assessment is and (inaudible).

LEVIN:

General Sharp, do you have any reason? Or Admiral?

SHARP:

Sir, I have no reason to disagree. And again, just to remind, as I said earlier, I believe he'll do other things that day also, that he tried to do back in 2006.

LEVIN:

All right.

General Chilton, I made reference before to the director of operational test and evaluations report, where he said that GNV flight testing to date will not support a high level of confidence in its limited capabilities. You -- your testimony is that there's a high degree of probability that we could knock down a North Korean attack or a missile. There seems to be a pretty clear difference. And do you agree that there's at least a difference between the two of you on that point? That -- and I'm just wondering how do you explain that difference between our director of OT&E saying that the testing to date won't support a high level of confidence in the limited capabilities of GMD and your statement earlier today.

(UNKNOWN)

Senator, I have not had the conversation specifically with the individual. So I would presume, as part of this now, the contextual issue here on this particular point.

One, the point that I'd make is the testing that was done in the deployment of this system, which really didn't begin until around 2003, I guess, time period, is very different than what you would do in a classic development program.

In fact, if we followed a classic development program, I'll just use an aircraft development, for example, we would have nothing deployed today, because there is much more rigorous testing in that development area.

But a decision was made to take risk in the testing part and, also, to allow different authorities to the Missile Defense Agency to accelerate the development of this program because of the perceived need.

I think, as a result of that, we're in a pretty good position today to be ahead of North Korean capabilities as they field them, not to say that this -- so my position is that I believe that we have, in the limited deployment, capabilities that we have out today for the system, it is adequate to defend against what we believe the North Koreans could potentially put forward as a threat to the United States today.

For the future, I would say no. So as we look to the future, we have an opportunity, and I think General O'Reilly is on the right path here, to improve the testing of the current system, to fill in, if you will, the dots on the matrix of a normal test plan for the purposes of increasing our confidence, but, also, to fill out the models, the points on the models.

Realizing we can never test this system because of cost and expense at the level that you would take an airplane to Edwards Air Force Base and fly hundreds of times, we will rely on sophisticated models for the future to anticipate its performance.

And filling in those key elements of that model I think is the right path forward here to ensure that we stay ahead of threats as they develop in the Pacific.

LEVIN:

Are you saying that we're going to rely on modeling? We're not going to have testing to show that it's operationally effective.

(UNKNOWN)

No, sir. You need both. You need both. But I think there's a realization -- if you look at a classic test program, I think, for an example, for an airplane, you have the opportunity, because of the affordability and availability, to do a lot of...

LEVIN:

A lot more testing to...

(CROSSTALK)

(UNKNOWN)

To fill in the test matrices. So here, the key will be to continue testing, but pick the points on the graph that allow you to connect the dots, if you will, through modeling to increase your confidence in the system and validate the design of the system.

LEVIN:

And would you -- you used the word that North Korea has limited capability and that we're ahead of that current limited capability.

It's your goal and our goal, hopefully, to stay ahead of their capability. One way to stay ahead of it would be if we can negotiate the end of their nuclear program.

Now, that doesn't directly affect the missile program, but it affects the strength or the impact of their missile program. So the effort to get them off their nuclear program, I think you would agree, would be also very, very important in terms of limiting their capability in the total world.

(UNKNOWN)

Senator, when you combine what General Sharp has described, I think, very accurately, the Korean leadership, North Korean leadership and regime and their motivations and combine that with a long-range missile technology that can reach the United States and combine that with their nuclear weapons program, it gives us great concern.

And so I agree...

LEVIN:

I understand the concern.

(UNKNOWN)

... eliminating that part of it would be very important to us.

LEVIN:

I understand the concern, but I think it's also -- what General Sharp said is also, I think, generally agreed upon, which is that the North Korean leadership has only their own survival in mind. That's their goal.

And if they believe -- and General Sharp, I think, agrees with our intelligence that they do believe and must believe that any attack on us or the South Koreans would lead to their own destruction, in other words, defeat their number one goal, that that deterrence should work with North Korea.

It may not work with Iran, which is different kind of regime, but it ought to work with a regime whose only goal in life is their own survival, should it not?

(UNKNOWN)

Well, you bring up a great point in that there's no one size deterrence that fits all. So your point about an Iranian -- what would deter Iran versus North Korea versus another potential adversary is, I think, an incredibly important point and we need to think about deterrence posture force and the way our government approaches this and look at each individual country.

The only thing I would offer as not even a counterpoint, but a consideration with respect to North Korea is this. One, there is always the possibility that when put in a corner, where one's survival is recognized to be very, very low probability, of the use-or-lose capability that you might develop, and so being in a posture to defend against that low probability, but high consequence condition, I think, is important to us.

And then the other thing we always have to...

LEVIN:

Who would put them in the corner?

(UNKNOWN)

Well, if you could imagine a conflict where -- a conventional conflict that would break out on the peninsula and our great South Korean-American alliance would be very effective, I believe, in defending that and then bringing that to resolution in our favor, that could be a case where the leadership there could be feel cornered.

And the other thing we have to ask ourselves, though, as we look at ourselves, what deters us and what might influence and does the risk of this capability alone, the thought of would you trade an attack on the United States versus our desire to engage on a particular problem on the Korean peninsula, et cetera et cetera, how we perceive that potential threat is something we have to consider, as well, when we consider the value of a missile defense system against this type of regime.

(UNKNOWN)

So there's another element to this deterrence of North Korea. I agree that if he ever attacked us or South Korea, the regime would come to an end.

LEVIN:

But his ability to be able to launch a ballistic missile and demonstrate he has that capability goes a long way in the road of helping him proliferate that to other countries around the world and to be able to get cash back in order to go, again, back into regime survival.

So this missile launch is not so much, in my view, about, "See, we have the ability to attack the United States." It's, "I've got the ability, countries that need this, and would be willing to negotiate with North Korea," they'd now have a demonstrated capability.

That's where I think the real threat is, the proliferation side.

(UNKNOWN)

I agree with you.

LEVIN:

I want to see if any of my colleagues here are going to -- do we know if anyone's coming back?

I don't know if anyone else has asked this question, but, Admiral, let me ask you this question.

In terms of the current readiness of our forces, given the focus that's been on Iraq and Afghanistan, is that -- if you haven't already been asked -- in any way detracted from your ability to deal with the challenges you face?

KEATING:

Senator, Chairman, it has, but not to a great degree. In the case of supporting Skip, should we be so tasked, we would not have at our immediate disposal as many ground forces as we would have absent commitments to the Central Command.

That said, we'd work with Skip all the time and we could, in some cases, supplant or supplement the ground force requirement with naval and air power projection capability.

I report our readiness on a monthly -- we report our readiness on a monthly basis to the secretary and in two years, it has not wavered. The actual evaluation is classified, but it hasn't changed in two years, sir.

(UNKNOWN)

And, sir, just to follow-on to that, I agree that what we have in Iraq and Afghanistan affect the ground forces the way that Admiral Keating -- but there should be -- nobody has any concern those forces would get there and we would win the conflict.

It would be a little bit longer than what we would like if forces are not committed in other places around the world, but they would get there and we would be successful in our war plan. There's no doubt in my mind about that.

LEVIN:

Well, that's reassuring news. Just one other question about the disablement issue, if I can just get the facts on this.

It has to do with the parts that were disabled, the nuclear -- in the nuclear program, we were disabling the -- the disabling of the reactor and the reprocessing facility.

Those two facilities began, as I understand it, and there was a threat on the part of North Korea that they would reverse it.

Has it been reversed, do you know?

(UNKNOWN)

There was a threat when we did not immediately take them off the terrorism list, that they were going to -- in fact, they did kick the IAEA inspectors out, said they were going to start taking the seals off of the different parts.

We then took them off the list and then now they have continued down the process, those 11 steps, to the point where the secondary cooling loop has been disabled, the drive mechanisms have been disabled. Some of the overhead cranes have been disabled. The mechanism for fuel and deloading has been disabled.

So as you accurately said, 11 steps that are required for the disablement, eight of them have been completed. The ninth one of removing the rods is about 80 percent and then there's the last two that will need to happen after the rods are completed, the rod control mechanism being disabled and the final one is the disablement of the fresh fuel system, for all 11 of those steps to be completed.

LEVIN:

But the threat to reserve the disablement was not carried out and the disablement has continued, as I understand it. And the threat was made at the time they were not taken off the terrorism list and when they were taken off some months later, I believe, then that threat was removed and the disablement is continuing.

(UNKNOWN)

That's correct, although at a very, very slow rate. It could have been well done with this months ago if they had done it at a reasonable rate.

LEVIN:

And the rate, though, has continued at the same rate as fuel has been delivered, approximately.

(UNKNOWN)

Approximately, yes, sir.

LEVIN:

And you're going to let us know for the record whether or not the commitment to deliver the fuel is going to be carried out by four countries if Japan does not participate.

(UNKNOWN)

As my great staff says, it was agreement of one million tons, did not break it out 200,000 per for each one of the five other countries.

And I don't know whether there's been discussions among the five countries in the six-party talks of how to make that up or not.

LEVIN:

Good. We thank you all. Sorry for this kind of chaotic way to approach this, but your service has been terrific and constant, a lot more constant than our hearing this morning.

And we will stand adjourned, again, with our thanks to you and your families.

CQ Transcriptions, March 19, 2009

________________________________________

List of Panel Members and Witnesses

PANEL MEMBERS:

SEN. CARL LEVIN, D-MICH. CHAIRMAN

SEN. EDWARD M. KENNEDY, D-MASS.

SEN. ROBERT C. BYRD, D-W.VA.

SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I.

SEN. DANIEL K. AKAKA, D-HAWAII

SEN. BILL NELSON, D-FLA.

SEN. BEN NELSON, D-NEB.

SEN. EVAN BAYH, D-IND.

SEN. JIM WEBB, D-VA.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.

SEN. KAY HAGAN, D-N.C.

SEN. MARK UDALL, D-COLO.

SEN. MARK BEGICH, D-ALASKA

SEN. ROLAND BURRIS, D-ILL.

SEN. JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, I-CONN.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ. RANKING MEMBER

SEN. JAMES M. INHOFE, R-OKLA.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-ALA.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, R-GA.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.

SEN. JOHN THUNE, R-S.D.

SEN. MEL MARTINEZ, R-FLA.

SEN. ROGER WICKER, R-MISS.

SEN. RICHARD M. BURR, R-N.C.

SEN. DAVID VITTER, R-LA.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE


WITNESSES:

ADMIRAL TIMOTHY KEATING (USN), COMMANDER, UNITED STATES PACIFIC COMMAND

GENERAL KEVIN CHILTON (USAF), COMMANDER, UNITED STATES STRATEGIC COMMAND

GENERAL WALTER SHARP USA), COMMANDER, UNITED NATIONS COMMAND AND REPUBLIC OF KOREA/UNITED STATES COMBINED FORCES COMMAND, COMMANDER, UNITED STATES FORCES-KOREA