U.S. Strategic Command

 

Speeches

House Armed Services Subcommittee, Strategic Forces Testimony

By General C. Robert Kehler | Washington, D.C. | March 29, 2011

LEVIN:

This morning's hearing is one in a series of posture hearings held annually with the combatant commanders as part of this committee's review of the president's budget request for the coming fiscal year budget.

Our witnesses are Admiral James Stavridis, NATO supreme allied commander, Europe, and commander of the U.S. European Command, and General C. Robert Kehler, commander, U.S. Strategic Command.

We welcome you both.

Admiral Stavridis is no stranger to this committee, having previously served as commander of the U.S. Southern Command. This is his second appearance before this committee in his current position, but he comes at a most propitious time, being supreme allied commander in Europe; in other words, our NATO commander.

This is General Kehler's first opportunity to testify before the committee as the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, having assumed command responsibilities just two months ago.

General Kehler is not new to the issues, however, as most of his career has been involved with strategic and space systems.

On behalf of the committee, we thank you both for your long and distinguished service, and we would also like to recognize the men and women who serve in the European Command area and around the world as members of the forces of the Strategic Command, as they support and enable a wide range of important global missions.

Please pass along the appreciation of this committee to them for their commitment and their dedication, and to their families for the essential support that they provide.

Once again our service men and women have been called into harm's way. This time as part of an international coalition to prevent the Gadhafi regime in Libya from carrying out a bloodbath against the Libyan people who are currently seeking, often at great risk, the same democratic and human rights that are inspiring others in the Arab world.

President Obama has taken a thoughtful and deliberate approach to U.S. involvement in the Libyan crisis, emphasizing that a military mission be limited and also have the support of a broad international coalition, including the endorsement of the United Nations and the Arab League.

Securing the support and participation of a international coalition has been critical, both for regional and international acceptance of the use of military force and for ensuring that the risks and costs of operations are not principally America's.

The president has consistently made clear that the U.S. leadership of this mission would be limited in time, that there would be a handoff of command and control to a NATO-led coalition, which currently includes at least two Arab countries.

President Obama has reiterated that it is a U.S. goal that -- that Colonel Gadhafi should go. To achieve that goal without foreign ground forces the United States has applied significant tools of national power to increase heavy pressure against Colonel Gadhafi, his family and close associates, including economic sanctions, a travel ban and a freeze on more than $30 billion in Libyan assets.

Today representatives from coalition countries, as well as from the United States, the Arab League, the African Union and other Arab countries, are meeting in London to discuss the international effort to -- in support of the Libyan people. Gadhafi is more and more isolated, and his military capabilities continue to be degraded, and air strikes will continue as long as he continues to threaten his own people.

The international community, including critically important Arab countries that responded to Gadhafi's repression with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970, which imposed sanctions and a weapons embargo against Libya and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorizes the use of, quote, "all necessary measures" to impose a no- fly zone and to protect Libyan civilians from the threat of attack by the Gadhafi government.

While coalition operations to enforce the U.N. Security Council resolution were initially under a task force led by the commander of U.S. Africa Command, both EUCOM and STRATCOM have provided important support to establishment of the no-fly zone.

Maritime and air assets based in Europe participated in the no- fly zone and in operations to protect civilians. STRATCOM demonstrated its global strike responsibilities when the B-2 stealth bomber bombed airfields and other targets in Libya.

Our coalition partners have brought significant assets to the arms embargo and no-fly missions against Libya. Enforcing the no-fly zone has involved aircraft from 10 countries, including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

And maritime operations are being conducted by nearly 40 ships, two-thirds of which are provided by coalition partners, including aircraft carriers from France and Italy.

Last week NATO took charge of the mission of enforcing the arms embargo and the no-fly zone against Libya. And on Sunday, the North Atlantic Council, NATO's political body, agreed to take command of all aspects of the military operations under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, including the mission of protecting the Libyan people.

Canadian Lieutenant General Bouchard, who will head the task force in charge of these operations, will report through the NATO Joint Task Force Command-Naples to Admiral Stavridis in his capacity as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander-Europe.

The president carefully laid out the -- set out the mission and helped organize a U.N. mandate and a coalition to pursue it before that mission was launched. It has gained momentum and achieved some notable success and, so far, without any allied casualty.

It is a unique moment in history, when the international community comes together and acts to stop a tyrant who is massacring his people.

The president, from the beginning, said the military mission did not include regime change. If it did, it would surely require outside ground forces, which the president clearly and properly rejects. Our military leaders' fear of mission creep has been understood by the president and respected. Those who favor including in the military mission the toppling of Gadhafi need to address the problems created by getting deeper into the land of an Arab country, putting ourselves in the middle of a civil war, almost certainly destroying the coalition and ignoring the U.N. mandate.

The creation of that international coalition and mandate are of historic importance and essential to avoiding serious pitfalls.

The goal of our effort is to make it possible for the Libyan people to have the opportunity to decide Gadhafi's fate, just as the Egyptian people decided Mubarak's.

If the situation on the ground in Libya continues to be volatile, and Gadhafi continues to threaten his own people, then the issue arises as to whether the coalition should arm the opposition in Libya.

Because such a step must be considered in the context of a NATO decision, it will require consensus. One critical consideration is whether providing arms to the rebels would be consistent with the mission and the mandate for intervention and perhaps most importantly whether the NATO coalition and its partners would maintain the critically essential unity if such a policy were adopted.

President Obama has been cautious in weighing the conditions for the use of military force. I believe he will continue to weigh carefully the pros and cons of providing offensive arms, such as heavy vehicles and artillery, to the opposition.

In Afghanistan, our troops -- our European allies and partners make up the vast majority of the 48 countries and the more than 40,000 non-U.S. troops participating in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, ISAF.

Along with 90,000 U.S. troops, our ISAF partners' contributions have been significant and we honor their sacrifices.

At the NATO Lisbon summit last November, the ISAF participants agreed to endorse the Afghan government -- agreed to endorse the Afghan government's assuming responsibility for security. This is an important and a welcome step.

And recently President Karzai announced the first round of provinces and districts across Afghanistan where Afghan security forces will take the security lead, starting this summer.

If we are to succeed, our message and our actions must be two- fold: We must impart a sense of urgency to the Afghans on the need to take ownership of their country's security, which is why I've been such a strong supporter of the July 2011 date set by the president to begin reductions of U.S. forces and begin accelerating the transition of security responsibility to Afghan security forces. At the same time, we must assure and reassure the Afghans that as they assume more and more responsibility for security, we will be there to support them.

Our European allies need to focus more on seeing this mission through to a successful conclusion, and NATO members need to meet ISAF requirements for trainers for the Afghan army and police.

The balance of my statement I will put into the record. And I will call now upon Senator McCain.

MCCAIN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And let me thank our witnesses for joining us this morning and for their many years of service to our nation. On behalf of the entire committee, I'd like to extend our thanks to all of the brave men and women in uniform you lead who sacrifice so faithfully for us. I'd like to echo the chairman in saying it's a pleasure to have General Kehler before the committee, for the first time in his capacity as commander of U.S. Strategic Command.

And, of course, it's always a pleasure to have Admiral Stavridis back before this committee to discuss the many complex challenges in the European Command, especially with U.S. forces engaged in military operations in Libya and with the upcoming transition of that mission to NATO command.

As the chairman said, the committee will hold a hearing this Thursday on the current operations in Libya, so let me just say briefly the decision to intervene militarily in Libya was right and necessary, and I believe that last night the president made a clear and convincing case for that.

The president's action surely averted a mass atrocity in Benghazi. Had we not intervened, Libyan refugees would now be destabilizing Egypt and Tunisia, America's moral standing in the broader Middle East would have been devastated as we turned a deaf ear on Arabs and Muslims who were pleading for our rescue. The result of all this would have been a fertile breeding ground in Libya for radicalization, hatred and the ideology of Al Qaida.

Now that we have prevented the worst outcome, we have an opportunity to achieve the broader U.S. goal in Libya, as the president stated -- forcing Gadhafi to leave power.

I disagree with the president saying that the use of force should be ruled out, but clearly facts on the ground show that we are taking necessary steps to do so.

With our support, opposition forces are making significant progress toward that end on the ground, (inaudible) just saw in Sirte that U.S. and allied air power is a key element in whether these rebels, anti-Gadhafi forces succeed or fail.

MCCAIN:

We need to keep the pressure on Gadhafi, and add to it where possible.

Gadhafi may crack. I think it's very possible that he may do so. But I don't think we can place all of our hopes on that outcome.

A long and costly stalemate is not in our interest. It was not in our interest to have a 10-year stalemate in Iraq following Operation Desert Storm. A long and costly stalemate in Libya would not be beneficial to any of the parties.

Though our focus is now on Libya, we must remember how many vital and diverse national security issues are being addressed in both of the commands that our witnesses lead.

In U.S. European Command, all of the many diverse missions of our armed forces intersect, from combating transnational threats like terrorism or cyber attacks, to building partnership capacity, from supporting NATO's counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan to maintaining the strategic balance of forces with other Eurasian powers. U.S. European Command is doing it all.

In addition to Libya, I'd be interesting (sic) to hear what steps, if any, are being taken to support the defensive rearmament of Georgia. It's not in our interest to leave a stalwart partner and NATO aspirant country without the means to properly defend itself.

I also believe the entire committee would be interested in update on the initial phase of our deployment of the European-based adaptive approach to missile defense, as well as the progress made in projections for meeting the time line set forth by the president for phases two through four.

This is especially important in light of recent statements by Russian leaders rejecting stated U.S. policy of deploying all four phases of this critical missile defense program.

I know that both our witnesses have been involved to varying degrees in the search for common ground on missile defense with Russia. We'd be eager to hear both of our witnesses' assessment on the prospects of such cooperation ever occurring.

Similarly, General Kehler, you take command of the Strategic Command at a pivotal time, as we embark on a robust modernization of the nuclear triad and weapons complex, define strategic conventional capabilities for the 21st century, and cement the role of cyber security and cyber warfare as core competencies.

The president's budget for fiscal year 2012 represents the initial investment in what will be a costly yet vital reinvestment in nuclear weapons modernization. The importance of Congress fully funding the long-term modernization of the nuclear weapons complex should have been driven home last year during the debate over the New START treaty.

And yet in the full year fiscal 2011 appropriations bill that Congress is now considering for DOD, the House has cut the president's request by $312 million and the Senate cut the request by $185 million.

These actions are very troubling to me, and I'd like to know whether you share this assessment, General Kehler, as well as how such cuts would affect your command's mission of fielding safe, reliable and effective strategic forces.

Finally, on the issue of our cyber security, I was struck by a statement that General Keith Alexander made in recent testimony to the House Armed Services Committee. He said, and I quote, "We are finding that we do not have the capacity to do everything we need to accomplish. To put it bluntly, we are very thin, and a crisis would quickly stress our cyber forces."

General Alexander was also very clear that the threat is not a, quote, "hypothetical danger."

I remain concerned that the Department of Defense lacks both the necessary legal authorities and the sufficient trained personnel to fully perform its critical role in the realm of cyber security.

Again, I welcome the witnesses. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator McCain. Admiral Stavridis?

STAVRIDIS:

Chairman, Ranking Member, members of the committee, thank you. It's always a pleasure and an honor to be with you here, and also a great chance to be with Bob Kehler for his inaugural testimony, as several of you pointed out.

I would like to take just a moment up front to mention some of the things we're doing at U.S. European Command, and I'll group them into three broad categories. One is military operations. One is partnering and training with allies and friends. And the third is something I think very important, and it's engaging with the interagency.

In terms of military operations, I'll conclude with a word about Libya, but let me start with a word about Afghanistan. At any given time, about 80 percent of the 45,000 non-U.S. troops who are in Afghanistan come from Europe. At this moment, we have 12,000 U.S. European Command soldiers who are forward deployed.

So we very much focus on Afghanistan from U.S. European Command and try our best to support General Jim Mattis and of course General Dave Petraeus, who's both our NATO and our U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Like General Petraeus -- and of course he was up about a week ago -- I am today cautiously optimistic about Afghanistan. I see progress. As Dave said, it's fragile, but I believe that we are moving forward in the right direction.

Today we have a coalition of 49 troop-contributing nations, largest coalition in history, and it is making, I think, measurable progress in the transition to Afghan-led security operations.

So I can talk more about that in the question-and-answer period, but I did want to register my sense of optimism, cautious optimism, for our progress in Afghanistan today.

In terms of partnership, I think that's a very important aspect of what we do at U.S. European Command, 51 nations who are part of our military-to-military relationships.

Last year, for example, we did 33 major exercises, engaging about 50,000 folks. We do a significant amount of training across the spectrum. Senator McCain mentioned Georgia. We do a fair amount with Georgia. And I think that partnership building is part of why there are 45,000 non-U.S. troops today with us in Afghanistan.

Third point quickly, interagency. We are also very engaged in European Command with our interagency partners, and I think that's important. Everything from disaster relief, where we were engaged with both Israel and Russia last year after forest fires, to working with the Drug Enforcement Administration on stemming the flow of narcotics out of Afghanistan because the profits and the money from that goes right back into the pockets of the Taliban.

So those three things, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, are where we're trying to focus military operations, our partnering, and on our -- our very good work with the interagency.

In terms of future challenges, we've talked about Afghanistan. We are also very concerned about the ballistic missile threat, as Senator McCain said. We can talk about how we're doing, and I think the answer is reasonably well.

On implementing the European Phase Adaptive Approach, we are seeking the right balance of relationship with Russia, trying to find zones of cooperation where we can. We continue to work on our relationships with Israel and Turkey, military to military, both very important. And we've mentioned terrorism and cyber. And all of those things are indeed on our plate.

Let me say a word about Libya, since both the chairman and the ranking member mentioned it in their opening statements.

I would like to clarify that I wear two hats. One, of course, is U.S. European Command, and in that U.S. capacity I am what is called a supporting commander. I am supporting the lead combatant commander, General Carter Ham of Africa Command. He is the principal U.S. operator and has been largely responsible for leading the coalition that has been in operation for several weeks.

My role there is support and logistics and moving troops forward for him, and I, of course, can talk about all that.

In terms of my other hat as the supreme allied commander of Europe, I am the -- effectively the operations officer for NATO. And in that regard, as Senator McCain and Senator Levin mentioned, we are in fact taking this mission. We have already taken the arms embargo mission as of several days ago. We've taken the no-fly zone. And now we are prepared over the next 24 to 48 hours to take over the protecting the population. All of which stems directly from the U.N. Security Council resolution.

So we are in the process of transitioning to a NATO-led operation from this coalition, and I can certainly talk about aspects of that in my NATO hat as desired.

I hope that gives you a quick overview of what we're focused on at U.S. European Command. I'll conclude by saying I'm very proud of the men and women who serve there. I'll certainly carry back the comments of the chairman and the ranking member and the whole committee.

And I would conclude by saying that we at U.S. European Command are very grateful for the Congress, for the Senate and the House of Representatives, for the support you give us, for taking the time to come and visit us, and for your interest and your questions which sharpen our responses and hopefully help us contribute to U.S. national security.

Thank you, sir.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much, Admiral Stavridis. General Kehler?

KEHLER:

Chairman Levin, Senator McCain, members of the committee, thanks for the opportunity to present my view on United States Strategic Command's missions and priorities.

And as you've noted, I'm privileged and humbled to appear today for the first time as the commander of Strategic Command. I'm also pleased to appear today with Admiral Jim Stavridis, the commander of European Command, and of course a great colleague that I'm looking forward to getting to know better and work with in the coming years.

No question, Mr. Chairman, today's national security landscape is marked by protracted conflict, constant change and enormous complexity. We're facing a significantly different operating environment than those we have experienced in the past.

Of the threats we face, weapons of mass destruction clearly represent the greatest threat to the American people, particularly when they are pursued or possessed by violent extremists or state proliferators.

To deal with the environment today demands faster and more comprehensive awareness, strategic thinking, flexible planning, decentralized execution, rapid innovation and unprecedented information sharing.

STRATCOM's mission remains clear: to detect, deter and prevent attacks against the United States and to join with the other combatant commands to defend the nation should deterrence fail.

STRATCOM's first priority is to deter nuclear attack on the United States and our allies. As we implement the New START treaty, we are committed to maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent. And we are also the strongest possible advocates in favor of the investments that are needed to sustain and modernize the nuclear triad and the nuclear weapons complex that underpins it.

KEHLER:

While nuclear deterrence is our number one priority, STRATCOM also has broader responsibilities in the 21st century.

Ongoing operations demand our full commitment as well. So in partnership with the other combatant commands, our next priority is to improve our plans, procedures and capabilities to address regional problems, especially where those problems or where the capabilities to address them cross regional boundaries.

And on that note, STRATCOM also is a supporting command to U.S. Africa Com. You mentioned that we provided B-2s early in the operation for AFRICOM's use. We are also taking steps and have taken steps to make sure that they have the space capabilities that they need, to make sure that the networks are there and operational and have sufficient capacity and are secured, and have also provided planners forward to Africa Command on a variety of issues that STRATCOM had expertise on.

So we are engaged as a supporting command in ongoing operations there, as well as our long-term engagement in other regions of the world in support of the other combatant commanders.

Our activities primarily in that regard are synchronizing -- synchronizing planning and capabilities for things like missile defense, ISR, electronic warfare, combating weapons of mass destruction. And all of those synchronization efforts I believe are helping to bring unity of effort to regional operations and increased effectiveness to the capabilities that we can bring to bear.

Another one of our priorities is to improve our capabilities and operating concepts in the important civil and national security areas of space and cyberspace. Space, of course, is increasingly contested, congested, and competitive, and its importance to the United States goes far beyond national security. Ensuring uninterrupted access to space and space-based capabilities and improving our awareness of objects and activities in space and enhancing the protection and resilience of our most critical systems are all essential objectives.

Achieving those objectives demands continued investments to improve space situational awareness and to sustain our critical space capabilities, while we also pursue increased opportunities with allies and commercial partners.

Our greatest challenge in cyberspace is to improve our ability to operate and defend the DOD network at network speed, to make sure our critical activities can continue even in the face of adversary attempts to deny or disrupt them. STRATCOM and its sub-unified command, U.S. CYBERCOM, are working hard to improve our organizations and relationships, enhance our network situational awareness and protection, increase our technical capacity, and to develop the human capital we need as we look to the future.

We have much to do, but we also know today's fiscal environment demands that we must maximize both mission effectiveness and taxpayer value. We'll continue our efforts to identify every possible place where we can become more efficient as we work to become even more effective.

And finally, we're committed to taking care of our warriors, our government civilians and their families. To this end, STRATCOM fully supports the efforts of the services to properly train, equip, support and care for our men and women, and we will work diligently to ensure that they have a safe and a positive work environment.

Mr. Chairman, great challenges lie ahead, but so too do great opportunities. The men and women of STRATCOM perform their difficult mission with remarkable skill and dedication every minute of every day. I'm proud to be associated with them and look forward to working with you and the committee as we address these important national security issues.

Thank you again for this opportunity and I look forward to your questions.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much, General. Admiral, let me start with you. Do you agree that it was important to secure international support and participation, including a U.N. resolution and including support by Muslim countries before commencing military operations against Libya?

STAVRIDIS:

Senator, I think anytime the United States can operate in a coalition environment, that's to our advantage. And again, Afghanistan I think is a good example, with 49 partner nations. So I would agree with that.

LEVIN:

And from a military perspective, what difference does it make to have that international support in place?

STAVRIDIS:

It makes a very significant difference in a wide variety of ways. Let me name three. One is the simple addition of resources. Taking Afghanistan as an example, as I mentioned earlier, 45,000 non-U.S. troops there; 98,000 U.S. So significant resource contribution.

LEVIN:

Is that true in Libya as well?

STAVRIDIS:

It certainly is. In Libya, for example, and I think you mentioned in your opening statement, today there are roughly 40 ships operating in general support of that operation. Only about 12 of those are U.S. ships. So that addition of resources I think is first and very primary.

Secondly, you get the exchange of ideas. When we have both in Afghanistan and in Libya today where we have 28 NATO nations and Arab nations coming together, you have different views of looking at things. And that can at times create friction, but I would argue over time, it creates better ideas because no one of us is as smart as all of us thinking and working together.

And then thirdly, I would say access. To do an operation like Libya or Afghanistan requires overcoming the tyranny of distance and geography. And we do that best with allies, because not everywhere is international air space and not everywhere are the high seas.

So those would be three things I would say off the top of my head.

LEVIN:

OK. Now, as to the decision-making process that lies ahead of us, what -- what will happen if Gadhafi's forces appear to truly stop fighting? Who would make the decision as to whether or not that was real and then what the response should be? Is that a military decision in the field? Is that a political decision by NAC? Who makes that decision?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, I think it would begin in the field with on-the- ground assessments. And of course, as we can appreciate in the last five weeks of this operation, I've heard personally at least five different cease-fires announced by Gadhafi's forces, none of which have been true.

So it would have to begin with on-the-ground assessment. It would be backed up by higher-level intelligence assessments. That data would then be flowed into the joint task force commander for NATO, Canadian General -- Lieutenant General Charlie Bouchard. He's headquartered in Naples. It would be assessed there in an operational context, moved up to my headquarters in Mons, Belgium, where the SHAPE, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, we would put a strategic view on it.

Mr. Chairman, it would then go to the NAC, the North Atlantic Council, to be evaluated for whether there would be a shift in direction which would be given to us.

LEVIN:

And if the evaluation was that it was a real stoppage of war by Gadhafi against his own people, what's the effect of that?

STAVRIDIS:

Well, I think there would be actually another level that this discussion would have to go to, which would be the United Nations since the authority for NATO to participate in this operation is under the United Nations Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973.

But taking your hypothetical, if there was an assessment by NATO that this had changed conditions on the ground, then I think there would be, depending on the situation, a probable pause in activity while it was evaluated at a political level as to further steps.

LEVIN:

In terms of arming the opposition forces, is there a consensus within NATO or the North Atlantic Council as to whether to arm the opposition forces? And do you -- have you made a recommendation or have you received one from General Bouchard?

STAVRIDIS:

I have not made or received such a recommendation. Of course, we're very early days at this point.

LEVIN:

Do you have any recommendation on that at this point?

STAVRIDIS:

I do not at this point.

LEVIN:

Has NATO engaged with the Libyan opposition forces with a NATO representative?

STAVRIDIS:

There is not a NATO representative on the ground in Libya at this time, to my knowledge.

LEVIN:

Shifting to Afghanistan, Admiral, do you continue to support the beginning of reductions of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by July of this year?

STAVRIDIS:

General Petraeus is evaluating that now and I'm awaiting his recommendations.

LEVIN:

I believe in the past you've indicated that you do support the president's decision to begin the reductions in July with the pace of those reductions to be determined by conditions on the ground.

STAVRIDIS:

Conditions-based, I agree.

LEVIN:

In terms of the pace of reductions.

STAVRIDIS:

Yes.

LEVIN:

Is that still your position?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes.

LEVIN:

During the committee's hearing on February 17th, Admiral Mullen said the decision to begin reductions of U.S. troops in July of this year has given the Afghan leadership a sense of urgency that they didn't have before that decision was made. Do you agree with Admiral Mullen?

STAVRIDIS:

I do. I would add that it has also energized their efforts in training the Afghan security forces, which I think is central to whether or not we will be able to begin those reductions.

LEVIN:

And do you support increasing the end-strength -- increasing the end-strength targets for the Afghan army and police by up to an additional 70,000 personnel by the end of 2012?

STAVRIDIS:

I believe that additional Afghan security forces will be necessary over time. I -- I have not done the specific analysis of number or timeline, but I believe our current target of 305,000 would probably be better served in the long term to have an increase in that number, yes.

LEVIN:

All right. Now, you've made reference to the radar deployment in Europe this year. You've indicated that there's some progress being made, I believe, by that deployment. There's been some suggestion from Secretary Gates, who was recently in Moscow, that there's a possibility of missile defense cooperation with Russia.

President Obama and President Medvedev have discussed that as well by phone, accordingly -- apparently, and the White House statement was that President Obama affirmed why the U.S. believes that cooperation with Russia on missile defense could enhance the security of the U.S., Russia, our allies and our partners.

Now, as the combatant commander responsible for working with Russia through EUCOM and through NATO, would you agree, or do you agree that missile defense cooperation with Russia, if done properly, could be in our interest? Do you believe it's possible that we could agree on cooperative measures with Russia?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir. I think it's -- I think it's possible.

I think several steps would have to occur for us to get to that point, beginning with getting our own system deployed and settled and in place. Then that would have to be connected with a NATO system. Because I think it's very important, as we approach a missile defense relationship with Russia, that it be done in a NATO-Russia context. So that would be the next step, would be connecting the missile defense through the ALT-BMD (ph) and the ACCS (ph) system.

And then, thirdly, I think at that point you would have the possibility, as you mentioned, of finding a zone of cooperation that could provide missile defense cooperation between the United States, in a NATO context, and Russia.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Admiral. So, Senator McCain?

MCCAIN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Admiral, would you agree that when the no-fly zone was implemented, Gadhafi was basically at the suburbs or on the outskirts of Benghazi, and, as the president stated, there would have been a mass massacre of a very large proportions?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir, I think everything about Colonel Gadhafi's history would tell us that.

MCCAIN:

Would you agree that three weeks earlier, if we had imposed a no-fly zone, that when the momentum was on the side of the anti-Gadhafi forces, that it's very likely that -- that Gadhafi would have fallen then?

STAVRIDIS:

I think it's hard to say if Gadhafi would have fallen then or not.

MCCAIN:

Isn't it very clear that the use of air power and armor is what reversed the tide against the anti-Gadhafi rebels?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir.

MCCAIN:

And so, at least in the view of some of us, an opportunity was passed up by not invoking a no-fly zone three weeks ago, which would have then prevented Gadhafi from using his superior armor and air power to drive the rebels all the way back to Benghazi.

So there's an upside and a downside to seeking coalitions. There is an argument to it that you should act in warfare when the opportunities present themselves.

And you do agree that air power is decisive in this conflict on the side of the anti-Gadhafi forces?

STAVRIDIS:

It has been thus far.

MCCAIN:

The -- the U.N. resolution, as I understand it, says it would take -- we should take all necessary measures to prevent humanitarian disasters to befall the Libyan people -- all necessary measures. Right?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir.

MCCAIN:

And the lieutenant, Bouchard (sic), just said that the goals of the air campaign remain the same, and I quote him, "to protect and help the civilians in population centers under the threat of attack." Do you agree with that -- General Bouchard's statement?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir.

MCCAIN:

Does that mean that that protect and helping the civilian population centers goes all the way to Tripoli?

STAVRIDIS:

I think that any time there is a threat to the population of Libya, we have sufficient rules of engagement to strike against forces that are demonstrating hostile act or hostile intent against...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAIN:

So there is hostile intent taking place in the city of Tripoli. Wouldn't you agree? Suppression of anti-Gadhafi forces?

STAVRIDIS:

I think that any Gadhafi forces that are demonstrating hostile intent against the Libyan population are legitimate targets.

MCCAIN:

So basically what's happening here is we're saying that we won't overthrow Gadhafi by force, but in the interest of protecting and helping the civilian population centers under the threat of attack, we are moving rapidly to the west.

And the media is reporting, correct, that we are employing AC- 130s and A-10s to provide more targeted, close-in protection for civilians?

STAVRIDIS:

That is correct, sir.

MCCAIN:

So, the only other question, and I know this is a very tough one, but there are persistent rumors that Gadhafi really has very few friends and that it's likely that at some point he will -- that they will crack and he will either leave, be killed, whatever.

Is that -- is that something that you think is a -- a pretty good possibility that may happen?

STAVRIDIS:

As I look at the situation in Libya, Senator, you can see a wide range of possibilities out ahead of us that run from a static stalemate to -- to what you just described, Gadhafi cracking.

I -- I think that if we work all the elements of power, I think we have a chance at -- a more than reasonable chance of Gadhafi leaving, because the entire international community is arrayed against him.

And I think the events today in London, where 40 nations are gathered to discuss this would -- would lend weight to the theory that, as Secretary Gates said in testimony or on a talk show, he probably doesn't need to be hanging any new pictures.

MCCAIN:

And he -- clearly we just want him gone, whether it be live with Chavez or meet Hitler and Stalin or be in a criminal court. Is that?

STAVRIDIS:

I think that the international community, virtually every world leader has ascribed to a statement along the lines of Gadhafi should leave Libya.

MCCAIN:

But a stalemate is not an acceptable solution. I think we learned that from the Iraq experience after Desert Storm, that sanctions and no-fly zones don't succeed.

Is that a lesson we could draw from that experience?

STAVRIDIS:

I think a stalemate is not in anybody's interest.

MCCAIN:

Thank you.

Is the United States at present providing defensive weapons to Georgia or helping Georgia acquire such weapons?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, we are working with Georgia in training their security forces...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAIN:

I'm asking about weapons.

STAVRIDIS:

And in terms of defensive weapons, at this -- at this moment we are not providing them high -- what I would term high-end military defensive weapons.

MCCAIN:

You know, it's hard for me to understand, since the Russians still occupy territory that is clearly Georgian territory and continue to threaten Georgia, and yet we're not even giving them weapons with which to defend themselves.

It is not comprehensible.

Do you believe the Russian Federation is serious when its leaders say that they will withdraw from the New START treaty if the United States deploys all phases of the European phased adaptative approach to missile defense (ph)?

Do you believe they're serious?

STAVRIDIS:

I'm not familiar with their making that dramatic a statement. I've seen other statements that would indicate they intend to continue a dialogue and discussion with us, moving forward, across the missile defense sphere.

MCCAIN:

General Kehler, do you -- does DOD have the necessary legal authorities it needs to respond to a cyber attack?

KEHLER:

Senator, it doesn't have all the authorities it needs. In fact, in some cases, our -- our role has been defined at this point to defending, protecting the DOD network. The relationship outside that is being established with the Department of Homeland Security that does have the lead for protecting critical infrastructure across the United States.

So there are limits to what DOD can do today.

MCCAIN:

Would you do me -- would you please submit to the committee, in writing, what you think is necessary in order for us to give you the capability to defend this nation against a cyber attack?

A lot of us feel that that is the new battleground of the 21st century. And for you not to have all the tools at your disposal to protect this nation's national security interests in the event of a cyber attack is not an acceptable situation.

We've been bouncing around between different committees -- Intelligence and Armed Services and Homeland Security. Everybody's got a different idea.

I think it would be -- we would be well-served if you would provide us, at least in your view, what is absolutely minimal necessity in order to defend the country.

KEHLER:

Yes, sir.

I would add one other point: The DOD has reached out to industry at this point to do a pilot program with them to see, as we work through what that would take, what additional authorities might be involved there.

But I think that there are some additional steps being taken now, and i will provide you my thoughts more, later.

MCCAIN:

Thank you, General.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator McCain.

And we will share your answer in that regard with Senator Lieberman's committee, Senator Collins, the ranking member of that committee, are very deeply involved in that, and a number of other committees as well.

And there is being organized a legislative efforts to make sure that you have all the authority and other agencies have all the authorities that they need and that they work together to make sure that there are no cracks in our defense and that there is clarity in terms of who has the authority and responsibility for the response as well.

So we'll share that with Senator Lieberman and Senator Collins and the other committees.

Senator Lieberman?

LIEBERMAN:

Thanks, Mr. Chairman.

Let me just pick up very briefly on what you said.

I think, General Kehler, your testimony which I know to be absolutely valid, that you don't have sufficient legal authority -- although I suppose in a time of crisis the president could invoke his constitutional authority as commander in chief to direct the Pentagon to take the action it would have to take -- really is a clarion call.

And I hope people hear it, because we're not adequately defended from cyber attack today.

The fact is that the Department of Homeland Security, which Senator Collins' and my committee oversees, has been working much more closely on these matters with the Pentagon and the NSA.

But we -- we urgently need to get over classic Senate committee territorial turf battles and pass legislation this year to clarify authorities for protection of American cyberspace, including, as you suggest, particularly the majority of -- of American cyberspace, which is privately owned.

And there was an encouraging meeting a couple of weeks ago, which was convened by the two leaders -- Senator Reid and Senator McConnell -- and the chairs and ranking members of the relevant committees. And we're on a course now to try to get legislation, hopefully before the Senate by the end of the spring. So I appreciate what you said.

And I thank you both for your service.

Admiral Stavridis, let me just come back to where we are in Libya now and the role of NATO. I think your description of the kind of -- the chart of line of authority was very helpful to people, because as we say now that the U.S. is turning over authority to NATO, it's very important for us to understand what NATO is.

LIEBERMAN:

I'm glad NATO's involved, of course. It both -- because what's happening in Libya is not just a concern to America or a threat to America, it's a concern to most of the rest of the civilized world. And -- and, therefore, it's very important that NATO and our allies in the Arab world be involved.

But it's not -- when the U.S. turns responsibility over to NATO, it's not like we're taking a hot potato and throwing it to somebody else. We're NATO. We're -- we're not -- we're not all that is NATO, but we're at the heart of NATO, we're most of NATO. We have great allies with us there.

Just to go over this quickly, three missions now moving to NATO control. The arms embargo. Am I correct that that is now being overseen by an Italian officer?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir. Just to add to what I said earlier, there's an Italian three-star...

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

STAVRIDIS:

... in Naples who has command of the maritime piece of this.

LIEBERMAN:

OK.

STAVRIDIS:

And then there's a Canadian three-star who is the joint task force commander, and the air piece of it will actually be run out of Turkey, out of Izmir, Turkey...

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

STAVRIDIS:

... by a NATO headquarters there, which has a U.S. three-star and a French three-star.

LIEBERMAN:

OK.

STAVRIDIS:

So you've really got Italian, French, Canadian, American all in the chain of command. And just to put a metric on it, of the 40 flag and general officers that are involved in this whole thing...

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

STAVRIDIS:

... only five of them will be American as we move forward.

LIEBERMAN:

Interesting.

STAVRIDIS:

Yeah.

LIEBERMAN:

And the civilian protection mission, who's that under now?

STAVRIDIS:

That's -- that's under Lieutenant General Bouchard, as the joint task force commander...

LIEBERMAN:

The Canadian officer. Gotcha.

STAVRIDIS:

... executing through the other two officers I mentioned.

LIEBERMAN:

And just let's follow that chain up. Who do they report to?

STAVRIDIS:

They report to the NATO joint force commander Naples, who is an American four-star...

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

STAVRIDIS:

... Sam Locklear...

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

STAVRIDIS:

... who was also the commander of the Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn...

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

STAVRIDIS:

... which was the Libyan operation. So there's good continuity in that as he fits in both of those operations.

LIEBERMAN:

So we've got -- right, we've got continuity and another American officer there.

STAVRIDIS:

We do.

LIEBERMAN:

And then does he report directly to you?

STAVRIDIS:

He does.

LIEBERMAN:

OK. And obviously you're a distinguished American admiral, we're proud of you.

STAVRIDIS:

Right.

LIEBERMAN:

And thank you for your service.

And then you report to the North Atlantic Council.

STAVRIDIS:

I do. I would add that my report goes through a committee, a military committee headed by an Italian four-star admiral, Admiral Di Paola, who is actually the senior officer in NATO.

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

STAVRIDIS:

That committee takes my advice, puts a military eye on it. Admiral Mike Mullen is the American member of that 28-person body. It's all the chiefs of defense. We would say all the chairmen of the Joint Chiefs.

LIEBERMAN:

Right.

STAVRIDIS:

And then -- and then the advice goes to the North Atlantic Council.

LIEBERMAN:

And am I right that the North Atlantic Council gives you, if I might put it in these terms, general authority, but does not have to approve every mission that you carry out?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes.

LIEBERMAN:

For instance, if Gadhafi's forces are surrounding a town in Libya, you don't have to go back to the NAC to get approval...

STAVRIDIS:

No.

LIEBERMAN:

... in terms of protecting civilians, to attack those.

STAVRIDIS:

Correct.

LIEBERMAN:

OK.

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir.

LIEBERMAN:

I appreciate that.

So, again, I make the point that having NATO involved is critically important for all the reasons the president said last night, but it's not like the U.S. is not involved. We're very centrally involved, and we should be.

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir. And again, that chain of command that I just described is not dissimilar to the one that we use in Afghanistan...

LIEBERMAN:

Exactly.

STAVRIDIS:

... from a NATO perspective.

LIEBERMAN:

Right. As you know, we have taken a very forward- leaning understanding of the part of the U.N. resolution that talks about all necessary measures to protect the Libyan civilians. And, again, I think that's the right thing to do.

We've effectively, based on the U.N. mandate, prosecuted a campaign of air strikes against Gadhafi's forces, which has not only protected civilians, but also paved the way, as General Carter Ham said yesterday, I believe, for the rebels -- I call them freedom fighters -- in Libya to advance.

I wanted to ask you whether you're confident that NATO is united in its interpretations of the civilian protection mission going forward so that there will not be a diminution of that mission in the days and weeks ahead with NATO in control.

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, I'm confident I have the rules of engagement that I need to continue the campaign in the manner to which it's been conducted.

LIEBERMAN:

I want to ask you a final question. My time is running out.

As you know, we're under grave budgetary pressure here, and there are already calls from some quarters to reduce the U.S. military footprint in the European Command area of responsibility that you have.

I'm struck by the fact that what's happening in Libya makes the argument for the continued importance of our military footprint in Europe and enabled our operations in North Africa.

I wanted to ask you if you'd just take a moment to essentially respond to the -- to the point that's made that, Hey, the Second World War is long over, the Cold War is over, what the heck are we still doing in Europe?

STAVRIDIS:

Senator, I always like to start answering that question by just putting some context to it. So, if we could, let's go back to the end of the Cold War, when there were 400,000 U.S. soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marine, and we had 1,200 bases and sites around Europe. That was a big, muscular operation.

We've now reduced that by about 75 percent. We're down to about 80,000 U.S. troops in Europe. We've come down to about a dozen main operating bases. We still have lots of little outlying sites. But we've reduced that overall footprint 75 percent.

I think the European platform permits us to reassure allies, to deter, to conduct military operations as we're doing today in Afghanistan and in Libya, and to do this training and building of partnership capacity. Those are vital functions.

So I'm comfortable that we can take a little more out of that, a little bit more efficiency. And we've looked very hard at that over the last year, and we're very close to a decision that I think will make some minor reductions in that.

But overall I think we've seen the real value of this European footprint, and I really applaud the wisdom of the Congress, which has supported it, because it -- it -- it -- for the four reasons I mentioned, I think it's a very valuable one for us.

LIEBERMAN:

Thanks, Admiral.

And thank you, General.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Lieberman.

Senator Inhofe?

INHOFE:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I think most of the questions on Libya have been asked, and I suspected that'd be the case. But there's one other one that is a little bit sensitive, I think, but somebody has to say it.

There have been several reports about the presence of Al Qaida in the -- in the -- among the rebels, among those with whom we are associated. What are your thoughts about that?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, we're, as you can imagine, we're examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders in these opposition forces.

The intelligence that I'm receiving at this point makes me feel that the leadership that I'm seeing are responsible men and women who are struggling against Colonel Gadhafi.

We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential Al Qaida, Hezbollah. We've seen different things. But at this point I don't have detail sufficient to say that -- that there's a significant Al Qaida presence or any other terrorist presence in and among these folks.

We'll continue to look at that very closely. It's part of doing due diligence as we move forward on any kind of relationship.

INHOFE:

I don't say this critically of you, of course, because you didn't make this decision, but wouldn't that have been a good idea, to find out before we took some of the steps that we're taking?

STAVRIDIS:

Well, I think that from the moment this crisis has unfolded, I think there has been a great deal of intelligence applied to this, although General Ham, as the AFRICOM commander, would be in the best position to give you the detail on that.

INHOFE:

Yeah, I was planning on talking to him.

Let me carry on a little bit from what Senator Lieberman was saying. I was going to approach it from a little different perspective.

Back in the '90s -- and it was actually Jim Jones at that time was talking about the reduction of our presence, our installations, our personnel in Western Europe.

At that time one of the reasons was with the -- and this was particularly true in Germany -- with a lot of the problems that were existing at that time with the environmental movement, we were somewhat restricted in what our capabilities were going to be in terms of how many hours we can train, how many days a week, after hours, and this type of thing. That was one of the considerations at that time.

I'd like to ask you, first of all, has that changed? And then secondly, I have another question to ask about our presence there.

STAVRIDIS:

I would say that in my two years, roughly, as the commander of EUCOM, I have not felt any restrictions on my ability to do the kind of training and maneuver in -- in Germany or in any of the other countries. In fact, Germany hosts Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, I think you visited there, sir...

INHOFE:

I did.

STAVRIDIS:

... our big training center there, probably a premier training facility. We've brought 17,000 people there in the last year. So...

INHOFE:

Yeah. I think a lot of that was before you arrived in that position...

STAVRIDIS:

I think it was, sir.

INHOFE:

... because at that time I actually went over to Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, Romania, some of these places where they were wanting us to come over, and they were willing to, you know, give us 24/7 and also do a lot of the billeting and other things. And so I just wondered where that was now.

Well, let me ask you this. There's a lot of criticism since the downgrade. I was shocked when I read your written testimony and found that it was down 80 percent from where it was in the '90s. That's -- I didn't realize that.

Now, that being the case, there's still some MILCON that is going on there. And I know a lot of people are critical of that, and there's some parochial reasons for that back here also. But with that being the case, could you talk about any kind of a consolidation that's taking place that is going to justify any MILCON and how that works in our current position?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, we are doing a great deal of continuing search for these efficiencies, and we are consolidating our footprint and have been doing so over the last five years. In fact, I'm testifying in front of the MILCON Subcommittee and will have a chance to lay that out.

But I think we have a reasonable plan that strikes a balance between what we need to do to support our families in Europe, as well as maintain the headquarters that's undertaking the operations we're seeing today.

INHOFE:

OK. Yeah, 'cause there's -- and I'm sure you will get asked a lot of questions about that when you are before the Appropriations subcommittee.

These partnership programs with states, there's some -- what? -- 20, I guess, going on right now. I know that my state of Oklahoma has Azerbaijan.

STAVRIDIS:

Azerbaijan.

INHOFE:

And they have all kinds of good reports, but I'm wondering how you see it when you're overviewing, looking at the whole thing?

STAVRIDIS:

Yeah.

INHOFE:

Is it time, resources well spent with our Guard activities?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, it is. We have 22 of these programs around. The one from Oklahoma, for example, does everything from prosaic military training to police training to oil field training. I mean, it -- it -- we try to match up the state with the country.

And I think the presence, for example, of the Oklahoma state partnership program has been very helpful in Azerbaijan in maintaining our access through our transit routes because of the strong mil-to-mil relationship. Multiply that by 22 all around Europe, and you can see the bang for the buck here is really quite significant.

INHOFE:

Well, that's good. That's what I'm getting from our people there, and so I assumed that that was the case.

I just came back from spending some time in Israel and talked to Prime Minister Netanyahu at some length. And his first comment was, "Welcome to the earthquake," when we got over there. And when you stop and think about it, everywhere over there -- I mean, we've been talking about Libya. You've got Iran. You've got Syria. You've got...

STAVRIDIS:

Egypt.

INHOFE:

... Egypt. And so it is, you know, where we have that only one great friend there, do you think we're doing enough to ensure the defense of Israel? Any comments you could make on that?

STAVRIDIS:

I had the same conversation a week ago with Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, who is the chief of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs, if you will, of Israel. We talked all around the region. I think Israel is -- is watching very closely these events on their periphery, as they should be.

Part of our job is to reassure them and continue to engage with them. And from U.S. European Command, we're doing that across everything from missile defense to weapons systems to training to intelligence exchange. It's a good time for all of us to recognize exactly what you said, that Israel is in the middle of an earthquake zone. And we're, from a military-to-military perspective, working very closely with them.

INHOFE:

Well, I was going to get into a couple other programs that I know you're enthusiastically supporting and have in the past, like the train-and-equip programs, the CERP and CCIF. But let me just mention, if there's not time to answer this, General, my concern has been back when we took out the plans for a ground-based interceptor in Poland, with the necessary radar in the Czech Republic, that by the time we would receive the same capability, we are looking at a program that is really not -- there's not anything definite in terms of when it will come along.

Now, what I'm talking about is the SM-3 Block IIB, the long-range program. Right now, we don't have a date. It's still a concept. My feeling is that the others, like the Block IIA and other programs are good. They're coming along. We have the Aegis capability and all of that.

But for the record, since my time has expired, I'd like to have you share with me whether you share my concern over the fact that we would have had, in my opinion, that capability much sooner. When our intelligence gives us a range that Iran's going to have this capability that we all dread thinking about, somewhere between 2015 and 2020, to me that -- that's what keeps me up at night.

So if you could for the record get into as much detail on that as possible, I would appreciate it.

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, I'll provide that for the record.

INHOFE:

Thank you very much.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much, Senator Inhofe.

Senator Reed?

REED:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

And gentlemen, thank you for your service and your testimony today.

Admiral Stavridis, the president has quite rightly ruled out any ground forces entering Libya from the United States, but they're at least looking ahead. There is the possibility that through many possible outcomes -- the Gadhafi regime departing swiftly or rebels ejecting it -- that there would be a need for some stabilization on the ground.

Is that something that NATO is considering?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, I wouldn't say NATO's considering it yet, but I think that when you look at the history of NATO, having gone through this as many on this committee have with Bosnia and Kosovo, it's quite clear that the possibility of a stabilization regime exists. And so I have not heard any discussion about it yet, but I think that history is in everybody's mind as we look at the events in Libya.

REED:

Well, these events obviously are moving fast, so...

STAVRIDIS:

Understand.

REED:

Let me ask another question which is related, is that as you pointed out in your opening testimony, a significant number of forces in Afghanistan are NATO forces or European allies. What effect, if any, has the current operation in Libya had on their ability to maintain their presence in Afghanistan?

STAVRIDIS:

As I was saying to someone the other day, if you can be lucky in terms of how a crisis unfolds, one aspect of the Libyan crisis is that the types of forces -- ships and aircraft principally -- are precisely the forces that are not in such high demand in Afghanistan, a land-locked state where the Taliban have no air capability. So in that sense, I'm confident that we'll be able to move forward and keep the resource balance both ways.

Again, I -- I do want to say the allies have been very forthcoming with ships and aircraft, as I pointed out in talking to the chairman, and I'm confident we'll have the forces we need to do this in both places.

REED:

I'm sure you once again want to benefit -- for the benefit of Senator Lieberman and I, pointed out the decisive role of submarines in conducting this operation.

(LAUGHTER)

STAVRIDIS:

Senator Lieberman will be happy to hear that there are submarines involved in this and they are part of the NATO force that is doing the arms embargo, and are a stated requirement.

REED:

And also delivering land-attack missiles.

STAVRIDIS:

Indeed they are -- 196 of them from U.S. submarines, for example.

REED:

Thank you.

We had the opportunity, and I want to open this question up to General Kehler also, to talk about the emerging cyber-dimension in warfare and our lack of preparedness. Senator McCain referred to it in his comments; General Alexander's comments also.

From your perspective as the NATO commander, supreme allied commander in Europe, and yours from Strategic Command, General, can you just give your general comments? And I'll start with Admiral Stavridis.

STAVRIDIS:

Thank you, sir. From a NATO perspective, because that will be different from what Bob will talk about, from a NATO perspective, we're very aware of this. It's part of our strategic concept which just came out. NATO has two organizations that focus on this. One is the NATO Cyber Defense Center in, appropriately, in Tallinn, Estonia, a nation that has suffered a cyber attack. And also the NATO Computer Incident Response Organization, which is part of my organization in the SHAPE headquarters.

Those two together work with General Alexander. And I would conclude by saying we are also pushing to engage with European private sector, just as General Kehler said a moment ago. This private-public nexus is so important in the world of cyber, and we're working very hard to engage European private through the NATO piece so that we can then connect with U.S. efforts through Keith Alexander and up to his boss, General Kehler.

REED:

Can I just follow up? You've just appointed a special assistant for public-private partnerships. Is this the whole range of public-private partnerships?

STAVRIDIS:

Exactly. I -- I believe, Senator, that we have learned how to do joint operations. We are getting much better at interagency operations. I think a growth area in security is private- public. And where those two things connect in cyber is probably the prime example of it at this moment.

REED:

And are there any other CINCs that are doing what you're doing? Or is this...

STAVRIDIS:

We're sharing that idea now and I think there's general interest in it. Yes, sir.

REED:

Thank you.

General Kehler, please? Any comments would be helpful.

KEHLER:

Well, Senator, I would just add that -- that you've hit on a key aspect here with the public-private partnership activity. Certainly, here is a domain that is largely in the public domain. And so I don't think we have much of a challenge any longer convincing people how important cybersecurity is.

What we see here is a threat that is evolving from everything from the old nuisance hackers, the 13-year-old in the basement down the street, to exploitation where people deliberately come in and steal things through cyberspace from the networks, to denial of services or other activities, to perhaps a place where they will go to destructive activities.

And in every one of those cases, as you look at defining the role of government, defining the role of the Department of Defense, defining the role of private industry and others, that's the issue that is foremost on our plate this days is making sure that we have put in place the right relationships, the right roles and responsibilities, in some cases making sure that we have the right authorities in place so that we can act at what our cyber-experts would call network speed, which is a -- a very tough challenge for us.

Most of the frustration I think that many of us have is that it seems like we're always closing the barn door after the horse is gone. And so we have to be in a position here where we can do better in terms of protecting ourselves.

I think we've done a lot over the last couple of years to get the Department of Defense in a better place. It will not happen overnight. We started with this disparate collection of networks that -- that we are trying to make behave as one network for the Department of Defense. That, in and of itself, is a challenge, but we are making some progress here.

The next steps that we have to take, though, is to have better situational awareness. That's a shared responsibility between the combatant commands, for example, and broader than that, out into the public domain as well. We have to have better capacity, and that gets to our ability to recruit and train and retain the right cyber- experts.

And then, of course, it gets to the authorities question. So that we have properly sorted out this balance between our constitutional protections and our need to -- to act on behalf of the nation, of course with the appropriate civil authorities in the lead.

And so those are the challenges that we have today. Those are being worked very hard in many places. And I'm confident that we're making progress, but we will return to all of you, as I was asked to do earlier today, with some specific suggestions.

REED:

My time is expired, but just a final comment, and you may get back to me or just make it in a round of questioning, I think we've become so dependent sort of instinctively on things like GPS systems. Do we ever train at NATO or Strategic Command off-line with a compass? Which is a very challenging device, I can testify to that. GPS is a lot easier.

But -- or in the concept of installations, rather, redundancy? That is, old systems that, you know, in an emergency you can get off- line and use them? I guess my focal point would be of a natural disaster can wreak havoc in Japan, someone messing with their control systems electronically could produce the same catastrophic effect.

REED:

So I think we're on the verge of a whole new dimension in warfare and I am -- I am glad that you gentlemen are thinking thoughtfully about these issues. Thank you.

LEVIN:

Thank you.

Well, I think that Senator Reed's raised such an important question, would you get back to us on that issue, on the redundancy issue and the backups, including some of the old-fashioned types, in case our more modern technologies are interfered with?

Could you get back to the committee on that issue?

KEHLER:

Will do. The short answer is we're not as good as we need to be...

LEVIN:

OK, I think that...

(CROSSTALK)

KEHLER:

But we are working on it.

STAVRIDIS:

If I could add, this is an area in which coalitions are helpful because many of our allies aren't at the same level of technical capability and we get a window into other ways of doing business.

LEVIN:

OK.

STAVRIDIS:

And I will provide an answer as well, sir.

LEVIN:

For the record. Thank you.

Senator Brown?

BROWN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'm just wondering if you both could comment on the level of disruption, if any, on those under your command caused by the C.R.s that we're -- we're dealing with.

STAVRIDIS:

I'll -- I'll start. Our principal concern at this point is two-fold. One is the start of military construction products -- projects. That's becoming more and more of an issue for us.

And then, secondly, there's just kind of a psychological overhang that is disruptive to the troops because, although they know their pay and their essential services will continue, many of the functionalities that support them are vested with our civilian workforce and that would be problematic as well.

So those would be two things I'd point to.

KEHLER:

I'll pick up on that, Senator, in that, first of all, we're in this interesting time period now where many of the combatant command headquarters are becoming over 50 percent civilian workforce. And so the civilians are concerned about what will happen here and will there be a government shutdown and how this will impact them. And I share their concern.

Second, I'm also concerned about some issues that are outside the Department of Defense's budget. And specifically what I'm interested in is making sure that we continue the investment plans that were laid in for the National Nuclear Security Agency, because of the work that they are doing for us regarding the stockpile and -- and the anticipation that we have that they will need to provide additional investment so that we can restore the stockpile as we go forward and do the appropriate life-extension programs.

And so I'm concerned about those two things. And -- and have been somewhat reassured that in the stockpile work, I believe that we are OK to continue as it is, but I am concerned as long as the C.R. process is going on, that those two things are -- are OK.

BROWN:

I can tell you, just for the record and based on my -- my personal dealings with our caucuses, no Republican is talking about shutting down the government. We're hopeful that we can come together and continue to -- to not only address our budgetary concerns, but, you know, come together and move our country forward and give you the stability you need.

So I'm going to continue to work in that regard.

So, General Kehler, also -- and I know -- well, is it true that -- and I believe it is, but I want to just hear it from you -- that the cyber attacks are growing, as we talked about. For 17 minutes last April, the DOD networks, along with other government networks, were routed through China. Is that accurate?

KEHLER:

I'll have to -- sir, I'll have to get back to you on that. I'm not -- that one doesn't jump into my mind. But let me find out, and I'll get back to you.

BROWN:

Yeah. It's a -- if you could, actually, because, you know, obviously, that has a great concern to me and many others. I know when you -- when you came before us and we confirmed you, that was one of your -- one of your concerns was dealing with, obviously, the cybersecurity.

And people, whether it's the everyday young hacker or established terrorist cells trying to gain access to vital security information. And I concur with the chairman, if there's something that you need, that you don't have, you know, I'd like to know about it.

And you talked about it being reactive versus proactive. And I, for one, would like to be, you know, very proactive.

KEHLER:

Sir, if I could, though, just add a point, I'll check and make sure that I understand the -- the issue that you're asking about.

However, having said that, one thing about the global Internet is that it's global. And the pathways that information takes through that -- that Internet are sometimes interesting pathways.

Having said that, though, for our critical information in the Department of Defense, we take great care to make sure that -- that that information is properly protected. We have, again, more work to do, but I don't want you to think that we're not taking steps to make sure that that information is protected.

BROWN:

No, I wouldn't -- I wouldn't think that. Thank you.

Admiral, you know, I, like many others, have been wrestling with our involvement in Libya. On the one hand, I understand the need to protect innocent civilians, the need to kind of draw a line in the sand when you -- when you recognize that, you know, enough is enough.

But I'm also wrestling with -- and I've been asked the question, like who's next? You know, I mean, under what circumstances do we do the same thing with other countries that are facing very similar circumstances?

Are we going to now be the northern light (ph) for the entire region, and, in fact, be there to basically address every concern of every country?

I guess that's my first question, if you could comment on it. Do you have any thoughts on that?

STAVRIDIS:

Senator, I think the president in his speech last night addressed that -- that concern, and did it very well. And I think that's the policy level at which a decision like that would be made would be in the executive branch, with the president, secretary of defense, secretary of state.

Obviously, at my level, my job is to provide options from a military context and then, when given a military mission, execute it.

And our current mission, as we've talked about, is the -- everything from the humanitarian to the arms embargo to the no-fly zone to the protect the population.

And so I'm comfortable with the mission I've been given. We're executing that. And if and when there are decisions about other conflicts, then certainly we'll be prepared to do that.

BROWN:

And I appreciate the job you're doing. And, obviously, they say, "Jump." You say, "How far?" And I understand that.

I, like many others, are obviously concerned, you know, if there is a next.

And is it true that -- that we have been flying virtually all of the military aircraft sorties into the region over the last couple of days? Is it us mostly or not?

STAVRIDIS:

No, sir. It's -- I can give you just a rough idea of the numbers.

BROWN:

If you could, that's be great.

STAVRIDIS:

Sure. We have -- we have flown the majority. I think in very round numbers, out of 1,600 sorties, the United States has flown 950 of them. So we've probably flown 65 percent of the sorties.

As we now get NATO into the picture, I think you'll see that U.S. percentage go down significantly, and I think you'll see the allied component of it go up.

But I think for ballpark purposes about 60-40 U.S.-allied.

And, just to give you one other number, if you don't mind, the actual strike sorties, the bomb dropping, were roughly 50-50, U.S. and allied.

So I think the allied contribution has been reasonable, and I think it'll -- it'll increase a bit as we get into the NATO...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN:

In terms of submarine Tomahawks, et cetera, we're the only ones...

STAVRIDIS:

Yes. In terms of -- of Tomahawk missiles, those were virtually all from the United States. There were a handful from the Brits. But for all intents and purposes, the Tomahawks were a U.S. mission, with a little bit of help from the Brits.

BROWN:

What's the cost per Tomahawk?

STAVRIDIS:

I'll find out and get back to you. I want to say $1.5 million, but...

BROWN:

That's my understanding as well. And how many did we drop?

STAVRIDIS:

Two hundred.

BROWN:

I mean, that's some real -- real numbers. You know, I'm concerned, obviously, about when we get into these conflicts. I mean, here we are, we're wrestling with, you know, cutting billions, and we're dropping billions on the other hand.

And, you know, like I said, who's next? What's next? I'm a little -- I'm a little concerned as to where we're going from here. But, you know, I'll deal with that in other measures.

But I do appreciate you coming. I always find these very helpful to understand the whole picture better. Thank you.

STAVRIDIS:

Thank you, sir.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Brown.

Senator Manchin?

MANCHIN:

Admiral, General, thank you so much, first of all, for being here, and thank you for your service. And I can tell you I've met the finest that America has to offer, and they're right in the Department of Defense, in the services of all of our military.

With that being said, do you all plan -- and, Admiral, either one can answer, probably yourself -- plan to be asking for an appropriation -- supplemental appropriations from DOD, from Congress here, to support Libyan operations money-wise?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, those -- a decision like that would come from the secretary of defense or -- or elsewhere in the administration, but that would not be something a combatant commander would precipitate.

MANCHIN:

The total cost has been quite high as far as -- I know that Senator Brown just mentioned it, and we're all concerned about that because we're going to be making some difficult decisions here and -- and then right here in America. And the cost that we're spending elsewhere is real concerning.

And I think the first week was approximately $600-plus million?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, again, I'm probably not the right person to give you a set of numbers, but I think it's fair to say that the operation will be in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars. I think that's a fair estimate. But I'm not the right person to ask.

I can certainly convey that to the department and get you the right numbers.

MANCHIN:

Do you have an estimation on timetable, how long you think we'll be there?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, I think it's -- it's very difficult to ascertain that.

MANCHIN:

OK. And do you think that coalition -- do you believe that any part of the coalition expects to put ground troops in Libya or are there ground troops in Libya now?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, there are no ground troops in Libya now to my knowledge. And...

MANCHIN:

By any of the coalition or NATO?

STAVRIDIS:

Not to my knowledge. And I have heard no discussion of doing so at this point.

MANCHIN:

So you don't know of any of the coalition that's planning on having ground -- we've said in -- that we will not, as Americans we will not put American troops on the ground in Libya?

STAVRIDIS:

Right.

MANCHIN:

Is that still correct?

STAVRIDIS:

It is correct. And it is also correct that in the conversations around NATO over the last number of weeks as this was debated, there was no discussion of the insertion of ground troops by any other partner.

MANCHIN:

And to both of you, if you would -- and, General, maybe you can start this one off -- why do you believe that the image of the United States is so -- is so poor in the Middle East, with all that we try to do, and all the good that we try to do, why has the image of our country been so poorly received and is -- is at all time lows, as I'm understanding?

KEHLER:

Sir, I -- I can't really speculate on why that is.

MANCHIN:

Well, you've seen the polls. You know what's going on. Right?

KEHLER:

Well, I've certainly seen the press reporting, OK, that asserts that. I -- it is very difficult for me, not having responsibility for that region, to be looking at that information every day and having my own opinion on why that might be.

MANCHIN:

But I mean, we have everybody's opinion that comes in here, all the different -- everybody has a little different take on this.

But the bottom line is, as I've always said, when you're an unwelcome visitor, you usually leave. We don't seem to be a welcome visitor, or a welcome neighbor, if you will, to the Arab League, even though they might want us for certain areas, but we don't seem to have the support of the people.

And I can't figure that out. We're here trying to liberate. The greatest country in the world is the United States of America. We're the most generous country. But for some reasons in the Middle East that doesn't transcend. And I don't know if it's something that we're doing wrong from a military end of it or from our policy end.

Do you all have any comment on that whatsoever, what we could do to improve our image?

STAVRIDIS:

I would say, as to why the United States is challenged in parts of the Middle East, has to do with our overall operations in Iraq, in Afghanistan, which by and large have not been popular in that part of the world, both Muslim countries. Our relationship with Israel, which is at odds with many of these Muslim states.

And in fact it's important, however, to make the point that we do enjoy positive relations with many of the Arab nations, certainly at the military-to-military level. And if I could, I'll give you two concrete examples of that. Both stem from my experience in NATO.

One is the NATO engagement with what's called the Mediterranean Dialogue, which has as its partners Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, as well as Israel. So it's possible, by working diligently and finding zones of cooperation, to improve these sort of relationships.

And the other place I would -- I would mention, from a NATO perspective and also an area in which the United States has good relations with Muslim countries, would be in the Gulf, where the Istanbul Cooperative Initiative of NATO counts among its members essentially all of the Gulf states there.

And of course in the -- in the coalition that we're undertaking today, Senator, we enjoy the support of the UAE and Qatar, both of whom are flying actual missions as part of this.

So I think your point is well taken, that we need to work on this, but all is not lost. And I'd close by saying we enjoy a very positive relationship with a very prominent Muslim nation, and that is Turkey, who as a member of NATO is involved in this coalition with us, is in Afghanistan with us.

So it's very possible to have very positive relations with...

(CROSSTALK)

MANCHIN:

But our relations are pretty poor, right? I mean, as far as the image of the United States being in the Middle East from the citizens of the Middle East.

STAVRIDIS:

I think that's a fair statement, yes, sir.

MANCHIN:

OK. Let me ask just another question I have. You were talking about the rules of engagement, which I took to understand that basically that we're able to engage whenever we think there's any threat or harm to American troops or American mission. So you feel free to do the rules of -- the rules of engagement apply in Libya.

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir, they will, along those lines, as well as rules of engagement that permit everything from stopping ships that we think are bringing weapons in...

MANCHIN:

Sure.

STAVRIDIS:

... to stopping Gadhafi's forces if they are attacking the population or demonstrating the intent to.

MANCHIN:

What about the rules of engagement in the Afghanistan war and the Pakistan mountains where the Taliban and the Al Qaida that we know of, you don't have the same green light on the rules of engagement there as you do in Libya?

STAVRIDIS:

The rules of engagement in Pakistan are fundamentally different, yes, sir, from the rules of engagement that are in place in the Libyan campaign.

MANCHIN:

So when we know that there's being harm orchestrated, being directed, we can't do a thing about it.

STAVRIDIS:

I think General Petraeus addressed this when he was here last week, and I think he would -- he would tell you that he's in constant dialogue with his counterparts across the Pakistani border, notably General Kayani of Pakistan, to try and work on these cross- border issues.

MANCHIN:

Thank you. If you could more -- and I know that Chairman Levin has been getting some information on that. And if we could just be kept up on the cost, on a weekly basis on the cost of what we're incurring as far as the United States military, would that be a fair question?

LEVIN:

It's a fair question, and we can ask that directly of the Defense Department, if you're prefer.

STAVRIDIS:

That would probably be the best -- that's going to be the best, rather than feeding it through me, sir.

MANCHIN:

Chairman, if you would do that, I'd appreciate very much. And if we can keep the committee updated on what the cost to American people for that support would be.

Thank you, sir.

LEVIN:

Senator Manchin has made a really good effort to ascertain these costs, and I've tried the best I could to get some information, but it's kind of slow in coming. And he's right in asking for it. We will ask the right people in the Defense Department to promptly give us a cost estimate as up to date, and then a week-by- week estimate as well.

Thank you for pressing that, Senator Manchin.

And Senator Ayotte is next.

AYOTTE:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Admiral and General, for your service to our country. And, again, pass on our gratitude to the troops that serve underneath you for the important work and the sacrifices that they're making for us.

I know that you've described, Admiral, somewhat the mission in Libya. How do we define success in Libya?

STAVRIDIS:

I think the mission that I am given and under which I am operating at the moment, the military mission, has some clear metrics associated with it.

Let's take the arms embargo, for example. It would be zero penetration of Libya with arms coming to resupply Colonel Gadhafi, for example.

In terms of protecting the population, I think our metric would be, is the population safe, are the civilians under attack? So we would -- what we would want to over time establish is a situation which we would call in NATO context a safe and secure environment for the population.

In terms of the no-fly zone, the metric's obvious, it's no flying by any of the -- any of the military aircraft or any other aircraft without authorization from NATO.

In terms of the humanitarian mission we've been assigned, it's numbers of refugees, are they receiving the care, and so on.

So I think that's the military mission we've been given, and we have some reasonably metrics that will apply as we go forward to make sure that we meet those for policymakers.

AYOTTE:

I certainly understand and appreciate those metrics. And I guess my question is getting at overall what's our -- what's our objective, what's -- how do we measure success in Libya. Meaning, if we have got Gadhafi in power and he decides to wait us out, one of the concerns I have is what's our strategy if that's the outcome.

STAVRIDIS:

I think that if you look at what's happening today, again, in London, where 40 nations are coming together to discuss this, I think virtually every nation's leader has spoken to the desirability of the departure of Colonel Gadhafi.

So how the international community arrives at that I believe will be a combination of the kind of work that's being done in a military context by the and under the auspices of the U.N. Security Council resolution and NATO, coupled with the economic sanctions, the financial control of assets of Libyan goods that are outside, the travel restrictions. By putting that cumulative pressure on the regime in Libya, I think you have the best chance of achieving what the heads of state have indicated they desire.

AYOTTE:

And don't you think it'll be also difficult without some type of military involvement to get a man like Gadhafi to go?

STAVRIDIS:

I think it's hard to say. When you look historically at different leaders, sometimes they stay and they fight and they die, and sometimes they crack and they give up and they leave the country. There's a wide spectrum of what could happen going forward.

I think it is clear that the international community, as indicated by the statements of the leaders of so many different countries, have indicated that it's time for Colonel Gadhafi for leave.

AYOTTE:

I'd like to follow up on a question that Senator Inhofe asked you about, and that's the relationship, or whatever information we may have, the relationship between Al Qaida and the rebels in Libya.

There was open source reporting earlier this week that Al Qaida affiliates in North Africa may have stolen surface-to-air missiles from an arsenal in Libya recently. Can you tell us about that incident? And also, what does that say, if anything, about the relationship between the rebels and Al Qaida affiliates?

STAVRIDIS:

I think I'd like to take that question for the record and come back to you so I could give it the full benefit of a classified response, and I think that would probably be the appropriate way to tackle that one.

AYOTTE:

Thank you. I appreciate that. And appreciate that some of that information might need to be classified. But I think it's a very important question for us to understand in this committee.

I'd also like to ask you about overall with your command of the command of the European forces. To be a member of NATO we've asked each member of NATO to commit at least 2 percent of their GDP toward military spending.

STAVRIDIS:

Right.

AYOTTE:

Yet not all members of NATO are committing 2 percent of their GDP...

STAVRIDIS:

That's correct.

AYOTTE:

... to military spending. And in fact what we're seeing is even our strongest allies, for example the United Kingdom and France are having -- dealing with the same budget pressures that we're dealing here with in the United States.

How do you impact -- how do you believe that that's going to impact NATO? And also, given the fact that we're relying substantially on NATO for our involvement in Libya right now, with people withdrawing from their commitment in terms of percentage that they're willing to spend on military spending, how do you think that that will impact our readiness, A, going forward, and, B, in particular this conflict in Libya?

STAVRIDIS:

Let me kind of give you the good news and the bad news.

The good news about NATO is that it's a resource-rich alliance. The GDP of NATO is about $32 trillion. It's about twice the GDP of the United States, and it's -- the GDP of NATO is about half that of the world's GDP. So the good news is there are resources there to meet these commitments, in my belief.

The bad news is, Senator, what you just pointed out, that our allies in many cases are not committing even the minimum 2 percent. And I find that -- I am concerned about that as I look at the future of the alliance, where some members are meeting that commitment and others are failing to do so. And I think it is incumbent upon particularly nations like ours that are very much meeting the commitment and our leaders to continue to make this point.

And I thank you for asking me about it. It's something I talk to all of the uniformed military members about constantly. And it is very concerning.

STAVRIDIS:

In terms of will it get better, I think we all hope that as we emerge from this series of global economic concerns, that there will be a rise in the economy and there will be more breathing space. But in the immediate future, I agree with you.

I think it's extremely concerning and we should continue to -- to talk and to encourage and to pressure our allies to meet those kinds of spending commitments.

AYOTTE:

Well, I certainly share your concerns, particularly given the conflicts that we are leading throughout the world, that that commitment has to be the commitment that we're making. So I certainly will be an advocate for that with our allies.

I see that my time is up. I just wanted to also reiterate to both of you I think it's very important to follow up on the chairman's comments and Senator Manchin's comments that this committee get very good information on the cost of the conflict in Libya and regular updates, given the fiscal challenges that we're facing right now in this country. And I think also particularly none of us wants to see this diminish our efforts in Afghanistan.

So I appreciate both of your service -- distinguished service to our country, and thank you very much for answering my questions today.

STAVRIDIS:

Thank you, Senator.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Ayotte.

Senator Blumenthal?

BLUMENTHAL:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you both for your extraordinary service to our nation. And again, I join my colleagues in thanking the very courageous and dedicated men and women who work under you in defending our nation and its national interests.

I would like to ask a question about the health of the men and women who come to you after serving in conflicts, or directly under your command, conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly as to traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, whether you consider the ongoing efforts sufficient to address their needs, their health needs in those areas.

STAVRIDIS:

I'll start, Bob.

I -- I am particularly concerned about traumatic brain injury, and because of my duties with NATO bring me often to Afghanistan, I -- I -- and also because in my European Command region, I have Landstuhl medical facility, one of our largest military hospitals, I have a fair amount of opportunity to see all of this.

And I think TBI, traumatic brain injury in particular, is something that needs more focus. And I believe that we have yet to really understand the extent of the challenge we have ahead of us because of the concussive effect that -- that many of our young men and women are -- are undergoing.

So it -- it's an area that I have focused on. My wife has focused on this as well in terms of family and family support. It can be difficult to diagnose, as you appreciate. And -- and we are all working very hard on the challenge, but I think -- I think it's worth highlighting TBI in particular, from my experiences.

BLUMENTHAL:

General?

KEHLER:

Senator, I would add to that. Although there aren't that many STRATCOM people forward-deployed, we have a fair number of combat veterans, of course, that have returned to STRATCOM. And if I may, just let me back up 60 days to when I was commanding a service component where we were deploying a fair number of people forward all the time.

I share Admiral Stavridis's concern about TBI, but I also am still concerned about PTSD, the post-traumatic stress syndrome. I am -- we have not yet cracked the nut here that relates PTSD and other experiences -- and oh by the way, it's not just as a result of combat, but stressors that are occurring elsewhere, and the suicide rates that we are seeing, which are still far too high.

And as a commander, I am greatly frustrated that all of the things that we are trying, all the things that the services are trying, still do not seem to have turned the corner for us in addressing what is far too high a suicide rate.

And so I am -- I remain concerned about that. I believe that the physical care that our wounded warriors receive is superb. In the visits that I've made to -- to our hospitals and the visits that my wife makes to the hospitals in her work to do things like help sew adaptive clothing for those who have been wounded, and all of the efforts that go on there, I am encouraged by what I see. And I believe that our people from battlefield to Landstuhl to the air medevac that occurs in all of that, I think they get magnificent care.

But we haven't gotten yet to the bottom of why our suicide rates are way too high, and there is some relationship here, but it is not a sole relationship with combat or the unique stresses of combat. There are other stressors in our people that are showing themselves.

And so we are spending a lot of time and energy trying to work on that. I know all the service chiefs are working on that. I know that the secretary of defense and the chairman and others are all equally concerned. We have more to do, I think, to take care of our people in that regard.

BLUMENTHAL:

And I -- I want to commend both of you for your very eloquent remarks on this issue, and particularly on the suicide issue. Because I know that you and your colleagues are doing more than ever, and the quality of care has improved in ways that might have been unimaginable just a few years ago. And yet in these areas of TBI and post-traumatic stress and suicide, we still have a lot of work to do.

And I would just say I know this sentiment is shared by many of my colleagues, and anything we can do to help you, we would very much like to do.

STAVRIDIS:

If I could just add one thought. In a sense, I suppose, it's a positive one. We -- we've come a long way since Vietnam in this regard. And -- and you look back at the literature post-Vietnam, a book about this is "Achilles in Vietnam," which is a study -- early study of PTSD and its effects.

We have learned and awful lot and we are still, I think, in the discovery phase. And -- and that's an area we need to continue to learn more about.

BLUMENTHAL:

Thank you.

In -- in the brief time that I have left, I'd like to ask you regarding the bilateral security cooperation that you lead with Israel as a cornerstone of our larger strategic relationship in ways that are both large and small, how the phased adaptive approach concerning missile defense will be executed with regard to Israel's security and Israel's contribution to protecting Europe.

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, we -- we enjoy, as you know, an extremely robust broad-spectrum relationship with Israel. But I would say our particular work in missile defense is -- is quite strong. We have a whole series of exercises that we do. I had the chance to go a little over a year ago and see one of the major deployments of this nascent phased adaptive approach set up in and around Israel.

We keep ships that are engaged in that network. I'm very confident that that's an area where we have learned a lot and that we are then going to be able to apply that in the European phased adaptive approach and knit all of that together, that knowledge that we shift from our work with Israel to our work with Europe.

And General Kehler may want to comment from his background. He's also very deep into missile defense.

KEHLER:

Sir, I would just echo this -- the relationship with Israel actually goes beyond the operational relationship. There's a technical relationship there on missile defense as well.

I think that the director of the Missile Defense Agency would tell you that he has a very strong relationship there. And we find, I think, as Jim Stavridis just said, that there will be -- there are many positive lessons that have been learned from our relationship with Israel that can be applied elsewhere as we look at phased adaptive approach both in Europe and elsewhere.

I think an important recognition that you're making here, without saying it directly, is the importance that we see to being able to counter the large proliferation of short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles that are now appearing in our feeders around the world and that pose a threat to our forward-deployed troops and our allies.

BLUMENTHAL:

Thank you for articulating that recognition on my part, better than I could have done. And thank you for your testimony here today, which has been very useful and important. Thank you.

LEVIN:

Thank you very much, Senator Blumenthal.

Senator Collins?

COLLINS:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

General, you mentioned how important it is to define roles and responsibilities when it comes to cybersecurity. And I certainly agree with that statement.

I want to make sure that you're aware that Senator Lieberman and I have been working on this issue for the past two years in the Homeland Security Committee. The fact is that in our country, 85 percent of the critical infrastructure that is at risk is in the private sector. And it is the Department of Homeland Security that has the lead in establishing that relationship.

We are working, as the chairman mentioned, in a bipartisan way to try to develop a bill. And we need to do so because there are an astonishing 1.8 billion attempted attacks on government computers each month. I'm not sure people realize that the volume has just escalated.

So as you prepare your report for this committee and your comments and advice, I want to make sure that you're more fully aware of what is going on with our Homeland Security Committee and we will get you information about our bill to better inform your comments.

KEHLER:

Senator, thank you. I am aware of all the hard work that's been going on there, and I would appreciate whatever information we can get from that.

I would add one other point, if I may. The -- to me, anyway, the interesting question for us over the whole time that we've had a U.S. military, we have carved out the appropriate relationship between the military and civil activities. That's what needs to get carved out here is that appropriate relationship.

And I think what has driven us in an interesting direction here is the speed with which this is all emerging. And so the work that you all have been doing in the Homeland Security Committee and I think the MOA that was established between the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security is a very, very good start. And so thank you for that offer.

COLLINS:

Thank you for that clarification.

My concern was your earlier comments could have been interpreted as saying that the Department of Defense should take over all responsibility in this area. That would be, I think you would agree, a mistake. It would -- it would raise all sorts of civil liberties issues. And I don't think that's what you were intending to convey in response to Senator McCain's question.

KEHLER:

Most certainly not, and thank you for pointing that out.

COLLINS:

Thank you.

Admiral, I'm going to turn to some of the questions about Libya while we do have you here.

And again, I do want to thank both of your for your service as well.

You stated in response to a question from our chairman that it was important to have a United Nations resolution and an international coalition.

Don't you think that it also would have been helpful to have a congressional resolution that specifically authorized the military strike against Libya, given that there was no national emergency on our part?

STAVRIDIS:

I would defer that question to the executive branch, as in the president or the secretary of defense.

When I commented that it was good to have a United Nations Security Council resolution, I'm talking about the military clarity that that provides, in terms of the -- what the mission -- I'm supposed to do as a military officer is all about.

COLLINS:

That's certainly a fair response and the one that I thought that you would give and understandably would give. But since you did answer the chairman's question about the desirability of the U.N. resolution, I did think it was fair to ask you that.

Let me turn to another issue. Secretary Gates stated that the action by the U.N. Security Council with respect to Libya originated with the unanimous resolution of the Arab League and also the action taken by the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Now, I know that Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are now participating in the coalition and providing some aircraft, but the fact is that there are many Arab nations in the neighborhood with significant air assets that, to date, do not seem to be participating.

From 2001 to 2008, we provided $10 billion in foreign military sales to Egypt, another $10 billion to the Saudis, not to mention $2.6 billion to Turkey, $2.4 billion to Kuwait. The Saudis have more than 200 F-15 fighters. Egypt operates more than -- more F-16s than all but three countries in the world.

I'm very concerned about the lack of Arab state participation in enforcing the no-fly zone. In fact, I believe they should have taken the lead. I realize that only the United States and a few of our allies have the capabilities to provide intelligence, coordination and logistics.

What is the reason that we're not seeing more of a contribution from Arab states in the region, particularly those that do have significant air assets?

STAVRIDIS (?):

I'm not sure I'm qualified to walk you through, nation by nation, in terms of why an individual nation would decide to either participate fully with air strikes or to fly in the no-fly zone or to simply support the resolution in the Arab political body.

I can certainly go back to General Mattis, who is the combatant commander for that region, who I think could really walk you through every one of them. And I think it's a legitimate question.

What I can say, Senator, is from a NATO perspective, which is where I touch this issue, we will continue to aggressively pursue participation by the Arab states in all aspects of what we are doing.

And as I mentioned earlier in response to another question, we have two mechanisms for doing that in NATO, the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperative Initiative. Those are both bodies in which we can continue to move these requests forward and from certainly a military to military level, put pressure on them to fully participate in this.

So I think it's a good question. I will go back and have the department come back with a nation-by-nation breakdown to help understand it. And from a NATO perspective, we'll continue to push forward to get as much support as we possibly can from the other Arab states.

COLLINS:

Thank you.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Collins. Senator Udall?

UDALL:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Good morning, gentlemen. Let me turn to Libya. Let me make an initial comment. I support the actions of the president and this administration. I think, for us to have stood by while Gadhafi moved on the towns and cities in the western part of Libya would have been unconscionable. I think we would -- it would have been indefensible.

Having said that, I've also made -- I'm going to continue to ask as many questions as come to mind.

And, Admiral, if I might, as you know, the rebel forces have been more or less welcomed by the civilian populations in the east. But if the rebels are able to close in on cities that are generally more supportive of the Gadhafi regime, how will NATO protect civilians caught in a potential crossfire?

And then that question can become even more intriguing and important if you frame it this way. If rebel forces fire on civilian targets or military targets that place civilians in harm's way, how are we going to protect those innocent people?

Would we fire on the rebel forces, for example?

STAVRIDIS:

Well, from all -- from all that I've seen at the current stage of this conflict, we are working very hard to protect all of the civilian population. And in doing that, we are setting up air zones -- and this is where the no-fly zone is actually more than simply a no-fly zone. It is a -- a protective zone that allows us to use our air assets to interdict a situation in which civilians are coming under attack.

In terms of whether or not we would parse through civilians versus rebels versus opposition leaders versus Gadhafi forces, we would have to rely on our intelligence, particularly our signals intelligence, to have a sense of what's occurring on the ground and then make conditions-based decisions at that time.

UDALL:

It is -- it is difficult, though, Admiral...

STAVRIDIS:

It is difficult.

UDALL:

... as you -- as you present the various scenarios...

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir.

UDALL:

... particularly when you're moving into more densely populated areas.

STAVRIDIS:

Indeed.

UDALL:

And how do our aircraft prevent civilian casualties and other damage?

STAVRIDIS:

I think it will be extremely challenging. We are aided by a sense that I think is manifest in much of the country, which is against Gadhafi.

And I think that, as more and more pressure is applied; as we continue to apply both economic sanction, financial freezing; we squeeze the economy, I believe that his support base will shrink and the tribal aspects of Libya will come to play in a way that will hopefully achieve the policy indication of a departure of Gadhafi.

But I agree. It's going to be complicated and conditions-based as we move through.

UDALL:

I mean, ideally, the use of military force here is designed to create political space so that the Gadhafi regime falls, either of its own accord and its own...

STAVRIDIS:

Correct.

UDALL:

... its own decision-making or through outside forces, particularly brought to bear by the rebel forces.

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir.

UDALL:

Because I think -- I think that's the end game, using military force to drive political ends. And I see you agreeing in acknowledgment.

If I could, I'm going to turn to an entirely different subject to General Kehler. I know you talked about ITAR. Since I came to the Congress in 1999, we've talked about ITAR and the way in which it restricts our private sector. And increasingly, I think you could make the argument that it actually does the opposite of enhancing our national security because we're not developing the kind of capabilities that we might.

Could you speak to that assessment and then more specifically how have our export controls under ITAR affected our military space acquisitions and development?

And then, I think most importantly, are these export controls slowly the development of critical space-based assets that support our warfighters?

In other words, I guess I'm saying that this policy is contradictory to other policies that we have in place, although well- intentioned when it was first put into place.

KEHLER:

Senator, I think your concerns are well-founded. From my current seat as the commander at STRATCOM, here's where this impacts us most, and that is, just as you suggest, if in fact our industrial base cannot provide the kinds of capabilities that we need, then we need to go back and take a hard look at why that is.

What impact that has on us as a military operational force, of course, depends on what it is that has been delayed. But there is at least one thread that runs back through our industrial base.

It isn't the only thread, but there's at least one thread that runs back there that says that exports controls, while well- intentioned, while some need to be there to preserve the best of our national security technologies and capabilities, that there is a danger here that export controls, if not reviewed and refined, can in fact create the opposite kind of a situation here, where our industry is no longer competitive; therefore our industry is declining; therefore their ability to provide for us is also declining.

The president's new national space policy that was signed last summer and the recently approved national security space strategy both point this out. And they both essentially say that it's time for us to go back and take another look at ITAR. I support that. I think it's time for us to do that kind of a look.

KEHLER:

There needs to be a careful balance struck here between preserving and protecting our highest, most important national security technology, especially where they relate to space and where they relate to cyberspace, although that's not directly touched quite the same way.

But I think it's time for that sort of a review. And I would encourage that.

UDALL:

Now, you -- with well-intentioned efforts, you can build walls so that those outside the walls can't see in or get in, but the same situation then applies to those who are inside the walls -- it's harder to get out and it's harder to see over the top of those walls.

KEHLER:

Yes, sir. And there are many, many, many instances, certainly in my last job when I had some responsibility for acquisition, where industry would come to us and say the reason we are having trouble is because of ITAR.

Again, I wouldn't -- it's not a blanket indictment of ITAR, nor is it a blanket indictment of the intent behind -- behind ITAR. I do think, though, execution needs a harder review, and that needs to occur soon.

UDALL:

And I also think there's joint jurisdiction here, some question about jurisdiction, between State and the DOD and the committees that are involved, although I know the chairman's engaged in -- I think this is the time to push this in ways that perhaps we haven't.

KEHLER:

Yes, sir. And, no question about it, this is a shared responsibility, and the Department of State does have a significant role here in all of this.

UDALL:

Thank you. Again, thank you, gentlemen.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Udall.

Senator Sessions?

SESSIONS:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank both of you for your service to the country. And we appreciate your leadership. And I've gotten to know both of you and have great personal affection and admiration for you.

I do think that Senator McCain and Senator John Kerry were correct when they called early on for a no-fly zone in Libya at a time when momentum was with us and we were making -- and had a chance to be decisive, I think, in the outcome of the effort.

As a result of the delays that have occurred, we now have a more difficult position and difficult situation.

Senator McCain, to his credit, is a patriot. He's not criticizing the president. His view simply is that if this is the right thing, let's do it and we'll support the president in his action.

Admiral Stavridis, you mentioned that it was important to secure the U.N. and NATO resolutions before action. You noted that the entire international community is against him. But Congress has not voted, as Senator Collins (inaudible).

We got approval from a lot of different places, but we don't have one from Congress.

And, General Kehler, the -- a no-fly zone, it seems to me, normally means that you use usually our Air Force to ensure that an enemy's air force is not able to attack forces that we -- we think ought not to be attacked. It normally does not cover, it seems to me, the attacking by our air of enemy forces on the ground, on one side of a conflict.

Would you comment on that, briefly?

KEHLER:

Well, sir, I -- again -- I -- from my role in STRATCOM, I think that -- that's a difficult point for me to comment on. I've heard the operation described as a no-fly zone, but I think actually there's -- there's some additional language that goes with that that characterizes the operation in the way that it's being conducted.

SESSIONS:

Well, additional language comes from the United Nations, apparently, which is nice to have.

But I would ask you, Admiral Stavridis, what if China had vetoed that resolution? What if Turkey or some other country in the -- in the NATO family objected? What if the Arab League had some objections to this?

Would the United States then stand by and allow a slaughter to occur?

STAVRIDIS:

I think that's a decision that would squarely rest with the president in terms of making it in an executive branch decision. And then in terms of my point in saying that the United Nations Security Council resolution was a good thing to have, is that it simply broadens the mandate.

And from a military officer's perspective, the U.N. Security Council resolution, sir, lays out those military tasks very clearly. So in that...

(CROSSTALK)

SESSIONS:

Well, I think that is interesting, that you seem to be taking as your command the United Nations and the rules of engagement they have authorized, and we don't have any United States rules of engagement that I've understood with clarity, certainly not from Congress.

So it's not your fault. I'm just saying I think that the extent to which Congress has been bypassed in this process is rather breathtaking. And the idea that, I hope, there's no suggestion that we're establishing a precedent by which the United States won't act unless multiple international bodies approve that action.

Because I remember the famous Patton quote, "A good plan, violently executed today, is better than a perfect plan tomorrow." Sometimes that means a lot of lives at stake. Properly prompt, aggressive action can be decisive in military conflicts.

Isn't that true, Admiral Stavridis?

(CROSSTALK)

SESSIONS:

And a delay can be fatal to the success of an operation.

STAVRIDIS:

That is true, and we see examples of that in history.

SESSIONS:

Admiral Stavridis, you know, we love our European allies. And I understand you've proposed and suggested we might delay the withdrawal of some of our brigades from Europe. We have I believe four now and the plan is to come down to two.

And our German friends are some of the best economic and political partners we have in the world. However, tell the American people why we have to have 40,000 troops in -- in Europe, if they're cutting their budgets far more substantially than we're cutting ours.

STAVRIDIS:

Just to walk through this one, we currently have four brigade combat teams in Europe, as part of about 35,000 soldiers that are there. It bumps up to 40,000 at times.

There was a decision made several years ago to cut back to two. And then...

(CROSSTALK)

SESSIONS:

I was part of a CODEL that traveled to Europe to examine the bases that would be enduring. It was during a time we were closing U.S. bases under the BRAC policy.

STAVRIDIS:

And so, subsequently, in the course of the quadrennial defense review, the department decided to take one more look at that decision as to whether we wanted to cut all the way back to two or reduce some other level of that.

That analysis has been going on for about six to eight months and is now reaching final decision.

So I don't think that has -- in fact, I know, that has not been announced as yet. But I believe that your fundamental question is why do we have troops at this stage, given that they have the resources to defend themselves and so forth.

I would say there are still legitimate reasons for a reasonable number of U.S. troops in Europe. And, as we talked about earlier, we're down from 400,000 in Europe, down to -- we've come down 75 percent already since the end of the Cold War.

And I think the reason for them is partly what you're seeing right now, it's the use of these bases in Europe as forward areas from which we can operate in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya, as we are are today. It's also deterrence. It's also reassurance.

And it's training and working with these allies.

I would argue, sir, that...

SESSIONS:

Well, you -- I believe in your statement you say it's a demonstration of the United States' commitment. If Europe isn't committed to defending itself, does it need to have us to defend them?

And we've got Europeans that pretend to help us in Afghanistan, but who won't allow their soldiers to fire their weapons. And the GAO has reported that it cost $17 billion for the DOD installations in Europe, and they estimated a $24 billion through 2015 to operate and maintain our bases there.

And is NATO so frail that we've got to have another $1.8 billion construction project to maintain perhaps more troops than the plan has called for?

STAVRIDIS:

Well, Senator, again, we're -- we're looking very hard at making every reasonable reduction in those numbers of troops.

But I would argue -- let's take Afghanistan as an example. We have 45,000 non-U.S. troops in Afghanistan with us. We've lost, very tragically, 1,400 of our young men and women killed in action. Our allies have lost 900 killed in action. On a proportional basis, that's actually higher than our own losses.

So they're in it. They're in the fight in Afghanistan.

And I would argue that part of the reason they're there with us in Afghanistan and they're with us in Libya is because of those enduring commitments, fully taking your point that we ought to look at every reasonable way to reduce it to the minimum in order to give our U.S. taxpayers...

(CROSSTALK)

SESSIONS:

Well, I know you're familiar with Japan and our fleet that's there...

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir.

SESSIONS:

... and how much Japan supports it. They pay about 40 percent of the cost of our military bases in Japan.

And I believe the Europeans have gotten far too comfortable under the American umbrella. They're reducing their budgets substantially across the board, and we're trying to hold ours at a minimum reduction, maybe without reduction. And they want us to keep more and more troops there.

I think that's a situation that cannot continue. And both of you need to know that when our government spends $3.7 trillion and takes in $2.2 trillion, that we're on an unsustainable path, as the Federal Reserve chairman has told us. And if monies are going to be tight and the defense budget and these are some areas it seems to me that real savings can accrue without weakening our ability to defend America.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Sessions.

Senator Nelson?

Well, I -- yes, Senator Nelson. I'm sorry.

NELSON:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, Admiral and General, for your service, and all those who serve with you. We appreciate so much the commitment to -- to the defense of our country.

General Kehler, in your written testimony, you discuss the need to build a new U.S. strategic command-and-control complex, and you note that reliable and assured command, control and communication from the president to the nuclear forces are fundamental to our strategic deterrent.

This requires resolving some gaps in our capabilities, gaps that need to be addressed and will be addressed by the planned new strategic command and control complex and the nuclear command, control and communications, C-3, node at Offutt Air Force Base.

To the extent that you can expand on the C-3 plans and their requirements, and how the new strategic command and control complex will meet national security, would you please try to explain so that we can understand it's more than a building. It's a housing structure for a command. If you could please outline that?

KEHLER:

Yes, sir. Strategic Command as a location fulfills a unique role in the overall national nuclear command and control system. It is a unique node, if you will, on a network of nuclear command and control, but it is a unique node -- a fact that we came to discover with great clarity when we had an eight-inch water main break in that building back in December and seriously impacted our ability to get the job done there.

Therefore, as we look at retaining the appropriate nuclear command and control capabilities, those things that are at Strategic Command right now, that are -- that are encompassed inside that physical plant, the headquarters building itself, we're talking about unique planning tools. We're talking about unique operational command and control activities. And we're certainly talking about unique fusion capability there to begin to pull the pieces of not only our nuclear command and control, but space and cyberspace and other pieces together as well.

So as we went forward to look at how we need to address the vulnerabilities that we have there, the physical vulnerabilities from what is now an antiquated physical plant -- a plant that was never designed to do what we are asking the command to do today. In fact, when that physical plant was built, the command had one mission and that was nuclear deterrence. Today, that is one of many missions that Strategic Command has.

And so as we looked at this, the physical plant is not going to be capable of keeping up. Therefore, the analysis that was done prior to my arrival leads us to believe that the best course of action is to create a -- an updated command and control node with the appropriate planning tools and other things, and to surround that essentially with a new building.

And that's the pathway that we are on. When we look at building a new building, I think that that's not an adequate way to describe this because a new building is one thing. What we are actually creating here, though, is a command and control node, a nuclear command and control node, a planning center that has unique capabilities for -- for global planning requirements that has to be housed in a facility that can support that.

And so those two things together is what we are asking the Congress to support.

NELSON:

Thank you.

Admiral, at the onset of the operations in Libya, the president noted the U.S.'s unique capabilities to establish a no-fly zone -- in other words, the Tomahawk missiles. And the U.S. employed those unique capabilities in support of the U.N. resolution and with the partnership of NATO.

I understand that the committee -- our committee has asked and is working to get a cost-to-date for the mission in Libya, along with weekly cost reports. And I appreciate this as I believe it's needed because there are really two questions that -- that go beyond the -- or what the role of the mission is, and that is the cost and how long.

I've had a number of people ask me if there is any kind of an exit strategy, although those same people didn't necessarily ask that question about Iraq or Afghanistan. They are asking it right now.

Could you give us some indication of what we're looking at in terms of cost to date, just on the basis of maybe ballparking it?

STAVRIDIS:

Again, Senator, as I mentioned to a couple of your colleagues, I'm really not the right person to ask. But I will say that it's -- the operation as it runs over months will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

NELSON:

Hundreds of...

STAVRIDIS:

Hundreds of millions of dollars. Yes. But again, I've pledged to Chairman Levin to take back the message to the department that -- that you're looking for a cost-to-date and weekly updates, and I believe that will be registered loud and clear back at the department, and I understand that.

In terms of an exit strategy, I think events at this point are so fluid. I mean, we're five weeks into this thing. The -- the first set of protests began on the 15th of February. The U.N. Security Council resolution was 30 days later, the 17th or March. NATO has taken over the mission. I mean, everything has moved extremely rapidly.

So as I look out, the spectrum of how this could unfold I think it's frankly premature to say what's our exit strategy until we have at least a little more clarity moving forward.

NELSON:

With respect to NATO, do you have information that would indicate what percentage of the total cost or the total budget of NATO is -- is borne by the United States government as a percentage?

STAVRIDIS:

I will find out the answer to that. I -- I think that the NATO budgeting structure, unlike the United Nations which is balanced in some ways. Bigger nations pay more. I think the NATO common funding pool is exactly that, a common-funded pool. And I don't think the United States pays a disproportionate share of NATO costs.

Now, when you get into operations that NATO is doing or any -- any operational setting, the NATO approach is costs lie where they fall, which means that the nation that is bringing a force to the fight is the one that pays for that force. So in that sense, taking Afghanistan as an example, the United States is about two-to-one in terms of a ratio. So it would be bearing roughly twice the cost, for example. But those are very rough estimates. I'll refine those and report back to you.

NELSON:

That would be fine. Thank you very much to both of you.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Nelson.

Senator Cornyn?

CORNYN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Admiral, General, welcome. It's good to see you both.

General, if you'll forgive me, I have a number of questions I need to ask the admiral and it's -- but we appreciate your service. In the limited time we have I wanted to just focus my attention on Admiral Stavridis.

I'm struggling a little bit, Admiral, to understand sort of what the plan is now that we've -- we've intervened in Libya and then handed things off to NATO, especially given the unrest still extant in Egypt, places like Bahrain. Who knows where this contagion will spread and how it will all end.

And I think part of -- part of this inability to understand what the plan is is because the president -- and here again, it's not your fault that the president did not come to Congress and engage Congress in this discussion about his intentions. And so that's why we have a lot of these questions.

But I want to ask you first of all just sort of to help me understand as you understand what the contours are of this new doctrine of intervening for humanitarian purposes and not when our, as Secretary Gates said, our vital interests nor an imminent threat was likely to come from Libya, but we intervened to save civilians, which I understand and any human being with a heart would feel compassion for.

But it strikes me that, for example, there have been civilians killed in Syria in protests against the government. We know Syria is a state sponsor of international terrorism. It is a police state and that it has facilitated the entry of foreign fighters into Iraq that have killed American troops. We know that Syria is complicit with Iran in the shipment of weapons through Syria to Lebanon that Hezbollah can use to then attack Israel.

And so it strikes me that Libya, as bad as Colonel Gadhafi is, he's been in power 42 years, why Libya? And why not Syria? Can you help me understand, as you understand it, why -- why Libya, why not Syria?

STAVRIDIS:

As to why Libya, I think that as we look at the NATO side of this thing, and that's where I'm somewhat qualified to speak on this. In terms of U.S. policy decisions, I think those more fairly rest with, at my level, with General Ham from AFRICOM, Secretary of Defense Gates and so forth.

But I can tell you from a NATO perspective, as the NATO organization looked at the imminent possibility of a massive slaughter in Benghazi, I think that catalyzed NATO. It was the size of it. It was the ability that NATO had because of the geography of Libya being so close to Italy, and was looking at the potential outcomes from that event from a European perspective of potential mass migrations. Destabilization into Egypt was a significant concern in the halls of NATO.

So I think it was, Senator, a combination of proximity to Europe; the sense of imminent mass disaster, and the capability. And here I would draw a historical parallel going back to the conflict in Bosnia, which you may remember in the 1990s there was an event at a place called Srebrenica, you may remember, where 8,000 men and boys were executed essentially in a day or two.

And it was as a result of that, that kind of catalyzed NATO at that time, and I think it's probably fair to say the memory of that and the fact that Benghazi was looked as though it was going to fall and potentially have a similar scenario based on the statements of Gadhafi and his son.

So I think all that came together.

CORNYN:

Fair enough.

I think our experience in the Middle East, though, has been when America intervenes that I guess -- I think it was General Powell who coined the Pottery Barn Rule: If you break it, you own it. And we've seen our intervention in Iraq and in Afghanistan not go exactly as we might have planned, to say the very least, which causes me concerns about what the future is going to mean in Libya under a NATO command.

Just -- just to -- so we can understand this, I believe that the question that Senator Nelson was asking, my understanding is you're correct in terms of the financial contribution the U.S. makes to NATO. But right now, out of the 132,000 troops that are in Afghanistan, about 90,000 of those are U.S. troops, but they fall under command, correct?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir. Just to sharpen the number slightly, 98,000 U.S. troops and 45,000 non-U.S. troops. So about 2:1 would be the ratio there.

CORNYN:

I thank -- I thank you for that. And in your view, are the -- is -- are the NATO adequately resourced in terms of personnel and financial resources?

STAVRIDIS:

In terms of...

CORNYN:

In Afghanistan.

STAVRIDIS:

In Afghanistan, yes, sir. And in fact another set of numbers that are worth knowing, and I mentioned them to one of your colleagues, of killed in action. There have been, sadly, over 1,400 U.S. So 2:1, you would expect about 700 of the allies. In fact, 900 allies have fallen.

So they are in this fight with us and are taking losses and are, I believe, making a significant contribution.

CORNYN:

Admiral, I've had my -- my staff has handed to me an article that quotes General Caldwell, who is commander of NATO's commission, as you know...

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir.

CORNYN:

... who said that NATO still faces a shortage of 740 trainers needed to train Afghan soldiers and policemen.

But assuming -- assuming that NATO is able to handle its commitment in Afghanistan, could you explain, if in fact NATO does decide to deploy stabilization forces -- that means boots on the ground -- in Libya, that would include U.S. troops under NATO command, wouldn't it?

STAVRIDIS:

If NATO decided to deploy troops, whether or not the United States decided to participate with troops would be a national decision for the United States.

Let me turn it around. In terms of the no-fly zone that we're enforcing right now, Senator, Germany, for example, has chosen not to participate in that mission.

So it's not required that every nation in NATO participate in every mission. There is a capability to choose among them. And that tends to balance itself out. For example, the Germans, who are not in the Libyan operation, are contributing 5,000 troops in Afghanistan. They're actually the second-largest non-U.S. contributor there.

CORNYN:

I would -- I would -- my time is running out. Let me just conclude with this question.

Assuming the humanitarian crisis that you detailed and that the president talked about last night is sufficiently compelling to warrant the intervention of the United States military and now NATO's involvement, can you imagine any set of circumstances where NATO would just simply pull out and allow that humanitarian crisis to continue or do you think it's more likely than not that it would see it to some sort of satisfactory conclusion that did not involve a massive loss of innocent civilians' lives?

STAVRIDIS:

It's always dangerous to talk about a hypothetical, but I think that, based on the conversations I've seen and heard around NATO as the alliance signed up for the mission, I think NATO will see it through to conclusion.

I'll give you a practical example, if I may: Kosovo. 1999, the alliance decided to go in. It went in with air strikes. It then sent in boots on the ground.

When I took this job two years ago, there were still 15,000 NATO troops in Kosovo. Today that's come down to about 5,000. That's OK. That's indicative of the ongoing level of engagement. And by the way, of the 5,000 troops, only about 700 of them are U.S. troops.

CORNYN:

Do you see -- this is my last question -- do you see any scenario under which Gadhafi -- the NATO mission would be deemed a success where Gadhafi would remain in power?

STAVRIDIS:

I think that the overall international community, speaking through all the leaders, has continued to indicate a desire for Colonel Gadhafi to leave. The NATO mission at the moment is humanitarian, arms embargo, no-fly zone, protect the population. How you square those two I think will be determined in the weeks and the months ahead.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Cornyn.

Senator Hagan?

HAGAN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you to both of you for being here and the great job that you're doing for our country. Really do appreciate it.

One of my concerns has to do with the STEM education in our schools, the science, technology, engineering and math. And I know that developing and expanding and sustaining and retaining a steady stream of cyber specialists is critical to our national security.

General Kehler, in your prepared statement you indicated that the cyber workforce is growing, but retaining -- recruiting adequately trained and equipped cyber warriors is challenging.

And you also mentioned the importance of partnering with our nation's educational and commercial information technology entities to spur domestic math and science interests.

And this is certainly an area that I'm extremely interested in. I was reading recently where out of 34 nations, the U.S. is 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. So I think this is a huge concern.

Can you describe some of your efforts in recruiting a steady stream of cyber warriors? And how can Congress help you in this regard? And have your or your staff been engaged with universities and high schools that specialize in the STEM education?

KEHLER:

Senator, let me answer the middle question first. We appreciate the fact that the Congress continues to mention STEM and the fact that you all have, as part of your general agenda, some of you with specific agenda items. To continue to push that is important for all of us and I think for our overall national security, not just in cyber, but as I look across the board.

In Strategic Command we're the beneficiary of a great deal of our highest tech weaponry. And no question about it, both in the industrial base that produces that for us, as well as in the military members that we have to recruit to be part of those operations, STEM is critically important to us across the board.

Let me get to the specifics of cyber. Each of the services have now put together programs to recruit, train, certify and retain cyber specialists. We have put from Strategic Command a bit of a demand signal on the service components. For example, what they brought to Cyber Command initially was a policing up, if you will, of all the service specialties that already had a hand in the cyber business.

What we said to them in the last year or so was that's not enough, we need to increase the demand signal. And so we are now going through requirements studies, if you will. The first one was completed. We laid on the services a requirement for 1,000 more cyber operations people. That was split among the services to about 300 each, and the wheels are turning to produce those.

It's now up to us to come back and quantify with a little bit more fidelity what additional cyber capacity we need. We know we need more. The question is, how much more and of what skills?

So the services are being responsive, I believe, in this regard. All of them have a way to recruit. From the beginning, in fact, at least one of them has put in place the requirement all the way into basic military training, for basic cyber awareness.

Almost like every Marine's a rifleman, every sailor is a firefighter, every servicemember, certainly every airman, I could speak for a service I just came from, every airman is going to be a cyber defender. And I think that that kind of philosophy is going to be very helpful in the long run.

In addition, there are advanced degree programs that have been put in place, both in the Air Force and the steps are being taken in the Navy.

So as we retain these people, as they go forward, I think that there's going to be a great deal of ability for us to try to keep up with the private sector, which as you know is where most of the -- of the rapid advances occur.

The final thing that I would say that the services have done that make me feel good as the -- as the user of those capabilities is they're looking very hard at the reserve components and at the National Guard, because where it makes sense for us to link up the reserves and the Guard with the civilian community that they are attached to and that they come from is in cyber.

Go to places like Seattle or Silicon Valley or the Carolinas or places where are the hotbeds of cyber high-tech activity are, those are ideal places for reserve units or National Guard units that can do double duty, if you will, keep a foot in that civilian community while bringing those kinds of talents to national security as well.

So I would tell you that I believe that the wheels are turning. I believe that progress has been made. We are -- we are looking ourselves at what joint training might look like, what joint certification might look like, how is it that we ask the services to provide complementary capabilities, not competitive capabilities. And so far what I've seen out of the services is they are amenable to working with STRATCOM and Cyber Command in all of those ways forward.

I would make one other point. I think the deputy secretary of defense has had a great leadership role in all of this, and he has been very vocal in his commitment from the department's standpoint to want to have the department correctly positioned to have the capacity that we know we're going to need for the future.

HAGAN:

Well, I can see you are very interested in this, too, because I think it's something, obviously, for our national security, and we need to do a much better job. And I know that you're always in competition with the private sector, too.

And I'm glad you mentioned North Carolina.

A couple of weeks ago I asked the undersecretary of defense for policy, Michele Flournoy, how our NATO partners can significantly contribute in growing and training and equipping a sizable and capable Afghan National Security Force.

And Undersecretary Flournoy indicated that this is an area for potential reinvestment by our NATO and ISAF partners, particularly as some of our partner forces redeploy or change the nature of their commitment to the mission.

And, Admiral Stavridis, did you -- can you describe your efforts aimed at conveying to our NATO allies the importance of maintaining forces in Afghanistan at appropriate levels and providing additional funding for the Afghan National Security Force Trust Fund?

HAGAN:

And I was recently over in Afghanistan and had an opportunity to visit the -- the training center there. And there was a lot of good work going on.

STAVRIDIS:

Thank you, Senator.

I'm very pleased, as I think you were, with your visit, with the overall training effort.

Lieutenant General Caldwell who heads that mission has about 5,000 people on this team. They have, at any given moment, about 35,000 Afghans in training. They've trained 100,000 Afghans, for example, in literacy -- speaking of education, which is really an extraordinary thing. in addition to all the warfighting skills they're teaching basic reading to many of these young Afghan men and women.

What we are encouraging the allies to do now, is some of them are withdrawing forces to shift those to the training mission. I'll give you two practical examples. The Canadians, who have fought very valiantly in Afghanistan, decided to downsize their combat mission, but they have added almost a thousand people to a training mission, which is flowing into Afghanistan right now.

The second one I would mention are the Dutch, who also fought very valiantly, took many casualties in southern Afghanistan. They've decided to shift to a training focus, and they're moving to bring 545 members to focus largely on training, with a few other activities as well.

So we're showing them as an example to other nations. And as we begin this transition this summer in Kabul, in Mazar-e-Sharif, in Herat, in Panshir, in Bamiyan, we are going to be able to turn over to the Afghans to do the warfighting and take some of our forces to do the training.

And, in the end, that's how we will succeed in the security dimension in Afghanistan. We're going to train our way to success there.

HAGAN:

How about the funding of this?

STAVRIDIS:

The funding is in place. It is at the moment, I would hasten to say, largely, overwhelmingly, from the United States. And that's something that we need to work on with our allies.

And this is an area, Senator, where even nations that are not in the troops on the ground portion of this I think can be very helpful.

There are 70 nations that are engaged financially in Afghanistan. Forty eight -- almost 49 -- have troops on the ground. But that trade space is a place where I'm encouraging our national folks to focus or our diplomats to focus on funding this Afghan security training trust fund.

I agree with you. That's an area where they could do more.

HAGAN:

Thank you.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Hagan.

Senator Vitter?

VITTER:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you, both, for your service.

And thanks to all the great service of the men and women in uniform who serve with you.

Admiral, I think the fundamental confusion about the situation in Libya is this: The statement is that we're mostly there to avoid the humanitarian catastrophe.

Everyone knows that the greatest threat toward that end is Gadhafi remaining in power and regaining control of the country. And yet, ousting Gadhafi is not a goal of the operation.

To the average Louisianian, that doesn't connect. Can you explain that to us?

STAVRIDIS:

I can only explain what I do as a military officer, leading from the NATO perspective. And the military mission I've been given, Senator, is to focus on all the things we talked about in the course of this hearing, which range from the humanitarian operation to the arms embargo to the no-fly zone to protecting the population.

Now, as distinct from the military mission that I am charged with, as I listen to all of the world leaders talk about this, there is a consistent refrain that the time has come for Gadhafi to move on.

I think the way those connect is a sense of by -- by our participation in protecting the people of Libya, we create a safe and secure environment in which the people of Libya can make a determination, and that they, then, have the ability to undertake the kind of effort that would, in effect, create regime change, as we've seen in other nations in the Middle East.

So I think that it's fair to say that the regime change is an aspiration that has been articulated by many world leaders and is under discussion today in London, I'm sure. The military mission that I have at the moment, that I am focused on, that I am charged with, is the one that I described to you a moment ago.

I don't think the two are directly linked, but they may connect over time, particularly if we add other tools to the kit in terms of the financial squeeze, in terms of the travel restrictions, finding the money and crushing it off I think are all part of this.

But, again, we're very early days in this process. We're six weeks into it. And at the moment my focus as the NATO commander is on the military mission that I've been given.

VITTER:

Can you imagine progress of the Gadhafi forces not posing serious humanitarian threats?

STAVRIDIS:

I think from everything we've seen in the last five or six weeks, whenever Gadhafi's forces have an opportunity to move and to operate, they've posed a threat to civilians, very much so.

VITTER:

OK. I guess that's my general point. We're somehow trying to have it both ways, that this is a humanitarian mission, but we're not taking sides in the civil war.

My main point is that that is -- is rounding a square peg, and you can't do it. And I think it would be more constructive to be direct and clear about it, so we know what we're getting into or what we're not getting into.

Do you have any reaction to that?

STAVRIDIS:

I think that those are points that would be well taken up with the policy-makers in the Department of Defense. I believe you'll have a series of hearings in which that could be appropriately addressed.

At my level, as a military officer, I'm very focused on the mission that I've been given from the -- my civilian leadership.

VITTER:

OK. The cost of this. We're going to get reports on the ongoing cost of these operations. Can you tell us, generally, what current defense accounts are being used to offset these costs?

STAVRIDIS:

No, sir. Again, not within my purview either as a combatant commander in EUCOM where I am flowing forces to AFRICOM. The budgetary train that comes behind that is handled by each of the individual services, and so the Department of Defense would be able to give you that answer.

And I'll -- as I mentioned to the chairman, I'll gladly convey that back.

VITTER:

Well, if you can add to the request that we've talked about before, that we also get a report specifically about where money is coming from?

STAVRIDIS:

Yes, sir.

VITTER:

Thank you.

And, finally, intelligence -- the president specifically highlighted intelligence as a significant, continuing U.S. role in his remarks last night. At the same time, on the same day, Vice Admiral Gorney (sic) stated that we have limited intelligence capability, and, specifically, we don't know who the rebels are.

Can you -- can you -- those seem like inconsistent comments...

(CROSSTALK)

STAVRIDIS:

Well, I think again -- sir, I can take a try at it. I think we're, again, very early in the process. So I think when Admiral Gortney was talking about limited intelligence, he was talking about having the opportunity to really understand who is in the opposition, what is their background, what are their connections, who are they talking to.

And we're in the process of -- of working very hard, as you can imagine, to gather that intelligence right now.

In terms of intelligence support to the mission broadly, we're talking about the whole array of U.S. capabilities -- that's everything from satellites to signals intelligence to U-2s to other aircraft that are gathering intelligence.

So those two elements kind of come together. One is a resource and an enabler, and the other is a proximate intelligence requirement or need.

And by enabling and using those resources in the operation, we have a much better chance of gathering the specific intelligence on the opposition that we very much need.

VITTER:

OK.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Vitter.

Senator Shaheen?

SHAHEEN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Admiral Stavridis, General Kehler, I'm sorry that I missed your testimony. I was presiding, but I'm delighted to be here and to have you both here.

And, General Kehler, it's nice to have you here as the commander for the first time of STRATCOM. But I think all my questions are NATO-related, so I will direct them to Admiral Stavridis.

STAVRIDIS:

I think General Kehler is going to be in a request you always testify with me.

(LAUGHTER)

SHAHEEN:

I'm not surprised.

But I only have one Libya question, so that should make you feel better.

I want to pick up on the concern that was raised by Senator Collins about Arab involvement in the mission in Libya. And I share the commitment that I think you expressed and she raised about maximizing the engagement on the part of the Arab -- our Arab allies in what's happening in Libya.

And I know that some have expressed concern that having the mission led by NATO might discourage some of our Arab allies from participating. Can you tell me if that's your view and what you've heard from countries -- Arab countries -- about NATO's leading the mission?

STAVRIDIS:

I can, Senator. I do not agree with the statement that -- that shifting the mission to NATO will reduce Arab participation. And I base that on several factors.

One is -- and I've mentioned it a couple of times in the hearing -- one is two sub organizations we have at NATO that you know about, the Mediterranean Dialogue, which has five Arab nations from around the periphery of the Mediterranean, in fact almost all of the ones in the North Africa, except Libya, and the Istanbul Cooperative Initiative, which is a similar organization in the Gulf states of the Arabian Gulf.

Both of those organizations give NATO an ongoing set of relationships with -- with I believe 11 Arab nations in total. And we have tapped each of those, and -- and overwhelmingly, the impression we get is that the Arab states are very willing to operate with NATO.

As you know, we already have two, there are a couple more coming. One sensitive conversation. But I think the range of participation and engagement in the end, doing this under NATO auspices, will be very positive.

And we'll continue, as I told Senator Collins, to work it very hard. And I'll come back to you in 30 days and follow up on that particular point.

SHAHEEN:

So they would be participating as full partners, sitting around the table as decisions are being made?

STAVRIDIS:

I would say that, for military operations, the 28 member states of the North Atlantic Council will be the deciding body. And this is parallel to the situation in Afghanistan, where the 28 NATO nations are the -- are the actual military decision-makers.

Around that nucleus of 28 NATO nations, the political partners come together. And there is very free dialogue and -- and yet they don't have delineated control over the military operations. And that's a pretty functional arrangement, I think.

SHAHEEN:

OK. Thank you.

And now I want to switch to the Balkans. You mentioned Kosovo and reduction in both NATO and U.S. forces in Kosovo. Is it your assessment that we're making good progress there?

One of the concerns that was raised with me over the weekend when I was at the Brussels conference was concern about some of the holy sites in Kosovo and the extent to which they would be secure if the NATO forces withdrew.

STAVRIDIS:

Senator, I think we're making very good progress in Kosovo, if you look at a time scale. Ten years ago, we were literally launching Tomahawk missiles into Belgrade to, kind of, kick off that conflict, just over -- just over 10 years ago.

When I came on the job, we have 15,000 troops. Because we've been able to maintain a safe and secure environment, we reduced to 10,000, and in February I came down to 5,000 troops.

I'm very comfortable at the level. In a year I'll take another look. And I think we're going to work our way out of the job in Kosovo, because the ongoing dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo continues to improve.

In terms of the sensitive sites, we started out with nine of those. We have turned over six of them at this point. We're about to turn over a seventh. The final two are particularly sensitive. And we're going to hold those, I think, for some number of months into the future. But you're very correct to raise that as an indicator of what we'll look at as we go forward to really ultimately close this mission out.

But, overall, I am pleased with the progress in Kosovo and I believe we're on the right trajectory.

SHAHEEN:

Well, that's encouraging.

(LAUGHTER)

In April, last April, NATO placed a number of conditions on Bosnia's membership action plan. And I was one of those who argued that it would be important to offer a map for Bosnia, as they are trying to work their way through some of their governmental structures.

And at this point, however, given the challenges they've had in putting together a government, can you talk about what progress there is in moving forward on that and what message the people of Bosnia might want to take away as they watch their leaders squander what I think is a real opportunity?

STAVRIDIS:

I think you categorize it correctly in that there's continuing acrimony between the three major groups in Bosnia which I think is holding them back from making significant progress on the map at this time.

One concrete example would be the allocation of defense properties, which are distributed amongst the Croat and the Bosniak and the Serbian ethnic populations. Bringing those together in a centralized way, we have yet to see real progress on that. And that's, for example, one of the conditions of movement on the map.

So I am not encouraged about that. We will continue to work with them and try and move progress there, because I think that's very important and I am concerned about Bosnia falling backward if we don't all continue to work together there.

SHAHEEN:

Thank you.

I'm out of time, so I won't ask you about the new strategic concept and I will save that for another time.

STAVRIDIS:

Thank you.

LEVIN:

Thank you, Senator Shaheen.

I just have a couple questions.

First of all, Admiral, you testified earlier that you are comfortable with the commission that has been given to you, that -- I take it that means that you view that the mission is sufficiently clear. Is that correct?

STAVRIDIS:

Speaking as a NATO commander, I hold this mission as a NATO commander. Yes, sir. It is clear to me what the North Atlantic Council has tasked me with.

LEVIN:

OK. And you've said you're comfortable with that mission?

STAVRIDIS:

I am comfortable with that mission.

LEVIN:

And the fact that there's not yet an exit strategy is not troubling to you?

STAVRIDIS:

It's very early in the process and I am confident that one will develop. And, again, events in London today may give us some indication.

LEVIN:

OK. General Kehler, you made reference, or you were asked about the phased adaptive approach in Europe. Can you tell us -- well, let me ask you. Do you support the phased adaptive approach in Europe?

I'm sure you, point blank, answered that question.

KEHLER:

Yes, I do.

LEVIN:

And why?

KEHLER:

Missile defense for the United States has been based on two major objectives. Objective number one has been to make sure that the homeland, that our homeland is protected against a limited ballistic missile attack from North Korea and to extend that if events warrant and Iran develops a similar capacity.

At the same time, objective number two that has emerged has been to make sure that we are responding to the regional threats that we see that are growing at a very, very fast pace.

So the phased adaptive approach is intended to put resources in the theaters where we need to add to the defenses of U.S. troops and our allies but to do so in such a way that builds upon the threat.

I support that. I think that's the right way to go forward. I think that gives us a -- a prudent way to go forward and it allows us to hedge our activities as well. And I think inherent in both pieces of this missile defense activity that we are putting together, there are appropriate hedges in places that allow us to adapt and to respond as needed.

LEVIN:

Now, the regional threat is an existing threat. Is that correct?

KEHLER:

The regional threat is an existing threat and growing.

LEVIN:

And is it true that the phased adaptive approach addresses an existing threat?

KEHLER:

It does, yes.

LEVIN:

Unlike the previous approach -- is that correct?

Because isn't the existing threat the short and median-range missiles -- medium-range missiles

KEHLER:

That's right.

LEVIN:

Particularly the Iranian missiles?

KEHLER:

Yes. And that includes Iranian missiles. That includes missiles from other actors as well.

LEVIN:

OK. But what the -- the advantage of what the phased adaptive approach, as I understand it, is that it addresses that existing threat?

KEHLER:

It does.

LEVIN:

Now, the other threat, which is a threat to the homeland, can be addressed by the -- hopefully by the existing defense that we have on the West Coast, including Alaska and California.

Is that correct?

KEHLER:

That's right. That's the GMD, the ground-based mid- course defense system.

LEVIN:

OK.

OK. Thank you so much, both of you.

Yes, Admiral?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, if I could, I'd like to just make a comment about a Naval officer because I'd like this to go into the congressional record. Vice Admiral Robert Moeller died -- vice admiral. He was the first deputy commander of U.S. Africa Command. And you met him. Every member of this committee met him. He came around and created, very largely, Africa Command, along with General Ward.

He died last night. But I wanted to say for the record that the performance of Africa Command, I think, during the Libyan operations, has been exemplary. And I believe that the quality that Vice Admiral Moeller built into that operation were part of it. And I wanted to say that on the record.

LEVIN:

Well, thank you for mentioning that. We appreciate that. What was the cause of his death?

STAVRIDIS:

Sir, he died of ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, as it's commonly known.

LEVIN:

Thank you for making reference to him and his valiant service.

And thank you both for the services you've given to our country, for the men and women with whom you work, and to your families.

STAVRIDIS:

Thank you, sir.

LEVIN:

We will stand adjourned.

List of Panel Members and Witnesses PANEL MEMBERS:


SEN. CARL LEVIN, D-MICH. CHAIRMAN
SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I.
SEN. DANIEL K. AKAKA, D-HAWAII
SEN. BEN NELSON, D-NEB.
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. JOE MANCHIN III, D-W.VA.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN, D-N.H.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.
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. ROGER WICKER, R-MISS.
SEN. SCOTT P. BROWN, R-MASS.
SEN. ROB PORTMAN, R-OHIO
SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, R-N.H.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TEXAS
SEN. DAVID VITTER, R-LA.

WITNESSES:

ADMIRAL JAMES STAVRIDIS (USN), COMMANDER, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND, SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, EUROPE

GENERAL C. ROBERT KEHLER (USAF), COMMANDER, U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND