SASC Hearing with Gen Chilton on 2011 Budget RequestsGeneral Kevin P. Chilton
Good morning, everybody.
Today we're going to be hearing from three of our combatant commanders to receive testimony regarding the issues and the challenges that they face in their -- in their respective mission areas.
On behalf of the committee, let me welcome back General Chilton, commander of our U.S. Strategic Command, Admiral Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command and General Sharp, commander of the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea.
This committee appreciates your many years of faithful service to this country and the many sacrifices that you and your families make in that cause.
And we would also appreciate your thanking, on behalf of our committee, the men and women that you lead, both military and civilians, for their service, their patriotism and their dedication.
We also want to thank you for rearranging your schedule to be here this morning. We know these hours that you have here are precious. And we thought it would be better to go ahead today, even though our attendance is going to be less, rather than to, number one, bring you back at some future time which would really disrupt your schedules.
The rather arcane rule of the Senate that was used to prevent us from meeting on Wednesday is still a rule of the Senate. And as long as it's there, somebody can exercise that right.
It was exercised and, as a result, inconvenienced you, inconvenienced many members of this committee as well. But that's where we're at.
So thank you for your flexibility in this matter.
In today's hearing, we're going to hear the views and assessments of senior U.S. commanders in the Asia Pacific region, together with the global perspectives of the Strategic Command for those issues that pertain across the combatant commands.
First, on the Pacific Command: U.S. Pacific Command's geographic area of responsibility is home to over half of the world's population, and to five of the world's six largest militaries.
Stability and security in this vast region is vital to our interest as well as to the interest of our allies and our partners. And while the region as a whole remains relatively stable, we cannot afford to take this stability for granted. We must remain vigilant in the region and reassure our allies that we will continue to work with them to further our mutual interests.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula remains tense, although relatively quiet, compared to a year ago when North Korea's aggressive rhetoric, multiple ballistic missile test launches and nuclear detonation heightened regional concerns and resulted in a tightening of U.N. sanctions.
In recent months, the U.S. and North Korea have had modest bilateral discussions in a effort to regain traction in the six-party process, but there's been no meaningful progress so far.
Since nuclear inspectors left North Korea last year, the status of North Korea's nuclear program has been largely unknown. And while the nuclear issue garners much of the international attention, also of concern is the apparent unstable nature of the North Korean regime, coupled with a conventional military capability that represents a significant threat to security on the peninsula.
China's influence continues to grow regionally and globally, and at the same time, China continues to grow its military. It is important to anticipate and understand the intended and unintended consequences of these developments on the region at large.
As China's influence and military grow, traditional alliances and partnerships in the region may come under pressure from a perception that the balance of power is shifting, and other countries in the region may deem it necessary to grow their militaries as well.
Such developments need to be understood and inform our decisionmaking.
China's growing involvement with Iran, including investment in the Iranian energy sector, is an example of China's global influence expansion efforts. China is the primary obstacle to more stringent United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran.
In Japan, the installation of a new government last summer represents new challenges and opportunities in the longstanding defense relationship between our countries.
For instance, the Defense Policy Review Initiative negotiated between our two countries over a number of years, and agreed to in 2006, has been the subject of renewed consideration by the Japanese, particularly as it relates to the movement of U.S. Marines in Okinawa and the relocation of some of those Marines to Guam.
This matter needs to be resolved, as does the impact of the associated military buildup on Guam and the details of the plan to ensure that the influx of military personnel and their families is done with due regard to the effects on the island of Guam and their population.
The committee is also interested in U.S. efforts in the Asia Pacific region to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, to expand the already strong partnerships with friends like Australia and India and others, and to combat violent extremism, particularly in Southeast Asia.
On the Strategic Command, the Strategic Command has global responsibilities that require it to work with all the combatant and regional commands. The Strategic Command's broad mission includes both operational and coordinating responsibilities.
The command has operational responsibility for strategic deterrence in space and cyber space operations; it coordinates actions across the commands in areas of missile defense, combating weapons of mass destruction, allocation of high-demand, low-density intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, ISR, assets, such as UAVs; and helps integrate information operations.
Also, with the growing threat to cyber operations, the new Cyber Command is being established as a sub-unified command of Strategic Command.
Very shortly, we expect to have a new treaty, which will be the successor to the START treaty and a new nuclear posture review. Both of these are expected to bring about new and carefully considered changes to the role of nuclear weapons in national strategy and the size of the stockpile to support that role.
We hope to hold hearings on the nuclear posture review when both are submitted to Congress. General Chilton as commander of the Strategic Command will play an important role in the ratification process, and we look forward to working closely together in that process.
A second domain over which the Strategic Command has responsibility is space. As the leading space-faring nation, the U.S. must sustain and protect its space assets.
On the other hand, how these space assets actually contribute to military operations is also -- is always not well understood. And today we have an opportunity with Admiral Willard and General Sharp here to explore the importance of space systems and what would happen to our military capabilities if these assets were lost or degraded.
Finally, the role of the military in combating weapons of mass destruction and how these capabilities are integrated with other elements of the U.S. government and the international community is an additional challenge confronting both the Strategic Command and the Pacific Command.
The Asia Pacific region continues to be one of the hotbeds of proliferation for both nuclear and missile technologies. There is continuing evidence of nuclear smuggling in the region and around the world that each regional commander must address in a coordinated fashion.
We look forward to hearing from our witnesses about that.
It's a pleasure to have each of you with us this morning. We look forward to your testimony and to the questions.
I don't know -- I know that general -- that Senator McCain is unable to make it here this morning.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the recognition.
And before I ask that Senator McCain's remarks be put in the record, since I feel somewhat personally responsible for this Friday hearing, I would like to say to the chair and to my colleagues what I have said to our panel of witnesses privately, that I certainly do apologize for the delay in the hearing and causing this Friday hearing.
Sometimes things are out of our control, as it relates to the functions of the Senate.
And I would ask at this time that Senator McCain's entire statement be included in the record.
Thank you. It will be included in the record.
And, Senator, it is very clear that the delay here was not your doing whatsoever. You had nothing to do with it, except you happened to be on the floor at the moment when someone else wanted to raise an objection. And you did what you are I think duty bound to do as a member of your caucus, which is to reflect that objection.
But it's clear that you had nothing to do with it, except being at the wrong place at the wrong time, basically.
So we will now, I think we are going to be calling on our witnesses in the order, going from our left to your right, I believe. So General Chilton, we're going to start with you and then we're going to move down the table.
Very good. Thank you, Senator.
Chairman Levin, Ranking Member Burr, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I assure you, sir, it is no burden for us to reschedule and appear before this committee.
It's a great honor to represent the extraordinary men and women of United States Strategic Command. I'm privileged to showcase this joint team's achievements, discuss our requirements, and how our future national security challenges are across our diverse and global mission areas.
U.S. Strategic Command's active duty, reserve military members, civilians and contractors form a superb joint team whose dedicated planning advocacy and operational execution efforts advance our warfighting priorities. We continue to strengthen and sharpen our focus on deterrence, while at the same time focusing on preserving our freedom of action in space and cyberspace.
In all of these efforts, we greatly appreciate the support of the members of the Congress and particularly this committee and your staff, whose legislative investments across our mission areas enable us to deliver global security for America.
Over the past year, we have actively supported the administration's four major defense policy reviews which uniquely impacted United States Strategic Command: the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Nuclear Posture Review, the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, and the Space Posture Review which is still in work. We also provided analytical and intellectual capital to the new strategic arms reduction treaty, or START, negotiations.
While not all yet completed, these reviews will shape the role of our strategic capabilities and define the investments necessary to recapitalize and sustain them. Their focus areas also highlight U.S. Strategic Command's place at the nexus of today's national security challenges. Global security in general and the United States specifically face a myriad of challenges today from economic and political turmoil, nontraditional threats, terrorism and continuing overseas contingency operations.
Actors continue to seek ways to challenge the U.S. and our allies and the conventional and asymmetric means by which to do so. U.S. Strategic Command remains committed to conducting deterrent space and cyberspace operations and advocating for the capabilities our national leadership and geographic commanders need each and every day in the areas of missile defense, information operations, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and combating weapons of mass destruction.
In the deterrence arena, our energetic exercise program conducted exercise Global Lightning 2009 this past year, the most extensive nuclear command and control and communications field exercise in over a decade. Our force's success proved America's well placed confidence in our nation's strategic deterrence, and demonstrated the success of this command's effort to reemphasize a culture of excellence across the nuclear enterprise.
In space, our acceptance of the space situational awareness sharing mission expanded the command's relationships with international and commercial partners toward ensuring a safe and responsibly managed space domain. Future space surveillance and situational awareness efforts, hence space investments, must continue to build on recent advances, including greater collision avoidance analysis to ensure the availability of essential space-based capabilities for not only the United States, but for our warfighters.
Moreover, the Department of Defense sustained its progress in defending DOD information networks by unifying U.S. Strategic Command's components for network warfare and global network operations by increasing the training of cyber-professionals and by welcoming the standup of service cyber-components. We carefully planned for the standup of U.S. Cyberspace Command and look forward to the confirmation of its first commander.
Additionally, in the past year, we dramatically expanded our military-to-military outreach program to promote open dialogue and examine the possibility of new partnerships in space and cyberspace.
Although not contained within the DOD budget, I would like to mention my support for the administration's F.Y. '11 request for the National Nuclear Security Administration. The budget seeks nearly a 13 percent increase for NNSA to provide much-needed infrastructure, human capital and stockpile management investments. I have long advocated for such critical investments, which help keep our stockpile safe, secure and effective. Our deterrence credibility rests on such confidence and I appreciate this committee's support for the request.
In the year ahead, U.S. Strategic Command will address the challenges I have mentioned above, as we focus on further developing our workforce, sustaining a culture of excellence in the nuclear enterprise, and integrating our global missions. U.S. Strategic Command's uniquely global missions support national objectives, whole of government solutions, and enhanced international cooperation.
Our future success requires investments in the deterrent, the standup of U.S. Cyberspace Command, and expanding our awareness of and sustaining our capability investments within the space domain. As we move forward, I look forward to continuing to partner with this committee and your staff.
Thank you again for the opportunity to testify before this committee today. I look forward to your questions and I would ask that my posture statement be accepted for the record.
Thank you, Chairman.
Thank you very much, General. Your entire statement will be made part of the record.
Before I call on Admiral -- well, let me just say a word to my colleagues about a situation which has existed for far too long which I'm going to do my best to correct this morning. Go to the floor at about 10:30 and if we're still in session here at that time, Senator Lieberman was kind enough to say that he would be able to take over.
We've had a general who's been nominated for a second star who has been on the Senate calendar since October. His name is General Michael J. Walsh, and he was unanimously approved by this committee. There has been a hold on his nomination for a totally unrelated issue. Senator Vitter has been the one, he acknowledges it, so I'm not disclosing anything which isn't out there, but it is unconscionable.
This is a military officer whose nomination -- excuse me, whose approval of a second star is being held up by one senator for unrelated purposes. And I'm going to go down in about an hour and try and get unanimous consent that that nomination come off the calendar, that approval come off the calendar and be approved by the Senate.
So, any of you who have some feelings on that subject, you may want to say something to Senator Vitter or to his office, it would be appreciated.
I believe that the committee should be -- I think is united on this, by the way. I've talked to Senator McCain. Senator McCain agrees with me. He will be joining me in my unanimous consent request, but I would ask any other members of the committee who feel strongly enough about this to get hold of Senator Vitter's office, please do so. Because again, I think this committee's jurisdiction and our obligation and responsibility to our men and women in uniform is really at issue here if we can't get approval of a second star for a fully qualified brigadier general to be a major general.
Thank you, Chairman.
So that we can get to the committee's questions, I'll keep my remarks brief, but I also ask that my full statement be included for the record.
Chairman Levin, Senator Burr and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and to discuss United States Pacific Command in the Asia-Pacific region.
Seated behind me is my wife Donna, whose been at my side for 36 years. She's an outstanding ambassador of our nation and a tireless advocate for the men and women of our military and their families.
A special welcome to her.
I also would like to thank you for your interest in our area of responsibility. I've either met many of you en route to the region or followed your travels with great interest. Your presence and interest sends a strong message throughout the Asia-Pacific, and I invite all of you to stop by Hawaii either on your way into the region so my staff and I may brief you on the security situation, or on your return trip in order that I may gain from your insights from your engagements.
Additionally, when in Hawaii, I'd be honored to entertain you in the quarters of a former CINCPAC, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr.
Today is my first posture hearing as the commander of the United States Pacific Command. Since taking command last October, I have had the chance to meet with many of my counterparts, travel throughout the region, and exercise a few of our contingency plans. When combined with my previous years of service in the Asia-Pacific, these experiences have led me to the following conclusions which I would hope we can expand on during today's hearing.
The Asia-Pacific region is vital to our nation and it's quickly becoming the strategic nexus of the globe due to its economic expansion and great potential. Key to our commitment in the region is our forward-deployed and postured forces. We face challenges in building partner capacity under the current patchwork of authorities and programs designed to support our security assistance efforts.
The United States remains the preeminent power in the Asia- Pacific. Modernizing and expanding our relationships with our allies and security partners is also vital to maintaining stability and enhancing security in the region. China's growing presence and influence in the region create both challenges and opportunities for the United States and for the regional countries.
China's rapid and comprehensive transformation of its armed forces is affecting regional military balances and holds implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region. Of particular concern is that elements of China's military modernization appear designed to challenge our freedom of action in the region.
And finally, India's strategic location, shared democratic values, growing economy and evolution as a regional partner and power combine to make them the partner with whom we need to work much more closely.
Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, the Asia-Pacific is a region of great potential and is vital to the interests of the United States. Every day, the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians of Pacific Command are working with our allies, partners and friends to maintain this region's security. Our success has been enabled by this committee's longstanding support. You've provided us with the most technically advanced systems in the world and with a military quality of life worthy of the contributions of our all- volunteer force.
On behalf of more than 300,000 men and women of U.S. Pacific Command, thank you for your support and for this opportunity to testify on the defense posture of this command. Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.
Admiral, we thank you so much. Thank you for those comments as well about the work of this committee.
Chairman Levin, Senator Burr and distinguished members of this committee, I really appreciate the opportunity to report to you today on the state of the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. Since 1950, Congress and the American people have made an enormous investment in blood and treasure to first defeat and then deter North Korean aggression. The alliance continues to reap the return of that investment. The Republic of Korea bears the majority of the burden of defending itself, and in 2012 wartime operational control transitions from Combined Forces Command to the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Beyond its borders, the Republic of Korea has become an important part of the international efforts to keep peace and respond to disasters. With significant forces deployed to Lebanon, Haiti, the Horn of Africa and on other missions, the Republic of Korea is fast becoming a global strategic ally envisioned by the 2009 Joint Vision Statement signed by Presidents Lee and Obama.
With our long-term commitment of 28,500 troops, we will continue to deter aggression and maintain peace, not only on the Korean Peninsula, but throughout Northeast Asia.
Last year, I spoke about my three command priorities. Thanks to your support and funding, I am able to share with you the progress that we have made since then. First, the United States forces in the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance are prepared to fight and win. I flew here directly from our annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle combined exercise. This exercise demonstrated the United States and the Republic of Korea and staffs are trained and ready to fight tonight on the Korean Peninsula.
Second, the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance continues to grow and strengthen. Militarily, we will be prepared to transition wartime operational control to the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff on 17 April 2012.
In last year's Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, we successfully stood up and tested many post OPCON (ph) transition command-and-control structures. Through our strategic transition plan, future Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises, and the final certification exercise, we will ensure the readiness of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff to accept wartime operational control in 2012 and the ability for the U.S. Korea Command to become the supporting command.
My third priority is improving quality of life for the command personnel. We are making substantial progress here, and with Congress' support we will be able to achieve all of our goals.
We are improving the quality of life through two main key initiatives.
The first is the relocation of U.S. forces. By consolidating U.S. forces from 105 facilities that we maintained in 2002 to 48 sites in two hubs, we will make better use of limited resources and be better positioned to support our servicemembers and families.
The second initiative, tour normalization, goes hand in hand with the relocation. As we consolidate bases, we are building the world class facilities and housing that are transforming U.S. Forces Korea from a command where one-year tours are the norm to one where single servicemembers serve for two years and those with families stay with -- for three.
In the last two years, the number of families in the Korean Peninsula has increased from approximately 1,600 to 3,900. By keeping trained personnel in Korea for normal tour lengths, we retain institution knowledge, create a capable force -- a more capable force -- and are better able to support the alliance and deter aggression, and we demonstrate our commitment to Northeast Asia.
At the same time, we are eliminated -- eliminating an unneeded unaccompanied tour and building the strong families that are key to retention and effectiveness in this time of ongoing conflict.
To close, the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance has never been stronger, The alliance has successfully deterred aggression on the Korean Peninsula for 57 years. In doing so, it has helped make Northeast Asia a remarkable -- a remarkably peaceful and prosperous place.
With the Republic of Korea contributing a substantial portion of the alliance's cost, we are maintaining the combat readiness and improving the quality of life of our -- for our military personnel.
I thank you for supporting our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and DOD civilians, and their families, serving in the great nation of Korea.
This concludes my remarks, and I look forward to the committee's question.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you very much, General Sharp.
We'll an eight-minute first round.
General Chilton, let me start with you.
The Strategic Command is going to play an important role in the Senate's consideration of a new START follow-on treaty, the successor to the START treaty. Have you been involved in developing the force structure positions in support of the force structure and the warhead discussions?
Senator, United States Strategic Command has been involved in supporting the department in developing their positions with regard to the negotiated positions on START, from the perspective of we looked at what it would take to support the current strategy that's in existence today, and then, from that, what force structure and weapons would be required to support that strategy, and provided analysis for options that were being considered throughout the process.
So we were always consulted as those negotiations were going forward, and I think that was a healthy relationship we had through the undersecretary of defense for policy.
Are you satisfied with the extent of those consultations?
Certainly with the extent of them, Senator, I'm satisfied with those. Don't -- we don't ever want to say we agreed on everything. That's -- I mean, that's...
... that's, of course, appropriate that we have areas of disagreement and discussions on those. But I couldn't be more satisfied with the level of participation that was offered to United States Strategic Command throughout the negotiating period.
And when you're -- when the treaty is finally entered into and presented to the Senate, I presume then that you will be asked for your reaction. We can get into it at that time.
On the Cyber Command issue, how do you -- what is the plan for managing and dealing with the lines of authority and command between the intelligence operations and military operations? How is that going to be handled?
I would see them as no different than today, Senator, for intelligence operations and military operations in any regional combatant command or any military area. Those monies that are appropriated for intelligence need to be -- stay and be accounted for and spent in the intelligence area. The same with those that are appropriated for other force structure and mission areas.
We will rely in the cyberspace domain on intelligence, not just from -- I mean, I should say from all-source intelligence, so from human intelligence to reconnaissance to signals intelligence to support the development of our plans and operations for operating the networks, defending the networks, and in crisis utilizing them as part of the platform to support other operations.
Are there going to be two separate approval and review processes through the two different chains of command? Will that remain for approval of action from higher up...
... or for review and oversight of action from either higher up or from Congress? Is that going to remain the same for those two chains of command...
I see no change in that, Senator. I mean, what I will be asked to do as a combatant commander will stay in the typical Title 10 lanes and under the Title 50 authorities that are normally afforded to combatant commanders and flow down through the sub-unified command for that mission area.
Those intelligence area investments and decisions that are made would still flow down through the intelligence chain to the various intelligence committees and communities.
And you think those lanes are going to be clearly defined?
General Chilton, there's a new approach called phase adaptive approach, relative to the missile defense plan for Europe. And I think your prepared testimony, maybe your oral testimony, covered this, but if so, I missed it.
In your judgment, does the -- this phase adaptive approach give us an effective way to address the Iranian missile threat, which is a growing threat?
I do believe it does, Senator. I think it shifted our focus more toward addressing the shorter and midrange threats first, and I think this had been a -- we know last year when we looked at the JTM-II (ph) study it commended that we increase our investments in addressing those threat with increased investments in THAADs and SM-3, which have been brought forward in this budget.
But taking a look at the Iranian threat, it puts us in a position to address what is a growing short and medium range palpable threat that's measurable sooner, and yet preserves the opportunity to address the longer-range threat, which we do have some capability against today already.
All right. And so I believe in your written statement you conclude by saying the total effect of the phased adaptive approach will provide significantly more capability to counter today's regional threats --I emphasize the word today's regional threats -- and to improve our ability -- and I'm quoting you here -- "to defend the United States against any future Iranian ICBM."
Is that a capsule...
Yes, sir, I think so. And as you look to the future, we'll have, I believe, more capability in this plan in the 2020 time frame than we otherwise would have had with this approach for both of those threats, both to the region and to the United States of America.
And so is it fair to say that this plan then, in your judgment, will provide a better defense of Europe, especially against those short and medium range missile, than the previous missile defense plan?
I think it will, Senator, because there will be more capability deployed. And also I think it gives us an opportunity to do some further burden sharing with our allies in the region, which of course they're eminently interested in the defense of that region as well.
And a possible spin-off -- still only possible -- of the plan might be the inclusion of information from radars -- from Russian radars as part of a missile defense capability. That's not yet a fact, but it, I gather, is still a possibility.
And my question to you is then that if that occurred, if that cooperation with Russia took place, would that be in our interest? Do you think that it could send a powerful message to Iran that we are united, the world is united in opposition to Iran's threats to the region?
Senator, sensors are a key element of any missile defense system, and having additional sensor capability that would augment the defense of Europe from any potential aggression by Iran I think would be welcome.
And is that additional sensor capability that you're referring to the possible Russian additional sensor (inaudible)?
I think there's opportunity to examine that.
But the sensors that you were referring to are the Russian sensors -- that I referred to...
Yes. And so I would say that opportunities for additional sensors to include Russians could be beneficial. But I would also emphasize that the sensors that we provide even are an essential element of this, and too often we get focused on just counting missiles. The sensors are very key part of the Missile Defense Agency's architecture.
An important point. Thank you.
General Sharp (inaudible). OK, my time's up.
(inaudible) Again, welcome to all three of our panelists today.
General Chilton, as you continue your preparation for standing up Cyber Command, to the degree that you can elaborate, what are some of the steps that are being taken in the short term to ensure that the safety and security of our nation's computer networks?
Senator, we've done a lot of work to prepare for the stand-up of U.S. Cyber Command, to include completing an implementation plan.
Also, as part of our normal plan, independent of the stand-up of Cyber Command, we took step this past year to combine a Global Network Operations team with the network warfare team into a single entity so that we could bring together closer sharing of information and teamwork between those two entities that are responsible for operating and defending the networks, as well as preparing for contingency operations.
I would remind the committee that what we are chartered to do at STRATCOM is to operate and defend military networks only. And so we do not have the responsibility for defending other U.S. networks, that those fall under the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security.
But it will be essential in any contingency in the future that we preserve our military network so that we can conduct operations should this -- military operations should our nation come under attack.
And so our -- we have a laser beam focus on doing that. And we've -- I think we've made significant strides in three areas. One, changing the culture of the military with regard to how we look at our systems. They are no longer systems that we use for convenience. They are systems that we require and are a necessity in warfare.
And so changing that mindset, making it commander's business, not just the technician's business to assure that our network are ready and available to the war-fighter is absolutely an important change.
The way we conduct ourselves on the networks, improved training for our people to make sure we tighten the security for them, and teach them how to behave properly on the networks to minimize vulnerabilities is the conduct part, as well as inspecting our units globally to make sure that they're following the instructions and directions put out to ensure Web security.
And finally, capabilities. Increased investments in capabilities, which we greatly appreciate the support of this commitment on, in technology that allows us to get out in front of threats coming into the military networks are absolutely essential.
Just very quickly, do you see the threat specifically to the military infrastructure, from cyber capabilities as great as other threats that are more physical?
Specifically as it relates to our capabilities.
Well, I look at it just like I do the space domain, and I don't think we can imagine operations today -- and I'll defer to my colleagues to the left on this -- but I don't think we can imagine military operations today without the advantages we have obtained from missile warning in space, global communications, GPS (inaudible) navigation and tracking (inaudible).
And the same thing in cyberspace, the way we conduct our planning today, the way we issue orders, the way we assess our operations, so much rely on our military networks. And so they are a capability that we depend on and we must anticipate we will be challenged in these domains of space and cyberspace in any military operation in the future.
Thank you, General.
Admiral, we have approximately 49,000 military personnel, mostly Marines, at Futenma Air Base in Japan, with an uncertainty about their future.
According to a Reuters article posted yesterday, the prime minister has not made a final decision on his commitment to the 2006 accord in providing a location for the air base at Okinawa to move.
What's the latest information that you can share on the matter? And, if you can, what's the road ahead for us?
Thank you, Senator.
The first point I think I'd make is just to reaffirm the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance as it exists today. It remains a cornerstone for security in Northeast Asia, and I think both nations recognize that.
Prime Minister Hatoyama has come out reaffirming the importance that he places on the alliance. And certainly we do, and I state that frequently.
With regard to this relatively tactical level issue in Okinawa, which is the replacement of the Futenma Air Base, as you suggest, the Japanese have been deliberating on this now for several months.
We have a commitment from the Japanese government that they'll disclose their options and decision regarding the review of whether the existing Futenma replacement facility is -- is agreeable to them by May of this year. We don't know whether we'll have disclosures of various options to consider before that.
So I'm awaiting with some interest what the Japanese have to say. I would offer that we've been discussing Futenma replacement on Okinawa now for the better part of 17 years with the Japanese.
So this is not a new issue for us. The agreement that was discussed and come to in 2006 on the Futenma replacement facility was very much an agreement where the Japanese had a majority vote, the people of Okinawa and the government of Japan, both.
And we continue to believe that the Futenma replacement facility in the current plan is the best locating option for that airfield in Okinawa.
But you are confident that in the next several months there'll be additional direction on how we move forward.
Yes. I'm confident that the government of Japan will meet their commitment to come forward with their assessment of this particular item and their options or agreement that the existing FRF replacement facility is what -- what they will advocate for.
Thank you, Admiral.
General Sharp, I think I understand your goal of increasing the number of command-sponsored families and the tour length increase of up to three years. I also understand that there are considerable limitations in funds and resources to support families, specifically health care, schools, jobs for spouses, all of the things that we all look at to try to accommodate the service of our -- our servicemembers.
You talked a little about the process and how we'd move forward. Anything more you want to elaborate on that process? Because, also, can you share with us any projected shortfalls that we're going to have?
Thank you, Senator.
The process that is now ongoing is, as I've said, we have gone from about 1,600 families in the June of 2008 time period to about 3,900 now. By this time -- by next summer, by the end of next summer, we'll be up to 4,900 families.
Those are the families that I can handle with the infrastructure I have in place right now on the peninsula, infrastructure meaning housing, schools and hospital primarily.
What -- the goal is to be able to go from that 4,900 to when all servicemembers can bring their families for three years, which will get us up to about 14,000 families, is really the process that's going on right now in the deliberations in the Department of Defense for the POM 12-17 submission.
I tell my people I can't get ahead of my own headlights. I want to make sure that we have the proper infrastructure in place in order to be able to handle those families. And that's what you will see when the department comes forward with the budget in January, as we look out over the POM years.
But tour normalization is really making a huge difference in Korea, not only for the families, in eliminating another unaccompanied tour, but it greatly increases our capability there, and I think it really shows our long-term commitment to not only the Republic of Korea, but all of -- to all of Northeast Asia, which I think is important, not just looking at the Korean Peninsula, but how we are viewed for our long-term commitment in that very important part of the world.
Thank you, General.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Senator.
Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Thanks to the three of your for your service. I must say that Chairman Levin and I were just agreeing that the three of you and the combatant commanders we see in this series of hearings are really most impressive. And we thank you for your service.
Now I'll go on to ask critical questions, of course, but -- not really.
Admiral, I thank you -- Admiral Willard, I thank you for your overview, a quick overview of the region. I thought your prepared statement was really excellent that you entered into the record.
And it reminds us, even though we're focused because of combat going on in Afghanistan and Iraq and other parts of the world in Central Command that the Asia Pacific is really critical to us.
You've got some numbers in here that it's very important to remember, that five of our top 10 trading partners are now Asia Pacific countries. China, Japan and South Korea are second, fourth and seventh largest trading partners. Obviously, they have an enormous number of people.
We have really an excellent group of allies in the region. Japan, as you mentioned, foundation for a long time. South Korea, very important. Australia. And now India really rising as a critically important ally.
I want to thank you for your statement, and I repeat it, "India's strategic location, shared democratic values, growing economy and evolution as a regional power combine to make them a partner with whom we need to work much more closely." And I think the military-to- military relationship there can be critical.
I wanted to focus first in questioning on another of our great allies there, which is South Korea. Continuing, though we've been -- as you say in your prepared statement, General Sharp, North Korea undertook a charm offensive -- charm, of course, like most other human activities is a relative concept.
"They were relatively charming during the second half of 2009, although, as you say, it's not yet led to any measurable progress toward the complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea," end of quote.
So the North Korean threat remains.
Here's what I want to focus on: As you well know, in 2007, President Roh of South Korea and President Bush entered into an agreement whereby a transfer of war-time operational control in the U.S.-ROK Combined Forces Command will go to South Korea in 2012.
And I want to express to you my concern about that. I share what you've expressed which is your faith, both Admiral Willard and General Sharp, in the professionalism, skill of our South Korean allies.
But I worry about the timing because 2012 in a year in which both the U.S. and South Korea will hold presidential elections. We know in our last presidential year, North Korea acted up. It may have been coincidental, I don't think so.
I was struck -- and North Korea has already said that they intend to make 2012 a special year. I believe it's the 100th birthday -- the anniversary -- the 100th anniversary of the birth of the previous Great Leader.
And then I saw recently, Minister of Defense Tae-young Kim of South Korea said, and I quote, late February, "The military must always prepare for the worst. And the worst scenario is the transfer of war-time operational control in 2012," end quote.
So I wanted to ask both Admiral Willard and General Sharp whether this is inevitably going to happen, this OPCON (ph) transfer, whether we're reviewing it?
I worry about it both in terms of the Korean Peninsula, but, frankly, also its impact on other areas of the world, including particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they worry about whether we're going to leave before the job is done, as it were.
So, Admiral Willard, would you take the first stab at that?
I will, Senator Lieberman.
And, first, this alliance between ROK and U.S., as General Sharp indicated in his remarks, is as strong as I've ever witnesses it, bar none.
And we've been continually impressed by the Republic of Korea armed forces capabilities in the field and capabilities in leadership throughout the exercise series that General Sharp oversees.
So we are convinced that operational transition -- operational control transition could clearly occur in 2012.
As you suggest, this is a government of Korea decision, or certainly, OPCON (ph) transition will be considered by the government of Korea for its import and its impact on the region.
We think that it strengthens the Republic of Korea's armed forces position on the peninsula to take overall operational control of their own defense, and we think they're ready for it.
To the extent that the government would question that, I think then it becomes a government-to-government decision between the United States and the Republic of Korea.
Our role in this, and General Sharp can be very specific regarding the many actions that he's taken to help prepare for this transition to occur, has been to conduct a series of exercises and take all of the actions necessary to bring the moving parts together to make operational control transition a reality April 12th, 2012 (sic).
All right. So -- so the transfer is not -- of operational control to the South Korean military is not inevitable? In other words -- that is for the 2012 time frame. I appreciate what you've said, that if the government of Korea has second thoughts about it.
And, incidentally, I appreciate what you've said, that our relations with South Korea are probably better than they've ever been today. And this agreement, as you know, in 2007 was signed at a time when the relations weren't as good as they are today.
But, anyway, I hear you say that if the government of the Republic of Korea has second thoughts about assuming operational control in 2012, then that, essentially, gets bounced up to the political leadership of both countries. Is that correct?
I think so, yes.
General Sharp, do you want to add to that?
Sir, a couple things. First off, from the military perspective, I'm absolutely confident we will be ready to do OPCON (ph) transition on 17 April 2012.
We are on the second version of the plan, the bilateral plan that both countries will agree to, that will determine what is the supporting-to- supported relationship that mission in forces of ours and the Republic of Korea would do in the defense of the Republic of Korea.
We are already starting to stand up the organizations that need to be in place in order for that to happen, both on the ROK side and on the U.S. side.
We have exercised this several times in our Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises. We have people that are working on this, the plans, organizations, processes and systems, literally on a daily basis.
And I am confident in the Republic of Korea military leadership, in the processes that need to be in place for an effective command- and-control relationship for us to be able to defend the Republic of Korea.
And, having said that, you know, I also believe that it is the right thing to do. The number one responsibility of any nation is to defend their own country. And a country that is advanced as Korea -- it's the 13th richest country in the world -- a country that has a military that's as strong as it is, it's their responsibility to take the lead role in defending the Republic of Korea.
I think it also sends a very strong message to North Korea and to other people in the region that the Korean military is so strong that the U.S. is willing to go in a supporting-to-supported relationship and willing to do it in 2012.
And to delay that time, I think sends exactly the opposite signal, which I think is not the right thing to do against North Korea or other parts of -- parts of Northeast Asia.
Again, as Admiral Willard said, if North -- if the Republic of Korea comes and asks for a delay, I'm sure that will be a discussion at the highest levels of both governments, because both governments agreed to this -- this timeline of 17 April 2012.
And to change that timeline, both governments will have to agree to change that.
I appreciate your answer. Look, I agree that the transfer of operational control is the right thing to do. The question I'm raising is whether 2012 is the right time to do it. And also, of course, to make clear, as I think you have, that if operational control occurs then or a year later or two years later, it doesn't mean that the U.S. is exiting South Korea or that part of the world.
Exactly, sir. And the commitment of 28,500 troops to the Korean Peninsula for the foreseeable future are the words Secretary Gates and the president have used. And I think it's a great investment and it has been for the last 60 years to be able to maintain peace and security there.
As we move forward in our transition, one of the things that I think is misunderstood, especially on the Korean Peninsula, is there is a -- there is a belief that after our transition, the total responsibility for defending the Republic of Korea lies with the Korean military, and that can't be further from the truth.
I've heard words of independent, self-reliant forces in South Korea. And the fight, and the commitment that we have to the Republic of Korea does not change. It will be a combined war fight just like it is today after op-con transition.
And as Admiral Willard said, I think it will -- I'm very confident it will make the Republic of Korea's military even stronger, just as it has been since 1994 when they took armistice (ph) operational control of their military and all the progress that has been made along those lines.
Thank you both.
Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Lieberman.
I just want to let you know, General Sharp, how much I welcome your comments about the importance of that transition date being sustained and the reasons that you give for it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good morning, gentlemen. Thank you for your service. Thank you for being here this morning.
The first question I have is to Admiral Willard, but General, you may also want to respond to this. Last week, the Washington Times cited a 2009 CIA report to Congress stating that assistance from Chinese and Russian entities had helped Iran move toward self- sufficiency in the production of ballistic missiles.
What is your assessment of China's support to Iran's ballistic missile program?
I would probably defer to General Chilton to get his assessment of this. I would offer that in the military-to-military relations that China has across the region, there are always oversight by us and concerns with regard to proliferation that might occur to accompany that. So this is the issue of who is selling ballistic missile capability to whom, and in the case of North Korea, that we've been discussing over the past few minutes, who might proliferate worse than that.
So proliferation concerns, I would offer, certainly exist. In terms of specifics between China and Iran, I'm not prepared to discuss it.
Senator, nor am I prepared to discuss specifics, and this would be out of ignorance, between China specifically and Iran. I share -- agree completely with Admiral Willard's comments that proliferation in general is a concern. And certainly, we have seen North Korea proliferating missile technology, and that has been a focus, an area of concern for us all.
Just as a follow up to that, have you seen any evidence of Iran trying to project influence into your region?
Iran has military partnerships within our region. In that sense, yes. And Iran's influence in the region, by and large, has to do with Iran's energy resources and the dependence by Asia- Pacific countries on those resources. So to a great extent, the economic relationship of a great many countries in the Asia-Pacific with Iran has to do with oil. And at the same time, there are, yes, military-to-military relationships that we monitor between Iran and some Asia-Pacific countries.
Admiral, in terms of Islamic extremist groups, what gives you the most concern within your region?
For the past half-a-dozen years, we've been working with the armed forces of the Philippines in the southern Philippines against a variety of groups, Abu Sayyaf Group being predominant. With Indonesia, we work with the Indonesians with regard to their J.I. concerns. In both these countries, we have been successful in our work with their respective armed forces and police forces in the conduct of counterterrorism.
Right now, our concern is the movement of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist group that emanates from Pakistan that was responsible for the Mumbai attacks in India, and specifically their positioning in Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. And we're working very closely with the Indians and we're working in our own community to develop the necessary plans to counter that particular terror group as the migrate into the Asia-Pacific region.
Are they a regional threat or just a threat to India?
We're attempting to develop a further understanding of the extent to which they are a regional threat. If you recall, Lashkar-e-Taiba was evidence in Chicago with the arrest of Headley, and we have certainly knowledge of their influence within the region beyond the countries that I just mentioned. The extent of that influence is what we are taking under study. They are predominantly a threat to India.
General Chilton, I want to talk to you about the importance of manned space flight and the work of NASA and how it impacts Strategic Command and the relationship thereto. I know this is something you're uniquely capable to speak about.
The administration has proposed to abandon the Constellation program and abandon our short-term lower-Earth orbit capabilities, relying instead upon the Russians to get us to the international space station.
Does this have any concern to you as the combatant commander for Strategic Command?
There is just one second-order effect of that that I think we need to study, but I'll speak in a more broad sense, and that has to do with industrial base issues. So NASA was, in their plan for Constellation, going to use a large solid rocket motor as part of that architecture. And now I have to take that into context with moving away from that, in the context of requirements for sustainment of the D-5 for our submarine-launched ballistic missiles and for the Minuteman-3 for the ICBM.
So that it's an -- I think it warrants us to then evaluate the impacts on the industrial base. I can't say that there are clear impacts that would affect U.S. Strategic Command, but it warrants us to take a look at potential industrial base issues with regard to that critical industrial base which allows us to build large solid rocket motors for the strategic deterrent.
Beyond the industrial base capabilities and the requirements that you need for your missiles, is there -- it would occur to me that NASA's innovation and the way that they bring new innovations to not just space exploration, but to missile technology and other aerospace technologies, that that would have some impact upon what you do if they were no longer pushing the envelope in that regard.
Sir, I guess I can't comment on whether NASA will continue to push the envelope or not. I suspect they will. Certainly, as we look through our history, we have benefited not only in space, but in aeronautics from the great research and development and technology that have been developed by NASA over the years. And I look forward to them continuing to push the envelope in both domains because we have benefited from that in the past.
Admiral Willard, there was some discussion earlier about our relationships with China. We have China reacting to our military exchange with Taiwan and they reacted previously in 2008 when there was a similar exchange. Do you think this is business as usual for them? Or are there any additional long-term ramifications to their response to our agreements with Taiwan?
Well, certainly the suspension of military-to-military relationships is consistent with what we've seen in the past from China when they've had a disagreement with our nation, in this case, with regard to an announcement of Taiwan arms sales.
We've been in dialogue with China prior to this particular suspension taking place, offering that the military-to-military relationship is worth continuing, worth sustaining regardless of disagreements between our two nations. And we believe that strongly.
We think that across all of the engagement with China that's currently occurring with the departments of the United States, that the military-to-military relationship tends to lag behind the other forms of engagement, and that that shouldn't be the case, so that we can, number one, find areas of common interest where we can begin to advance our relationship into the future; and secondly, so that we can have frank discussions about areas of disagreement which clearly when we suspend military-to-military relationships, that dialogue stops.
So we think that it's certainly in both countries' interest. They get a vote and they must see the value in it as we do, I think, to see anything other than this predictable behavior occurring in the future.
Thank you very much, Admiral.
Mr. Chairman, thank you. My time is up, but I would like to submit some questions for the record that I would have asked concerning cyber-security. We know recently that Google has experienced attacks. And I was at a China commission -- bicameral commission meeting this week, and it was not articulated directly by the folks from Google, but there certainly seems to be the implication that those attacks came from, you know, sponsored by the Chinese government.
So I'll submit some questions along those regards.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you very much, Senator, for those questions, which I think will be important -- the answers will be important for all the members of this committee and the Congress because you've pointed to an extremely important issue that is ongoing.
Now, I understand that Senator Akaka has been happy to yield to Senator Nelson.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Senator Akaka, for your courtesies, extending me this opportunity to ask a question because I've got an airplane to catch here shortly.
General Chilton, it's a MILCON question. You know, for some time you and I and others have talked about the need for a new Strategic Command headquarters building. And so I've been very pleased with the progress we've made toward addressing this vital need. The facility's shortcomings and problems are well known. It puts STRATCOM's mission and its personnel at some risk.
The existing headquarters was built in 1957. It has weathered five decades with little renovation, and in recent years the building has experienced failures in electrical service, as well as some fires and flooding. And the Air Force and the president have addressed these shortcomings, so that in F.Y. '11, there will be money to complete the plan and design of the headquarters facility, with construction beginning in F.Y. '12.
When we talked last, I think you probably said it the best I've ever heard it: The U.S. Strategic Command headquarters is the nuclear command and control node for the U.S. and we must make the appropriate investments.
Can you speak to why this facility has been a priority for you as Strat commander? And what -- what you foresee as the value of a new headquarters in terms of our capabilities?
Thank you, Senator. Happy to talk to it.
When I got to the Command, of course, you first review the working conditions for your people. And I walked the halls and the tunnels of the headquarters extensively.
I think the context is this headquarters is built with a large underground facility that extends seven floors below the surface to our global operations center, built at the time of the height of the Cold War, when it was felt necessary to bury things as such.
Since then, technology has evolved. We started using computers, bringing a lot of computer capability into this infrastructure that was absolutely not designed to handle that. So heat loads, working space conditions are intolerable in some areas for some of our people.
And we are actually constrained in the capabilities that we would like to deploy in the building, in how we would organize and implement the critical functions that we have, to include nuclear command and control, and add on to that the new mission sets that we've had. So we've had mission growth in space and cyberspace, which also demands better support and integration.
So this is about not only the fact that we live in a building that was designed and occupied over 50 years ago for a different era and a different sole mission set with different technologies. It's about mission growth and it's about doing what we need to do for the country, both as a nuclear command and control node, but as a cyberspace node and a space node for this nation.
Would you -- would it be safe to say that it's a fairly large, multi-story bomb shelter?
There's quite a bit underground, Senator...
... and I don't believe we need that anymore today.
I don't we need the deep underground capability. We do need protections for our people in our command centers to withstand weather phenomena in the area, to ensure that it's always there for America.
And so I think we have -- we've worked very hard on the design of the new infrastructure facility to take us into the 21st century, what this command needs to do its missions in the future, and I'm satisfied we're on track. Appreciate your support and the support of this committee.
I want to thank you and your -- and the many personnel, both civilian and military, who make Strategic Command such an important part of our national security and help keep us as safe as possible.
I thank you, Admiral and General, for your commitment and your very diligent and impressive work as well.
And thank you, Senator Akaka, appreciate that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you very much, Senator Nelson.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I want to say Aloha and welcome to Admiral Willard and General Children and General Sharp, and I want to thank you very much for your distinguished service to our country, and also all the military personnel that serves under you to assure that the security is there.
The posture of PACOM and also U.S. Forces Korea is of particular interest to me because of the strategic location of Hawaii in the Pacific. The growing economies also of the Pacific region, and in particular China, India and South Korea, present both opportunities and challenges.
But I continue to be interested in the readiness of our forces in the Pacific as challenges in other parts of the world continue to compete for military resources. And of course we are always looking at resources for our military and to be certain that we have it ready for our forces.
Admiral Willard, India is becoming a growing economic and military power in the region. Last year the U.S. and India reached agreements in military cooperation, space issues and peaceful nuclear energy generation during the visit of Secretary Clinton.
Admiral, can you tell us how we are working with India's military and about any future developments? And of course I ask this for information that you can reveal in this forum.
Aloha, Senator Akaka, and thank you very much...
Also let me say welcome to Donna (ph).
Thank you very much, Senator. And happy to answer the question.
The military-to-military relationship with India has been evolving now for most of the last decade, and really started at the tactical level, service-to-service type interaction, some of which I experienced while I was the 7th Fleet commander in hosting executive steering groups with my counterparts in the Indian navy.
At the same time we've had in the past modest exercise series with the Indians that have grown over the years to become now complex exercise series with the Indians. And as our military-to-military relationship has advanced, it's also elevated itself such that we're now holding strategic-level discussions with the Indians and very complex military discussions regarding our respective advancements and our future in terms of exercising together.
And then there is a growing foreign military sales relationship with the Indians as they've expressed interest in acquiring United States-produced military hardware.
And so in my engagement with India -- and I just returned about three weeks ago from a military-to-military exchange with them -- we discuss in great detail their interest in acquiring U.S. systems.
So I would offer that not only is India now an economic and regional power certainly in the Indian Ocean region, but it has global implications as well, and the relationship between the United States and India has been evolving through my experience to a point where it's very strong at the moment.
And, Admiral, I want to commend you and our military for continuing to keep, as you were mentioning, the relationships between the military in our friendly countries, and also to try to continue to work with them and exercise it as well.
General Chilton, the establishment of U.S. Cyber Command recognizes the growing importance of the cyber domain to national security. This growing importance will require forces that are able to operate and defend DOD information networks and provide the president with response options in cyberspace.
General, can you tell us how your organization is giving your personnel the knowledge and tools they require to operate effectively in this environment?
Thank you, Senator. You've hit on a very key point, and that is growing and sustaining cyber expertise in the military.
We have a couple things that have happened over the past year that have been very encouraging. One, all of the services are now organizing in such a fashion as to present cyber forces to U.S. Strategic Command to do those critical missions of operating and defending the networks and responding where required.
And I would point out the Navy's new fleet organization, as well the Air Force's new numbered (ph) Air Force as two examples of this. And what that means is the individual services who are responsible for organized training and equipping forces for the combatant commanders are organizing in such a fashion to put focus on the training of those personnel and so that we will see the services increased attention on accessions and training and growing the expertise of individuals in the various services and making them available to United States Strategic Command to conduct our operations.
Internal to the headquarters in U.S. Strategic Command, we are taking seriously educational opportunities and growth opportunities for the people, particularly our civil servants, that work in the headquarters who will be there for the long haul for these very critical mission areas of space, cyberspace and deterrence. And so we're paying attention to that.
And lastly, Senator, I would say the department, under the leadership of Secretary Gates, has increased the joint -- the capacity of the joint school down in Pensacola that is run by the U.S. Navy to provide increased educational opportunities for the personnel we will need from all the services in U.S. Cyber Command to execute our mission.
Thank you very much for that information. If I have time, I'll come back with further question on cyberspace.
Thank you, Senator.
Admiral Willard, it is my understanding that China is investing heavily in fourth-generation fighters and advanced surface- to-air missiles.
Admiral, F-22s are being phased into PACOM. They are in Alaska and are scheduled to be in Hawaii in the near future.
Can you discuss the importance of having these assets in the Pacific and provide and update of the Hickam basing schedule?
Thank you, Senator.
I think the statement that you made regarding China's advancements in capability and capacities in some very high-tech areas, and particularly their investment in the People's Liberation Army air force assets, fourth-generation fighter capabilities, combined with their integrated air defense systems, which are as well very sophisticated, are illustrative of why the F-22 is particularly well suited to the Pacific, given its very unique capabilities.
So as the Pacific Command commander, and I know that General North (ph), my Pacific Air Force commander, would attest as well, we're very pleased that the F-22 forces in Alaska and eventually in Hawaii will be made available to us -- again, a very unique capability that is particularly well suited to some of the potential contingencies in our area of responsibility; and as well, contributing to extended deterrence throughout the Pacific.
So we look forward to those assets. They have served in the Pacific, as you know, often a squadron in Guam at Andersen Air Force Base, and they will play a key role, I'm sure, in our various Air Force operations in the Pacific.
In terms of the timing for the Hawaii Air National Guard to acquire F-22s, without being definitive about a very specific date, I would offer that both in the Alaskan Command, as well as at Hickam Air Force Base, as you're well aware, we're currently expending the military construction funds over the next several years to equip both of these sites to accommodate the F-22. And provided those military construction funds are timely and we're able to complete the advancements in ramp space, hangar space and the necessary support facilities for that unique aircraft, then I'm hopeful that their laydown, both in Alaska as well as Hawaii, will occur on time.
Thank you very much, Admiral.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thanks, Senator Akaka.
Senator Burr, it's my inclination to go a couple of more questions, if that's OK, and obviously give you the opportunity as well.
That's fine, Mr. Chairman. I have no additional questions at this time, but the chair can feel free to go ahead.
Admiral, I wanted to go back to China. And I appreciate the statements that you made in your opening statement. I quote again here, "China's rapid and comprehensive transformation of its armed forces is affecting regional military balances and holds implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region. Of particular concern is that elements of China's military modernization appear designed to challenge our freedom of action in the region," end of quote, from your opening statement.
So it's certainly my impression that over the last year or so there seems to have been a move up in the assertiveness of China economically, diplomatically and militarily.
I take it from that statement that I read from your opening statement that you agree. And if I'm right, why do you think this is happening now?
Thank you for the question, Senator.
I think that we have seen a change in tenor from the People's Republic of China in the last year or so, such that the exchanges that occur, in my instance mil-to-mil and often in other fora with our government and with regional partners, is a changed tone that, as you suggest, demonstrates more assertiveness on the part of the Chinese.
It would be hard to speculate as to why that has occurred in this -- at this particular time. But when you consider the very rapid growth of capability in the People's Liberation Army armed forces over the past decade, combined with the economic growth of China and its growing global influence, there is a level of confidence, I believe, that comes with that pronounced assertiveness that we're all experiencing.
I think it will be very important for the People's Republic of China to regard that level of influence and their responsibilities now as a very influential global partner to dialogue with the international community and with the United States in a very responsible manner and take their place at the table to ensure that rather than shrill exchanges, that we're on common ground with regard to meeting our global responsibilities, and I think they certainly have them.
Well, I agree with what you said, both parts of -- all parts of your statement, including, obviously the fact that we acknowledge and respect the growth in China's economy, its importance in the world. We seek a constructive, obviously a peaceful relationship with them. But we also have both historic presence in the Asia-Pacific region and we have national security interests in the region and very important allies that depend on us in the region.
So with that (inaudible), we've got to both maintain the peacefulness of the relationship, but a clarity and an honesty in our relations with the Chinese.
Tell me what you meant when you said that elements of China's military modernization appear designed to challenge our freedom of action in the region.
China has made a number of investments in a variety of anti-access capability areas. Area denial perhaps another way to think about it.
And this ranges from integrated air defense systems off their coastline, which stand off well beyond their territorial waters and air space, to their investments in submarines, which is pretty profound, and that particular capability now that is ranging throughout the South China Sea, East China Sea, and -- and Yellow Sea and beyond. And other capabilities that, together, provide sizable area-denial capability.
Over time, they have very much appeared to zero in on U.S. capabilities and the potential ability to counter those as a -- as a framework for these investments.
But I would offer that they not only concern the United States, but our regional allies as well.
As you suggest, Japan, the Republic of Korea, our allies in Southeast Asia -- the Philippines and Thailand -- and our partners in Vietnam and elsewhere in the region all have to deal now with capabilities that could potentially infringe on their freedom of action throughout this very important part of the world.
And I would just remind that we've been present in these waters and in this airspace for the past 150 years.
We've been providing security for sea lines of communication that are moving over a trillion dollars of commerce per year, both back and forth to the United States and to our important partners and allies in the region, which has also provided for the economic growth of China.
And we don't intend to cede any of that space, but rather continue to protect those sea lines of communication that are so vital to the United States and the Asia Pacific region as a whole.
I appreciate that statement very much, and also that fact that this -- that China's growth and assertiveness is not just a concern of ours parochially. It is very much a concern of most of the rest of the countries in the region who are our allies.
I gather, unfortunately, that the kind of military-to-military relationships that have otherwise been quite useful in diminishing tension between countries has actually not done very well, yet, with the People's Republic of China.
And now, if I'm not mistaken, the military-to-military contacts are suspended as a result of Chinese reaction to our recent arms sales to Taiwan.
I wonder if you have anything to say about the state of our mil- to-mil relationship with China.
You describe it accurately, Senator Lieberman, when you refer to the suspension and also the fact that our mil-to-mil relationship tends to lag behind the other engagements that we enjoy with the People's Republic of China.
We believed that we were making progress last year when General Xu, one of the very high ranking members of the Central Military Commission, visited Washington, to include Secretary Gates, and agreed upon a method to advance our military-to-military relationship and mature it.
He stopped in Hawaii on his way back to Beijing, and he and I spent a day or so together, again revisiting the areas of common interest that we thought we could advance discussions and -- and -- and relations with and also the opportunity that mil-to-mil dialogue provides in terms of dealing with our differences.
Regretfully, those engagements that had been agreed upon with the People's Republic of China were -- are part of this suspension, to include the high level visits invitations extended to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Secretary Gates, and -- and, lastly, myself, were part of this demarche.
So we believe, strongly, that China needs to revisit the value of a continuum of military-to-military relationship and dialogue with the United States and determine its value in their self-interest, which we believe strongly in.
And we're hopeful that they'll have that internal discussion and ultimately we'll be able to depart on a more continuous relationship.
Well said. Thanks.
General Chilton, one quick question: This morning, as I'm sure you know, President Obama -- and I presume President Medvedev -- will be announcing the successful conclusion of the START treaty negotiations and that they'll be submitting, in this case, a treaty to the Senate for consideration.
Many of us here have been concerned that the Russians might try to bring into the treaty some limitations on our freedom of action with regard to defensive systems -- missile defense systems particularly.
I gather that there's a reference to defensive systems in the preamble but nothing in the heart of the treaty, that the Russians are going to apparently say publicly in a separate statement that they reserve the right to leave the treaty if they think our defensive missile systems are in some sense threatening them.
Do you agree that the START treaty should be a separate matter for consideration, which is basically the reduction of our nuclear arms, our nuclear weapons inventories, on both great powers, and leave the question of defenses separate from that?
Senator, I do. That's the short answer.
That's a good one.
Missile defense, in spite of our -- all our efforts, and we need to continue these efforts. The U.S. missile defense has been fielded for two purposes; One, to counter a Korean capability...
... that in some future date, should we not have a missile defense, might put them in a position to deter the United States from meeting our responsibilities and our commitments to the people of South Korea.
Likewise, to prevent Iran from fielding a system that they could blindly blackmail or use to blackmail our friends and allies, both in the Central Command region, but also in the European Command region.
And that is our focus.
If you put on a pair of Russian shoes and look at it, from their perspective, their concern is that there's more to this than that, perhaps. But when you -- so we -- we need to continue dialogue with the Russians, to assure them that is not the case, not only through dialogue but through our actions.
I think our actions to date have shown that we're fielding a limited system with focused capabilities to address those two focused threats, those two specific threat areas.
And, again, this kind of circled back to the point on mil-to-mil discussions. Mil-to-mil discussions with Russia, as well as China, are important -- Russia on this particular topic, China on this particular topic as well as, certainly, others, when we start talking about strategic deterrents and posturing for strategic deterrents between those three countries -- us, China and Russia.
Senator Akaka, do you want to ask another question?
Mr. Chairman, may...
Oh, please, go ahead.
Admiral Willard and General Sharp, I believe we must expand our foreign language capability and also our cultural knowledge. This seems to be an emphasis within DOD to improve these capabilities within our forces.
Admiral and General, what are your thinking of the department's efforts to develop servicemembers cultural knowledge and foreign language skills in order to better perform their roles in counterinsurgency and stability operations?
Thank you, Senator Akaka. It's an important question. In my previous assignment as the vice chief of Navy, I was a party to many of the discussions inside the Pentagon regarding the need to increase our investments in foreign language skills and cultural awareness, which was, fundamentally, an increase in the number of foreign area officer, you know, trained officers for very specific areas of the world that each of the services were making.
And we have made sizable investments within the Department of Defense to support those increases in language training and the increases in foreign area officers.
As a Pacific Command commander, I'm enjoying the benefits of that, such that now a sizable number of my -- headquarter staff members, I know it's true in the components as well, having previously served as the Pacific Fleet commander, we're enjoying greater language skills among our junior officers and senior enlisted personnel, such that when they conduct their engagements and capacity building around the Asia Pacific region, they're much better able to converse across the wide number of languages and dialects that you're more than familiar with exist in our part of the world.
So this has been a great investment. And I am assured the services all will continue to make this investment, as I think we've learned some lessons regarding its importance to the work that we do out there.
I agree completely with Admiral Willard. And I think the initiative that the department has undertaken with tour normalization and longer tours in Korea also greatly contributes to the cultural understanding and the capabilities that we have specifically in the Republic of Korea.
And I was in the building the same time Admiral Willard did, working on this same initiative, and agree with him that it's critically important for our services to step up to this and make more language and cultural awareness among all of our forces. And I think they're doing, doing very well. But that is critically important.
Well, thank you very much for those responses. I'm happy to hear that.
Mr. Chairman, I asked the question because it goes back to World War II, when the MSIs (ph), the Japanese from our country, made a huge difference with General MacArthur in Japan, and believed that they helped to build a base that has become what Japan has succeeded to be, through their efforts and through their language and cultural skills that our military had at that time and was able to deal with Japan.
And I look upon that as an important part of our future strategies, as we work with other countries.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you very much, Senator Akaka.
General Chilton, Admiral Willard, General Sharp, thanks for your service. Thanks for your testimony today. Thanks for your patience with Senate procedure during the week.
It's been a really helpful and informative discussion this morning. And I know I can say on behalf of Chairman Levin and Senator McCain, Senator Burr and everybody else here on this committee that we appreciate very much what you're doing for us in very important aspects of our security around the world.
And we'll try our best in our authorization responsibility to give you the support that you and all those men and women in uniform serving under you deserve.
So thank you very much.
And the hearing is adjourned.
CQ Transcriptions, March 26, 2010
List of Panel Members and Witnesses
SEN. CARL LEVIN, D-MICH. CHAIRMAN
SEN. ROBERT C. BYRD, D-W.VA.
SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I.
SEN. DANIEL K. AKAKA, D-HAWAII
SEN. BILL NELSON, D-FLA.
SEN. BEN NELSON, D-NEB.
SEN. EVAN BAYH, D-IND.
SEN. JIM WEBB, D-VA.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.
SEN. KAY HAGAN, D-N.C.
SEN. MARK UDALL, D-COLO.
SEN. MARK BEGICH, D-ALASKA
SEN. ROLAND BURRIS, D-ILL.
SEN. EDWARD E. "TED" KAUFMAN, D-DEL.
SEN. JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, I-CONN.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ. RANKING MEMBER
SEN. JAMES M. INHOFE, R-OKLA.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-ALA.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, R-GA.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.
SEN. JOHN THUNE, R-S.D.
SEN. ROGER WICKER, R-MISS.
SEN. RICHARD M. BURR, R-N.C.
SEN. DAVID VITTER, R-LA.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE
SEN. SCOTT BROWN, R-MASS.
SEN. GEORGE LEMIEUX, R-FLA.
ADMIRAL ROBERT WILLARD (USN), COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND
GENERAL KEVIN CHILTON (USAF), COMMANDER, U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND
GENERAL WALTER "SKIP" SHARP (USA), COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES-KOREA