The Carter, Dunford, McCain show complete

[09:00]

John McCain, Senator from Arizona, Republican, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee:

... our adversaries will not do what we ask of them out of the goodness of their hearts ... they must be compelled, and that requires power. Until the US is willing to take steps to change the conditions on the ground in Syria the war ... will continue. Such will be the inheritance of our next president ... America's adversaries neither respect nor fear us, America's friends are increasingly hedging their bets ... What's worse, America's military will confront these daunting challenges with constrained budgets ... and a growing set of other escalating challenges in Europe and Asia.

Goes on to blame Obama for 'it all'.

[12:00]

Jack Reed, Senator from Rhode Island, Democrat:

Goes on as though IS actually is the one the USAF is fighting in Syria, congratulates ... the Russians, without mentioning their name ... for gains against IS.

Wonders if the CoH will hold. [it was bombed to death at Deir Ezzor]

How about Afghanistan? How can we further 'help'?

'In Eastern Europe Russia continues its pattern of confrontation ...'

'North Korea remains one of the most difficult security challenges ...'

Let's commit a lot of money long term to the MIC.

[17:00]

Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense:

No one is stronger, more capable, more innovative, more experienced, or has better friends and allies than the US armed forces.

Five budget challenges:

  1. Russia
  2. China
  3. North Korea
  4. Iran, and
  5. Terrorism

Luckily, we are able to point to recent 'terrorist attacks' in NY and NJ to bolster support for cash thrown at number 5.

You haven't funded our budget. We're pissed. I'm gonna kick butt on that, but let me tell about what we've done lately, first.

Three objectives on IS (ISIL, ISIS)

  1. destroy IS cancer's parent tumour [Saudi Arabia?, nah] Iraq and Syria
  2. combat IS' metastases everywhere emergent around the world ... Afghanistan, Libya, elsewhere
  3. help protect the homeland ... DoD is going to metastisize itself, and infect the FBI, DoJ, DHS, the intelligence community, and state and local law enforcement.
  1. Shuck and jive about 'our common enemy, IS(IL) in Iraq and Iran.

    'Commends' Kerry for working so tirelessly ... to get Russia on the 'Assad must go!' bandwagon - the only way to end the 'civil' war in Syria ... but it's a waste of time ...

  2. Shuck and jive about Libya and Afghanistan

    In Libya thanks to precision airstrikes undertaken at the request of our latest bunch of stooges (the GNA) we've bombed Sirte a lot ... IS has only 1 km2 ... they'll be gone soon.

    In Afghanistan ... more DDD&D

  3. In the USA ...

    Strong DoD support for { FBI, DoJ, DHS, the intelligence community, and state and local law enforcement }, our 'Northern Command'. [Occupation of USA is now official!]

    1. ensuring protection of DoD personnel and facilities from Americans.
    2. disrupting IS' 'external operations'
    3. disrupting the flow of 'foreign fighters' to/fro Syriaq ... also counter IS' online messaging, recruitment, and propaganda.

'Stabilization' efforts cannot be allowed to lag behind political efforts ... IS once defeated must stay defeated. [ongoing occupation of Sriaq?]

Fear of IS will remain a source of our funding even after its defeat, especially of our cyber-repression, even in the 'darkest corners' ... of Main Street USA.

DoD has three grave concerns, about the Congress:

  1. money
  2. Congressional attempts to manage the DoD [!]
  3. denial of 'needed reforms'

Today ... money only.

DoD needs 'normal, stable budgets' ... it's inconvenient for our defense industry partners not to have same, too.

A continuing resolution beyond December would undermine our plan to QUADRUPLE our European Assurance Initiative [Provoke War With Russia Initiative] .. I know you'll come across after the election.

DoD cannot support any approach that moves towards sequestration.

America is fortunate to have the world's greatest [i.e. most expensive] military. I know it, you know it ... everyone with a finger in the pie knows it.

[30:00]

General Joseph F. Dunford, US Marines, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Football speech. Competition. We're the greatest. But they're tryin' to catch up. They're 'deliberately seeking to avoid a US military response' [!] More money. For everything.

'We should never send our soldiers, airmen, sailors or marines into a fair fight.' [!]

[34:00]

McCain:

Is Russia in a quagmire in Syria?

Dunford:

No.

McCain:

Is the CoH agreement being effectively implemented on the ground?

Dunford:

No.

McCain:

Now that it's failed, what do we do?

Dunford:

We have a range of militry options for the POTUS.

McCain:

Is Our Policy working against IS?

Dunford:

I'm military, not policy.

McCain:

I'm asking if our military strategy succeeding in Syria?

Dunford:

Our military strategy is focused on IS and we think we're succeeding.

McCain:

So, as far as you're concerned we ignore the 400,000 dead and 6,000,000 refugees? all caused by Bashar Assad? Do you believe that it's very likely that Bashar Assad will leave power?

Dunford:

I don't know. Doesn't look like it.

McCain:

Is it a good idea to set up an intelligence sharing operation with the Russians?

Dunford:

We have no intention of having an intelligence sharing arrangement with the Russians.

McCain:

That's Kerry's proposal.

Dunford:

The US military role will not include intelligence sharing with the Russians.

McCain:

Do you support such an idea?

Dunford:

What the president has told us to do ...

McCain:

I was asking for your 'professional military opinion', not what the president has told you what to do? [!]

Dunford:

I do not believe it would be a good idea to have a military intelligence sharing operation with the Russians in Syria ...

McCain:

Good. Then I hope you get all the money you've asked for ... wars and the MIC are more important than the EPA.

I think IS is making chemical weapons in Raqqa and that we can leverage that to get you more money.

I still look forward to all of us replacing the President's strategy with one of our own.

[40:00]

Jack Reed, Democrat, Senator from Rhode Island:

What're you going to do in Iraq after you've defeated IS? Are State and other bureaucracies going to need more money, too, in order to keep IS from staging a comeback?

Carter:

Yeah. I had the Defense Ministers of the coalition here to Andrews AFB a little while ago, and I went through, as I always do, the campaign and their role in it ... and their concern is the same as yours ... is giving all the money to the military the right thing to do after the defeat of IS in Mosul, for instance.

On the political part ... this happens in every state we devastate and destroy, the people who live there don't like it. They say whaddaya gonna do about it? My understanding, and therefore that of my subordinates, including the presidents we've put in place in the countries we've destroyed, is that neither of the forces [the Kurds, the Iraqi security forces (SDF)] that destroy these places should become the occupation forces. The occupation should be by local Sunnis under, the Governor of Nineveh Province in Mosul, for example.

With respect to stabilization and reconstruction we don't know what the collapse of Mosul will look like, it's diffent in every city we destroy. Might be street-to-street combat. Could be a large number of refugees. We're preparing for that ... not US personnel, not US money, but with the UN and other international aid agencies.

That's what I say to our coalition partners ... where's the money? You're going to pick up our pieces.

Reed:

You can devastate and destroy, but after you've done that we need to fund some minimal recovery and control after you've laid the place and people waste.

Carter:

Yeah ...

Reed:

And this goes back to Northern Command ... we've gotta fund { FBI, DoJ, DHS, the intelligence community, and state and local law enforcement } control, right?

Carter:

We count on their support [that they'll do what we tell them] and we support them as well [put their money in our budget].

Reed:

And do you agree, Dunford?

Dunford:

I do.

[45:00]

James Inhofe, Republican, Senator from Oklahoma:

We have rules in this committee. We're to get the statements of those we call before us 48 hours before we convene. We didn't get either of yours 'till 8:30 this morning. ... We need that to conduct a meaningful hearing. [=> this one is meaningless]

General Goldfein [Chief of Staff of the ISAF, I mean USAF] was here he talked about 'sufficient, stable, predictable funding' ... you left out 'sufficient' ... General Milley [Chief of Staff of the US Army] said, 'we're expensive, the only thing that's more expensive than deterrence is fighting a war, the only thing more expensive than that is losing a war' ... my question is ... do you need any more money?

Dunford:

Yeah, we do.

Carter:

Yeah, we do.

Inhofe:

Should we DOUBLE our spending on nukes right now?

Dunford:

No.

Inhofe:

Is deterrence of Russia in Europe a policy priority?

Carter:

Yes. That's why we QUADRUPLED the Eurpoean Assurance Initiative.

Inhofe:

Why are we not providing assistance to Ukraine?

Carter:

That's still on the table.

Inhofe:

If we were to change our policy, what type of weapons would be appropriate right now ... javelin anti-armor weapons? We support lethal defense weapons!

Dunford:

They want fire-support, artillery, anti-armor capability.

[50:00]

Richard Blumenthal, Democrat Senator from Connecticut:

Is there any question in your mind that Russian planes were responsible for attacking the UN aid convoy in Aleppo?

Dunford:

I don't have the facts. But we 'know' that two Russian aircraft were in the area at the time. My judgement would be that they did it. There were also some other aircraft in the area that belonged to 'the regime' at or about the same time, so I can't conclusively say that it was the Russians, but it was either the Russians or 'the regime'.

Blumenthal:

Well, sounds to me like you're saying their responsibility was demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt.

Dunford:

There's no doubt in my mind that the Russians are responsible, I just don't know whose aircraft actually dropped the bomb ... Yes, it is the Russians who were responsible.

Blumenthal:

Is that a war crime? ... Do you agree with me when I say that act constituted a war crime?

Dunford:

It was an unacceptable atrocity.

Blumenthal:

Would you agree with Secretary Kerry that what should be done is the grounding of all aircraft in certain areas of Syria?

Dunford:

I wold not agree that coalition aircraft ought to be grounded. I do agree that Syrian and Russian should be grounded.

Blumenthal:

Would you agree with the idea in the administration that the Syrians and Kurds (SDF) should be armed?

Dunford:

We're in deliberation about what to do about the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) right now ... They are our most effective partner on the ground ... It's very difficult managing our relationship with the SDF and the Turks, so we're working closely with the Turks, to take over Raqqa with the SDF, and still chill the Turks.

Blumenthal:

If you can work that out ... or not ... would you agree that arming the Kurds is 'an opportunity for us'? [!]

Dunford:

I agree. If we can arm up and use the SDF we'll have a better chance at the reduction of Raqqa.

Blumenthal:

How can we capitalize on the Russian 'war crime' in Aleppo [the alleged attack on the UN aid convoy]?

Dunford:

I'd prefer to talk about military options the president may have in future in private. I think it's a PR problem for the Russians and that's what Obama and Kerry are dealing with.

Blumenthal:

You mentioned three areas ...

[1. money 2. Congressional attempts to manage the DoD 3. denial of 'needed reforms']

... what are your priorities among your 'needed reforms'?

Carter:

I have lots of ideas. I put 'em in a letter and sent 'em to you. I'd like to talk with you about them ... but some other time. I'll get you to agree to my plans in November, or I'll have the POTUS veto the NDAA.

Blumenthal:

I would welcome that opportunity, and instruction. I'm out of time. This topic is immensely important ... but if you don't wanna talk about your plans in public, I'll go along with that ...

Syria's so sad ... we need to use more military forces to stop the killing!

Thank you.

[56:00]

Jeff Sessions, Republican, Senator from Alabama:

Yeah, Syria's a mess. Didn't have to happen. A wise statesman could have foreseen it. We shoulda never said what we did about Syria's future. It's a big disaster now.

I believe we need to control spending! I believe we need to increase military spending! McCain's proposed an increase in your budget, is it the President's position that we must have equal increases in other parts of the budget it we increase your budget?

Carter:

What I cannot support and will not support is anything that moves toward 'instability' in my budget.

Sessions:

You and Gates and Rumsfeld all complained that the Europeans don't spend enough on 'defense'. I suppose you are still complaining?

Carter:

Yeah.

Sessions:

Yeah, well you're QUADRUPLING this Eurpoean Assurance Initiative, why aren't you demanding that the Europeans pay for it?

Carter:

All I can say is what I've said already ...

Sessions:

We don't have a commitment from them to match that spending, do we?

Carter:

... It's complicated. Some have met their commitment ...

Sessions:

... 4 out of 28 ...

Carter:

... and others have not. Too many Europeans have made themselves incapable of independent military capability. [!]

Sessions:

Five, eight, twelve years ... all talk, no action ... Lemme ask you about Syria ... It's a disaster - 100,000s dead, 1,000,000s refugees - Dunford said Assad is not leaving anytime soon ... Obama said 'Assad must go!' and will go ... so now we're making progress against IS ... but how's it gonna end up?

Carter:

We are making progress against IS in Iraq ... and in Syria, in western Syria ...

Sessions:

No, no, no ... I'm asking what is the goal of the US in Syria? [Assad must go!]

Carter:

The goal is to end the Syrian war. That means an end to the violence ... and a political transition from Assad to a government that includes 'the moderate opposition' that can run the country ...

Sessions:

It seems to me that with our support IS is being damaged, but they're not destroyed, can you assure us that if some sort of a peace agreement is reached IS won't be able to destabilize it?

Carter:

Our counter-IS campaign is not on the table, not part of the discussions. Kerry's talking about Russian activity in western Syria. We are conducting and will conduct our counter-IS campaign, our campaign will go on ... what Kerry's trying to do is end the humanitarian disaster caused by the 'civil war' and to promote a 'transition' ...

Sessions:

I believe we coulda done a better job ... but we cannot establish all these governments, and run them, and assure how they'll come out in the end. And we cannot occupy these countries for decades to try to 'assure' that. That's just not realistic. A wise [non-Nobel Peace Prize Laureate] statesman would have seen the problems in Syria, Libya, Egypt, [but not in Iraq 'cause Republicrats started that war] ...

Carter:

Nod, nod, nod ...

Part 2

[1:05:37]

Angus King, Independent, Senator from Maine

An observation about the budget : policy riders on money bills. The NDAA. Omnibus bills. Take the policy out of the money bills and give 'em all the money they want.

Carter:

Stability. More money.

King:

Sueing Saudi Arabia. Tell us how bad it would be if that bill becomes law. [asks Dunford, Carter answers].

Carter:

I love the 9/11 families. It's a law enforcement matter and we have nothing to do with it. We don't like the bill.

Dunford:

Yes.

King:

Please elaborate on how bad that bill is ... in the next few days.

[1:12:00]

Kelly Ayotte, Republican, Senator from new Hanpshire:

We're not holding up your money. It's not our fault. We want to give you all the money you asked for, and more.

Iran. General Dunford ... doesn't Iran continue to be one of the lead sponsors of terrorism around the world?

Dunford:

Yes. Their major export is 'malign influence'.

Ayotte:

And aren't they testing ballistic missiles that are troubling to our allies [Israel]? And, I assert, in violation of UN resolutions?

Dunford:

Yes. And they are 'behaving provocatively' in the Persian Gulf.

Ayotte:

And they're 'provoking' us in the Persian Gulf, aren't they?

Dunford:

Yes.

Ayotte:

The 1.7 billion we stole from Iran nearly 40 years ago and have now belatedly returned has financed the Iranian army. Isn't that terrible?

Dunford:

It doesn't surprise me that the Iranians fund their armed forces. The more funds they have available the more 'malign influence'.

Ayotte:

The Iranians promote terrorism and undermine 'stability' around the world, and yet we're not aggressive enough toward Iran. What 'should' we be doing in terms of aggression toward Iran?

Dunford:

Two things we do:

  1. We're ready to let 'em have it whenever we get the word.
  2. We see your attitude toward Iran as an opportunity to increase our budget.

Ayotte:

Isn't their test of ballistic missiles a 'grave' threat [to Israel]?

Dunford:

Absolutely. They're on our list.

Ayotte:

About the 400 million in cash, part of the 1.7 billion we stole when the Shah fell and now have had to return, that was in exchange for American hostages. That was a bad idea, right? You had nothing to do with that, right?

Dunford:

Right.

Ayotte:

Do you think it was a good idea to return some of the money we stole while they were holding hostages, now they've taken more and we might have to return more of the money we stole.

Dunford:

I can't help you grind your axe, but I don't like Iran.

Ayotte:

So you'd rather we not return the money we stole? Aren't they going to spend it?

Dunford:

Yeah. It's terrible.

Ayotte:

I've introduced sanctions legislation against Iran, and I just hope the Israelis are listening to all the points I've made here.

[1:18:18]

Joni Ernst, Republican, Senator from Iowa

Please answer 'yes or no'. Did you know that Khalid Sheik Mohammad - mastermind of 9/11 - and Ramzi Yousef - who planned the 1997 WTC attacks - used the Philippines as a safe haven?

Carter:

Don't you tell me 'yes or no'!

No.

Ernst:

Wrong! The correct answer is 'yes'.

Did you know that 'Operation Enduring Freedom' covered the Philippines?

Dunford:

Yes.

Ernst:

Correct! Good for you General.

Are you both aware that IS released a video encouraging fighters to head to the Philippines?

Carter:

Yes.

Dunford:

Me too. I was in Manilla last week.

Ernst:

Wonnerful. Islamic extremists are in SEAsia and we haven't plumbed that as funding opportunity. Aren't you concerned?

Carter:

I am. Remember metastisis, cancer, IS ... you're right. SEAsia is a funding opportunity. I talked to our vassals there, they're eager to get a piece of the action. Malayasia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and others.

Dunford:

I agree. Great funding opportunity. Last week I talked to 29 of our Pacific bagmen, and we discussed a program. The limit of the 'support' we can provide is how much they can get away with and still stay in power. Any openings we find - we'll lever 'em.

Ernst:

Thanks. I just really want to insure that we don't miss an 'opportunity'. We do real well in MENA, and we do now have 5 new bases going in to the Philippines. It's really important that we focus on these 'counter IS' opportunities.

[1:24:19]

Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat, Senator from New Hampshire:

Don't you still feel that Russia poses the greatest threat to the US? What're our best funding opportunities there?

Dunford:

Yes, I do.

Shaheen

I'm worried about the European Assurance Initiative and I'm afraid we won't be able to QUADRUPLE spending there.

Kerry said yesterday that we should consider grounding all military aircraft in key areas of Syria in response to the apparent, blatant Russian bombing of the aid convoy in Aleppo. Of course the Russians have denied it, but we can't believe them. Do you agree that gounding all military aircraft in key areas of Syria is a good idea? What do we do if they continue to fly?

Carter:

I can't speak for Kerry. For the Syrians and Russians, those clumsy brutes, that's a good idea. There can be no question of grounding our elegant, precise US aircraft and our bombing, though! We care and are concerned about every civilian we kill. No one can match our care and concern for the innocents we murder and maim ... not just us, but our whole coalition! Our vassal partners as well.

Dunford:

There's no reason to ground our aircraft. With the bombing of the Syrians at Deir Ezzor we have momentum against IS right now, [!] and we need to keep the pressure on them.

Shaheen

Don't we need to take further action in this war?

Carter:

We need to get the Russians to throw Assad under the bus, and they have to quit their bombing, which doesn't meet our bombing standards.

Shaheen:

I apologize for interrupting you, but we've had no success in getting rid of Assad after 5 years' effort, what else can we do that might get rid of him?

Carter:

Kerry's wasting his time ...

[1:30:36]

Tom Cotton, Republican, Senator from Arkansas:

I'm sorry we've held up your money. It's the Democrats' fault. Don't you agree?

Carter:

I can't criticise the congress. The only way to get budget 'stability' is if you all get on board. We submitted a budget. It's up to you to pass it.

Cotton:

Should the President sign legislation in defiance of the bi-partisan agreement?

Carter:

Well, hem. And, haw.

Cotton:

You're not in charge of some worthless, touchy-feely, people-oriented program like HUD, you're the Secretary of War! pull yourself together and follow my line!

Carter:

That's where I'm going. I can't speak for the needs of Americans. I can only press warfare ... and now for { FBI, DoJ, DHS, the intelligence community, and state and local law enforcement } ... I want control of their funding too. I gotta get as much as I can. That's what I'm for.

Cotton:

Secretary Panetta said the Democrats were all traitors to War, wanted to fund 'people' programs ... are you caving to Democrats, too?

Carter:

I just hope that the Congress funds us.

Cotton:

Are we in competition with China?

Dunford:

Yes.

Carter:

Yes.

Cotton:

Are you going to give Guantanamo to the DoJ?

Carter:

No.

[1:35:45]

Claire McCaskill, Democrat, Senator from Missouri:

I may be a Democrat, but I'm gonna get you your money. We have 1.3 billion in the budget for 'local opposition forces' and for the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).

How do you 'vet' these guys?

Carter:

We're no longer trying to create forces to fight IS [Assad] but to hire al-CIAduh to do the job. That's been successful. We're going to continue. It does require PR on 'moderate' al-CIAduh, but we're doing that now. And thanks for your support of our budget.

Dunford:

The official PR screen:

  1. We work with fighters who are vouched for by tribal leadership.
  2. We do biometrics.
  3. We do a detailed interview.
  4. We watch their behavior.

I'd say we've done well with lining up existing Islamist fighters to work for us.

McCaskill:

People keep bugging me about rapes and sexual assualts, especially about retaliation taken on the people who report same. Now it's hard to define 'retaliation'. Sometimes the person being retaliated against is the only one who notices. [!] What are you doing about it?

Carter:

There're always a few bad apples. You're right. Retaliation is in the eyes of the person retaliated against. We realize that we can't get away with anyh of this as easily as before, we were pressed on charges and prosecution ... retaliation is all we have left. We're looking into developing more subtle forms of retaliation.

McCaskill:

How soon will you have all this swept under the rug?

Carter:

I believe by the end of the year.

[1:42:45]

Thom Tillis, Republican, Senator from North Carolina:

Would it be helpful if we passed our version of your budget?

Carter:

I can't answer that.

Tillis:

Are you familiar with our bill?

Dunford:

No.

Tillis:

Does anyone among the Chiefs of staff think it would be helpful if we passed that bill?

McCain:

We don't ask the uniforms for their opinions on political questions.

Tillis:

OK ...

Iranians fired missiles within a mile of our ships, they captured our patrol boats intruding into their waters ... was the commander who surrendered to them a traitor?

Dunford:

That's being adjudicated.

Tillis:

Have we put enough pressure on IS globally ... Libya, Egypt, ... the Philippines?

Dunford:

We deal with IS globally, in West Africa, in Libya, in East Africa, in Syriaq, in Afghanistan, in SEAsia ... I'll have almost 50 chiefs of defense here in October ... do I want more? Yes.

[1:48:31]

Bill Nelson, Democrat, Senator from Florida:

What about the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan?

Carter:

Our Afghan forces are getting better. More US forces next year. General Dunford is my man on Afghanistan.

Dunford:

Our Afghan forces control about 70% of the country. They've taken a lot of casualties, and still they're not as capable as they should be. We'd like to make them more capable and so to mitigate their setbacks. On balance they're OK. It's a stalemate. If we continue, they'll do better. [We can last forever.]

[1:51;40]

Mike Lee, Republican, Senator from Utah:

Saw a video of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) threatening US armed forces in Syria, ran 'em out of al Rai. The Turks support the FSA, the US supports the Kurds in Syria, the FSA threatened the US forces because we support the Kurds. Have you seen it? Is it for real?

Carter:

Haven't seen it. I'll pass the buck to Dunford.

Dunford:

I haven't seen it either. I've heard about it. The bad apples in the FSA are a very small minority of our 'vetted' Islamists. Our 'other' partners got on their case. We let it go.

Lee:

What's up with the Sunnis we support in Syria and with the Kurds we support there? Are our people at risk because of it?

Dunford:

There's incredible tension there. We're lucky nothing's blown up. We continue to support the SDF, and to 'politically' manage the Turks, and the SDF and the US, it's complicated. We're managing.

Lee:

Saudi Arabia. Yemen. The Houthis are fighting al-CIAduh. Is al-CIAdudh still regarded as a threat to US security?

Carter:

We continue to watch al-CIAduh and to protect ourselves from al-CIAduh.

Lee:

But we're fighting the Houthis, who are also al-CIAduh's enemies. Is this a mistake?

Carter:

We're still anti-al-CIAduh. Dunford?

Dunford:

We are definitely anti-al-CIAduh.

McCain:

Are the Houthis sponsored by the Iranians?

Carter:

They are certainly assisted by the Iranians.

[1:56:58]

Joe Donnelly, Democrat, Senator from Indiana:

We required that every servicemember receive a robust mental health assessment every year. Where are we on that?

Carter:

I need to get back to you on that. We do have suicides in our services. We believe we can prevent it. We're spending more money on it.

Dunford:

I don't pay attention to that on a daily basis. I'll get you the numbers on that.

Donnelly:

Is 2017 the year we meet the requirement?

Dunford:

Yup.

Carter:

Yup.

Donnelly:

Counter-terrorism. New CiC [president] coming up. Protecting the homeland ... fighting our wars in the ME. What's your advice for the next CiC?

Carter:

Continue to press on all fronts. Syriaq, elsewhere 'on earth', here at home. Military, law enforcement, homeland security all of this. We've 'honed' all this now since 2001, this is not gonna go away, this is the new normal.

Donnelly:

Raqqa. When?

Carter:

We're working with the SDF (Kurds). They and 'others associated with them' will be the ones in Raqqa, we're working with the Turks also. They have difficulties with one another but we support both.

Donnelly:

There are dead Americans there. Will you bring them home?

Carter:

Noted.

Part 3

[2:04:27]

Lindsey Graham. Republican, Senator from South Carolina

Do you support arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

Carter:

I do.

Graham:

General?

Dunford:

Yup.

Graham:

JASTA [S.2040 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act]. Could this be used against our troops?

Carter:

That's law enforcement [not my problem] but, yeah.

Graham:

Do you support arming the Syrian Kurds?

Carter:

I do.

Dunford:

Maybe.

Graham:

Do the Kurds support the removal of Assad?

Dunford:

Not today.

Graham:

We have two objectives : to destroy IS and to remove Assad. Right?

Dunford:

We have a military objective : to destroy IS. I do not have a military objective to remove Assad.

Graham:

The president has an objective ...

Dunford:

... he has a political objective to remove Assad.

Graham:

Do you agree with me, that Assad is winning right now?

Dunford:

I think Assad is much stronger than he was a year ago.

Graham:

Thank you. You've always said what I wanted you to.

Do you believe Assad will still be in power in January 2017?

Dunford:

I don't see why not.

Graham:

Do you agree with me that the only way Assad's gonna leave is through military force?

Dunford:

I think that's right.

Graham:

So, if our main fighting force in Syria is not signed up to take out Assad who is?

Dunford:

I dunno. I'm with the Kurds to take Raqqa.

Graham:

IS is Germany and Assad's Japan. We're focussing on Germany. Can this mainly Kurd force liberate Raqqa and hold it?

Dunford:

This force is not intended to hold Raqqa.

Graham:

What is the plan to hold Raqqa?

Dunford:

We have 14,000 Arabs to do the job.

Graham:

Do we have a plan to hold Raqqa?

Dunford:

We have a plan. It is not resourced.

Graham:

So

  1. We're making gains against IS.
  2. The force we're using is the Kurds, who cannot hold Raqqa.
  3. The Kurd force is not interested in putting military pressure on Assad.
  4. Other than that, we're OK.

This isn't your fault. If there's not a change in strategy to create a ground component that can not only hold Raqqa but put military pressure on Assad, this war never ends.

Russia. Did they bomb the UN aid convoy in Aleppo?

Dunford:

That has not been concluded. But I think they did.

Graham:

Do you [Carter] agree with me ... what should we do about Russia, who was given notice of this convoy, if they bombed it?

Carter:

The Russians are responsible for this strike whether they conducted it or not [!]. What the Russians are supposed to be doing is to get Assad to move aside [!]. That's what Kerry's trying to accomplish.

Graham:

Do you think the Russians are being helpful? [No]. Did they bomb this convoy. [Yes] Is there a Plan B for the removal of Assad?

Dunford:

We plan for everything. If the president tells us to get rid of Assad we'll do it.

[2:11:00]

Deb Fisher, Republican, Senator from Nebraska

You said the US will not ignore attempts to interfere with our political processes. I believe you were referring to recent cyber attacks on political parties, candidates, and elections.

Are you going to retaliate for these attacks?

Carter:

I was talking to the Europeans, I was talking to NATO about hybrid-warfare ...

Fisher:

So you will retaliate for these cyber attacks ...

Carter:

... just as for any other attack.

Fisher:

Overtly or covertly?

Carter:

Our highest priority is defense of our own networks.

Fisher:

Russian hackers were responsible for the DNC 'hack'. Were the hackers connected to Russian officials? They were. It's a public attack, continued Russian aggression towards this country.

We've lost the deterrence factor when it comes to cyber attacks. Don't you agree?

Carter:

We cannot lose deterrence effect ever. Yet Another Reason to Pass Our Budget is because it prioritizes cold-warfare ... from cyber to the European Assurance Initiative ...

Fisher:

Yeah. But do you have plans in place to retaliate for the Russian DNC attack?

Carter:

Yes.

Dunford:

We're planning to go after Russia. Our plans will be secret from now on. Russia and China and North Korea and Iran.

[2:18:20]

Dan Sullivan, Republican, Senator from Alaska:

Last week each of the service chiefs said their branch would sustain high risks - loss of lives - if we went to war. Can that be true?

Dunford:

We'll win any war we get into, but there is risk associated with warfare.

Sullivan:

You think risk is acceptable?

Dunford:

I did not say that. We can dominate any enemy in a conflict.

Sullivan:

The force service chiefs talked about high military risk. If that's the case how can we not give you lots more money?

Carter:

Thanks. I'd like to associate myself with your call for more money for us.

Sullivan:

It's the Democrats. They're no damn good!

Carter:

Everybody needs more. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

[2:26:28]

Ted Cruz, Republican, Senator from Texas:

What is and should be our response to escalating Iranian belligerence and threats?

Carter:

Yeah, they're the bad guys ... Dunford?

Dunford:

Three things :

  1. We need lots of weapons.
  2. We gotta be in their in their face at all times.
  3. We gotta be in the Gulf with lots of both.

Cruz:

Was paying back the money we stole from Iran a good idea?

Dunford:

I didn't do that. That's got nothing to do with the military. What are you talking about? That's politics.

Cruz:

Can't you help me make my political points? Don't you want your budget passed?

Carter:

We had nothing to do with this. We got called in court to return the money we stole. Dunford and I did not do it.

Cruz:

I don't care. I want Dunford to say that in his professional military judgement paying ransom for hostages to terrorist governments concerns him.

Dunford

Without commenting on whether what happened here is as you claim, our policy in the past has been not to pay ransom for hostages.

[2:30:00]

Dan Sullivan, Republican, Senator from Alaska

What are you going to do in the South China Sea, especially about their militarization of the land they've reclaimed?

Carter:

We set up the UN kangaroo 'court' on China in the South China Sea. China has rejected it. We're going to stay in their face. Our budget: we hope that in addition to funding us you keep your hands off our allocations for provocation. Take it away Dunford ...

Dunford:

We'll need diplomatic, economic and military action ... I'll talk about military.

  1. We need to understand that China is trying to act independently of us in the South China Sea.
  2. We need to stay in their face there.
  3. We have to show the world that the Pacific is ours.

[2:38:30]

Roger Wicker, Republican, Senator from Mississippi:

Obama said at the UNGA that there is no military victory to be won in Syria. I'm astounded. I thought this was all about 'Assad must go!'

Anything you'd like to say?

Carter:

I think 'Assad must go!' We're going to beat IS. The violence in Syria cannot end until Assad is gone.

Wicker:

How about a no-fly-zone, let's have one but call it something else. Isn't that a good idea?

Carter:

A no-fly-zone for the Russians and the Syrians. Yeah. A no-fly-zone for American aircraft. No.

Dunford:

What he said.

Wicker:

What about the option of controlling the airspace?

Dunford:

To control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia. That's a pretty fundamental decision that is not up to me.

McCain:

No, no, no, no!. No war. R2P. That would not require going to war. Would it?

Dunford:

Whatever you say. I did not say imposing a no-fly/safe-zone requires going to war.

[2:46:03]

Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat, Senator from New York:

Back to cyber. Attacks on DNC. How can we create an integrated framework to respond to cyber hacks and attacks? What is DoD's role? Are the authorities in place for you to respond, systemically?

Carter:

DoD and { FBI, DoJ, DHS, the intelligence community, and state and local law enforcement }. We're trying to take charge of everything. First, defend our own networks. We depend abjectly upon them. Next, cyber offense.

Gillibrand:

The DC/Silicon Valley/Boston/Austin Axis is really exciting. DIUx (Defense Innovation Unit eXperimental). I actually invite you to look at your own career in Excite (?) Venture capital, hi-tech ...

Carter:

I really appreciate the committee's support for DIUx (Defense Innovation Unit eXperimental). We're really working hard to subvert youth, to get them onboard with the MIC.

Gillibrand

Please give me whatever you need to put into the next NDAA.

Carter

It's strongly represented in our FY 2017 budget.

Gillibrand

We've been looking at this issue of sexual-assault retaliation very hard, have you court-martialled anyone yet?

Carter:

I believe the answer is yes. I'll get back to you on that. Can I thank you ... I think you were the one who really tuned us on to retaliation as another dimension of the sexual assault problem that we needed to combat.

McCain

I can assure the senator from New York that no matter how hard she tries to assault the chain of cammand we will resist. [!]

[2:51:35]

Angus King, Independent, Senator from Maine

Should cyber command be elevated to an independent combatant command?

Carter:

We have not yet taken that decision. But it's coming.

King

Speed it up.

McCain:

What about this news of a chemical weapon?

Dunford:

It's a sulphur-mustard-blister agent. IS has a very rudimentary capability to deliver it. We have detection equipment there. We have protection equipment. We can decontaminate.

We struck a pharmaceutical plant [!] last week which was part of the IS chemical network ...

McCain:

Thanks. Maybe we can give you more power after the election. Goodbye.