Good morning, everybody. The committee receives
testimony this morning on the new strategy for Afghanistan and
Pakistan announced by President Obama last Friday.
Our witnesses this morning each have contributed to developing
that strategy. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy,
who will be with us in a few minutes, was one of three administration
officials who led the interagency panel that examined U.S. policy
towards Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their review drew on and benefited
from a number of earlier policy reviews, including one by U.S. Central
Command led by CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus, who also
joins us this morning. And we have with us Admiral Eric Olson,
commander, Special Operations Command.
Ms. Flournoy, General Petraeus and Admiral Olson will play a
central role in implementing the president's new strategy for
Afghanistan and Pakistan, and our thanks go to each of them for their
service and for their being with us this morning.
In behalf of the committee, please thank the soldiers, sailors,
airmen and Marines serving in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.
America owes them a debt of gratitude for their willingness to serve
in harm's way and for the sacrifices which they and their families
make on a daily basis. General and Admiral, I hope that you will pass
along that appreciation to the troops.
The president's strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the
right track. The American people recognize that Afghanistan is the
place where al Qaeda laid the plans for the attacks of September 11th
on our homeland and where the training took place for those attacks.
We must do all we can to make sure that this region never again
provides a safe haven or a training ground for extremists plotting the
In formulating this new strategy, the administration has
consulted closely with our Afghanistan and Pakistan partners.
Pakistan President Zardari has called the administration's new
approach a positive change. Afghan President Karzai has welcomed the
administration's plan, saying it is, quote, "what the Afghan people
were hoping for."
This support and buy-in is important, because ultimately it will
be the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who will be the ones who
decide to reject and defeat the hopeless future that al Qaeda and the
Taliban offer them and the world. I very much support the president's
commitment to greatly accelerate the expansion of the Afghan National
Army and the Afghan National Police. It is important to build up the
Afghan security forces far more quickly than has been the case up till
now so Afghanistan can provide for its own security.
As Afghan Defense Minister Wardak told me, Afghan soldiers want
to provide for their country's security, and our commanders say that
Afghan soldiers have the will to fight and are respected throughout
Afghanistan, and the Afghan army has the recruits to build their
For too long, as Admiral Mullen said some months ago, in Iraq we
do what we must, while in Afghanistan we only do what we can. With
the new strategy, this will no longer be the case.
This committee has heard from witnesses over the last few weeks
that the expansion of the Afghan army has been slowed by a lack of
training teams to work with Afghan units and delays in getting the
basic equipment that Afghan units need to train and to fight.
The president's decision to deploy an additional brigade of 4,000
soldiers with the almost exclusive mission of training the Afghan
security forces is a major step in the right direction to moving more
quickly to building up the Afghan army. By helping the Afghan forces
as they take the lead in the fight, we avoid the perception that we
are occupiers. Instead we'll be supporting them in their struggle for
a better future for their country.
I also welcome President Obama's decision to match this increase
in military forces with an increase in our civilian resources in
Afghanistan. The fielding of up to 500 additional civilian experts
from the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development,
Agriculture, Justice and other civilian government agencies will bring
all instruments of U.S. power to the task of ensuring that Afghanistan
doesn't serve again as a safe haven for terrorists.
A large majority of these civilians will be posted at provincial
reconstruction teams and elsewhere in the countryside to promote
economic development and good governance at the provincial and
district levels. We need to support programs that empower Afghan
communities to set their own priorities and to take ownership of local
I hope our witnesses will comment on the Afghan National
Solidarity Program. The National Solidarity Program has funded
thousands of small development projects in nearly every corner of
Afghanistan by providing modest grants of money directly to locally
elected community development councils which plan, implement and
oversee development projects that they decide are the most beneficial
for their local communities.
The decision to establish benchmarks and metrics to assess
progress towards meeting our objectives is a wise one. Some
indicators of security, such as the number of violent incidents,
roadside bombs and suicide attacks, have gotten worse in 2008. At the
same time, the special representative of the U.N. secretary general
recently told the Security Council that he is beginning to see
positive trends emerging in Afghanistan, in government competence, in
police reform, private-sector development and counternarcotics.
CENTCOM data on Defense Department-funded reconstruction efforts
indicate that since October of 2005, the Defense Department has
constructed 96 schools and other education centers throughout
Afghanistan. And roughly 6.2 million students were enrolled last
year, up from 800,000 students in 2001.
Since January of 2007, the Defense Department has completed
almost 200 health care construction projects, funded almost 300 water
and sanitation projects, and funded 115 electricity-related projects,
including micro-hydro and other generators and solar lighting systems.
We need metrics and we need benchmarks to measure progress to
report to the American people and, importantly, to hold people
accountable. And it's about time NATO establishes some benchmarks for
itself. Thus far NATO's performance has been woefully inadequate
except for some very notable exceptions of some countries.
It is long past time for our NATO allies, friends and other
stakeholders in the region to step up and do their part. Our NATO
allies need to provide the troops, equipment and trainers that they
agreed to provide for the NATO mission in Afghanistan and eliminate
national caveats on the use of these forces.
Those who can't provide military resources should contribute
financially to Afghanistan's economic development or to help build the
Afghan security forces, for example, through fully funding the NATO-
Afghan Army Trust Fund. So far, the commitment to provide a billion
Euros to that fund has fallen short by 90 percent. In addition,
countries can share their civilian expertise to promote good
governance and the rule of law.
I welcome President Obama's commitment to robustly fund the
special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction to prevent
waste and fraud in reconstruction programs.
Relative to Pakistan, the United States should assist Pakistan in
confronting terrorists within its borders and in building its
democratic and economic institutions. Over the weekend, President
Zardari stated that the conflict in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border
region was Pakistan's fight, not America's. He said Pakistanis,
quote, "are fighting militancy and extremism for our own sake." I
sincerely hope that that is the case.
Pakistani leaders at all levels should need no convincing from us
that extremist groups pose the greatest threat to Pakistan's survival.
If Pakistan's goals are attacking militants and extremists for the
sake of their own stability and the benefit of the Pakistani people,
then we can and should support their goals. But we can't buy
Pakistan's support for our goals rather than supporting their goals.
And if we are perceived as trying to do that, it'll send the wrong
message to the Pakistani people and to the extremists, who will use it
against the Pakistan leadership and against our interests.
Finally, I do not agree with statements by some in the
administration that we cannot make progress in Pakistan without
success -- excuse me -- I do not agree with statements by some in the
administration that we cannot make progress in Afghanistan without
success on the Pakistan side of the border. We should not tie
Afghanistan's future totally to the success of efforts in Pakistan or
to Pakistan's governmental decisions.
Obviously progress in Afghanistan is impeded by the failure of
Pakistan to stop the flow of violent extremists into Afghanistan. But
I remain skeptical that Pakistan has either the will or the capability
to secure their border, particularly between Baluchistan and southern
Afghanistan. U.S. Brigadier General John Nicholson in Regional
Command South said that that stretch of border is, quote, "wide open"
for Afghan Taliban fighters streaming across to attack U.S. and NATO
Pakistan leaders have failed to date to take on the Afghan
Taliban in Baluchistan, whose leadership, or shura, meets openly in
the city of Quetta, and from there commands attacks into Afghanistan.
And news articles reported last week that operatives in one wing of
Pakistan's Intelligence Service have been providing direct support in
terms of money, military supplies and strategic planning guidance to
the Taliban's campaign in southern Afghanistan. I hope our witnesses
will address those news reports.
But even though obviously far more difficult unless Pakistan
stops the flow of violent extremists coming across the border, an
expanding Afghan army, with our help, can make progress in providing
for Afghan security, including at the border.
The road ahead is going to be long and costly. I believe we now
have the right strategy. We all look forward to hearing from our
witnesses about the challenges that lie ahead in implementing the
administration's new approach.
Senator McCain is going to join us a little bit later and will
have an opening statement at that time.
So let me start with our witnesses. We welcome you, Secretary
Flournoy. We know that you were very necessarily detained, as a
matter of fact, at another very important function, and you have your
priorities exactly right. And you might just spend a few moments, if
you would, telling us why you're late, because I know you're very
proud of the fact.
Sir, thank you very much for allowing me to do
this. My husband is next-door as the administration's nominee to be
deputy secretary of the Veterans Administration, and I wanted to be
there at least for his introduction to that committee and to show my
support for him.
But, I also didn't want to let you all down and fail to appear,
so I appreciate you being -- letting me be 15 minutes late so I could
join you as well.
Well, we thank you for getting here. We know how
proud you are of your husband.
Let me now, since a quorum is present, interrupt the flow of the
hearing to ask the committee to consider three civilian nominations,
and a list of 3,952 pending military nominations.
First, I ask the committee to consider the nomination of Ashton
Carter to be under secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology
and Logistics. Is there a motion to favorably report Dr. Carter's
nomination to the Senate?
RESPONSE: So moved.
Is there a second?
All in favor, say aye.
(No nays are heard.)
The motion carries.
Second, I ask the committee to consider the nomination of Dr.
James Miller, Jr. to be deputy under secretary of Defense for Policy.
Is there a motion to favorably report Dr. Miller's nomination?
RESPONSE: So moved.
Is there a second?
All in favor, say aye.
(No nays are heard.)
The motion carries.
Next, I ask the committee to consider the nomination
of Ambassador Alexander Verhsbow be assistant secretary of Defense for
International Security Affairs. Is there a motion to report?
RESPONSE: So moved.
Is there a second?
All in favor, say aye.
(No nays are heard.)
The motion carries.
Finally, I ask the committee to consider a list of
3,952 pending military nominations. Of these nominations, 289 are one
day short of our seven-day requirement.
However, we've checked and there's no objection that has been
raised to these nominations because of that technical shortfall, and I
recommend to the committee that we waive the seven-day rule in order
to permit the confirmation of the nominations of these 289 officers
prior to the coming recess.
Is there a motion to favorably report the 3,952 nominations?
RESPONSE: So moved.
Is there a second?
All in favor, say aye.
(No nays are heard.)
The motion carries.
And now we will, I think, start with you, Madame Secretary.
Thank you very much, sir, and thank you to the
committee for taking the --
Let me interrupt you one more time.
Let me remind everybody, since we do have a good attendance here,
that we will mark up a bill tomorrow, which is a very significant
bill, Senate Bill 454, which is the Acquisition Reform Act. We're
going to be marking this bill up and we need good attendance for that.
It'll be at 9:00 in this room.
Well, let me add my word of thanks to you for
taking the time to have those committee votes. I know that Secretary
Gates is very much looking forward to having some of his team arrive
to help him.
Mr. Chairman, Senator Inhofe, members of the committee, thank you
very much for asking me and giving me the opportunity to testify
before you today on the Obama administration's new strategy for
Afghanistan and Pakistan. As the president stated last Friday, I
think, very eloquently, we have a very clear goal.
This strategy went -- really went back to first principles about
our interests and our objectives. And we clarified our goal in this
region as disrupting, dismantling and defeating al-Qaeda and its
extremist allies. And to do so, we must eliminate their safe haven in
Pakistan and ensure that such a safe haven does not return to
Preventing future terrorist threats on the American people and on
our allies is absolutely vital to our national interests. We have
learned in the past, at too high a price, the danger of allowing al-
Qaeda and its extremist supporters to have safe havens and access to
resources to plan their attacks. This is why we have troops in
Afghanistan and why we are going to heavily engage and intensify our
efforts in Pakistan.
To achieve our goals, we need a smarter and more comprehensive
strategy, one that uses all the instruments of our national power and
those of our allies. We need to devote the necessary resources to
implement it. A critical aspect of this new strategy is the
recognition that Afghanistan and Pakistan, while two countries, are a
single theater for our diplomacy. Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies
have moved across the border into Pakistan where they are planning
attacks and supporting operations that undermine the stability of both
Special Representative Holbrooke will lead a number of bilateral
and trilateral and region diplomatic efforts. And from the Defense
side, we will be working to build the counterterrorism and
counterinsurgent capabilities of both -- counterinsurgency
capabilities of both countries so that they can more effectively
combat terrorists and insurgents.
Pakistan's ability to dismantle the safe havens on its territory
and defeat the terror and insurgent networks within its borders are
absolutely critical to the security and stability of that nuclear
armed state. It is in America's long-term interests to support
Pakistan's restored democracy by investing in its people and in their
economic wellbeing. We seek a strategic partnership with Pakistan
that will encourage and enable it to shift its focus from conventional
war preparations to counterinsurgency and counterterrorism
And so we will be urging the Congress to support a forthcoming
proposal, such as the Kerry-Lugar legislation that will authorize
civilian and economic assistance, and the Pakistani -- as well as the
Pakistani Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, to develop a more
effective military that can defeat insurgent networks. This support,
both military and economic, will be limited if we do not see
improvements in Pakistani performance.
We must also develop a lasting partnership with Afghanistan.
Like Pakistan, Afghanistan suffers from severe socio-economic crises
that exacerbates its own political situation. These are the root
causes of the insurgency that al-Qaeda and the Taliban are seeking to
exploit. Building Afghan capacity to address these causes, while
simultaneously taking the fight to the enemy, are important components
of our efforts, going forward.
So, the U.S., along with our Afghan partners, our international
allies, is fully committed to resourcing an integrated
counterinsurgency strategy. This strategy aims to do several things:
First, to reverse Taliban gains and secure the population, the
heart of counterinsurgency in the troubled south and east of the
Second, to build to capacity of the Afghan national security
forces, both the army and the police, to be able to take -- eventually
to take the lead in providing the security for the population and the
country. Building the ANSF should enable us, over time, to transition
from an ISAF-led effort to an Afghan-led counterinsurgency effort. To
do so, we have to meet the requirements of our commanders on the
ground, particularly for trainers, and the deployment that the
president announced, of an additional 4,000 troops focused as
trainers, will be the first time that this critical need has been
addressed or fully met in several years.
But, beyond the strength in military mission, we will intensify
our civilian assistance and our efforts to better integrate that
assistance to promote more effective governance and development.
Working with the U.N. and our allies, we will seek to improve
coordination and coherence in these efforts in support of Afghan
Ensuring a free, and fair and secure election will also be an
immediate and consequential task. We will also complement efforts at
-- assistance at the national level focused on building capacities in
the ministries with a much more bottom-up set of initiatives designed
to build capacity at the district and provincial levels where most
Afghans have their direct experience with Afghan institutions and
Combating corruption will reinforce efforts to strengthen these
institutions and these methods will address the root -- we hope, the
root causes of the insurgency, build accountability, and ultimately
give the Afghan people more reason to support their government.
Defeating the insurgency will also require breaking links with the
narcotics industry. We will work very hard to build more effective
Afghan law enforcement, develop alternative livelihoods to deny the
insurgency lucrative sources of funding, and reform the agricultural
sector on which so much of the Afghan population depends.
As we regain the initiative in Afghanistan, we will support an
Afghan-led reconciliation process that's designed to bring -- to
essentially flip the foot soldiers, to bring low and mid-level leaders
to the side of the government. If this process is successful, the
senior leaders, the irreconcilables, should be more easily isolated
and we should be better able to target them.
Our men and women in uniform and our allies have fought for --
fought bravely for several years now in Afghanistan. Nearly 700 of or
soldiers and Marines have made the ultimate sacrifice and now over
2,500 have been wounded. We believe that the best way to honor them
is to improve our strategy and to commit the necessary resources to
bring this war to a successful conclusion. And I would urge all of
you on this key committee to provide your full support.
The strategy aims not to solve the problem with the U.S. and the
international community alone, but more importantly to build a bridge
to Afghan self reliance even as our forces transition out of
responsibility -- transition their responsibility to our Afghan
partners. We will want to be continuing to help Afghanistan with
security and economic assistance to build their nation over time, and
I would argue that our vital interests demand no less.
Although we do not -- have not finalized or budget request for
the '09 supplemental or for the '10 base budget, I can just tell you
that we will be coming back to you to ask for your assistance in
several areas: certainly, funding our additional troop deployments,
accelerating the growth of the ANSF, continuing to support
counternarcotics funding, increasing the CERP funding available to our
commanders, and continuing humanitarian assistance support in
In Pakistan, we will be coming to discuss with you in more detail
the Security Development Plan, which will include funding for Pakistan
Counterinsurgency Capability's funds, counternarcotics funding,
continued Coalition support funds, 1206, et cetera.
So this is the beginning of our work together, and while I don't
have budgetary details today, we will definitely be coming back to you
to work with you to provide the necessary resources for this strategy.
I would also encourage you to urge your counterparts on other
committees to support the civilian aspects of this strategy which will
be critical to its success.
Let me just conclude by saying we understand that this cannot be
an American only effort. Defeating al Qaeda and its extremists allies
is a goal and a responsibility for the international community. You
will be seeing not only the president but others in the administration
engaging our allies as we already have been doing in the Hague now and
in the coming days at the NATO summit, at future donor's conferences
to make sure that our allies are alongside with us, putting on the
table what they can provide to make this effort successful. We
believe that keeping the American homeland and the American people
safe is the bottom line goal of this effort and this is a challenge
that we all must meet together.
Thank you very much for letting me have the opportunity to
testify this morning.
Thank you, Madame Secretary. General Petraeus.
Mr. Chairman --
You need your mic -- yeah.
Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, members of the
committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide an update on the
situation in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and to
discuss the way ahead in Afghanistan and Pakistan together with
Undersecretary Flournoy and the commander of the Special Operations
Forces that are so critical to all that we do in our area of
responsibility, Admiral Eric Olson.
As Undersecretary Flournoy noted in her statement and as
President Obama explained this past Friday, the United States has
vital national interests in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These countries
contain the most pressing transnational extremists threats in the
world, and in view of that, they pose the most urgent problem set in
the Central Command area of responsibility. Disrupting and ultimately
defeating al Qaeda and the other extremist elements in Pakistan and
Afghanistan and reversing the downward security spiral seen in key
parts of these countries will require sustained substantial
commitment. The strategy described last Friday constitutes such
Although the additional resources will be applied in different
ways on either side of the Durand Line, Afghanistan and Pakistan
comprise a single theater that requires comprehensive whole of
governments' approaches that are closely coordinated. To achieve that
level of coordination, Ambassador Holbrook and I will work closely
with our ambassadors and our counterparts from other countries and the
This morning I'll briefly discuss the military aspects of the new
strategy, noting however, that while additional military forces
clearly are necessary in Afghanistan, they will not by themselves be
sufficient to achieve our objectives. It is important that the
civilian requirements for Afghanistan and Pakistan be fully met as
well. To that end, it is essential that the respective departments,
State and USAID foremost among them, be provided the resources
necessary to implement the strategy. And I agree with you, Mr.
Chairman, on the value of the Afghan National Security Program as
Achieving our objectives in Afghanistan requires a comprehensive
counterinsurgency approach, and that is what General David McKiernan
and ISAF are endeavoring to execute with the additional resources
being committed. The additional forces will provided an increase
capability to secure and serve the people, to pursue the extremists,
to support the development of host nation security forces, to reduce
the illegal narcotics industry, and to help develop the Afghan
capabilities needed to increase the legitimacy of national and local
These forces will also, together with the additional NATO
elements committed to the election security force, work with Afghan
elements to help secure the national elections in late August and to
help ensure that those elections are seen as free, fair and legitimate
in the eyes of the Afghan people.
As was the case in Iraq, the additional forces will only be of
value if they are employed properly. It is vital that they be seen as
good guests and partners, not as would-be conquerors or superiors, as
formidable warriors who also do all possible to avoid civilian
casualties in the course of combat operations. As additional elements
deploy, we'll also be essential that our commanders and elements
strive for unity of effort at all levels and integrate our security
efforts into the broader plans to promote Afghan political and
We recognize the sacrifices of the Afghan people over the past
decades, and we will continue working with our Afghan partners to help
them earn the trust of the people and with security to provide them
with new opportunities.
These concepts and others are captured in the counterinsurgency
guidance recently issued by General McKiernan. I commend his guidance
to the committee and have provided a copy for you with my opening
The situation in Pakistan is of course closely linked to that in
Afghanistan. Although there has been progress in some areas as
Pakistan's newly established democracy has evolved, significant
security challenges have also emerged. The extremists that have
established sanctuaries in the rugged border areas not only contribute
to the deterioration of security in eastern southern Afghanistan, they
also pose an evermore serious threat to Pakistan's very existence. In
addition, they have carried out terrorists attacks in India and
Afghanistan and in various other countries around the region as well
as in the United Kingdom and they have continued efforts to carry out
attacks in our homeland. Suicide bombings and other attacks have as
you know increased in Pakistan over the past three years, killing
thousands of innocent Pakistani civilians, security personnel, and
government officials including, of course, former Prime Minister
Benazir Bhutto, and damaging Pakistan's infrastructure and economy as
To be sure, the extremists have sustained losses, and in response
to the increased concern over extremist activity, the Pakistan
military has stepped up operations against militants in parts of the
tribal areas. However considerable further work is required. It is
in Pakistan that al Qaeda senior leadership and other transnational
extremists elements are located. Thus operations there are imperative
and we need to provide the support and assistance to the Pakistani
military that can enable them to confront the extremists who pose a
truly existential threat to their country.
Given our relationship with Pakistan and its military over the
years, it is important that the United States be seen as a reliable
ally. The Pakistani military has been fighting a tough battle against
extremists for more than seven years. They have sacrificed much in
this campaign and they need our continued support.
The U.S. military thus will focus on two main areas. First we
will expand our partnership with the Pakistani military and help it
build its counterinsurgency capabilities by providing training,
equipment and assistance. We will also expand our exchange programs
to build stronger relationships with Pakistani leaders at all levels.
Second, we will help promote closer cooperation across the Afghan
Pakistan border by providing training equipment facilities and
intelligence capabilities and by bringing together Afghan and
Pakistani military officers to enable coordination between the forces
on either side of the border.
These efforts will support timely sharing of intelligence
information and help to coordinate the operations of the two forces.
Within the counter insurgency construct, we have laid out for
Afghanistan and Pakistan, we will of course continue to support the
targeting, disruption and pursuit of the leadership bases and support
networks of al Qaeda and other transnational extremists groups
operating in the region. We will also work with our partners to
challenge the legitimacy of the terrorist methods, practices and
ideologies, helping our partners address legitimate grievances to win
over reconcilable elements of the population and supporting promotion
of the broad based economic and governmental development that is a
necessary part of such an effort.
As we increase our focus on and efforts in Afghanistan and
Pakistan, we must not lose sight of other important missions in the
CENTCOM AOR. There has for example been substantial progress in Iraq
but numerous challenges still confront its leaders and its people.
Although al Qaeda and other extremists elements in Iraq have been
reduced significantly, they pose a continued threat to security and
stability. Beyond that lingering ethnic and sectarian mistrust,
tension between political parties, the return of displaced persons,
large detainee releases, new budget challenges, the integration of the
sons of Iraq and other issues indicate that the progress there is
still fragile and reversible, though less so than when I left Iraq
last fall, especially given the successful conduct of provincial
elections earlier this year.
Despite the many challenges, the progress in Iraq, especially the
steady development of the Iraqi security forces, has enabled the
continued transition of security responsibilities to Iraqi elements,
further reductions of coalition forces, and steady withdraw of our
units from urban areas. We're thus on track in implementing the
security agreement with the government of Iraq and in executing the
strategy laid out by the president at Camp LeJeune.
A vital element in our effort in Iraq has been Congressional
support for a variety of equipment and resource needs. And I want to
take this opportunity to thank you for that. In particular, your
support for the rapid fielding of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected
vehicles, the MRAPs, and various types of unmanned aerial vehicles as
well as important individual equipment and the Commanders Emergency
Response Program has been of enormous importance to our troopers.
With respect to CERP, we have taken a number of steps to ensure proper
expenditure and oversight of the funds allocated through this
important program, including procedural guides, instruction of
leaders, and an audit by the Army Audit Agency at my request when I
was the multinational force Iraq commander in 2008.
Iran remains a major concern in the CENTCOM AOR. It continues to
carry out destabilizing activities in the region, including the
training, funding and arming of militant proxies active in Lebanon,
Gaza and Iraq. It also continues its development of nuclear
capabilities and missile systems that many assess are connected to the
pursuit of nuclear weapons and delivery means.
In response, we are working with partner states in the region to
build their capabilities and to strengthen cooperative security
arrangements, especially in the areas of shared early warning, air and
missile defense and establishment of a common operational picture.
Iran's actions and rhetoric have in fact prompted our partners in the
Gulf to seek closer relationships with us than we have had with them
in some decades.
We are also helping to bolster the capabilities of the security
forces in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, the Gulf states and the
Central Asian states to help them deal with threats to their security,
which range from al Qaeda to robust militia and organized criminal
elements. In addition, we are working with partner nations to counter
piracy, combat illegal narcotics production and trafficking and
interdict arms smuggling, activities that threaten stability and the
rule of law and often provide funding for extremists.
Much of this work is performed through an expanding network of
bilateral and multilateral cooperative arrangements established to
address common challenges and pursue shared objectives. As we
strengthen this network, we strive to provide our partners responsive
security assistance, technical expertise and resources for training,
educating and equipping their forces and improving security facilities
and infrastructure. We believe significant gains result from these
activities, and we appreciate your support for them as well.
Finally, in all of these endeavors, we seek to foster
comprehensive approaches by ensuring that military efforts are fully
integrated with broader diplomatic, economic and developmental
efforts. We are working closely with former Senator Mitchell and
Ambassador Ross as they undertake important responsibilities as
special envoys, in the same way that we are working with Ambassador
Holbrook and the U.S. ambassadors in the region.
In conclusion, there will be nothing easy about the way ahead in
Afghanistan or Pakistan or in many of the other tasks in the Central
Command area. Much hard work lies before us, but it is clear that
achieving the objectives of these missions is vital, and it is equally
clear that these endeavors will require a sustained, substantial
commitment and unity of effort among all involved.
There are currently over 215,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen,
Marines and Coast Guardsmen serving in the CENTCOM area of
responsibility. Together with our many civilian partners, they have
been the central element in the progress we have made in Iraq and in
several other areas, and they will be the key to achieving progress in
Afghanistan, in Pakistan and in the other locations where serious work
is being done. These wonderful Americans and their fellow troopers
around the world constitute the most capable military in the history
of our nation. They have soldiered magnificently against tough
enemies during challenging operations, in punishing terrain and
extreme weather. And they and their families have made great
sacrifices since 9/11. Nothing means more to these great Americans
than the sense that those back home appreciate their service and
In view of that, I want to conclude this morning by thanking the
American people for their extraordinary support of our military men
and women and their families and by thanking the members of this
committee for your unflagging support and abiding concern for our
troopers and their families as well. Thank you very much.
Thank you so much, General. Thank you, again, for
your tremendous leadership.
Good morning, Chairman Levin, Senator McCain,
distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for the invitation
to appear before this committee and to represent the United States
Special Operations Command. I'll focus on the roles of our
headquarters and joint Special Operations forces in addressing the
current and potential threats posed by extremists and their allies and
networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I'm pleased to join Secretary Flournoy and General Petraeus here
The situation in this region is increasingly dire. Al Qaeda's
surviving leaders have proven adept at hiding, communicating and
inspiring, operating in and from remote sites in both Afghanistan and
Pakistan. Al Qaeda remains a draw for local and foreign fighters who
subscribe to its extremist ideology and criminality.
The Taliban, although not militarily strong, is pervasive and
brutal, operating in the guise of both nationalists and keepers of the
faith but behaving in a manner of street gangs and mafias. They have
forced and intimidated a mostly benign populist to bend to their will.
Their methods run the relatively narrow range, from militias to evil.
The president's strategy, announced last week, is one we fully
support. We have contributed to the review of the past several
months, and are pleased to see that the strategy includes a clear
focus on al Qaeda as the enemy and that a whole-of-government approach
is directed. We know well that progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan
will be neither quick nor easy.
We, as a nation and international community, must be prepared for
an extended campaign, a campaign that must go well-beyond traditional
military activity. Increasing the presence and capacity of civilian
agencies and international organizations to include sufficient funding
and training is essential to help develop and implement the basic
functions of credible government in Afghanistan and to assist
Pakistan's efforts to dismantle safe havens and displace extremists in
(supportive ?) provinces. Also essential is robust support for the
military, law enforcement and border security and intelligence
organizations of Afghanistan and Pakistan themselves, as it is
ultimately they who must succeed in their lands.
The United States Special Operations Command has a major role as
a force provider. And the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps
forces it trains equips, deploys and supports, have key roles in
missions in this campaign. With the long history of counterterror,
counterinsurgency and unconventional warfare operations in many of the
earth's crisis and tension spots, the capabilities, culture and ethos
of Special Operations Forces are well-suited to many of the more
demanding aspects of our mission in Afghanistan and to our increasing
interaction with Pakistan's military and Frontier Corps forces.
Right now in Afghanistan, and for the last seven years, Special
Operations activities range from high-tech manhunting to providing
veterinary services for tribal livestock. The direct action missions
are urgent and necessary as they provide the time and space needed for
the more indirect counterinsurgency operations to have their decisive
effects. Undertaken in proper balance, these actions address
immediate security threats while also engaging the underlying
instability in the region.
In Pakistan, we continue to work with security forces at the
scale and pace set by them. And we are prepared to do more. With our
Pakistani partners, Special Operations forces are currently helping to
train Pakistani trainers in order to enhance their counterinsurgency
operations. And while we share much with them, our forces are, in
turn, learning much about our common adversaries and the social
complexities of the region. We stand ready to continue to work with
Pakistani forces and to stand by Pakistani forces for the long term.
While certain units of the Special Operations force are leading
high-tech, high-end efforts to find and capture or kill the top
terrorist and extremist targets in Afghanistan, fundamental to most of
the deployed Special Operations force is our enduring partnership with
our Afghan counterparts. Under a program that began over three years
ago, United States Special forces at the 12-man-team level have
trained Afghan commandos in the classrooms and on the firing ranges
and then moved with them to their assigned regions across the country,
living remotely with them on small camps. Continuing the training and
mentoring and integrating with them on day and night combat operations
has had great effect. Supporting their local development and
assistance efforts has had perhaps even a more powerful impact.
This program was recently expanded to formally partner the United
States Special Operations forces with non-commando Afghan battalions,
a program that will consume most of the additional Special Operations
force that will be deployed as part of the 21,000-troop increase.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps component commands of
the United States Special Operations Command use authorities and a
budget granted by legislation to the United States Special Operations
Command commander to organize, equip, train and provide their forces
to support operational commanders globally. When outside the United
States, all Special Operations forces are under the operational
control of the appropriate geographic combatant commander.
The United States Special Operations Command's budget which is
historically slightly under 2 percent of the total Defense budget is
intended to fund the materials, services, equipment, research,
training and operations that are peculiar to the Special Operations
force. It primarily enables modification of service-common equipment
and procurement of specialized items for the conduct of missions that
are specifically and appropriately Special Operations force's missions
to perform. In general, this has been robust enough to provide for
rapid response to a broad set of crises, but we rely on each of the
services to provide for our long-term sustainment and wartime
environment and to develop and sustain the enabling capabilities. And
we rely on operational commanders to assign these capabilities to
their Special Operations task forces.
We can serve in both supported and supporting roles at the
operational level. Special Operations effects are actually core
elements around which key parts of a strategy can be based.
And while more than 10,000 members of our Special Operations
Forces are now under the command of General Petraeus in the Central
Command Area of Responsibility -- and around 100 more are working in
Afghanistan under NATO's ISAF command structure -- about 2,000 others
are in 65 countries on an average day. Their activities, fully
approved and coordinated, cover the broad spectrum of traditional
military activities -- well beyond the stereotypical one-dimensional
gunslinger to encompass the three-dimensional warrior adept at
defense, development and diplomacy. Special Operations Forces
bring soft power with a hard edge.
The employment of Special Operation Forces will actually not
change much as a result of a revised overall strategy. Our units have
been conducting both counterterrorism and counterinsurgency for
several years. We will continue to provide our broad capabilities to
our fullest capacity in order to meet the needs of our elected and
appointed civilian leaders and our military operational commanders.
Our strategy in Afghanistan must secure the primary urban areas
and main routes so that life and legitimate business can begin a
return to normalcy. But Afghanistan is not Iraq; most of the
population is not urban. Security must be felt in the hinterland,
provided by Afghan forces supported by small teams of U.S. and NATO
troops -- and enhanced by civilian agencies -- in a manner that
improves local life by local standards. I'm encouraged by the
prioritization of this approach in the new strategy.
And inherent to our success and to the defeat of our enemies is
the realization that this is a real fight as long as al Qaeda, the
Taliban and associated extremists want it to be. Civilian causalities
are mostly the result of their tactics, not ours. The operational
commanders I hear from are doing all they can to minimize the number
of noncombatant deaths, because they both abhor the reality of
civilian causalities and they understand the negative strategic impact
of such deaths.
They know that as long as our enemies force noncombatant women,
children and others to support their operations or remain on targeted
facilities after warnings have been issued, some will die. They also
know that the conditions, numbers and severity of the casualties will
be highly exaggerated and quickly communicated. We must acknowledge
the seriousness of this challenge and find ways to mitigate its
effects -- especially as we increase our troop presence in the coming
I'll conclude with a simple statement of pride in the Special
Operations Force that I'm honored to command. Created by a proactive
Congress and nurtured by your strong support over the last 22 years,
the United States Special Operations Command Headquarters has brought
together units from all four services to develop and sustain a truly
magnificent joint capability. Special Operations Forces are
contributing globally, well beyond what the percentage of the total
force would indicate. And in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- under
General Petraeus's operation command -- they are well known for their
I stand ready for your questions.
Thank you, Admiral.
We'll try a six-minute round for our first round.
First, as I indicated in my opening statement, I'm concerned
about statements by the -- some administration officials that success
in Afghanistan is not possible -- to use the word of Admiral Blair --
unless we solve the challenges in western Pakistan.
Now, there's obviously a link between the failure of the Pakistan
government to take on religious extremists -- particularly those that
are crossing the border into Afghanistan -- and the situation in
Afghanistan. No one denies that link.
The problem that I have is that to make the kind of statement
that Ambassador Holbrooke made over the weekend that, quote, "You
can't succeed in Afghanistan if you don't solve the problem of western
Pakistan" puts the future of Afghanistan too much in the hands of
events in Pakistan and decisions in Pakistan.
And I'm wondering whether or not you agree. Let me start with
you: Perhaps, General, you can make some progress in Afghanistan,
even though Pakistan does not succeed in addressing their religious
extremist problem. It's much more difficult, but you can make
progress and the Afghans can make progress.
I do agree with that, Senator.
The Afghan-Pakistan strategy did not include a new
target end-strength for the Afghan national army. It remained at
134,000. And that's even though Defense Minister Wardak of
Afghanistan has recommended that the Afghan army go to somewhere
between 200,000 and 250,000.
And I'm just wondering why we did not change that end-strength
goal for the Afghan army, Secretary.
Senator, we certainly wanted to start by going
after the near-term goal of accelerating the growth of the ANSF by the
target date forward to 2011.
We also left open the notion of assessing whether we need a
larger ANSF. We did not feel that the analysis had been done to
really arrive at a number of what that larger force should look like.
So we wanted to take some time to look at this with commanders on the
ground with the Afghans in greater detail, but the door is definitely
open to the idea of a larger force over time.
The long poles in the tent to get a larger Afghan
army faster have been identified as the following: One is lack of
trainers. We're sending maybe 4,000 additional trainers. That should
address that problem or that challenge.
Secondly is the lack of equipment. And I would think we ought to
make a crash effort to get some additional equipment to Afghanistan.
And perhaps for the record, because of the time shortage here, you
could identify -- either one of you -- what we're doing in that
And I believe, General, that you have indicated to me personally
that developing the Afghan leadership among officers and
noncommissioned officers is also a major challenge in accelerating the
expansion of the Afghan army. Could you just briefly comment on that?
In fact, we had a session here this past
Saturday, Mr. Chairman -- the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral
Mullen, General McKiernan, the Supreme Allied Commander-NATO Commander
General Craddock and myself with some staff officers -- and walked
through, again, what are the critical paths, if you will, to
accelerate in the growth of the Afghan national army in particular.
And in fact, the critical factor in General McKiernan's mind is
the development of those leaders. So we can train recruits. We can
even produce -- now they have even a -- not just the Afghan version of
West Point, but the Afghan version of Sandhurst or Officer Candidate
School. Even young leaders they can produce.
The challenge is finding and developing those company commanders,
battalion commanders and brigade commanders and their staffs to
support them. And those are very challenging to find. Frankly, this
is the same experience that we had in Iraq, as you'll recall, and some
of this just takes time. And that is, we think -- I agree with
General McKiernan very much on that; that that is the big limiting
Now, General Petraeus's prepared statement and his
oral testimony here said, quote, "Iranian activities and policies
constitute the major state-based threat to regional security" and I
don't know if too many people would disagree with that. I surely
fully agree with that.
You indicated also that pursuing our longstanding regional goals
in improving key relationships within and outside the AOR help to
limit the impact of Iran's policies.
Let me ask both of you whether or not, if we could work with
Russia on missile defense against an Iranian missile threat, whether
or not that cooperation between the United States and Russia could
contribute to our security?
Secretary, let me start with you.
Absolutely, Senator. I think this is one of the
topics that President Obama will be engaging with his Russian
counterpart on -- actually, today.
They'll be exploring that possibility?
Good. Thank you.
General, do you agree with that?
Chairman, I do think that's worth exploring.
There are a number of areas in which -- if there were Russian
cooperation with respect to the Central Asian states and Afghanistan
and the effort there; with respect to activities surrounding Iran --
and even others where Russian cooperation could make the situation
much more doable if you will and would help enormously.
On the economic side, the National Solidarity
Program inside of Afghanistan has established community development
councils in about 21,000 villages throughout every province.
I have spoken to both of you -- and I don't know, Admiral, if
I've ever asked you about this -- but I've spoken to both Secretary
Flournoy and General Petraeus about the National Solidarity Program.
And you both have expressed to me your belief that it is one of the
real success stories in the economic development inside of
Afghanistan. Is that -- I want to ask a question about that, but I
don't want to misstate anything. Is that true that you both feel that
is a success story?
I do. I think it's one of the examples of the
kind of bottom-up approach that we need to be doing more of in the
It is, Mr. Chairman.
And then my question, General, is to you, it has to do with the
wonderful capability that's provided to us with these SERP funds. And
I agree with you very much in terms of what you said about those
funds, those commanders' funds that are basically on the authority of
commanders to spend with great flexibility and speed for a lot of them
being economic development purposes.
Could, and should, that funding be coordinated at least with
these community development councils, so that they at least have a
voice, suggestion perhaps, as to where these SERP funds are used for
economic development -- as to what would be the most effective use?
I'm not giving them a veto. I'm not suggesting they control.
Obviously these are going to be commander-controlled. But would it be
worthwhile to have an input from those councils?
Our experience, Mr. Chairman, has always been
that the more that you can get locals involved in the decision-making
process, within reason -- and there are limits, as you know -- but
within reason that that is absolutely what we want to do. What, of
course, we're trying to do is build their capacity and capability and
that is one way of doing that. And we did, in fact, as you know, do
that extensively over time in Iraq as we were able to transition from
us funding programs over time to Iraqis funding the programs.
Thank you. I now call on Senator McCain.
Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank the
witnesses and I'd like to repeat, again, I believe that the strategy
that the president and his team have developed for addressing the
enormous challenge of Afghanistan is a good one and I think it has
every chance of success. And I'm very pleased with the leadership
that we have, like General Petraeus and General McKiernan and others.
General Petraeus, are you worried -- can I just for a second --
are you worried about the continuing level of violence in Diyala
Certainly there are concerns in Diyala Province
and in Nineveh Province as well, Senator McCain. There are other
concerns, frankly. There are latent capabilities. We see some
activity by Iran to continue to develop, again, proxies -- now called
Katim (ph) Hezbollah. Assah Melhok (ph) promised a brigade. We have
to keep a very close eye --
So the Iranians continue -- the Iranians continue
to try to meddle and interfere and harm our efforts in Iraq, including
taking American lives?
They do and there is a continued residual Sunni
extremist element as well. Certainly al Qaeda, worldwide, if they
could, would try to provide additional reinforcements to that. Having
said that, the level of violence is significantly lower -- as you
know, somewhere between 10 and 15 attacks per day compared with, say,
180 attacks per day back in the late spring of 2007.
Thank you. Secretary Flournoy, as I said, I
support the strategy; I think it would be far, far better to announce
that we will have the additional 10,000 troops dispatched and they
will clearly be needed. It is obvious that the Afghan army would have
to be around 250,000. It's a big country. We know that was a vital
element to our success in Iraq. To dribble out these decisions, I
think, can create an impression of incrementalism. We all know what's
needed. I would make those announcements and would've made them at
General Petraeus, we've seen now in Mumbai and now in the attack
on the police academy a change in tactics on the part of al Qaeda --
or Taliban, in this case. Instead of just walking into a place with a
suicide vest on, they have teams of well-trained, professional, well-
armed people who go in and kill a hell of a lot of people before they
either surrender or kill themselves.
Two questions. One is, isn't that basically true in this change
in tactics that they're employing? And is it of great concern?
Should it be of great concern to us that the Taliban's reach has now
extended to the police academy in Pakistan?
It is a big concern. It underscores the fact
that the extremist threat inside Pakistan is, indeed, the existential
threat, the most important existential threat, to that country, we
believe, more than the traditional enemy of Pakistan -- India. And
there does appear to be a growing attraction among the extremist
elements for Mumbai-like attacks. They saw the impact that that had;
they saw the degree of coverage, the sensational aspects to that.
There is some positive aspect to the attack in Lahore in that,
indeed, the Pakistani security forces did respond and over time did
kill or capture what appear to be a substantial number of those that
carried out the attack on the police academy.
And that took a heck of a long time --
-- as you well know.
Secretary Flournoy, Pakistan obviously is very critical. I don't
think it's the determinant but we can discuss that at a later time.
Pakistan concluded an agreement with some Taliban elements in the Swat
Valley that allowed for full adoption of Shari-a law. Do you believe
that this arrangement supports our objectives in the region?
(Off mike.) I do not, sir.
Do you think that the government -- and this is the
conundrum -- of Pakistan and the military are so closely tied to ISI
that it prevents us from having the degree of effectiveness and
cooperation from the Pakistani government that we need?
Sir, I think ISI is a -- or parts of ISI are
certainly a problem to be dealt with. But I think we have a new
democratic government and I think we have strong parts of the military
who see the extremist threat, who want to deal with that extremist
threat. And part of our policy challenge is to empower them to be
more effective in doing that.
So you see progress in trying to reduce the
cooperation that exists between the Pakistani military and the ISI,
which has been significant and deep?
Sir, I don't see adequate progress at this point,
but I think one of the things we're trying to do with this strategy is
provide additional incentives for that progress to take place.
General Petraeus, an individual who is, I
understand, a young Taliban leader named Massoud -- is that correct?
Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader.
He said that there would be -- he would orchestrate
-- he would arrange an attack -- there would be an attack on
Washington, D.C. How seriously do you take that threat?
Well, I think any time there is any threat that
could be against the homeland, I think you have to take it seriously.
We are doing what is -- in the intelligence circle is called a "deep
dive" to determine the possibility of that, if you will. There are
some questions about capacity of that organization in terms of
transnational activities. But I can assure you -- and I just talked
to a senior member of the National Security council staff this morning
about that. And obviously everyone is quite riveted on analyzing that
and seeing what further we can find out about that.
Well, we certainly wouldn't want to call it a
global war on terror. I thank you, thank the witnesses.
Thank you very much, Senator McCain. Senator
Thanks, Mr. Chairman. Thanks to
the three of you for your service and for the service of all those who
work under your leadership, it's really quite extraordinary.
I appreciated very much the president's announcement of policy
with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan on Friday. I think
particularly our effort in Afghanistan has really been under-resourced
for too long and the commitment of additional researches, both
military and civilian, is very significant to our success there. Just
as importantly, I think, was the president's unambiguous political
commitment to defeat the Islamist extremists of South Asia and to
relate that to our security.
Secretary Flournoy, I wanted to ask you first, as the
representative of the civilian side of The Pentagon and the
administration, to answer a question about South Asia that was once
asked not so long ago about Iraq and that I suspect some Americans are
asking now and maybe more will ask as we send more of our troops
there, our best, and they suffer more casualties. What is the
relationship between what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan and
the security of the American people, the security of The United States
In other words, is it necessary to succeed in Afghanistan for
America to remain safe in the world and here at home?
The short answer is, yes. But I believe the link
is that in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region you have continued
safe haven for al-Qaeda and other extremists, who we know are actively
plotting against American interests, American allies, and the American
homeland. So this is a matter of vital national interest. It is
something that we must deal with effectively. It's going to take
time. As General Petraeus said, it's not going to be easy. But I
think part of the strategy review was refocusing on that objective and
on the core interests that are at stake in this campaign.
General Petraeus, is it fair to say that we're
-- though we're focused, clearly, on al Qaeda, but that the success of
-- or failure of allied groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, such as
the Taliban and the Massoud group and others, Hakani, is also relevant
to our security in the world and the stability of the region on which
It is, Senator. In fact, I think a good way to
describe the extremists is a term that General McKiernan uses. He
calls them the syndicate. It's al Qaeda and the syndicate of elements
plus, of course, the Afghan Taliban.
And all of them together represent a threat, not just in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, but certainly a regional extremist threat
and, in certain cases, a truly global extremist threat.
But one of my impressions, on both visits to the
region and talking to people from Afghanistan and Pakistan here, is
that there is an unsettling perception in Afghanistan and Pakistan
that the U.S. is not in this for the long haul, that we are making a
temporary commitment to them.
And they fear -- and unfortunately, this is based on some history
not so long ago -- that we will leave before the job is done. No one
wants to stay there forever, but the question is will we leave before
the job is done.
And as you know, there -- that perception has really
counterproductive effects and a lot of hedging behavior by the -- in
both countries, the worst being the excuse given -- that being given
as an excuse for ISI terrorist linkages.
So I want to know if you agree with that concern and whether you
feel that we're turning it around now, most significantly, by the
announcement by President Obama last Friday of our new commitment.
I strongly agree with that, Senator. In fact,
that's why I've repeatedly used the term "sustained, substantial
commitment," as you know.
In fact, it's important in both countries. There is history
there. Pakistan will quote that history to you in the first paragraph
of any conversation. There is a 12-year period where Pakistani
officers, for example, did not come to the United States.
There are some understandable reasons for this, but the fact is
that there's a lost generation, and the entire military remembers the
very much up-and-down relationship that we have had over the years.
If I could, the Kerry-Lugar bill that is, I think, being
considered by the Senate represents the kind of sustained, substantial
commitment that we're talking about -- I think it's five years, $1.5
billion per year --
-- as do some of the DOD requests that will be
coming up with the budget.
Let me ask you a different kind of question
about the command structure in Afghanistan.
In Iraq, it seemed to me that you helped to put together, and we
had a superb command structure with yourself as a four-star strategic
commander in MNF-I and then a three-star operational commander,
previously General Odierno, under you. Now he's obviously a four-
star, and General (Austin ?) doing an extraordinary job, both of them,
In -- I think that worked, and I assume you agree continues to
work. In Afghanistan, as you know, we have the four-star in General
McKiernan, but no three-star operational commander.
It sure looks to me, anyway, from here that underneath General
McKiernan we have an unfortunately balkanized structure, with regional
commanders and not the kind of line of authority that we'd like.
I will tell you that we had some witnesses before this Committee
in the last couple of months who made clear that as we increase our
resources in Afghanistan, it would be a mistake not to tighten up the
command structure and add a three-star operational commander.
And I wanted to ask you what you think about that idea and my
assessment of where we are currently.
Well, the first step, frankly, to achieve greater
unity of effort and a cleaner command structure, if you will, was the
step that we took a few months ago to dual-hat General McKiernan as
the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, as well as the NATO ISAF
commander. That was very important.
We have then begun the process of building a
pretty substantial U.S. Forces Afghanistan staff to support him and to
take the burden off what currently is the combined Joint Task Force
That's typically the division that has been in Regional Command
East, which has also had a command line that used to go directly from
CENTCOM to them, directly to CSTCA, directly to CJIS ODEF and some
We have now cleaned that up. It all now goes through General
McKiernan, supported by this growing U.S. Forces Afghanistan staff,
which is also a place that we can build up the strategic
communications, information operations task force, and a host of other
activities that can support him in a way not quite like the
operational headquarters, certainly, in operational terms, but in some
of, if you will, the important additional enabler duties.
We talked about, in this past Saturday's session, that the
chairman of the Joint Chiefs hosted here with General McKiernan, the
SACEUR, and myself.
We talked about the wisdom of an operational headquarters; for
the time being, that is not something that we're going to recommend or
go forward with, but is something that we'll certainly continue to
assess as we go along.
There are other areas as well, Senator, if I could, in which we
need to make some additional changes. We think we need to achieve
greater unity of effort in the special operations arena and, in fact,
I thank you very much for that answer.
My time's up. I just want to read one sentence from your
statement that I think we all should think about, and it -- which is
Iran's actions and rhetoric have in fact prompted our partners in the
Gulf to seek closer relationships than we have had with some of these
nations in some decades.
So threats often strengthen alliances and, in that sense, can
help us strengthen our own security. And I thank you for pointing
Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Admiral Olson provided us a brigadier general on the U.
S. side that we
think, over time, perhaps could be joined together with the NATO SOF.
That would also help.
There's thought of making CSTCA Alpha also, perhaps, a NATO
element. And there are some other measures in the counter-IED world
and others that we can clean this up and improve it over time, and
we're intent on doing that.
Thank you, Senator Lieberman.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Some times in these hearings we get bogged down in a lot of
details that are very, very significant, and we need to get into them.
But I know when I go back to Oklahoma and other places, the first
question always is why is it we're not as successful as we should in
getting NATO to come up to --
I noticed this morning in the Earlybird, and I think this came
out of today's New York Times, it makes an issue of the fact that
France will send 150 paramilitary police officers to Afghanistan as
part of -- and it goes on and on, and then some of these other NATO
countries that are talking about this as if that's a great
I wonder if there's anything --
Well, first of all, anything further that you haven't already
stated in terms of what we might do on this side of the dais, or what
you might do to encourage more of an involvement of NATO over there.
Senator, I would just let you know we spent a lot
of time in the development of this strategy consulting with allies to
try to create a sense of ownership on their part.
And one of the things we've done is to broaden the nature of our
requests, not only for military troops and capabilities where they can
provide them, but to things like police trainers, where a number of
our European allies have national police forces -- Gendarmerie,
Carabinieri, et cetera -- who are actually quite good at police
We don't have a national police force. That's not an area of
particular strength for us. So we're asking them to step up on
trainers for the army, trainers for the police, contributions to the
(NAF ?) trust fund, the law and order trust fund, sending civilian
advisers, civilian assistants, and so forth.
So we've tried to broaden the aperture with the expectation that
everyone will step up in some meaningful way to support a
Senator, as part of the consultation phase of
this, as the Af-Pak strategy review was launched, I went to the Munich
security conference, to NATO headquarters, E.U. -- addressed all the
E.U. delegates, and also went to London, Brussels, and Paris and
talked with each of them.
There have been and there will be some more contributions made.
We'll see what happens at the summit in the coming days. There are
some that still may be forthcoming that people are reticent to talk
about right now, but I think Secretary --
I would stand very much with what Secretary Gates has noted about
NATO contributions and his concerns about NATO being almost also a
two-tier alliance in which some will fight and others may not.
So this is a challenge for the alliance, without
Well, thank you. And I agree with all that. And
Madame Secretary, I appreciate your phrase, create a sense of
ownership. That seems to be what needs to be done.
Each one of you -- General Petraeus, you mentioned the CERP
program, and of course Secretary Flournoy mentioned the 1206. And of
course I always try to get on the record on these, just briefly, the
value of the IMET program, the CERF program, the CCIF program and the,
in your case, Admiral Olson, the 1208 program.
Do you have any comments to make on those programs?
With respect to CERP, again, I think it's of
enormous importance. Actually, I would support very strongly 1206,
1207 and 1208. Again, I don't want to get ahead of a budget
And with the next one, there is something out there that you may
hear -- may have heard about -- it was discussed with the chairman and
Senator McCain -- called the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability
And with the next one, there is something out there that you may
hear and may have heard about, we've discussed with the chairman and
Senator McCain, called the Pakistani Counterinsurgency Capability
Fund. This will be coming along with this package. It is something
that we believe in CENTCOM is of enormous importance to be able to
target assistance that will help them develop the capabilities for
those who are truly conducting counterinsurgency operations.
I would just echo that. I mean, these tools are
generally very important throughout the AOR, and globally in many
cases. But they are absolutely critical to the success of the
strategy. If we don't back up the troops we're deploying with these
additional authorities and funding streams, we can't reach our goals.
They're absolutely critical to the success of the strategy.
Admiral Olson, you would agree with that, with
Absolutely, sir. I have more responsibility for
1208, but the Special Operations Forces are also customers of 1206,
IMET and some others. I think we can point to many examples of
progress that was enabled by those programs.
Okay. Seeing Senator Ben Nelson here, I had
occasion to talk to some of the Nebraska Guard on what they're doing
up on the Pakistani border. And they're up there now, and we had an
opportunity to talk to them and the value of that program of crop
substitution and this type of thing, working with them. It happens
that the Oklahoma Guard will be going up to relieve them, I think, in
October sometime. Would you make any comments about that program?
I can't say enough about that program, actually.
This is a case where the National Guard -- individual states have
pulled together agriculture teams. These are individuals, of course,
that are serving in the National Guard but either are farmers or farm
experts, agriculture experts. They've even been doing the rotation
system themselves. Frankly, the more of those that we could get, the
better, at this stage as we expand the areas in which our forces are
operating, and would convey that --
They seem to be getting good results.
-- (inaudible). They get very good results.
They have all the attributes of soldiers in terms of being able to
secure themselves, communicate -- move, shoot and communicate -- and
yet they're also experts in agriculture.
I was going to -- thank you very much. I was going
to get into -- there's not time, but just very briefly on the fact
that I didn't learn till this morning that the solution has come from
the supreme court over there in terms of Karzai's term ending in May
and then, of course, the elections in August. But I guess that's
resolved now by the supreme court. Is that my understanding, that he
will remain there during the time frame?
Sir, we hope so. But we've thought at many points
that this was resolved before, so -- but we hope that this interim
arrangement will stick. I mean, our interest is having secure, free,
fair elections. We're not backing any one candidate. We just want to
make sure a peaceful and legitimate process moves forward.
Okay. Well, my time is up. But lastly, Admiral
Olson, you mentioned just a few minutes ago that you represented 2
percent of the budget. I have read your background and some of the
great heroic things that have happened in Special Ops. And I just
have to ask you -- this is the right forum to get a response -- do you
think that 2 percent is adequate?
I obviously don't want to get ahead of the budget
discussions that are taking place now, but I do want to fully credit
the investment that the services each make in Special Operations
We depend heavily on them. And each of the services
carves out a portion of their budget to pile on top of that 2 percent
that's peculiar to the Special Operations needs.
Yes. Well, you're doing great work.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Inhofe.
Senator Bill Nelson.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Admiral, the MRAP vehicle is not necessarily well-adapted to the
terrain in Afghanistan. What would you like for your Special Forces
troops over there in developing a vehicle for that terrain?
Sir, the laws of physics work against us in
Afghanistan. Protection requires mass, and mass doesn't work well in
the bridges and the roads and the terrain of especially the
mountainous regions of Afghanistan. So I support the full range of
vehicle development activities that are occurring across the services.
We are tied into all of them, I believe, contributing our particular
needs to the development process. I don't know what the outcome of
that will be, but certainly a more agile protective vehicle is
something that we all are striving for.
Senator, if I could on that --
-- there is, in fact, a very urgent effort
ongoing to let a contract for what's called currently, I think, a
light MRAP. In the meantime, what we have done is we have sent the
lightest of the existing MRAPs to Afghanistan. We diverted some, in
fact, from the flow into Iraq and from Iraq. Those work much better
on the roads but still are -- again, they defy the laws of physics on
some of these roads, as my swim buddy pointed out.
But there is an urgent effort in this light MRAP arena, and I
think the contract is literally to be let within a month or so is the
latest that I saw on this. And so -- and we appreciate it. I believe
that's something that was very strongly supported up here, because it
was, again, a very significant effort.
Last week the president stated, and I quote, "Going
forward, we will not blindly stay the course. Instead, we will set
clear metrics to measure progress and hold ourselves accountable."
And he was talking about Afghanistan. So, General, what metrics do
you want to see that we will evaluate our progress?
Well, in fact, there's an effort, actually an
interagency effort, that includes the intelligence agencies right now,
and obviously those who are out in the field in the embassies and the
military forces, to develop those kinds of metrics.
There are the existing metrics, frankly, right now that exist to
show attacks by region, by day, by type, that talk about -- that
capture a host of the kind of data points that the chairman mentioned
during his opening statement. But over time we have to expand these
more and more into the development of -- that capture the legitimacy
of the government, the development of capability and capacity by
Afghan authorities and so forth.
Are those metrics -- you mentioned the IC, the
intelligence community. Are these metrics such that we'll be able to
discuss them in public?
Sir, I think we're in the process of developing
them to complement the sort of tactical metrics the commanders on the
ground are using, a strategic set of metrics that we can use in an
ongoing assessment process. We do want to be able to make as many of
those public as possible, and we'd like to actually have a
conversation with you, getting your input on what meaningful metrics
would look like.
There's a real commitment to not -- to continue to re-evaluate
the situation, evolve the strategy, build on what's working, correct
when something's not working. And so it's going to be a dynamic
process going forward.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Nelson.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Madame Secretary, let me follow up on the essential question that
Senator Nelson just asked you.
He's really asking a fundamental
question, and that is, how will we assess whether the new strategy is
working? How will we know if we're winning?
It seems to me that, prior to going forward with the commitment
of additional troops, that the administration should have already
established specific benchmarks that it's going to use to measure
whether or not the new strategy is successful.
So I want to press you further on the question that Senator
Nelson asked you. How will you know whether or not this new strategy
is working? It seems to me that you need a set of clear benchmarks,
clear metrics, going in and that we should not be committing
additional troops until we have a means of measuring whether or not
the strategy is successful.
Senator, I would just say that I think we have
some very broad metrics on the Pakistani side, looking at measures of
their cooperation on the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism fight,
as well as in terms of support for other common objectives.
I think, on the Afghan side, there are a whole host -- much more
developed set of inherited metrics, given that we've been conducting
these operations for a long time. What we're trying to do is sort
through those more carefully. Some of them are more input-related.
And what we're really trying to focus on is outcomes and actual
impacts. So we aren't starting with a blank sheet, but we are in the
process of refining the metrics that have been used in Afghanistan.
The decision to deploy the additional forces was driven -- there
was a sense of urgency by our commanders on the ground that with the
fighting season coming, the need to reverse momentum, the need to get
in there and begin protecting the population, secure things for the
election, and not lose ground, that there was a sense of urgency that
we needed to go forward even as we were refining our metrics and so
But I can promise you we will, in a very short amount of time, be
able to come back and talk to you in detail about metrics. I just
don't want to get out ahead of my interagency colleagues and make sure
that we're all willing to back the same -- or sing off the same sheet
of music before I come back and talk to you.
General, you testified this morning that it is in Pakistan that
al-Qaeda's senior leadership and other transnational extremist
elements are located. Similarly, Ambassador Holbrooke has said that
western Pakistan and the Talibanization of the SWAT region is the
And I agree with both of those statements.
To address this threat, you've testified that the United States
will provide additional intelligence capabilities to the Pakistanis.
However, there have been numerous reports that the Pakistani military
officers have very close and troubling ties with the Taliban, both in
Afghanistan and Pakistan -- that's some military officers in Pakistan
and the ISI. Isn't there a considerable risk that if we provide the
increased intelligence capabilities to the Pakistan military, that
those capabilities will fall into the hands of the wrong individuals
and end up actually helping the Taliban to avoid attacks?
Well, again, the effort in Pakistan, Senator,
absolutely has to be one that they take forward, and one that we do
everything we can to enable -- to assist, and, indeed, to provide
intelligence capabilities as part of all of that.
How we do that has to be done very carefully, and we will have to
go through a process, I think, where we literally do build some of the
trust, because there are both troubling events in the past, and there
are troubling accusations out there. Some of these, frankly, when you
dig into them are a bit more ambiguous than they seem to be on the
surface, although some are not.
There are -- it is difficult, in some cases, to sort out what is
an intelligence agency contact that is trying to develop a source, or,
on the other hand, what is an intelligence agency contact that is
warning them of an impending operation. There have been examples of
the latter. Those are troubling. We have discussed those with the
head of Pakistani intelligence -- of the ISI, Lieutenant General
Pasha. I have done that, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, others;
Ambassador Holbrooke and I had a session with them together.
The Pakistan military, again, we've had these same conversations
with them. There is going to have to be a process of building trust.
This starts, frankly -- all of this in Pakistan begins with them
embracing the idea that the biggest threat to their country's very
existence is the internal extremist threat rather than the threat to
That is a recognition that they have stated verbally. The
chairman quoted it in his opening statement.
We have heard it
privately. We now need to help them operationalize that; to watch
them, and among -- again, the metrics needs to be measures of their
commitment to truly go after this threat that could literally take
down their state, if it's allowed to creep out and to grow, and
certainly to cause bigger problems regionally and, potentially,
Thank you, Senator Collins.
Let me now call on a senator who's had the foresight and
persistence for many, many years on focusing on the importance of
milestones and metrics, Senator Nelson.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
I am encouraged by the suggestion, Madame Secretary, that you
would be willing to work with Congress in establishing the benchmarks
that could be transparent. I suspected that it's true that there are
some pieces of the mission that would require classification because
of the very sensitive nature of the operation, but I would hope that
most of the benchmarks could be public, transparent metrics to measure
I assume that they could range from measuring our capabilities in
intelligence-gathering on the ground; it could be how the country is
doing economically. I would hope that we might have a metrics to --
which might be difficult in some respects, but not, certainly, in the
contributions to the Trust Fund, of how the NATO countries are doing
in terms of their response. I was saddened by how small the
contributions were, by comparison to what our expectations were,
recently when some numbers were shown. And I would hope that the
effort that you've made, General, will result in perhaps a better
response than we received at that time.
In establishing the benchmarks, what it truly enables us to do --
and the American people, is to gauge how we are doing in our efforts.
In the past, it's been somebody from one party -- same party, somebody
saying we're winning, others saying we're losing. And anecdotal
responses of that type are not particularly helpful. As a matter of
fact they're confusing to the American public -- (laughs) and I think
they confuse Congress as well if we're not able to be on the same
page, with the same approach. And we may question whether it's 20
percent or 30 percent, but we wouldn't be questioning whether it's
zero or 100, I would hope.
I also want to thank my friend from Oklahoma for mentioning the
Nebraska Guard and the efforts they're undertaking. We have the
"Agribusiness Development Team," 52 members stationed at Bagram, and
probably it's not surprising that there would be people from Nebraska
that would understand agriculture, given the fact that we're "the
But, we're very pleased and we're very proud of this team that's
there and with the work that they're doing, because overcoming
narcoterrorism is critically important, and (there is) probably not
much better way to start than directing away from the production of
poppies -- poppy crops to legitimate agriculture that can help feed,
and, in some instances, clothe their -- and perhaps even, ultimately,
power with biofuels, their operation and improve their economy.
My question is, in looking at the ability of Pakistan to deal
with the Swat, the FATA areas that are under attack, I guess the
question is, the basic question is, is there a general willingness
from the top to deal with the insurgents in that area?
Senator, let me start -- and I know that General
Petraeus may want to weigh in on this as well.
I think it -- you know, the leadership in Pakistan is not a
monolith. I think there are some who are -- who do understand, many
who understand the problem and who want to get after it.
Pakistan has been a victim of terror, and these extremists, in many
ways. Recent attacks attest to that. And there are many who want to
do the right thing.
I think part of what -- part of the equation here is reassuring
them that they have (a) strategic partner; they have someone who's
trying to reduce other threats that they are concerned about; they
have a partner that will help them gain capability to be more
effective when they do take on these extremists, and so forth.
So, I think we need to lean forward and try to provide that
reassurance and those capability enhancements, but then we also need
to expect performance, and we need to measure performance, and we need
to follow up on that to see if they are doing their part of this
In that regard, former ambassador and former --
and our national security adviser to the Pakistan government, Mr.
Durrani, told me some time ago, on at least more than -- at least one,
perhaps two to three occasions, that the difficulty that they had in
being able to deal with the largely unregulated and ungoverned area is
that they didn't have the equipment. They had gotten money from us
but they didn't have the equipment to do the kind of job that they
wanted to do.
And so, General Petraeus, I know I've communicated that to
Admiral Mullen, and I wondered if we -- I don't, we're not going to
turn over all of our best equipment, and our trade secrets, and what
have you, to somebody else, but are we in a position, and have we
begun to give them the kind of equipment that we would expect them to
use to be successful in that area?
We have begun that, Senator. This is why the
Pakistani Counterinsurgency Capability Fund is so important. Their
military operations come down, at the end of the day, to "will and
In the "will" category, the will is growing. But the will is
also helped enormously by a sense that we are going to be with them,
because if they don't sense that, they will cut another deal. They'll
have a short time perspective -- short-term perspective that says,
let's get -- "no car bombs for a few months," and that's worth another
deal with -- but then the deal allows the insurgents to expand their
area of control.
When it comes to skill or capability, there is some, certainly,
resident. Admiral Olson's Special Operators are doing a terrific job,
but in small numbers. And, as he noted, we are doing as much as they,
in a sense, will allow us, or facilitate us, in doing. That is
And in truth, it is growing based on trust at small units going
all the way up to the level of the Frontier Corps and the 11th Corps
out in western Pakistan. Again, this is, though, where that resource
provision is so important.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Nelson.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you all for your service, particularly Admiral Olson and
All those under your command have done a great job,
and I do appreciate what the administration is trying to do in
Afghanistan. I think you're generally on target and want to give you
all the support I can to continue to win this fight.
Admiral Olson, the likelihood of fighting going up in Afghanistan
this summer and spring is great. Is that correct? There'll be more
The likelihood of foreign fighters coming to
Afghanistan, is that going to increase also?
There is potential for that, yes, sir.
Okay. Would you consider someone captured on the
battlefield in Afghanistan an enemy combatant to be held by our
forces, if we capture somebody involved in the insurgency?
Sir, it depends on who that is and what he was doing
He was over there trying to kill us.
Yes, sir. If he's a lawful combatant and a declared
hostile person, then he's certainly -- yes.
General Petraeus, we have foreign fighters in detention now in
Afghanistan. Is that correct?
What are we going to do with these people?
I am not sure about that right now.
Madame Secretary --
(Inaudible) -- my policy guidance here, if I may.
-- that is still a work in progress, I take it?
Yes, Senator. I think that the record has been
that many of these we have to turn over within a certain period of
time to the Afghans. Some of those are further detained. Some of
them are prosecuted. Some of them will have then released.
Well, and we have also returned some to their
home country when you're talking about international fighters.
I'm sorry, I thought you were talking about
No, I mean, that's -- but the challenge is what
to do about those who --
Who are not going to be turned over.
Well, or who we can't return to the foreign
country because that country doesn't treat them humanely.
With the closure of -- with the planned closure of
Guantanamo Bay, I think the administration is in the process of
figuring out exactly what do we need to do with those who are too
Mr. Chairman, I think that this committee could be
helpful. We need to get ahead of this problem. There are some that
will not be repatriated to their country. There are some that we're
not going to turn over to the Afghan legal system, because that would
be a disaster. And we need to find out as a nation what to do with
these folks, because I think they're very dangerous just to let them
From the 30,000 foot level here, General Petraeus, due to the
success in Iraq, would you now consider Afghanistan the central front
in the War on Terror?
I think you'd have to take Afghanistan and
Pakistan together --
Okay, those two together.
-- as a problem set, those two together, yes,
And you would consider that now the central front.
In fact, our focus is truly shifting to that
Okay. The Kerry-Lugar legislation, how empowering
would that be to our efforts in Afghanistan if the Congress would pass
It would be of enormous importance, not just
because of the tangible resources that it provides to Pakistan, but
also because of the sense of commitment that stands behind it as well
and the sustained nature of it.
Do you believe we should pass that as soon as
I hate to intrude in your affairs, sir, but --
Well, I asked --
-- if you're asking my best professional military
All right. But it would help the effort.
Do you agree with that, Madame Secretary?
Now, this idea of repatriating or absorbing some
Taliban members back into the Afghan society, do you support that
generally as a policy, General Petraeus?
I do. Again, it's one that has to be applied.
In fact, as you'll recall, it was in the Munich security speech. It
is something that has to be applied with a very nuanced, thorough
understanding of local situations. This is the case of trying to
identify and separate from the population those who truly are
irreconcilable, who have to be killed or captured or run off, and then
allowing those who are reconcilable to rejoin society, if you will,
and to become part of the solution instead of a continuing part of the
In a recent poll, 42 percent of Americans surveyed
on that particular day said it was a mistake for the United States to
have gone into Afghanistan. What would you say to those Americans who
believe that, General Petraeus?
Well, I think it's very important to remember
where all of this started, and it started with al Qaeda, transnational
extremists who were based in Afghanistan, and, of course, who carried
out the 9/11 attacks.
Do you believe it's in our national interest not
only to defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan but to make sure
that the Taliban do not come back in Afghanistan?
Absolutely, Senator. When the Taliban were in
power when al Qaeda was allowed and invited in to establish the
sanctuaries in Afghanistan, from which the 9/11 attacks were --
When it comes to Iran, what role are they playing,
if any, regarding our efforts in Afghanistan? Are they supporting the
Taliban insurgency, al Qaeda elements?
There is a very small level of support that has
been provided over the years by Iran to the Taliban that we have seen.
There was a period a couple of years ago where they provided some
explosively formed projectiles and others. We think there's a case
recently where they provided a small amount of arms, ammunitions and
explosives as well, but it has not been a significant, a strategic
factor in Afghanistan.
They're also working to increase their influence, some of that
understandably, in Afghanistan, to establish relationships with the
leadership of the Afghan government, and also, of course, locally out
in Herat and the western portions of the country as well.
One final question. Is it fair to say, General
Petraeus, that the American public can expect casualties to go up this
year in Afghanistan, that there will be more fighting?
And Madame Secretary, can American taxpayers expect that the
expense of operations in Afghanistan will dramatically increase in
terms of dollars to be appropriated?
And to both of you, is it worth the cost of injured American
military members, lives lost and money spent?
Senator, I think that Vice President Biden had it
exactly right when, after his last trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan,
he said that this is going to get harder before it gets easier. That
is correct. That is our assessment. And it is worth seeing this
through to completion.
Senator, I would say there will be higher human
costs and higher financial costs to this effort. Those facts were
considered very carefully before the president made his decision. And
we're going forward with the strategy because we believe that it's
vital to the safety and security of the American people.
Thank you, Senator Graham.
Good morning, General. Good morning,
Madame Secretary. Good morning, Admiral.
General, I read with real interest the last day that David
Kilcullen has written a book about his experiences and insights, and
he draws a number of conclusions that I think would be useful to us as
we move forward.
One comment that he makes is that we should be careful about
lecturing Islamic countries and countries in other spheres about
terrorism and about the dangers of it. And it piqued my interest and
In that spirit, I heard you and, I think, Madame Secretary say
that you believe the Pakistani government now does really see the
Taliban as their enemy. And I also hear you say that we need to give
them a clear sense that we will stay until the job is done.
In that spirit -- and I wonder what Rudyard Kipling would write
in this era; probably much of what he wrote over 100 years ago -- much
of Pakistan's focus is to the east, into Kashmir. And is there any
discussion about urging India and Pakistan to continue finding a way
forward on Kashmir? Perhaps all three of you might comment.
If I could just start with that, Senator.
Together with my great diplomatic wing man, Ambassador Richard
Holbrooke, this effort actually has started. I met, together with
him, with the Indian national security adviser, for example, in
Munich. We had a very -- what we thought was a very good discussion.
That was followed up when the foreign minister of India came to
Washington more recently.
When Ambassador Holbrooke went out on his maiden trip through the
area, my deputy went with him, and they were joined by the Pacific
Command deputy for a swing into India as well after having been in
It would be of enormous importance were the tensions to be
reduced sufficiently between the two countries to where
intellectually, as well as physically, Pakistan could focus more on
what we, again, see as a much more important existential threat to
Pakistan in the internal extremists than continuing to have that
massive face-off against India to their east.
One of the many tragedies of the Mumbai attacks -- which, of
course, were a 9/11 moment not just for India but even for Pakistan, I
would argue -- was that the Pakistani military once again focused on
India for a period, and that continues to some degree. There's been,
again, a diminution of the tension between the two countries over
time, but it literally took their eye off the ball, one that they were
really starting to focus on with the operations in the FATA, in Baijor
(sp) and Moman (sp) and others developing, and even actually shifted
forces; only about 6,000 or so, not hugely significant in their
number, but it was almost the intellectual shift of focus that was as
concerning to many of us as was the physical shift.
Senator, I think you put your finger on a really
This is the issue -- one of the issues that really drives a more
regional approach in our strategy -- that part of helping Pakistan to
shift its attention and its resources and its efforts is reducing the
tensions it has with India.
If you look historically about why Pakistan helped to fund some
of these militants groups, who've now become extremist or terrorist in
their organization, part of it was to try to drive the Soviets out of
their neighborhood, but part of it was also as a hedge against India.
So I think to the extent we can reduce those tensions, we will help
shift their attention and resources towards their really urgent
threat, which is the extremist threat from within.
Admiral, do you care to comment?
Sir, I think I would just agree.
It's very important to recognize the impact of India on the
Pakistani psyche. It's important to recognize the capabilities of the
Pakistani military were built to address the threat they felt from
India -- that's primarily a conventional army focused to the east.
And in order to reorient that army to a more counterinsurgency army
focused to the west, any reduction of the tensions on the Indian
border would be very helpful.
Yeah. There are certainly parallels between the
shift we've had to make and other militaries have had to make. The
preparations we made for the (fill-the-gap ?) scenario. Of course,
we've had to now set aside and actually face the 21st century as it
presents itself to us.
General, you talked about the greater mil-to-mil contacts between
the Pakistani and Afghani militaries. Do you see a similar dynamic
emerging -- and this would also be directed to the secretary --
between the civilian leadership in those two countries -- because, of
course, you have to mirror those contacts for them to be effective
In fact, as President Zardari assumed office,
there was really an unprecedented number of backs and forths between
the heads of government and some of their ministers.
And as you may know, Senator, we hosted here in Washington --
three weeks ago it was now, I think perhaps four weeks -- what was
called the Tripartite. And it was delegations from Afghanistan and
Pakistan, led by their foreign ministers -- with other ministers
present as well -- and then very high level on this side as well with
the secretary of State in the lead.
There will be further tripartite meetings like that. So that
will continue to foster the growing relationships between those two
countries. Candidly, we have to do a great deal of work in the
intelligence arena. The relationship between the intelligence
services of Afghanistan and Pakistan would be an understatement to say
that it is not cooperative. There is an enormous amount of suspicion
and really outright enmity that's built up over the years. So we have
a lot of work to do there.
And the efforts to build the Joint Coordination Center, Torkham
Gate, at the western edge of the Khyber Pass are among a variety of
different initiatives that are being taken at the military level -- as
well as, again, there's a military tripartite group that meets also.
Madame Secretary, I see my time's run out, but if
you could answer shortly that would be --
I would just add that the trilaterals will
One of the most important byproducts that we've seen from that
process is that it's encouraged a host of interim bilateral meetings
between the Afghans and the Pakistanis and their various counterparts
that are ongoing between the trilateral meetings. So I think the
level of dialogue and constructive interaction is increasing.
Thank you, Senator Udall.
Senator Chambliss to be followed by Senator Webb.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And let me thank all of our witnesses again for your great
service -- be it military or public service. We appreciate you very
General Petraeus, there has been some comments coming out of the
administration over the last several days with respect to the so-
called new strategy in Afghanistan that has been a little bit
troubling to me.
And statements concern the fact that it's being said that we have
been operating Afghanistan on the cheap. And obviously, it's a
concern to all of us as policymakers that we provide our military with
whatever they ask for.
Now, I understand you obviously were the commander in the Iraqi
theater and you've only been at CENTCOM now for a few months. But are
you aware of anything that has been asked for by either CENTCOM or by
General McNeil or General Eickenberg (sic/Eikenberry) or anybody else
in Afghanistan that has not been given to them in the way of resources
or commitments on the part of the Pentagon to that theater?
Throughout 2009 -- all the way out through 2009 --
the requests that were made by General McKiernan that I supported and
sent forward have all been approved. There are requests beyond that
period that are still out there. And frankly, we think it's prudent
to do some assessments, see how this moves forward and there's
certainly no need for decisions on that now.
I understand going forward, but I'm talking
about previous requests that may have come from former commanders in
theater or commanders at CENTCOM that weren't positively addressed.
I can only talk about the period in which I've
been in command since the 31st of October last year, I'm afraid,
Secretary Flournoy, do you have any comment on that?
Sir, I do believe that there have been some
requests that have not been fulfilled and the one that we looked at
very closely in the review was the one for trainers.
We were over, you know, I think 1,300 short for trainers for ANA,
over 1,000 short for trainers for the police. That's one of the
reasons why the president agreed to deploy the additional brigade.
And that request for forces had not been fulfilled for quite some
time. And as we put greater emphasis on building the Afghan forces we
felt it was very important to fully resource that request, which had
been on the books for a while.
So I think there are some examples which, you know, that we found
looking at it from an historical perspective.
Secretary Flournoy, General Petraeus made a statement -- I want
to make sure I'm quoting you right, General, so if I say anything
incorrect, please correct me -- but in talking about what's going on
in Iraq, in response to Senator McCain, you said that the Iranians are
still aiding our enemies in Iraq with respect to providing munitions
or whatever to those who are attacking American soldiers. They are
still part of the process that's being addressed in Iraq today.
And what concerns me, Secretary Flournoy, is that we have the
Iranians, who we know have provided munitions to our enemy in Iraq and
who have -- that enemy has sought to do harm to American soldiers on a
daily basis. And yet, beginning yesterday at The Hague, we have
invited the Iranians to sit down at the table to discuss Afghanistan
and the way forward in Afghanistan.
So what's puzzling to me and what concerns me is are we engaging
the Iranians with respect to just Afghanistan? Are we going to talk
to them about Iraq and try to move the peace process forward in that
respect? Of is this just with relation to Afghanistan -- the
discussion that's taking place right now?
The meeting at The Hague was really to bring them
into the discussion of Afghanistan, because they have been part of the
problem in Afghanistan. And we believe they actually have interests in
Afghanistan becoming stable over time and we want them to change their
behavior and become more a part of the solution by ceasing some of the
more troublesome activities they've exhibited there.
I do think that over time we want to make clear to Iran the full
range of behaviors that we find problematic that we would like to see
changed. I know that in Iraq, in the meantime, we've continued to put
military pressure on them where possible to try to prevent them from
continuing those unhelpful activities.
Picking up again on Senator Graham's question
with relation to the prisoners in Afghanistan that are there today,
and ones that may be taken over the next several weeks or months or
whatever period of time we may be there: General Petraeus, is it the
intention now to keep those prisoners in Afghanistan for some
indefinite period of time, or is that part of the policy decision that
is outside your realm that you mentioned?
That is part of a review that's ongoing, Senator.
If we should pick up a high-value target in
Afghanistan, what would happen to that high-value target? Where would
They would go to the theater internment facility
Secretary Flournoy, is there any potential for any of those
prisoners to be transferred to U.S. soil? Is that under
Sir, I know this is a policy that is under review
and I am not aware of the details of where this is coming out, but I
can get back to you on that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Chambliss.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Flournoy, let me start by asking you a question.
First, I would say I appreciate what the president was saying
when he talked about focusing this strategy more directly toward
countering insurgency and eliminating the presence of the Taliban.
At the same time, I'm a little concerned with how we're going to
pull this off with respect to cooperation in Pakistan, whether there
really is a true incentive at the right levels in the Pakistani
government and military to strongly cooperate with NATO in this
It's been reported -- I think Arnaud de Borchgrave is probably
the most comprehensive, does the most comprehensive reporting in terms
of the situation in Pakistan.
He has a piece, actually, this morning on this, pointing out that
Pakistani intelligence inspired and nurtured the Taliban movement with
a view of taking over Afghanistan in the wake of the Soviet defeat in
1989, that there are currently, according to Mr. de Borchgrave,
Pakistani intelligence agents operating in Afghanistan to support the
How are we going to address that situation?
Senator, I think it is an open question, and I
think we need to test the proposition.
And I think one of the things that is a -- that is changing in
the Pakistan context is the degree to which the threat is manifesting
itself within Pakistan at a level that is really affecting public
attitudes, that it is affecting leadership attitudes, et cetera.
So I think we need to test the proposition by -- and the way we
do that is to put a substantial offer of assistance and a substantial
commitment to work with them to take this on, to reduce tensions
elsewhere in the region so they can refocus and take this on.
I think we need to test the proposition, but I also think we need
to -- and this is where the metrics become very important -- we need
to monitor their performance, their actual track record in
implementing the necessary steps.
I think that's the point where we are, and that's what the
strategy recommends going forward.
I would also submit that there should be ways to try
to measure the true incentive, not simply from the current top
leadership in Pakistan, but from other elements that have considerable
power in Pakistan.
This is a situation that we have been monitoring for some time at
a committee level, rather than at a operational level. But there's
been considerable reporting that, for instance, the Pakistani military
operating in these tribal areas had had a fairly soft hand when it
comes to Taliban, as opposed to al Qaeda -- the apprehensions that
they've made and the operations that they've conducted.
So I think this clearly should be on our radar screen in terms of
truly measuring the incentives and the intentions in Pakistan.
How are we going to know when our national task is finished? And
I would ask Secretary Flournoy to answer that and then, General, or
Admiral, if you'd like to add. How are we going to know? What is the
Actually, I think General Petraeus is kind of famous for having
asked this question at the very beginning of the Iraq war, to a
But how are we going to know when this is over? When is -- how
does this end?
Sir, I'll give you my answer and then let the
person who asked the question try to give his. (Laughs.) But --
I think that a key point of defining success is when both the
Afghans and the Pakistan -- Pakistanis have both the capability and
the will to deal with the remaining threat themselves -- that the
period of extraordinary intervention and assistance comes to a
transition point and we go to a more long-term, normal development
assistance relationship with both countries.
To me, it is when that -- when they -- when we have reduced the
threat and built that capacity locally to the point where they can be
much more self-reliant in managing this problem.
That puts us sort of at the mercy of their policies.
General, can you give me a more practical -- (word inaudible)?
Well, I guess I'd echo that --
Or maybe more mechanical. What physically -- how are
we going to know?
Well, I think, again, frankly, in Iraq we have
known when we were able to transition responsibilities to not just the
Iraqi security forces, but to other institutions of the Iraqi
Now, Afghanistan's a very different country, does not have some
of the blessings, certainly, that Iraq has when it comes to oil and
revenue. But nonetheless, the task will be for them to shoulder the
responsibilities of their own security and other responsibilities of
When is the last time that Afghanistan had an actual
functioning national army that could clearly be said to be in control
of operations inside its own country?
Probably more than 30 years ago, at least,
Senator Webb --
-- in the '70s, in that period. And certainly it
was a combination of security arrangements.
But I think that as a student of history as well that you would
agree that between the period -- most recently, for example, say 1900
and, again, the 1970s -- that there was a -- in Afghanistan there was
a conception of a nation-state, and that there was the exercise of
governance within an Afghan model that did exist.
And of course it's been the intervening more than three decades
of war that have done so much to damage all that.
I would say, perhaps, a brief period, more than 30
years ago for about 30 years, you could say that there was some sort
of a functioning national army in Afghanistan. Not previous to that
and not since.
And it's a little bit different in terms of the challenge, even
that we were -- we're facing in Iraq.
My time is up, but I would like to ask one other question that
goes on -- goes along with this.
When you're talking about this policy of living among the people,
holding areas that have been cleared, who do we anticipate are
actually going to hold these areas?
Well, it will literally vary from location to
location. The options, of course, are local police; their version of
national police, the national civil order police, can assist with
And then the Afghan National Army as well as now the Afghan
Public Protection Force, which is a pilot program -- just concluded
the first iteration of this. About 240 or so members graduated.
They'll be partnered with Special Forces.
We'll learn, undoubtedly, some hard lessons from this effort and
apply them as we carry out subsequent of these.
This is not quite a Sons of Iraq. In fact, it's actually a more
institutionalized and, frankly, more rigorous Sons of Iraq program,
because it included weeks of training, specific equipping, and then a
specific partner force. But that is how we would see that.
If I could also, Senator, there is an -- also a difference in the
way we literally live with the people in Afghanistan. You don't -- as
in Iraq, where we plunked ourselves down, as you know, and your son
did, that is not as likely here, given that the -- much greater rural
population than urban population.
And it will be probably even more likely that in coordination
with tribal elders and the local mullahs that we'll actually occupy on
the edge of a community, not literally right in the center of it.
Right. So it -- largely will depend on the
confidence and the will power of the local Afghanis --
Right. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Webb.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Well, General Petraeus, I asked Secretary Gates about, in effect,
what kind of unease he had and -- about moving this additional troop
level there, in light of his strong comment that we wanted a Afghan
face on the situation.
Would you just share with us the tension between greater American
involvement, greater activity, and the need to have the Afghan army
and police and government be the force that takes -- survives -- saves
Senator, the concern there is that, taking into
account Afghanistan's history and the people that -- who have never
looked kindly on those who are seen as invaders or would-be
conquerors, that the additional forces have to be seen by them to be
there for them, to help secure them, to serve them, to be good guests,
good neighbors, good partners.
And that's why I mentioned that piece in my statement and pointed
out the counterinsurgency guidance that General McKiernan has
published that gets at the heart of this as well.
The additional forces can't be seen as coming in and taking over
a country that has never accepted that kind of activity. It has to be
seen as a force that is coming in to be their partners and to help
them against a common threat.
You're satisfied that that's given enough
attention in your plans?
I am. It is something we will need to continue
to work on, as with civilian casualties, as with a number of other
activities that -- (inaudible).
Now, we do have this shortage of trainers still,
do we not, to reach the level of training the Afghan army that we'd
like it to --
We do, and I actually made a note that I want to
see what that will be when we project out, with the addition of the
4th Brigade of the 82nd, the elements that will provide the additional
trainers and advisers.
I should point out that there really has been a shift that
McKiernan has asked that all of the additional forces that are
provided, and that actually started with the Marines that went into
the Regional Command South area, that they be dual-capable or dual-
mission, if you will. That they could partner with Afghan forces and
provide advisory and assistance tasks in that regard, even as they're
also conducting their own operations.
As you know, this is a shift that we're also going to make in
Iraq over time as we move away from combat brigades to advisory and
assistance brigades. And that's the concept. This will be the
biggest force that we have sent in, by far, that will have that
capability. But we've already been experimenting with the initial
elements of the Marines, and the other Marine units that go in will
have this same kind of capability and preparation. Again, we'll keep
learning about this as we do.
Well, we learn as we go. And anybody that thinks
that -- I think the reason we have to learn and change is because the
enemy does not desire to be defeated, captured or killed, and they
change. As soon as you confront one of their tactics, they will
develop another. And so it's not -- when you suggest for all of us
and the American people to understand that when tactics changes, it's
because often the enemy and their agenda has changed.
Absolutely, Senator. And you'll recall in the
counterinsurgency guidance that you read that we had in Iraq, that the
final bullet on there was learn and adapt. The enemy does change.
This is a thinking and intelligent enemy. And we must adapt.
Ideally, you try to get ahead of the enemy, of course, in what it is
we're doing. But what works today won't necessarily work tomorrow,
and what works today in one place won't work necessarily in the other.
Secretary Flournoy, I won't repeat questions
about the Pakistan situation, but Pakistan has been a long-time ally
of the United States. This is a very important issue. It has a
history of democratic leadership. It waffles back and forth over
time, but we can hope it will continue to maintain its democratic
traditions. And I just believe we need to be respectful of them, not
lecture them, and see if we can't find common interests that represent
their interests and to acknowledge some of the difficulties they may
be facing internally on some of these issues.
I couldn't agree more, Senator.
Sometimes I hear our talking heads and our
politicians talk about Pakistan like we can order them around. This
is a sovereign nation and an important nation. And I hope that we can
all remember that. And I would share that I think Senator Webb's
comments about the difficulty of creating a fully functional
government in Afghanistan is correct. This is a long time. They've
never really had that in any sophisticated degree. And we don't need
to be too optimistic in our abilities.
Admiral Olson, the Special Operations forces were the key to the
fall of the Taliban originally. How many forces did we have in
Afghanistan when the Taliban collapsed and we partnered with the
Northern Alliance? And how many of those were Special Operations
Sir, I'll ask those who have a better knowledge of
the total count to weigh in if they disagree. But I believe the total
number of U.S. forces the day that the Taliban abandoned Kabul was on
the order of 8(,000) to 10,000, about 2,000 of those had been provided
by United States Special Operations Command. It was essentially a
Special Forces group of operational detachments of green berets that
was the core of that.
Well, they did a fabulous job. They're not able
to -- 2,000, not able to run the whole country of Afghanistan or help
it be secure, but I do hope that your budget is sufficient to meet the
needs for the future of the Special Operations forces within the
entire military defense establishment that we have. Are you
comfortable, do you have enough there?
Again, I'm not going to get ahead of the budget
discussions on this one point yet. But as I said earlier, we are
robust enough to meet the requirement to respond to crises, but we
depend heavily on each of the services.
Do you feel like that your people are stressed to
a level that they can't sustain now? Of course, I would hope there
was some reduction in performance. But what is your basic feeling to
us today about the stress level of your fabulous troops?
Sir, I think we're operating at a pace that we can
sustain. There is unmet demand for Special Operations capability
around the world, but we are settled into a sustainable pace at this
point with the force we have.
That's good. General Petraeus, I would just say
thank you to your soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. I know that
I remember so vividly when President Bush had to ask them to extend
their tour, some of them had already reached Germany. And they said,
yes, sir, and they went back and served their country. And things
were dark in those days. And it's improved so much. And I just think
we need to thank the men and women in uniform who made that happen.
They are the key people.
I agree, Senator.
Thank you, Senator Sessions.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Petraeus or Secretary Flournoy, either one, can you give
me an estimate of how many contracting personnel you're going to
expect in Afghanistan?
I cannot, Senator. We can do a scrub of that and
see what the projection is, but I cannot give that to you right now.
And I think you probably understand, Secretary
Flournoy, why I'm concerned. As we moved into Iraq, if somebody would
have told us in the early days of that conflict that we were going to
end up with 140,000 -- no, even worse, that we weren't really sure
ever at any given time exactly how many contracting personnel we had
engaged in the conflict -- I want to make sure that we're not going
down this same road without having a very clear view of what the
contracting needs are going to be, how many people are going to be
involved and what it's going to cost.
Senator, I can assure you that Secretary Gates
has asked the same question. He wants to understand what the
contractor support footprint is going to look like for this larger
force. I think the other thing that we're looking at is not only the
numbers and the costs but also the composition. Can we place an
emphasis on indigenous contractors so that when we do have to rely on
contractors, we're actually contributing to the Afghan economy and
creating job possibilities for Afghans. So it's a sort of, you know,
there's at least an additional benefit there when we do have to rely
And I do think that historically that has been more of the case
in Afghanistan. There's been a higher percentage of the contractors
that we have used that have been indigenous.
Well, I -- and is there a new operational plan
for the new strategy?
There is an existing military campaign plan,
Senator, that incorporates already these forces because these requests
were made and they've been approved over time, as you know. So that
strategy exists. We are obviously working very hard to establish the
infrastructure in terms of bases, logistical support systems, command
and control structures, communications and all of the rest. That is
ongoing. A substantial amount of that work certainly is being done by
contractors. The creation a few years back of the Joint Contracting
Command for Iraq and Afghanistan has improved, we believe very
strongly, the conduct of these different contracts and so forth.
I should also add that we have certainly all tried to learn
lessons from the findings of the SIGIR in Iraq. And the establishment
of former General Fields as the SIGAR, the special inspector general
for Afghanistan reconstruction, is a very good move, in our view, as
are the other oversight mechanisms that the secretary and the
I would like to deprive him of as much work as
possible. I would like us not to have 400 or 500 different reports on
how badly we have handled contracting in Afghanistan, like we do
candidly with what happened in Iraq. And I just want to emphasize
that the time to deal with this is now. The time to get on this and
have a very good view because here's what our military does so well,
better than anybody on the planet, and that is going after the
mission. With honor, integrity and leadership we go after the
mission. And contracting has been an afterthought, and we can't
I don't want to cut you off, Secretary Flournoy, but I do want to
get to one other area, and we can come back to what you wanted to say,
and that is how we're transitioning out of Iraq with contracting
I do have a very clear org chart now, General, about the
contracting command in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But the most recent report from GAO says that there is no unified
structure that exists to coordinate the teams and units engaged in
efforts to manage and execute the return of materiel and equipment
from Iraq. And we're talking about 170,000 pieces of equipment worth
16.5 billion (dollars). And of that, 3.5 billion (dollars) is within
the control of our contractors.
And I am worried that we are not paying enough attention on that
front as we transition out of Iraq and into Afghanistan and that
there's not any uniform, unified effort coordinating these two
entities as to all this equipment and material and contractors. And
you know, are they just disbanding? Are we drawing contracts to a
close? We know the men and women are moving out in some kind of
timetable for that, but we don't really know much about the contracts.
Well, first of all, we actually have a plan that
is to bring down the number of contractors. And I can share that
slide with you --
That would be terrific.
-- in fact because we've put a great deal of
emphasis on this. And also, to the point the secretary made, we have
had an effort ongoing for some time, as you know, to give Iraqis the
shot at the contract. There was a period, frankly, where we lacked
trust in our own ability to vet and so forth, so we used a very large
number of third-country nationals in addition to the smaller number of
U.S. contractors. So the Iraqi First effort has gone quite well
actually with the Iraqi transportation network and a whole host of
But those numbers literally are coming down. As that does
happen, there is a process to account for the equipment that
contractors have that were purchased for tasks they're performing on
our behalf or on behalf of the other U.S. government agencies there to
get a handle on that and then to bring that out with us as well or to
dispose of it in some other manner that is legal and appropriate. But
there is also our logisticians are doing a tremendous amount of work
not just to build up the infrastructure and so forth for an effort
that more than doubles what we are doing in Afghanistan.
The surge in Iraq logistically was a miracle of modern military
activities, but it was a surge that was only 30-plus-thousand on top
of what was already 133-or-something-thousand in a country that had a
great deal of infrastructure. In Afghanistan, we're pushing over
30,000 and more than doubling it in a country that does not have the
infrastructure. And so the absorption is a big challenge, and that is
one reason that we have to space this out, and we have to build this
up. But your points are very well-taken about getting a grip on that.
In fact, the Joint Contracting Command in Iraq and Afghanistan
has helped a great deal, so also has Congress's and the department's
focus on increasing literally the number of contractors that we had in
uniform. As you know, there was a period where the Army had no
general officers in the contracting ranks whatsoever.
I think there are now going to be five, but I
don't want to speak for the Army on that. But again, all of these
efforts are hugely important, given the rise in contractors that we
have had, we think, in general, for good reasons, although there are
also going to be some initiatives, I think, coming out of the
department in this area. But I don't want to get ahead of the
secretary on that.
I think actually General Petraeus covered a lot of
the ground I was just going to add. But the one thing I will say on
the issue of revising the operational plan or the campaign plan, if we
are successful and really plussing up the civilian side of the effort,
I think the president will be asking the new ambassador and General
McKiernan to put their staffs together to come up with a civil
military, a whole-government campaign plan and to work that very
closely with the U.N. and with other international partners to really
get more synergy in our civil military efforts.
If I could add to that, Senator. In fact, there
is an existing military campaign plan, but the piece that very much
needs to be added now is a much more robust and complete joint
campaign plan along the lines of what Ambassador Crocker and I were
able to do there in Iraq, and that is the full intention. In fact,
Ambassador Holbrook has some instructions for that as the new team
goes into the embassy (in addition ?).
For what it's worth, in a few weeks from now, he and I are going
to host an on-site actually in Washington on a Saturday to bring
together civil and military and to talk about the kinds of policy
guidance that is needed to help that effort move forward.
Well, and in the contracting area particularly,
we had a little bit of this always going on, you know. AID said,
well, they aren't letting us do enough, and then State said, well, the
military took it away, and the military said, well, we've got to have
more CERP funds. Then meanwhile, we had LOG CAPs going to heights
that no one ever anticipated that LOG CAP would go to in terms of the
amount of money the American taxpayers spent. So cautionary warning
that some of us are paying very close attention to how we do
contracting in Afghanistan to see if we've learned any lessons.
Thank you, all, very much for your service.
And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Senator McCaskill.
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Welcome, all, Admiral Olson, Secretary.
And General Petraeus, I wanted to thank you for hosting me on
Monday at CENTCOM.
It was great to have you, sir.
General Hood and General Allen were very kind,
and we had a very good briefing. And I appreciate that very much. We
continue to be very proud to have CENTCOM in the state of Florida.
Proud to be there, Senator.
Nice to have you, sir. I know some of this has
perhaps been asked, but I wanted to just dip in a little bit more into
the area of fully resourcing the effort in Afghanistan and whether or
not, in addition to those, I guess, 17(,000) plus 4(,000), 21,000
troops that are moving into the theater, have begun to move into the
theater, the additional 10,000, I guess, which have been talked about
by General McKiernan. And I realize that those might not be
immediately needed. I wanted to ask, when will we know where we are
in the fully resourcing of that additional 10,000?
Sir, the way this was presented to the president
was sort of on a time line of when decisions would have to be made in
order for troops to deploy to meet the requirement. And my
understanding is that the remaining brigade decision and the
headquarters decision are for troop arrivals in 2010. So those
decisions will have to be made sometime in the fall.
At the same time because we are redoubling our effort in
Afghanistan and we expect to be making progress throughout this year,
we also expect the commander to be reassessing his needs over time,
and we expect that new or different requests may be put on the table
over time. So that's part of this commitment to continuing to measure
progress, continuing to evaluate how we're doing to see that. But I
think the president's made every decision that he needed to make at
this point in time. And I think those other decisions will be made at
the appropriate time when the commander needs to know.
I guess what I'm trying to understand is the
level of commitment. If the troops were needed, would they be sent?
I think this president has demonstrated with not
only the troops you mentioned, there are also some additional
enablers. I mean, we've gone from a posture of about 38,000 to now
projected 68,000. I think his commitment -- I would never have used
the phrase incrementalism to describe this. This is a very strong
commitment on the military side and on the civilian side and the
economic side by this president to try to make this mission
And I don't underestimate the importance of the
civilian and economic side which I think are tremendously important in
this effort, as they have been in Iraq as well. Here even more so
because I think it's very clear we're not talking about a rebuilding
effort. In many instances, it's building in the first instance which
I think is very dramatically different.
With regards to our NATO partners, the words of Secretary Gates
continue to haunt me about the two-tier alliance, those that might
fight and those that might not, and the continuing caveats with NATO
partners. How and when will we be approaching NATO? Are we
continuing to be committed to their participation in the fight as
opposed to just civilian and support participation?
Sir, we have been in consultation with NATO and
with many of our NATO allies bilaterally in the development of the
strategy. I will be going on behalf of Secretary Gates to the summit
along with the president tomorrow and Friday, Saturday to really try
to secure those commitments. And then following on in April, we will
have further donors conferences, one for Pakistan and we're hoping to
schedule one for Afghanistan to try to actually nail down exactly.
But I think many of our allies have been waiting to be able to come to
the summit with their commitment as a deliverable for that they
promise to do. So I expect by next week we should have a much better
sense of who is going to step up with what type of contribution.
That's great. Good luck in that and appreciate
your efforts in that regard.
General Petraeus, I was going to ask you regarding Iran, there
seemed to have been some statements as recent as the last day by Iran
indicating some willingness to combat drug trafficking and developing
and some reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan. Do you perceive
that there's opportunity for Iran to become a more helpful partner in
the Afghanistani effort, understanding that there share a long border
and that the issues of drugs as well as refugees are of internal
interest to them?
Well, there certainly are some shared concerns,
And as you know, in the beginning they did play a part in the
process. They also do not want to see the Taliban return to control
of Afghanistan as a Shi'a nation. The last thing they want to see is
a Sunni ultra-fundamentalist group that allows extremists to have
sanctuaries on their soil.
So there are some very good reasons why they should want to see
the effort in Afghanistan succeed. But there are times when it
appears that they are conflicted in their views of Afghanistan because
there's a sense, at times, that they don't want an enterprise that
we're a part of to succeed. So you have that dynamic. And, of
course, you also have overshadowing that some pretty serious
differences over other issues, as we look to the other side of the
Central Command area of responsibility, into some of their activities
in the nuclear realm.
I understand. I suppose we don't have a really
clear indication, as it's always difficult to read where they may be
coming from and I guess that continues to be part of the haze that we
have as it relates to Iran and their intentions.
One last question in the moment I have left, Madame Secretary.
China's participation. I'm intrigued as to how we're approaching
China as perhaps of some help in the Afghanistani theater, their
economic participation in the country. How do you view the potential
for that to develop over the months ahead?
I think it's a very important development that
we've -- we're engaging them, we're bringing them to the table. They
have a long-standing, historical relationship with Pakistan. They
have long-standing interests in the region. And I think they are
coming to the table sort of open to exploring ways that they can be
Obviously, they're going to do it in ways that try to safeguard
their interests. But I think where we find common interests, we
should explore that as fully as possible.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me just in closing,
General Petraeus, just say a word of thanks to you and your
leadership, as well as your troops, for the tremendous success. I
know fragile and I know reversible but I continue to believe that it
is, hopefully, a lasting success in the Iraqi situation. And you
deserve great credit and congratulations on that, thank you.
Thank you, Senator.
And I guess, Admiral Olson, I shouldn't overlook
the very great contribution of the special forces to this effort as
well. Thank you.
Thank you, Senator Martinez. Senator Begich?
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I
echo the comments that the senator just said and really appreciate the
work you all have done. It's been actually an interesting couple of
hours here listening to all the questions. The good news is most of
my questions were answered, so you're lucky about that. But I do have
some very specific ones I want to kind of rapid-fire, if I can.
First, General, in regards to Iraq. As we start to draw down and
turning the efforts over to the Iraqi government, are there any one or
two things that really stand out that could become show-stoppers or
issues that we've just got to keep our eye on as this process starts?
There are -- actually there are several, Senator.
The residual capacity that, as I mentioned, Iran does continue to
provide support for in terms of what essentially are proxy extremist
elements. We still see those.
By the way, the Iraqi government is watching that very carefully
and, in fact, their security forces will go after them when they have
the intelligence to do that. And I should note that our special
operations forces have trained those individuals and still do provide
a variety of support and assistance -- although the Iraqi forces take
the lead against the former militia and the other elements that used
to be called the "special groups."
There are residual al Qaeda -- and it's more than residual, it is
still a force to be reckoned with -- it is the al Qaeda and other
extremist allies that continue to carry out the suicide attacks that
we have seen periodically. Touch woodph), those have generally been
spaced out farther but we have seen some very tough ones in recent
weeks nonetheless. Again, the Iraqi forces are very much going after
those as well but they do require continued assistance in certain
areas -- as we discussed, Diyala and Nineveh Provinces, in particular,
in certain parts of Baghdad.
Of big concern is the bundle of issues that is wrapped up in
what's called the "disputed boundaries issues." Some of these are
Arab-Kurd issues; some are Sunni-Shi'a issues. They are potentially
very dangerous and we're quite worried bout the developments in some
of these areas, although the United Nations' element there is about to
make an announcement we hope that will start the ball moving forward
in resolving -- at least for the near term -- some of these different
And then you have a host of other issues wrapped up in politics.
Interestingly, the constitution, as it has played out, has an enormous
amount of safeguards, and you actually see the council of
representatives, their congress, executing its prerogatives and checks
and balances on the power of the executive branch. You see this play
back and forth, efforts by one to centralize, by others to hold that
in check. But some of that can result in actual insecurity challenges
and that's something else that we have to keep an eye on.
Finally, the budget pressures because of the reduction in the
price of oil have dramatically reduced the size of the budget that
they have available to them -- the revenues available for them for
this year. And that has caused some very painful decisions for them.
They're working their way through that. A related one of those is the
integration of the Sons of Iraq. It truly is an oversight. We do
believe that money was moved and then came off the plate; it's back on
the plate. And they keep finding short term solutions to what could
be a long term problem, if not resolved properly over time. But the
vast majority of the Sons of Iraq are now being paid by the government
of Iraq, although each monthly payroll has certain degrees of emotion
and tension connected with them.
Thank you very much. I have another quick one, a
follow up to Senator McCaskill's question regarding the -- as you deal
with the contractors and the equipment they maintain and handle and
how that gets transferred to you. Do you feel confident that you are
resourced enough to handle that process? And when I mean resource,
dollars for supporting your staff and other activities to make sure
that process goes forward in a way that has limited the missing
equipment and other types of things?
I believe that we are. We have learned some
tough lessons in this arena, as you know, and in other accountability
arenas, frankly, over the years. We believe that we have implemented
safeguards and are properly resourced. I do believe that there is
still progress required in terms of increasing our capability broadly
in the field of contracting in general. That process has begun and
it's a little bit like training leaders, or developing leaders, for
the Afghan National Security Forces. You just don't have those to
pull off the bench and throw in at more senior levels.
But the momentum has shifted in that regard and I think that's a
Thank you very much. I'm going to shift now, if I
can, to Afghanistan and look toward any one of you -- but I'll start
with you, General.
I'm going to read -- we kind of did some analysis. According to
the Field Manual, 3-24, which I know you had some involvement in
developing and authoring that, it talks about the density that you
need to have and the ratio of 20 to 25 per 1,000. When you look at
Iraq, which, again, I want to echo the comments throughout the day
here that talked about the work that you have done there and the
success that we have had there, the ratio when you look at that is 28
to 1,000, based on our troops, the coalition, Iraqi Security Forces,
and the army. All of those pieces added in is about 28 to 1,000.
When you look at Afghanistan and where we are today and where we
will be in 2001, based on the numbers, as well as, again, the same
kind of analysis of apples to apples; today we're about seven to
1,000. In 2011, we'll be at nine to 1,000 -- dramatically, it's half
of what the manual talks about. I'd be interested in your comments.
This is one area that is of concern to me and I recognize that we may
reevaluate it in 2011, but at 2011 we're still at nine to 1,000 based
on all the training that we do for their troops and other activities.
It is a concern, Senator. For what it's worth,
not only did I obviously oversee the production of that manual and
actually got into some serious editing, I personally made the decision
to put that ratio in there because there was a dispute about whether
it should go in and so forth.
I have heard about it at almost every hearing that I've had since
then but I stand by that because I think, intellectually, it was
absolutely the right thing to do -- and in terms of integrity -- that
we required that. Now, one area where, believe it or not, we actually
have to get some more work by the intelligence community is literally:
how large is Afghanistan? There is a dispute right now as to whether
it is 30 million or perhaps even as low as 23 million to 25 million
and the intelligence community is working on that; that, of course,
affects the ratio.
But the bottom line is, your point is exactly right, that even at
the end of the additional coalition forces, the accelerated
development of the Afghan National Army and the other Afghan National
Security Forces, that certainly, according to that ratio -- if you
assume that there's an insurgency throughout the country, which is not
necessarily the case and that's another important factor, that you
need more forces.
Again, I think that's something, as the assessment goes forward,
I would defer to the undersecretary on that.
Senator, if I could just -- there were several
faithful students of General Petraeus's manual in the strategy review.
She was present at the very first seminar as we
developed that manual.
We actually had several discussions on this very
issue. What I will tell you is, we asked the intelligence community
to give us their best assessment of where the insurgency had its
deepest roots and where it was really focused and concentrated
geographically in the country.
And while there are pockets in the north and west that are
important, the concentration really is in the south and up into the
east. And so when we were looking at the troops required on our side
by our allies, the Afghan troops, Afghan police, Afghan local security
forces of sum total of all, we were trying to concentrate our efforts
in that sort of insurgency belt in the south and the west to try to
get to those kinds of ratios in those geographic areas where the
insurgency is strongest.
So we actually did take that into account, not so much in a
countrywide fashion, but focused on the areas where the insurgency
really has taken root.
Thank you. My time is up and I'm also late for a
noon event, but let me ask you if I could if you could prepare or
share whatever level you can how those ratios look in those areas of
concentration. I recognize -- as a former mayor I always had my
police department tell me what the ratio should be, and then we had to
manage based on situations throughout the city. So we always had a
ratio. But I want to make sure that's the one area and to be very
frank with you, I want to make sure you're resourced properly here and
be aggressive about it so we're not kind of three quarters of the way
in. So let me end there and Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the
opportunity to ask some questions.
Thank you, Senator Begich. We'll just have a three
or four minute second round; there's only a few of us here so
hopefully you'll be able to get some lunch before your next
First on this 10,000 troop request, is there a pending request
that is unfilled at this point for those 10,000 additional troops?
There is a request for forces for those elements,
Senator, and it did move through me. My understanding is that it has
not been sent beyond the Pentagon at this time.
Has that been sent -- I should look to you then
Secretary Flournoy -- has that been sent by Secretary Gates? Has that
request been made by Secretary Gates?
The request was laid out along with all of the
others on a timeline. And what the president was told is that that
request is out there but he doesn't have to make it --
Make the decision?
-- make the decision until the fall so that the
troops would arrive as planned in 2010. So that -- I think the
president was focused on making every request he needed to be made in
the current timeframe and I think he wanted to reassess where we are
when -- you know, when that -- you know, at the time the decision has
to be made.
So that decision will be made in a timely way so
that the troops, if the president --
-- so determines can get there on the timeline that
General McKiernan has requested them.
Is that a fair statement?
Is that -- do you agree with that, General Petraeus?
Well it would begin --
But they'd also may be --
-- to make the --
No, it's up to the --
-- the president will decide whether or not to --
If he decides in the fall to approve those 10,000 --
-- they would then arrive in a timely fashion
according to a timetable which General McKiernan more importantly I
guess you, you're the commander of CENTCOM, have approved?
That's correct, Senator.
Okay. So it's not like it's rejected or deferred,
it's just that a decision will be made in a timely way one way or the
other. And if it's made in a positive way in the fall, that would
then respond positively to the current request for 10,000?
That's correct Chairman.
Just one -- sort of a comment and a question on this aid for
Pakistan, the money which has been or will be requested, I guess it's
called Kerry-Lugar money.
My own feeling is that I'm willing to support that if I think
it'll be effective. Whether it's going to be effective will depend on
whether or not the Pakistanis have adopted the goals of dealing with
the religious extremists in their midst and do it where necessary
forcefully. And we've got ambivalent evidence as to whether or not
they're committed to that goal.
So I need to, as far as this one vote is concerned, to believe
that those goals not only are at the top but sufficiently permeated
the down below elements of the Pakistani government and military so
that the aid would be effective. And would you think that's a fair
position to take? I don't know, maybe that's an unfair way to state
it but do you think that that is a fair view to take on my part?
Senator, I think we're all looking for those
indications that the intent of the assistance would be met. What I
can tell you in this intensive dialogue and trialogue we've been
having in the development of the strategy is that the Red Mosque
attack, the assassination of Bhutto, the attack on the cricket team,
the attack on the police station, these are really starting to have an
impact on both average Pakistanis but also the leadership. They are
-- you know, the problem is making itself very much felt. And so I do
think we are at a different moment of opportunity now.
Senator, can I just note by the way that your
comments similar to that were in the newspaper I think it was
yesterday, the comments that you made. And I shared those with a
senior -- there's a senior Pakistani officer here right now in fact
for a conference, in fact the undersecretary addressed all these
central and south Asian chiefs of defense staff and other senior
officers. And I will also share those with the Pakistani ambassador
who I'm meeting tomorrow night.
All right. Now finally, it's a different aspect of
the same problem. We cannot appear to be buying support for our
policies, it's got to be that we are supporting Pakistan policies.
Because if we appear to be buying something they otherwise would not
pursue, it's counterproductive in terms of the reaction of the
Pakistan people who want to believe that we're supporting their goals,
not that we're buying something they otherwise wouldn't do because
that is a domineering kind of a position to take. If we're buying
something, now you know money can be used for two different purposes,
one you go to the store, you buy something, or you can use money to
support something like something you believe in like your family's
And it's a subtle difference in a way because it's still money,
but it's a critical difference. It's maybe too nuanced for public
consumption, I don't know, but it's a critically important difference,
I believe in how then if there is a difference, if you accept that
difference, can we make it clear that it is our goal to support a
Pakistan government which has the goals of a stable Pakistan without
religious extremists dominating or controlling things without the
downside possibility that it would look like we're trying to persuade
them to do something they otherwise wouldn't do.
How do we, if you can follow that distinction, how would you --
-- pursue it?
-- in fact in all of the recent studies, there
has been a recognition of the importance of moving from what we have
terms a transactional relationship with Pakistan to a partnership.
And I think that captures exactly what you're getting at but as you
also rightly note there is nothing easy about this. This is about
relationships, it's about building of trust and confidence, it's about
their recognition of the existential threat that it is a threat to
them, not just a threat to us and the rest of the world and all the
rest of that.
Senator Levin, I think a point worth making is that
as we strive for an increased and enhanced relationship, partnership
with Pakistan, that we do recognize the sacrifices and contributions
that they've made to date. They have been a strong ally and I think
the forces that I provide feel that because they have been working one
on one at a unit level and a training relationship with Pakistani
forces who have captured thousands, killed hundreds, and lost numerous
lives in the border region. And they fought -- there was a serious
fight in Bajaur before a successful outcome there and there was a
serious fight in Swat before an unsuccessful outcome there that they
still hope to reverse.
So at the unit level and where I've been able to visit the
Americans and the Pakistanis working together in a training
relationship, there is a solid statement of partnership. I know we're
looking for a much more over demonstration of commitment by the
Pakistani government, but I would like to be on the record as saying
that the soldiers themselves, many of them have fought hard in the
western regions of Pakistan.
And I would echo that, Chairman.
Thank you. Senator Lieberman.
Thanks very much. Mr. Chairman. Thanks to all
of you. I want to make two quick statements and ask one question.
The first statement is to thank you for the exchange that you had
with Senator Levin about that pending request for 10,000 additional
troops and the answer that the door is essentially open and a decision
has not been made at the highest levels of our government. You know,
I say that for the obvious reason that we learned, one of the lessons
we learned painfully in Iraq is that numbers matter. And it's not
numbers alone of troops as you always remind us General Petraeus it's
how they're used and also that military strength is a necessary but
not sufficient basis for achieving our objectives.
But the lesson that, you know, I think should be with all of us
from the time, the resources, the lives that we've lost over a period
of time when we inadequately researched that war is that sometimes
those short range decisions really cost you in the long run and I
appreciate the fact that the request is pending and that the
administration has not made a decision on it and is open to it this
Secondly, it may sound a little odd but I want to say a word on
behalf of the Afghan people and there was some questions raised that I
think you answered well General Petraeus. this is a remarkable people
with a remarkable history.
I'm not closing my eyes to any of the problems we have now, but
they have survived a lot in their history, they have a real sense of
nationhood. And one might argue in fact that though there are
Pashtuns and Tajicks there that the divisions between them are
actually much less than we found in Iraq between the Shia's and the
Sunnis and Kurds, not in that the comparisons are not exact. But as
we know, and as you know better than I, two things. One is their
fighters are really committed, most of them. And they've now held an
election and the people have showed in great numbers that they want a
better future. Some of the people, a lot of the people at the top of
that government are really quite impressive.
So I think -- and they seem quite supportive comparatively
speaking of our presence there and what we're trying to do for them.
So I understand all the problems but I think this is a, not only do we
have a security interest in how this comes out, ends in Afghanistan,
the people want it to end well. Why wouldn't they? I mean, look at
how every time there's a poll there, the Taliban comes out about at
the bottom, lower even in numbers Congress had a short while ago,
that's how bad the Taliban is doing in Afghanistan --
Okay, now to my question --
Time is up. (Laughter.)
My question is this, I thought the president
spoke very eloquently on Friday about the fact that there hadn't been
adequate civil military cooperation partnership in Afghanistan, about
the need to make that happen. So I wanted to ask -- and of course we
know during a period of time when, particularly when Ambassador
Khalilzad, General Barnwas here, certainly seemed like their offices
were together, they were working together, the model that you built in
Iraq with Ambassador Crocker.
So what are doing to try to create that here and I know some
people laugh at plans, but is there a coordinated civil military plan
being written for the war in Afghanistan?
I would just say we're working it at multiple
levels at this sort of operational level if you will or the strategic
operational levels, General Petraeus and Ambassador Holbrook are
leading the effort that he mentioned.
We've also tasked, or will be tasking a new, our current
commander and the new ambassador to put together a campaign plan
that's truly joint at their level. But even more important, or as
important we are engaged in discussions with Kai Eide, the UN
representative and our allies to try to ensure that we have an
overarching sense of, you know, priorities and what we're doing, but
that we've really encouraged Mr. Eide to move the UN presence into
provincial presence so that province by province we have a much more
coordinated effort on the part of the international community working
hand in hand with the ICF forces.
So it's complicated but we're trying to work the problem at
multiple levels that are interconnected --
Well, in fact there's direction already been
given to call Eikenberry, General Eikenberry right now who I think was
reported out of committee yesterday and there is every intention to do
just that. In fact, even the new DCM who goes in may start that
process with General McKiernan. It was a topic that we talked about
on Saturday as well.
Excellent, very encouraging. Thank you all, I
will tell you that three of you, the testimony has been really
excellent and really the three of you operate at such a high level
that it should give all of us confidence. Admiral Olson, you asked a
few less questions probably inherent to the nature of your covert
special operations, you stayed relatively covert this morning but I
appreciated your opening statement. You said really quite directly
that the behavior of the enemy we're facing in Afghanistan ranges from
malicious to evil, and it's because I agree with you that I'm so
grateful that we have three people of your caliber leading the effort.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I think you heard hear this morning a great deal of
support for the president's direction and strategy. It's cohesive,
it's strong, it's clear, it's goals are important goals and I hope
you're all reassured by what you heard from this side but we're
reassured from what we heard from you and your testimony was very,
very helpful, it was important for the American people that the kind
of questions which were asked be asked, you gave answers which I
consider to be highly reassuring and we will now stand adjourned with