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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  February 25, 2016 3:00pm-7:01pm EST

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action plan that the president announced in the fall, and we've given guidance to districts and states how to use existing funds for the time of audits. we have to acknowledge where there have been genuinely been too much time on testing and too little time as a result or loss of time on instruction and i think we've got an opportunity to shift that. the president has in his budget a proposal to increase funding for assessment grants so that states have additional resources that they can put towards those kind of audits, where they review assessments and get rid of ones that are unnecessary. so, i'm optimistic that the new law, the thoughtfulness of state leaders that i'm seeing across the country and looking at how they reduce assessments to the minimum necessary to support good instruction, i'm optimistic that those things will help us get to a better place. >> well, i appreciate your answer. and i hope as you have a ten-month tenure for sure through this administration, but
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that ten months will include the beginning of the upcoming school year which starts around the country as early as the first week in august in georgia, so you're going to be having a lot of situations to have communications with the states regarding requirements and regarding the flexibility of every student succeeds act. so, i hope you will take that opportunity to realize that the states went to the federal government for relief by asking for waivers from no child left behind because we didn't do the reauthorizing we should have. now that we have done a re-authorization, now the states are more engaged in the implementation of the secondary education, hope you'll treat this as a partnership between the federal government and the states. not a dictatorship from the federal government to the states. >> absolutely. >> thank you for your service. >> thanks. >> thank you, senator isakson. senator warren. >> thank you, mr. chairman. millions of americans are being crushed by student loan debt. more than 90% of that debt is either owned or guaranteed by the department of education through its federal student aid
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office. in other word, the department of education runs what amounts to a trillion dollar bank with exactly one product, student loans, and exactly one obligation, fairly serving millions of student loan customers. now, it is clear to me that the department's bank is in need of some serious improvement. would you agree with that, dr. king? >> as we've discussed, i look forward to working with you and the rest of the committee to try to strengthen the student loan system. i worry that too many students don't understand their options with how to manage the debt that they have. i worry that there are institutions that are bad actors, where there's need for more enforcement. you know, we just added a new enforcement unit to focus on that, so i'm very committed to continue to work with you and the committee to strengthen our efforts in this area. >> i appreciate that and i'm glad to hear it, because i want to put in the record just a few of the problems about how the
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department's student loan bank has been falling down on the job. first, the department of justice found that the student loan servicer navigant had been cheating the women and men in our military on their student loans and fined the company $60 million. but the department of education's bank took no action. instead, the department's bank let them off the hook after conducting its own separate and deeply misleading review. the bank then rewarded the company that cheated our members of the military by renewing another $100 million contract. second, the cfpb identified widespread failures in student loan servicing, servicers routinely mistreat borrowers and break the rules but the department of education's bank consistently renews their contracts. and in 2014, the bank even gave these companies a raise. third, over the last decade the
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department of education's inspector general has criticized the bank's failure to police debt collectors who casualty break consumer protection laws. the department of education's bank is still paying those same debt collectors that break the law. fourth, the student loan bank won't share data about the student loan program with anyone, not even the rest of the department of education. this means that nobody -- nobody -- has any insight into how this trillion dollar bank is being run. and fifth, last one i'll mention here, despite these massive and ongoing problems, the department's bank thinks that it is doing such a great job that in 2014 they gave dozens of their own senior officers -- those are your department's employees -- bonuses. and some of those bonuses were
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as high as $75,000. so, there are five examples. and i understand, dr. king, these problems existed long before you ever set foot in the department of education. but if you are confirmed as the next secretary of education, you will be responsible for how the department's trillion dollar bank runs. will you commit yourself to cleaning up this bank's operation and making sure that it works for the students that it is supposed to serve? >> i am deeply committed to ensuring that federal student aid serves students well, serves borrowers well and protects the taxpayer interest. let me tell you four things that i think are promising. one is the department's work on the gainful emploiryment regulations which i think will help to ensure at the outset that institutions provide good information to students and ensure we act when there are bad actors. two, on the servicing issues around service members, we have
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now in place a system where there is automatic notification between the department of defense and fsa when service members go into active duty and that automatic notification then protects service members. we also have tried to make whole any service members who did not have the proper interest rate prior to that system going into place. third, we've created this new enforcement unit that i mentioned, robert kaye who has been an enforcement litigator at the ftc has joined us to lead that unit. and we are committed to taking action with bad actor institutions. and then fourth, we will shortly recompete the servicing contract. as we do that, we will integrate into that servicing contract many of the suggestions that you have made, that other advocates have made regarding how we protect student borrower interest and feedback honestly that we've gotten from higher ed institutions as well that worry
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about their students and borrowers and want to make sure they are well served. i think there are promising indicators, but you're right, there's a lot of work to do to ensure that we protect our students and borrowers and we intend to do that. >> well, i very much appreciate it. i appreciate the steps that you are already taking. i just want to say, it is the department of education's job to stand up for students. not for the student loan companies that are making money off these loans or the for-profit colleges that want to suck down more taxpayer dollars. the department's student loan bank is failing massively at this critical task, dr. king. and the american people need to know that if you are confirmed you will make it a priority to fix these problems. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator warren. senator scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. king, good to see you again. thank you for coming by the office yesterday and spening some quality time on the issue of education and certainly my
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friend and your friend m mo cowan's opinion of you is very high, and he needs to come back from massachusetts to d.c. a little more often. question for you on charter schools. i know that you were intimately involved in roxbury prep and it had a lot of success there and we saw is a similar program that has been very successful. what can we expect from you in terms of charter schools and how will your approach be different from the approach of secretary duncan? >> appreciate the question. so, we think charters can play a key role in fostering innovation in education and providing better outcomes for high-need students. certainly that's what we tried to do at roxbury prep and at uncommon. we have two programs that are supporting programs. our charter school program which is designed to spur the creation of new, high quality charters and strengthen charter school
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authorizing and we have a program that's focused on scaling high performing charter management organizations. and the president has proposed increased funding for charter efforts. we are very focused on how we grow the number of high performing schools that students can choose whether it's district or charter schools. as we do that one of the things we have to be vigilant about is authorizer quality. as we talked briefly about, you know, i do worry that there are places where authorizers aren't doing good enough job. we've got to make sure authorizers act when schools aren't delivering on the promises of their charter. i think that will help lift the sector. but as states move forward with every student succeeds act and think about what interventions they will put in place in high-need schools, growing the number of innovative high-need schools whether that's innovative district schools or innovative charter schools should be a part of that discussion. >> one area that we may have to disagree to disagree with is on the d.c. opportunity scholarship. i know that there are some
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parents and students in the audience who have a very passionate position as i do on the importance of this scholarship, especially when you look at your commitment to equity and excellence and the fact that we have a classic example here in washington, d.c., of a -- of a process and a program that has produced numbers in success in a way that's inconsistent with other schools. i believe the number is that the graduation rate of those students attending a d.c. opportunity scholarship program is around 90%. other schools in the d.c. area's it's around 62% with some going as low as 38%. the cost per pupil is somewhere around 9,000 to 12,000 and 88% of the students go on to a two-year or four-year college experience. it seems to me that the administration and you as secretary should take a second look at that program and look for ways to integrate it and to
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use it to carry over money $35 million to fund more scholarships. and frankly, this is not just my perspective this is a bipartisan perspective when you look at the support of senators like republican senator ron johnson as well as senators feinstein and cory booker all have the same opinion that d.c. opportunity scholarship. what can we do to move the administration and you as perhaps the new secretary in the direction of using that $35 million of carryover funds to fund more scholarships? when you take into consideration the fact that in the d.c. area there are basically three approaches to education. the d.c. public schools get about $20 million a year. the opportunity scholarship program's around $20 million. so, the funds that are necessary to continue the scholarships is apparently already there and what we have an opportunity to do is take the $35 million to use for more scholarships so that we see more kids, 97% of these kids are either african-american or latinos, we
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can see more kids succeeding at high levels especially when you think about the fact that 60% of these kids are receiving tanif or s.n.a.p. benefits and they are outperforming their peers in the d.c. area and perhaps throughout the country. >> as we talked about and i very much respect your position. i think our view is that the number of slots in the d.c. voucher program should be based on annual appropriations. to the extent that there are open slots within the annual appropriation, those would be filled. we think the carryover funds should be maintained to ensure that the currently enrolled students, if new appropriations are not made, have the opportunity to complete their education in the schools they are now enrolled. you know, again, i respect we have a difference of opinion on that. i think -- i think we share an urgency around equity and excellence. i do not personally believe that that vouchers are a scaleable solution to the equity
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and excellence challenge and prefer the route of public school choice, but respect -- certainly respect your position on this. >> i'll just close with this, mr. chairman, i certainly think your success on charter schools is undeniable and thank goodness you've taken that, it's been successful. when we look at the d.c. opportunity scholarship and in a ten-year period we've seen 6,000 students come across and 95%, 93% of those kids graduate, it would be a shame not to take advantage of a system or a program that is working so well, that we have so many kid that would have been denied access to higher education now being involved -- involved in higher education, succeeding in higher education and it changes their entire family system. so, for us not to take a second look at this would be a shame. thank you. >> thank you, senator scott. senator murphy. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. good afternoon. congratulations. i have to pass on to you a compliment paid to you by a
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friend shortly after you were named to the interim position. this individual said to me, it's wonderful that a person like john king could become the secretary of education, and i asked him what he meant by that. he said, you know, it's not just his background, to have somebody there who has done everything within the educational system, someone who wasn't a creature of washington but a creature of local school districts, but just someone of the temperament and the disposition that john has. you have a lot of fans out there. not because of the work you've done, but just because of the person you are and that's come through in every post you've had. and a real tribute to you. dr. king, i wanted to talk to you a little bit about one of the particular provisions that i care most about. i and others on this committee, senator warren, senator murray amongst others fought very hard for requirements in the new elementary and secondary education law that would ensure that states must step in with
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evidence-based interventions for the lowest-performing schools, bottom five% of schools. dropout factories that fail to graduate a third of their students. the requirements are essential to maintain the core purpose of esea originally as a civil rights law. it's not really any good to have a federal education law if it's not also a civil rights law. but it's really going to be up to the department to ensure that states have meaningful definitions of things like consistently underperforming and that states and districts are monitoring schools with consistently underperforming subgroups. so, my question is a general one. the law, it does appropriately turn over a lot of flexibility to states in the design of these accountability systems, but it also includes some really important federal guide rails. so, as secretary, how are you going to ensure that states implement accountability systems that protect these subgroups of vulnerable students? >> thanks. i appreciate the question.
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you know, the civil rights legacy of the elementary and secondary education act is crucial to preserve and advance. and i think states have an opportunity to use their flexibility around interventions to increase equity. in order to do that, i think you're exactly right, we will need to ensure that there are good guardrails and we're gathering comment and feedback from schools and civil rights organizations and community leaders and educators to understand how we can, through regulations and guidance, support the implementation of interventions that actually move us closer to closing the achievement gap. i think it's a good thing that every student succeed act moves us away from the "one size fits all" solution of no child left behind. if you have a school struggling with a population of english learners, you should be able to bring in evidence-based professional development and teaching practices and help teachers support those english learners, you shouldn't have to
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go to a "one size fits all" solution that has nothing to do with this because it's a federal law. i think there's an opportunity for states to have smarter interventions and districts have smarter interventions. but it will also be important for the department to be vigilant after that first set of interventions is put in place. if they aren't working, if they aren't closing achievement gaps, if they aren't raising graduation rates, there's going to need to be demonstrated effort on the part of states to intentionfy the interventions to act on the evidence and change strategies and we'll be careful to regulate the work and provide guidance and technical assistance and we'll be guided on that on the feedback that we get from stakeholders. >> i appreciate your focus on this. i want to ask one additional question following up on senator warren's questions, another one of these for-profit schools went out of business earlier this month leaving about 460 students in my state suddenly with
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unfinished degrees and massive student debt. they are piling up, the headlines, by the month. you've got the ability in the department of education to cut off aid for schools only when they hit a fairly ridiculous tripwire which is 30% of their students effectively achieving the status of financial ruin, that they have gotten so badly behind on their debt that they are defaulting. a lot of the conversation around higher ed re-authorization here is whether there's a better way to give you power, give you the ability, to intercede earlier than that moment when one-third of all students graduating from an institution have gotten degrees that are so worthless and meaningless that they can't pay back their student loans, this concept of shared responsibility. what do you think about the need to give the department of education some new ability to intervene a little bit earlier? >> we're -- we would love to work with you on that. i will say i do think gainful employment regulations will help with respect so some of the
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institutions. our new enforcement unit will help. but strengthening the accountability within the higher education act will be very valuab valuable including strengthening the accountability for creditors. if you look at corinthian it was credited throughout. ensuring that acreditors are paying attention to whether or not students are getting what they pay for is a critical step we can take in the re-authorization. >> as the chairman will rj, we had the acreditor of corinthian before us who defended it in the inaction in the wake of federal government intervention which to many of us was a little hard to swallow. thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you, dr. king. >> senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, dr. king, and congratulations, again, on your nomination. essa includes some innovation that is an assessment pilot
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program which i co-authored with senator sanders which ought to tell you something about the breadth of support that the program has. this is a pilot program that would allow seven states to develop alternative models for assessment. one such model could be proficiency based, which northern new england is particularly interested in. and the law allows seven states, as i mentioned, to participate in the demonstration project. what are your plans for implementing this pilot program? >> thank you for the question and thank you for your leadership on this issue. i think we are still in the early stages of gathering feedback and comment from stakeholders on areas where regulations or guidance will be helpful. as we work on the innovative
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assessment pilot, i think we have a good example to look towards as we discussed briefly in new hampshire. new hampshire i think is doing very good work on building a performance based assessment system led by teachers that then will transition into, they hope, their statewide assessment system. so, we'll certainly look to their example and leadership, but we want to make sure we support states as they think about taking advantage of this opportunity. >> turning to another topic, when i talk to school administrators in maine, they tell me that they're very concerned that the maintenance of efforts requirements under . i.d.e.a. are producing the unintend eed effect of hinderin the ability of school districts to provide the most effective and cost efficient services to children with special needs.
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and let me give you an example that one gave to me. a school district in maine wanted to hire an in-house school pathologist to -- school pathologist. sorry, speech pathologist to provide services to children with special needs instead of using a much more expensive outside contractor. unfortunately, they found they could not do so because it would be considered reducing the maintenance of effort because it would be less expensive. yet clearly from this school district's perspective, having an in-house speech pathologist is far more responsive to the needs of these students than contracting out that function.
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a gao report last october also commented on this lack of flexibility and said that it discouraged school districts from changing spending decisions even when doing so would benefit their special needs children. the limited regulatory exceptions for adjusting the maintenance of effort requirement do not appear to allow for those kinds of changes. as secretary, would you consider refining the maintenance of effort regulations so that if a school district is actually trying to produce better outcomes for special needs students, they can do so even if it ends up lowering the cost? >> yeah, appreciate that. you know, certainly the principle -- i think we'd agree
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the principle of maintenance of effort as a way of protecting the services that students with disabilities are receiving and making sure school districts meet those needs is clearly the right principle. i certainly would like our team to talk with yours about these specific cases and to look at how they evolved. as we talked about, i think particularly in some of our rural areas around the country, these issues are particularly pertinent, and it's particularly challenging. and one of the things that we tried to do in new york was to leverage shared regional service providers to try to ensure that districts were able to get the students the services they needed in a sustainable way. but certainly i want to make sure our teams connect on that and talk through that. because we certainly want to be in the position of supporting districts and serving students with disabilities as well as possible. >> thank you. and my final comment is that i hope you will have a listening session in a rural area.
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we talked about that in my office as opposed to just large urban areas like l.a. and d.c. >> yes. absolutely. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator collins. senator casey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. king, welcome. >> thank you. >> and thank you for your testimony and your willingness to serve, and we appreciate that commitment. we want to commend and salute your family as well, because when you serve, they serve with you, in one way or another. we appreciate the commitment your family's made to this high level of public service. i wanted to start with an issue we've discussed and about which we have a disagreement, and that's the student loan servicing reallocation question, where i have a disagreement with the department. and i think it could have an adverse impact on borrowers and we don't agree, but i hope we can continue to engage on that
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and come to a resolution that's satisfactory. so, i hope you'll be open to further engagement on that. i wanted to start, though, with an issue we don't hear an awful lot about. it has as you know a very technical name, significant disproportionality which i guess the simplest way to describe it which is children of color overrepresented in special education for a whole variety of reasons. i'm pleased that the department has released a draft rule to address this issue. we know that this is a huge problem across the country. data that i know you're aware of that covers about a 12-year time frame, data gathered by the office of special education programs. indicated among other things that, for example, african-american students were
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50% more likely and hispanics students were 40% more likely to be identified as a student with a learning disability. similarly, african-american students were 70% more likely than american indian and alaska native children were 120% more likely to be identified as a student with an emotional disturbance. all of that, of course, results in those students being suspended at much higher rates than other students. so, we know that this issue of so-called overrepresentation is a widespread problem. we know that in 2013 the gao found that only 2% to 3% of districts nationwide were reporting overidentifying students of school special education. so, that's obviously a failure of our system when only 2% or 3%
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of districts are tracking this and identifying the problem. so, we know that hundreds, literally hundreds, of districts across the country with these disparities go unidentified. the children don't get the help they need and are misidentified early on in life. in essence among other horrific problems, feeds -- the problem, i should say, feeds the school-to-prison pipeline. all of that by way of backdrop. every bit of it i think you know. can you walk us through some of the recommendations of the gao report? >> yeah, so one of the things that the gao report asks us to do is to look at the methodology that states were using to make these determinations around disproportionality. and so what we've done in the proposed rule is suggested that states develop a risk ratio methodology that will help them figure out which are the
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districts where there is this disproportionality. as a first step to a process of then evaluating why that disproportionality is happening and then addressing resources to intervene. and one of the things that we've tried to stress about this proposed rule is it's not intended to necessarily reduce the number of students identified as having disabilities. it's about ensuring that students are getting the right services. and if -- in some cases it's that students, african-american stude students, latino students, particularly african-american and latino male students are in some places disproportionately assigned to more time outside of the regular classroom even for the same disability issue that other students aren't assigned out of the classroom. or we see students disproportionately suspended from school or assigned to an alternative placement. and so we want to see this as an opportunity to get states and districts to take a second look at why that is happening, and that's the goal of this rule.
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we think it's an important step. we're certainly eager to get public comment on it and to ensure that the final rule addresses the public comment. >> we appreciate that. because i know -- i say this as a former state auditor general, where we would have audit findings and make a long series of recommendations, then you wonder if the state agency would be responsive. in this case you're taking a gao report, addressing a serious problem, and actually putting into place rules to improve it and to help our kids, so we appreciate your work on this, and we appreciate the department's work. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks, senator casey. senator roberts. >> mr. chairman, thank you. dr. king, welcome to the committee, and congratulations on your confirmation. it's good to see your family. and i just happen to notice that your two daughters, i have two daughters about that age, some
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years ago, i want to thank them for their patience, number one. and number two, i happened to observe, like my daughters, their countenance. i would urge you, sir, to get up at 5:00 in the morning so you can get home at 6:00. you have no idea how many young men are going to be knocking on your door. i also have a big stick that i could loan you. so, come to my office on that courtesy call we missed, and i'll give you that stick. >> absolutely. >> i know that we have differences on common core. i don't want to get into that. but it is part of existing legislation and law. and i want to be absolutely clear the language says, no officer or employee of the federal government, including the secretary, shall attempt to influence, condition, incentivize or coerce state adoption of the common core state standards or any other academic standards common to a significant number of states or assessments tied to such
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standards. i know that we, again, may have differences, but nevertheless will you give us your commitment that you will respect the intent as well as the explicit and binding letter of that prohibition? >> absolutely. >> thank you. that's all i need. >> okay. >> you were going to come into my office last week, and then it didn't work out. i want to let you know that i held a roundtable discussion in kansas at washington university. 12 college presidents, 12 college and university, and 12 business stakeholders to discuss higher education and workforce development. we heard from the higher education leaders about the impact of federal programs, policies and regulations. and since the chairman and senator whitehouse and senator enzi and others and senator collins here just a moment ago mentioned regulations. i want to share this handy chart from one of the participants,
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johnson county community college who have the most students of any university and/or college in the state of kansas, even ku, k-state or wichita state. 34 topic areas of federal regulation. they have it in bubbles here. i would hope we could burst the bubbles. i'm not going -- well, yeah, i am, too. taxes, academic programs, environment, admissions, environment, financial aid, international programs, insurance, health care, governance, immigration, privacy, athletics, sexual misconduct, research, accreditation, unions, wages, program integrity, i'm running out of breath. copyright, trademarks, contracts and procurement, diversity, accounting, ethics and lobby. here's the deal. every one of these regulations have to be adhered to and every reg -- with the cost/benefit here. the cost is exceeding the benefit and we have an awful lot
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of people here now that are in charge of these regs and trying to fill these regs out. this is not unique just to this community college, but it is the same i suspect nationwide, but i know in kansas as well. my -- my plea to you is that all of these people have jobs to do. you can't hire 34 people to do all of this that have expertise in this area to keep up with the paperwork and the regs. just like sheldon whitehouse said, teachers want to be free to teach. and they want to be able to teach with regards to the time. as opposed to filling out paperwork. and so my question to you is, can you help us and be a partner in this effort? all of us have obligations with this. we know that, in the education community. but, my goodness, if you total all this up and the money spent and the hours spent, like the chairman has indicated, we have to do a better job.
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my -- i just urge you to be a partner in this effort so we can adhere to what we want to accomplish, but, quite frankly, i think a lot of this could be done at the local level. now you have 32 seconds, sorry. >> committed to working with you on this issue and certainly committed to working with the committee and committee staff to try to identify places where we can make smart improvements, to make the system more efficient for higher ed institutions. i will say, we are making some progress on recommendations at higher ed institutions made in the past. for example, one recommendation was around prior prior, use of tax information from the prior prior year as part of the process. that will be implemented starting next -- next fall on october 1. we've also been asked to move the date up. it will be available on october 1, so we are making some progress and certainly willing to work with you to identify other places. >> i appreciate that.
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my time has expired. i'm from dodge city, kansas, senator collins underscored the need to look at rural areas. we think we have some very fine higher institutions of learning and so we have some special problems there as well. and please get in touch with my office, and we'll look forward to a good visit. thank you. >> absolutely. >> thank you, senator roberts. senator murray has to leave, so i'm going to ask her to make her closing comments. then we'll go to senator murkowski, senator warren i think has additional questions, so you can be first in the second round, and then i will close -- >> okay. >> -- close the hearing. senator murray? >> i just simply wanted to thank dr. king for being here today. this is such an important time for students of all ages and with all the challenges and opportunities and you've heard them across the board here, it's really important that we have strong leadership at the department of education. and, mr. chairman, i'm really
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confident that dr. king is a strong nominee to transition from acting secretary to taking the position of secretary of education. i look forward to supporting him, and i want to submit for the record statements from 18 groups in support of his nomination and thank him very much for all he is doing. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator murray. senator murkowski. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and, dr. king, welcome, congratulations on your nomination. i'm sorry that our schedules didn't work so that we could visit. hopefully we'll still have that opportunity to do so at some point in time. both my colleague from maine and my colleague from kansas have mentioned the rural component of education. and as you know, coming from a state that's one-fifth the size of the country with about 732,000 people, we got a lot of rural. we got a lot of spaces and we have a lot of very small schools. i had an opportunity just last week to take five of my senate colleagues to a place in southwest alaska, bethel, large
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regional community, primarily alaska natives, but we went further beyond bethel to the community of oscarville, 80 people, 17 kids in the school, 2 teachers. challenges in delivering education in a very rural, very remote area, where broadband is an issue. quite honestly basic water and sanitation is an issue. so, the question to you here this afternoon is, is actually pretty general in terms of how we -- how we address those in our very rural communities. how we ensure that these children in your words are -- there are children who stand too far behind their peers. and these are rural students and these are native american students. so, again, alaska really fills that bill. you've also indicated as one of
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your priorities to do more to ensure a diverse pipeline of future educators. one of the things we're struggling with in alaska is how we get more alaska native children to believe that being a teacher can be a noble calling for them. can you give me a little assurance about how you view some of these challenges in educating our rural children and native american children alaska native. >> absolutely. you know, i was state chief in new york, and even though when folks hear new york, they think of new york city. we have 700 districts spread all throughout the state and many of the districts are small, rural districts up in the north country near the canadian border or out in western new york. and i spent a lot of time on rural issues. could see how districts were struggling with declining enrollment, the difficulty of providing art, music, a.p.
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classes, finding a physics teacher. districts that were struggling to try and preserve the sense of community around school in the face of declining opportunity. so, i think it's very important that we focus on rural education. i'm proud that we have competitive priority in many of our grant programs focus on rural areas. we've got about 20% of our current innovation grants that are focused in rural communities, and we're seeing some very good results for many of those projects. one of the things i worked on in new york was a virtual a.p. initiative to try to ensure that maybe folks couldn't hire an a.p. teacher but they could share one across a set of districts and a region. and through blended learning make those classes available to students, so we want to make sure that rural educators are very much a part of the conversations at the federal level, at the state level and at the local level in implementation of every student succeeds act. we're trying to get resources
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and opportunity, president's connect ed initiative has really focused on trying to improve issues of bandwidth in rural communities. we want to continue that work, together with the fcc. on the issue of native students, i'm very worried about the stagnant performance of native students. if you look at our high school graduation rate, which just reached a record high, and we saw increases for every subgroup, except for native american students, which was flat. i think there's more that we can doi in trying to infuse native language and native culture into the school program to raise students aspirations. we've got a native youth community projects program, the president's proposed an increase in funding for that. we're seeing some promising results from those grantees, and i would love to work together with you to do more on native issues. >> i'd like to do that, and i particularly appreciate the fact
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that you've mentioned the native languages. that's something senator franken and i have worked on and have included within esea. very quickly, this relates to data and privacy of data. i think we all understand that we want to be making data informed decisions about effectiveness of programs, but many parents are coming to me with very sincere concerns about the
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personal identifiable information that we have at the department safe and secure. states need to be focused on the same thing as do districts. the president has made proposals around additional data security measures we think that we could take together, focus on ensuring that students are not subjected to marketing through the tools that they may be using in school. i think as a country we've got to continue to work to make sure that we protect data privacy and oftentimes as you know, parents and teachers may be unaware of how much information is being collected by an application that they've downloaded from the web. so we, got to make sure that we put in place strong legal protections but also provide good guidance. we've got a firpa office that tries to give good guidance to districts and states around issues of data privacy and
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security. >> that's an issue i would like to work with you on. >> senator warren? >> thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate you giving me a chance to have a second round of questions here. i appreciate, dr. king, that you're going to deal with at the department of education. but i want to raise one more issue before we quit for the day, and that is another ongoing problem at the department of education. the students who were cheated by corinthian college. you know, before corinthian college collapse the for-profit college sucked down billions and billions of dollars in federal student loan aid. by roping in students with false and misleading information, and then saddling them with debt that was just going to be impossible to repay. it was outright fraud. and in response, the department made a lot of promises to corinthians' victims. last april the department promised to give, and i'm quoting here, give corinthian students the relief they are
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entitled to under federal law. two months later, the department announced that it would, quote, find ways to fast track relief based on legal findings for large groups of students and that there would be, quote, no need for students to make any individual showing that they were affected by the school's fraud. the department also estimated last summer that about 40,000 former corinthian students would be eligible for this so-called fast-track relief. now, that's out of hundreds of thousands of total corinthian students that the department acknowledged could be eligible for relief. eight months later, and just 1,300 of those 40,000 fast-track students have received relief. and i want to know what the plan is here to actually deliver on the promises the department has made.
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it seems to me, dr. king, that the department is moving painfully slowly, while students who got cheated are struggling under debts that they were conned into taking on. time is running out for these students. so, what i'd like to know is how do you plan to live up to the department's promises and actually ensure that each and every student who was defrauded receives debt relief now not years from now but now? >> yeah. i appreciate the question. so, a few things to know. the special master, joe smith, is working diligently with a team and we're adding capacity to that team to try to respond to the existing claims. >> but can i stom you right there, though, dr. king because this is part of what's bothering me. i don't understand why this takes so long. this isn't hard what we're trying to do here. you know, students are waiting.
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their credit is getting worse and worse. the interest is accumulating on these loans. the process needs to move faster. and i don't get why it doesn't move faster. you know they've been defrauded. >> we're trying to make it move faster. i can say a promising note is that $115 million has gone to students either through borrowed defense or through close school discharge. we are trying to group claims so that we can respond to them as quickly as possible. we are in the process of negotiated rule making on new borrowed defense rules going forward that will make it easier for the department to efficiently group claims. >> that's going to be 2017. >> so, the challenge has been that the legal requirement, as you know, is for a demonstration that there was a clear violation of state law. we have students who are in a variety of states, and so we are working through those. on campuses where we have a clear finding, and this has been true in the healed and everest
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cases, where we have a clear finding of state level state law violation we've been able to group claims or in the process of grouping claims. but you're right, we need to make the process move faster and we intend to do. >> i just really want to push on this. we potentially have hundreds of thousands of students who have been cheated here. i promised fast track to 40,000. that was three-quarters of a years ago nearly, two-thirds of a year ago and we've only gotten about 1,300 people through it. you know, i just want to remind us that congress gave the secretary of education broad authority to cancel the loans of students who attend colleges that broke the law. and so i hope if you are confirmed that you will use that authority to ensure that the students get every dime of relief that they deserve, without making them jump through a bunch of unnecessary hoops. they've already been hit hard
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enough. and this is the time for the department of education to step up and be on their side. >> yes. i'm committed to try to protect the interest of borrowers and also to do what we can through the enforcement unit and gainful employment regulations to make sure we do not have a repeat of co corinthians to the extent we can do that. >> and thank you very much for your willingness to serve and sitting through two round of questions on this stuff. these are important issues. >> thank you. >> thanks, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator warren. dr. king, i just have a few questions and then we'll wrap up the -- wrap up the hearing. senator roberts asked you questions about academic standards, and you gave an ages answer so i don't think i need to ask that. but there's a pattern in this legislation which is pretty unusual, which -- and it comes from the fact that those of us who voted for it and in the senate 85-15, in the house the
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president signed it. felt like the department was overreaching, and so there are some literal specific prohibitions in the law about what you secretary should not do to re-emphasize our determination that this is an important shift of direction, which you've acknowledged in your testimony, to try to put more of the responsibility, to restore more of the responsibility to the -- those closest to the children. one of those is on challenging academic standards. i asked dr. evers, the superintendent of instruction for wisconsin on tuesday, i said, do you read the new law to say that if wisconsin wants to have common core, which it does, i believe, that it may? if it does not want to have common core, that it may not,
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that it wants part of common core or more than common core it can do that, it simply has to have challenging academic standards that are related to the -- to the entrance requirements for the public -- for the public institutions. that's the way he read that. let me ask you about teacher evaluation. under the wavers that the department granted to 42 states, the department took the position that if you want a waiver from the provisions of no child left behind, which -- and if you didn't get a waiver it in effect meant that almost all of your schools were labeled as failing, in order to get a waiver the department said we'd like for you to do a few other things, sort of a mother may i process i described it. one of those was teacher evaluations. now i'm a big fan of teacher evaluation.
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in fact, i earned -- if the national education association could have given a grade lower than an f i would have earned it 30 years ago when tennessee paid teachers more for teaching well. i would have achieved it. finding ways to award teachers for teaching well is the holy grail of public education, but when i came to washington i did not think that we should be telling states how to evaluate teachers, yet, to get a waiver there were some very specific definitions about what a teacher evaluation system should be. and, in fact, three states, iowa was one, washington was another, california was another had their wavers either rejected or revoked because the secretary didn't believe their teacher evaluation system met the standards. now the new law allows but does
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not require states and districts to use funds, mostly title two funds, to support teacher and principal evaluations based on multiple measures but it prevents any director from mandating, directing, controlling any school evaluation system or specific measure of educator effectiveness or quality. now to simplify, do you agree that that means that the secretary of education does not now need to approve the teacher evaluation system in a state? >> yes. and i think the law is clear that teacher evaluation systems are to be designed by states and districts. >> do you agree, however, that finding fair ways to evaluate teachers is immensely important to the system of public education and that it would be a
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good idea for the secretary to look at ways to encourage it and honor those that do it well and to make states aware that they could use the $2.5 billion or so that's in the title 2 money for that purpose and that we have the teacher incentive fund which has about $230 million in it to help local school districts who wish to find new ways to do that to do it? >> absolutely. i think that teacher and school leader incentive fund creates an opportunity for important local innovation and evidence gathering around effective models of evaluation. i also think the equity plans that states are working on to ensure equitable access to effective teaching is going to foster a set of innovations and evidence that states can share. we have an opportunity to lift up best practice. >> one of the things we heard most about was testing, and when we started out writing the new law i suggested that maybe we get rid of the 17 federal test requirements because we had such
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a blow back on the testing, but the more i listened and the more we heard from teachers and principals and states, the more it became clear to us, those of us on the committee, that it wasn't the 17 federal tests that were the problem, it was the state tests and that, in fact, the 17 federal tests, which aren't really federal tests, they're required by the federal government but they're state-designed tests from years 3 through 12. they probably don't take more than two hours or so per test over that period of time to be done were important and that those results needed to be -- those tests needed to be given, we need to know the results, they needed to be disaggregated so people would know what was happening. so the solution we came to and the problem we found was that it was the federal test based accountability system, which is
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fancy language for saying because the federal government decided what to do about the results of the test and attached so many consequences to just those tests, that that was incentivizing states to give a lot of tests to prepare for those 17 federally required tests. so the thrust of this legislation is to say keep the tests, report it so we know how the children are doing, but restore the states and communities and classroom teachers the decisions for what to do about the tests. and in that -- in other words, the states would come up with the accountability system. now there are some requirements about what the accountability system should have in it, state tests, graduation rates, a few other things, but it also says the secretary is prohibited from describing the weight of any measure or indicator used to identify or meaningfully differentiate schools in the
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accountability system. do you ichb tend to follow that provision and the intent behind it? >> certainly as we move forward we intend to follow the letter of the law. i think you're right over the last ten years because of the narrow focus on no child left behind we have seen a proliferation of tests both at the state level and the test level. the law gives us an opportunity for a reset and for state and local operations about right sizing the amount of assessment. >> if i'm not mistaken you've already issued a guidance to suggest to states what might amount to over testing but it's not a mandate, it's a suggestion. am i correct on that? >> we've given them guidance on how they can use the assessments and figure out if they're unnecessary, redundant, low
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quality. >> the spirit is, here's how you might do that, not how you must do that. >> that's right. i applaud that, which is why i bring it up, because i think that's the spirit of the law as well as the letter of the law. same with identifying and fixing low performing schools. this was important to a lot of people. senator murphy mentioned that. it was important to the president, that there be a provision in the bill, and so it's there, but what's also there is that the secretary's prohibited from telling states how to fix so-called low performing schools. beforehand with the wavers there were six different ways to do that. i remember putting in the legislation a few years ago that a seventh way would be that the state could come up with its own version of how to fix the low performing school. next thing i knew within about a year the department had issued a regulation finding how the state could do it, which was contrary to the purpose, but in the same spirit do you agree that while it's important that states
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identify and -- schools that are in need of improvement and that there are a number of steps to take and that's -- that's just quite a long -- there are a number of things to do, that in the end the secretary is prohibited from prescribing the specific methodology used by states to differentiate or identify schools and any specific school supporter of group and strategies, that the state or local education agencies establish and implement to intervene, support, improve schools, improve student outcomes? >> we certainly -- as we move forward with state flexibility around design of their accountability systems and design of their interventions, we'll adhere to the letter of the law. we think that states and local flexibility is a good thing. again, i do think it is important that there are parameters around inequity focus and where those interventions
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are not helping to close achievement gaps, we all have to remain vigilant that states intensify or change those interventions to make sure they get to closing achievement gaps. >> yeah, there will probably be some gray areas as they come up, but we had a spirited debate on that both in the committee and on the floor of the senate. senator murphy, for example, offered an amendment that would have had, you know, more stricter guardrails i think would be one way to say it, more federal supervision of what the states were doing in a variety of areas in the accountability system. that amendment lost. it only got 43 votes. it didn't past. just as i offered an amendment to give states the ability to take all the federal money and let it follow the children to the school of their choice called scholarships for kids. that got about 43 votes. that didn't pass. i don't expect you to implement a school choice or voucher program because it didn't take the law.
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we hope you will respect the consensus we came to. let me move on and conclude with a couple of questions about higher education. this is really an area as we discussed when you and i visited earlier this week, you and the administration have an opportunity. as you know, my attitude towards you or any of the other president's cabinet members in our jurisdiction is that once you're confirmed, i want to do my best to create an environment in which you can succeed because if you succeed, then our country and our children and our schools succe succeed. that also applies to our colleges and universities and this committee's done a lot of important work on two areas. one is making it simpler and easier to apply for student aid and to pay back student loans. that's one. and another is to cut through the jungle of red tape that
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interferes with the way that -- to accept tore robert's point, the way the schools and our 6,000 universities are managed. we have lots of bipartisan agreement on that and one area is the so-called fast act that senator ben knit and i and booker and king and isaacson and burr all support. we want to reduce the number of questions on the federal student aid application form. the president thinks that's a good idea and has said so. you have -- your department has already begun to identify some questions that are superfluous. we, senator bennett and i, wanted to take 108 million questio -- 108 questions that families fill out down to 2. then you've already taken steps to allow the common sense proposal of students who fill
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out the form to use the tax forms they've already filled out rather than the ones they haven't filled out and to do it at an earlier time. that's also a bipartisan proposal. the president has talked about this. the stream lined proposal. we have bipartisan support for a year round pell grant even though we have some disagreement over how to pay for it, and in addition to that, we have a report, which i like to call the mcculsky report but we'll call it the kerwin/zeppos report that the chancellor of maryland and the chancellor of vanderbilt put together over the last three years to identify 59 specific
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burdensome regulations or requirements, a couple of which i've already mentioned. chancellor kerwin and chancellor zeppos met with secretary duncan and talked with him about a itself could do, and you're already taking steps in a couple of cases. the four senators i just mentioned are working. we probably have 27 more, we may get up to 35 or 6 that we agree on that we can pass which would reduce the onerous paperwork that has built up over eight reauthorizations of higher education. so my question is will you work with us over the next ten months if confirmed to take those specific proposals from the kerwin/zeppos higher education report, the jungle of red tape report, and if you can implement them, try to implement them, and will you work with us on the
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bipartisan legislation i just described on student aid simplification for both applications and the repayment to see if the department itself can do some of that or if not to let us know what sort of legislation we need to pass this year so students can take advantage of that? >> yes. i'd like to work with you on both things. certainly to try and identify places where the department can reduce burdensome regulations that aren't working for students. we should do that. certainly would love to work together on a bipartisan reauthorization of the higher education act. the one thing i would like to add to the list that you shared and know this is a view we share, some way to shift the incentives in the higher education sector towards a focus on completion. i do worry that we know that many of the students who are struggling to pay back their debt are students who start but don't finish. they have some courses, they
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don't have a degree, they can't get the good job that would come with the good degree, therefore they can't pay back the debt. if we can get institutions to paying more attention to completion rather than enrollment, that's another opportunity for progress on higher education. >> you're exactly right on that. the default rates are especially high for students who don't complete their degree so i -- that's an excellent suggestion. i'll be glad to work with you on that. there are other good ideas that we have from both sides of the aisle here to discourage over borrowing. there are some provisions, and these may be an area where you can take executive action that's already authorized that seemed to limit what colleges are able to do to counsel students to say, well, if you go into the theater instead of biomedical engineering you might have a little more -- a little harder time getting a job and paying it back over a period of time. and i would just make the
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observation, i heard senator warren's comments on the corinthean tragic situation for those students. my general philosophical attitude is a little different. you know, if i would buy a car that's a lemon, i'd sue the car company, not the bank. and i know that the federal law does have a provision about for giving loans where there's a fraud. it hadn't been used much until recently, and i think it needs to be used carefully because we have from the taxpayer's point of view $35 or so billion of pell grants every year to low income students that do not have to be paid back. we make $100 billion of loans every year to students that we expect to be paid back and we have a very generous provision that says for many students in public service that you don't have to pay it while you're in
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those jobs or you don't have to pay more than your 10 or 15% of your disposable income and if it's not all paid back after 20 years it's forgiven, so i would counsel you to follow the law carefully on those claims of fraud that require forgiveness and i'd like to continue discussion with you about any expansion of that authority when the time comes. dr. king, those are all the questions i have. there may be some questions that members of the committee submit to you. i would encourage you to answer them as promptly as you can. the hearing record will remain open until march the 1st. members may submit additional information for the record within that time if they would like. thanks to everyone, especially dr. king's family and him for being here today. the next meeting of the committee will occur at 10:00
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a.m. on wednesday, march the 9th, to consider the second in a markup of bipartisan innovation legislation, that's biomedical innovation legislation, and to consider the markup of dr. king's nomination to be the united states secretary of education. committee will stand adjourned.
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former president bill clinton will campaign for his wife in south carolina. he's at a get out the vote. you can watch that at 7:45. coming up saturday the south carolina democratic primary. c span's coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with the results, candidate speeches and your reaction on the phone and on twitter and facebook. american history tv on c-span 3 features programs that
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tell the american story. some of the highlights for this weekend include saturday night at 8:00 eastern on lectures in history. cornell university professor maria christina garcia on the united states refugee policy since world war ii. who qualifies as a refugee and how that's changed over the years. at 10:00 on reel america, our final program on senator j. william fulbright's hearings investigating the united states policies in vietnam. secretary of state dean rusk testifies. his opening statement is followed by committee members questions. sunday morning at 10:00 on road to the white house rewind, the 1960 west virginia democratic primary debate between senators john f. kennedy of massachusetts and hubert humphrey of minnesota. this was only the second televised presidential primary debate in history. >> the next president must arouse this nation through heroic deeds.
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he must courageously search for a lasting peace with justice and freedom and he must understand the complexities of disarmament negotiations, the workings of diplomacy and the united nations. >> because i believe strongly in my country and its destiny, because i believe in the power and influence of the next president and his vitality and force are going to be the great factor in meeting the responsibilities that we're going to face. >> and at 6:00 on american artifacts, we'll tour louisiana's whitney plantation slavery museum that traces its history to 1752. >> slavery the story of slavery integral to the history of the united states. we don't talk enough about the inequality of african-americans and what they have faced in this country and we don't talk enough about our role today in perpetuating that inequality so it's really, really significant
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can't, i think, and also a lot of historic sites address it in fits and starts and i think it's important for people to come here and kind of get a more complete understanding of slavery. >> for the complete american history tv weekend schedule goç to defense secretary ashton carter and chair of the joint chiefs of staff testified today about president obama's budget proposal for fiscal year 2017. the president's requesting $583 billion for the pentagon. this house appropriations subcommittee hearing is about 2 1/2 hours.
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good morning. the committee will come to order. i'd like to thank all the members for being here, especially the chairman, mr. rogers. i'm pleased to welcome the 25th secretary of defense, ashton carter.
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this is dr. carter's secretary appearance before the subcommittee. secretary, although we know well from his many years of service to our nation. we also welcome general joe dunford, great marine, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and michael moore, control ler of the department. mr. secretary, prime minister winston churchill observed 70 years ago, and i quote, what i've seen of our russian friends and allies during the war i am convinced that there's nothing they admire so much as strength, and there's nothing to which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness. churchill was referring to the post-war leadership in moscow but the same can be said today. i fear that as i examine this administration's budget request, they have to be breathing a sigh of relief. one year ago in this same room we were told by the chairman of the joint chiefs that our last year's budget request represents
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the lower ragged edge of resources the department needs to carry out its strategy. the budget request before us today is almost exactly the same amount as last year's yet this administration now claims to provide robust funding for your department. mr. secretary, lower ragged edge or robust funding? the security environment used by the department to justify a shrinking army and marine corps, a smaller navy, an older air force does not exist. in fact, we face more serious threats from more sources than at any time since world war ii. russia occupies crimea and continues to menace ukraine, its neighbors, and our nato partners. china is building whole islands in the south china sea and militarizing them yet this administration suggests cutting an already inadequate budget.
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many of our gains in afghanistan have been reversed. the taliban and now isis await our departure. iraq is barely better. iran's global terrorist network just received a massive transfusion of money and continues to challenge our interests in our allies in iraq, syria, yemen, and across the middle east. syria is a living hell on earth and devolving further by the day with russian and iranian sponsorship. we seem to be deconflicting with both countries, hardly our allies. isis has a major franchise in libya. base of operations in north africa, 160 miles of mediterranean coast line. terrorism is like a cancer across the world and this budget does not do enough to hold its spread. moreover, many of us on this committee are concerned that this budget mortgages future
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military capabilities that can pay for today's urgent requirements. mr. secretary, our commander in chief proclaimed in a state of the union address, we spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined as if dollars and cents are the only yard stick by which we measure the effectiveness of our armed forces and the strength of our global leadership. our adversaries measure our strength based on our military capability and our national will. currently those adversaries and some are allies question both. members of our subcommittee fear this repeatedly from foreign leaders as we travel abroad. we meet them here at home. as they watch our foes continually test us without consequence. mr. secretary, i also want to bring to your attention a concern that many share about the activities of the national security council. it's come to our attention
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repeatedly that the rules of engagement for our special forces and rules of engagement for our conventional forces are being micro managed right out of the white house. i'm sure you would agree the battlefield decisions would be left to military professionals. in closing, i can assure you that a bipartisan majority in congress stands ready to provide our commander in chief with the resources that our military needs to meet challenges from russia and china, defeat the islamic state al qaeda and other lethal terrorist groups with or without the strategy that the law requires. in fact, the 2016 ndaa required the administration to provide a strategy to counter violent extremists in syria by last week. we are still waiting. now having said that, i'd like to turn the microphone over to my ranking member, mr. versace.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate you holding the hearing today and, secretary carter, general dunford, and secretary mccord, welcome to the hearing. i thank each of you for your commitment to service. mr. chairman, i wish to express my continued concern regarding the self-inflicted uncertainty created by the budget control act of 2011. admittedly, i used much of my time at the fiscal 2016 hearing for a same purpose, and although much has changed in the last 12 months, including the enactment of the bipartisan budget act of 2015 that mitigated the bca cap for two years, it's hard to argue that the department of defense or any federal agency is now appreciably better positioned to plan or budget for the future. it pains me to think about how
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much less efficient the department of defense has been over the last six fiscal years as it has been forced to carry out our national defense strategy in an increasingly unstable security environment that you have described while navigating the unpredictability of sequestration, government shutdown, vacillating government caps, continuing resolutions, and appropriations through no fault of the full committee that arrive well into the next fiscal year. even the least clairvoyant among us can foresee the problems looming in fiscal year 2018. the bca was sold as a deficit reduction tool yet the congressional budget office projected that from 2016 to 2025 the cumulative deficit will be 1.5 trillion more than the office projected in august of 2015. the prolonged inability of congress and the administration to find a consensus needed to
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replace it in its full austerity policies that dealt with the budget deficits, mandatory spending, the lack of revenue is an abject failure. on a positive effort, despite the ongoing efforts in congress to renegotiate the agreement of fiscal year 2017 i am guardedly optimistic that the bba will provide some predictability in this year's appropriation process. we have a number and i theep this subcommittee under the chairman's leadership will be allowed to make the difficult and deliberate decisions needed to strengthen our defense and minimize the risk of our nation and those in uniform. secretary carter, you have stated that this bubbling gdget major inflection point and takes the long view. you have indicated that this favors readiness posture over force structure. i was pleased to hear both of those sentiments, but based on
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the outcomes of the last handful of budget requests, i am skeptical, again, of any strategy, plan, or program that is reliant on relief from the bca camps in future years. i certainly understand the motivation behind d.o.d.'s decision to deal with funding in the out years. i am aware that assumption may not come to fruition. i assure you that i am working with my colleagues which, again, necessitates the addressing of both revenue and mandatory spending. in conclusion, i would simply also observe that i appreciate that the much anticipated closing of guantanamo bay detention facility was transmitted to congress earlier this week. i hope that the plan is considered on its merit rather than to be reflectivelily rejected. mr. chairman, again, thank you very much for holding the hearing. gentlemen, i look forward to your testimony. >> thank you.
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mr. rogers? chairman rogers. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. secretary, general dunford, secretary mccord. thank you for being here. thank you more importantly for your years of service to your country. we appreciate that very much, and we thank you for being here this morning for what is the first hearing of this subcommittee for fiscal '17. we have 21 hearings across the committee this week. you're one of which, but we think a very, very important one of which. fifth year in a row this subcommittee has been able to pass a defense appropriations bill out of the house. i'm confident we can do the same this year. we know our troops and their families are depending on it. our only hope is that when we pass a bill through this committee and on the floor of the house and send it to the senate, that they act, which they've refused to do for the
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last several years. consequently, we get into an omnibus negotiation out of necessity to keep from closing down the government, but it's time the senate acted on a bill. amazing. under your leadership the men and women who serve in the u.s. military answer the call time and again to leave their loved ones, put themselves in harm's way, execute challenging missions abroad. we're mindful that our responsibility in supporting our allies in need and respond to threats from our enemies imposes significant demands on our troops. this committee appreciates their dedication and willingness to serve and your leadership amidst the unprecedented challenges facing our nation this day.
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the global security environment continues to grow increasingly complex and unpredictable. and the mounting threats we discussed this time last year are still with us, and in some cases have increased. two years after the russian annexation of crimea russian aggression remains a threat. the sovereign states in the region and a considerable influence, of course, across the middle east. the islamic state maintains its hold on population centers where it terrorizes innocent lives, is treated in unlivable situations for countless syrians, iraqis and now even libyans. we've seen this conflict force the migration of millions of people precipitating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis across the middle east and europe, meanwhile, iran and
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north korea continue to raddle their sabres in the pacific. today we will discuss with you many of these threats and how your budget request addresses our ability to defeat them. we continue to hear rhetoric that appears to minimize or just flat out misunderstand the reality and the magnitude of the threat that we face from violent extremism. just this week the president announced his intention to close the guantanamo bay detention facility at a time when the threat of terrorist activity at home and abroad shows no signs of evading. the president's advocating for the transfer of known terrorists out of the united states custody to countries where we cannot control their ability to return to the battlefield. for detainees that he believes
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pose a continuing threat, he asks the american people to be detained on american soil in their own backyard. as the president made the case that these prisoners will be subject to strong security measures while in the custody of other nations, a former guantanamo prisoner was arrested in north africa on terror charges. the director of national intelligence tells us that 30% of the prisoners released from the facility have re-engaged in terrorism, yet the president continues to argue that releasing these prisoners will make us safer. that's twisted logic. once again, i'm perplexed how the administration's decision to continue to prioritize this misguided campaign promise despite clear direction from this congress, not to mention the implications for national security.
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with active duty strength set to decline further in 2017, the conversation we will have today about responding to increasingly complex threats across multiple regions against enemies with very different missions and capacities becomes an even more complicated matter. the challenges you face are well-documented. the demands they place on our troops and our military leadership are great. i look forward to discussing how this committee can best equip you to lead in these uncertain times and respond to threats to american security around the world. this committee remains confident in your ability to lead and protect our troops and to ensure the safety of americans at home and abroad. you have our full support. we deeply appreciate your
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commitment to our nation, our service men and women across the world. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and, indeed, you have our full support. remarkable men and women you represent, whether it's civilians or as military. the best of america, and we are so proud of all volunteers doing some remarkable things. mr. secretary, the floor is yours. thank you for being with us. >> thank you very much. >> your statement will be put in the record and so forth. >> thank you, chairman. chairman, thank you. and all of you, thanks for what you said about the troops. that means it all. that's what i wake up for every morning. i'm sure that's true of the chairman as well. they are the best of america, and we're very proud to be associated with them and i'm very pleased to hear you say the same thing. it's good for them to hear that, too. so thank you. thank you all very much. thanks for hosting me today and in general for your steadfast support to the men and women of
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the department of defense. military and civilian alike who serve and defend our country all over the world. i'm pleased to be here with chairman dunford to discuss president obama's 2017 defense budget which marks, as was indicated, a major inflection point for this department. i'm also pleased to be discussing the budget first before this committee, which has been a leader in securing the resources the department needs. in this budget we're taking the long view, we have to, because even as we fight today's fight, we must also be prepared for what might come 10, 20, 30 years down the road. last fall's budget deal gave us much needed and much appreciated stability. i want to thank you, all of you, your colleagues for coming together to pass that agreement. the bipartisan budget act set
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the size of our budget, which is why our budget submission and my testimony focus on its shape. changing that shape is fund amountal in carefully considered ways to adjust to a new strategic era and to seize opportunities for the future. let me describe the strategic assessment that drove our budget decisions. first of all, it's evident that america is still today the world's foremost leader, partner and underwriter of stability and security in every region across the globe as we have been since the end of world war ii. i was in brussels the week before last meeting with nato defense ministers as well as defense ministers of the counter isil military institution, and i can tell you they all appreciate the leadership from the department of defense of america. as we continue to fulfill this enduring role, it's also evident
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that we're entering a new strategic era. today's security environment is dramatically different than the last 25 years, requiring new ways of investing, new ways of operating. five evolving strategic challenges, namely russia has already been mentioned, appropriately so, china, north korea, iran, and terrorism, five, are now driving d.o.d.'s planning and budgeting as reflected in this budget. i want to focus first on our ongoing fight against terrorism and especially isol, which we must and will deal a lasting defeat. most immediately in its parent tumor in iraq and syria but also where it's metastasizing elsewhere in the world. we're doing that in africa. we're also doing it in afghanistan where we continue to
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stand with the afghan government and people to counter al qaeda and now isol while at the same time all the while we protect our homeland. as we're excaccelerating our overall counter isol campaign, we're backing it up with increased funding in 2017 in our request requesting $7.5 billion, which is 50% more than last year. just this week following the progress we've made in iraq by retaking ramadi we've also made operationally significant strides in our campaign to dismantle isol in syria. there, capable and motivated local forces supported by the u.s. and our global mission have reclaimed the eastern syrian town of shedadi. it is a critical isol base for command and control, logistics, training and oil revenues. more importantly, by encircling
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and taking this town, we're seeking to sever the last major northern artery between raqqah and mosul and ultimately dissect the parent tumor in two parts, one in iraq and the other in syria. this is just the most recent example of how we're effectively enabling and partnering with local forces to help deal isol a lasting defeat. next, two of the other four challenges reflect a recognition of, a return to in some ways great power and competition. one challenge is in europe where we're taking a strong and balanced approach to deter russian aggression. we haven't had to devote the significant portion of our defense investment to this possibility for a quarter century, but now we do. the other challenge is in the asia pacific where china is
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rising, which is fine, but behaving aggressively, which is not. there we're continuing our rebalance in terms of weight of effort to maintain the regional stability we've underwritten for the past 70 years allowing so many nations to rise and prosper in this, the single most consequential region for america's future. meanwhile, two other longstanding challenges pose threats in specific regions. north korea is one. that's why our forces on the korean peninsula remain ready as they say to fight tonight. the other is iran because while the nuclear accord is a good deal for preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon, we must still deter iranian aggression and counter iran's malign influence against our friends and allies in the
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region, especially israel, to whom we maintain an unwavering and unbreakable commitment. d.o.d. must and will address all five of these challenges as part of its mission to defend our country. doing so requires new investments on our part, new postures in some regions, and also some new and enhanced cape bhilts. for example, in confronting these five challenges we know we'll have to deal with them across all domains and not just the usual air, land, and sea but also particularly the areas of cyber, electronic warfare and space where our reliance on technology has given us great strength and great opportunities but also led to vulnerabilities that adversaries can seek to exploit. the key to our approach is being able to deter our most advanced competitors. we must have and be seen to have the ability to ensure that
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anyone who starts a conflict with us will regret doing so. to be clear, the u.s. military would fight very differently than we have in iraq and afghanistan or in the rest of the world's recent memory. we will and must be prepared for a high end enemy, what we call full spectrum. in our budget our capabilities are readiness and our actions we must demonstrate to potential foes that if they start a war, we have the capability to win, because a force meant to deter conflict must show that it can dominate a conflict. in this context russia and china are our most stressing competitors as they've both developed and continue to advance military systems, including anti-access systems, that seek to threaten our advantages in specific areas. we saw it last week in the south china sea. we see it in crimea and syria as
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well. in some cases they're developing weapons and ways of war that seek to achieve their objective rapidly before they think we can respond. now we don't desire conflict with either country, and while i need to say that they pose some similar challenges militarily, they're very different nations and very different situations and our preference is to work together with important nations. we also cannot be blind ourselves to their apparent goals and action. because of this, d.o.d. has elevated their importance in our planning and our budgeting. in my written testimony i detailed how our budget makes critical assessments to help us address these five evolving challenges. we're strengthening our posture in europe by investing $3.4 billion, quadruple what we
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requested last year. we're prioritizing training and readiness for our ground forces and reinvigorating the readiness and modernization of our fighter aircraft fleet. we're investing in innovative capabilities, like swarming 3-d printed micro drones, long range strike bomber and the arsenal plane as well as advanced munitions like the tomahawk, long range ainntiship missile a one in which we're investing $3 billion maximized production over the next five years. we're emphasizing the navy with new weapons and high end ships and by expanding our commanding lead in undersea warfare. more submarine with the versatile virginia pay load module that triples their strike capacity from 12 tomahawks to 40
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tomahawks. and we're doing more in cyber, electronic warfare and space investing in these three domains a combined total of $34 billion in 2017 to, among other things,d our cyber mission force, develop next generation electronic jammers and extend the possibility for a conflict that extends into space. in short dod will continue to ensure you on dominance in all domains. as we do this, our budget also seizes opportunities for the future. that's a responsibility i have to my successors. to ensure the military and the defense department they inherit is just as strong, just as fine, if not more so than the one i had the privilege of leading today. that's why we're making increased investments in science and technology, in building new bridges to the amazing american
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innovative system, to stay ahead of future threats. that's why we're inknow vateing operationally making contingency plans flexible and dynamic in every region. it's why we're building what i've called the force of the future. because as good as our technology is, it's nothing compared to our people. and in the future we need to continue to recruit and retain the very best talent for future generations. that's also why we're opening all combat positions to women as well as doing more to support military families. to improve retention and also to expand our access to 100% of america's population for our all-volunteer force and because we owe it to america's taxpayers to spend our defense dollars as wisely and responsibly as possible, we're also pushing for needed reforms across the dod enterprise from continuously improving acquisitions to further reducing overhead to
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proposing new changes to the goldwater/nichols act that defines most of our institutional organization. let me close on the broader shift reflected in this budget. we in the defense department don't have the luxury of just one opponent or the choice between current fights and future fights. we have to do both. that's what this budget is designed to do. and we need your help to succeed. i thank this committee again for overwhelmingly supporting the bipartisan budget act that set the size of our budget. our submission focuses on the budget shape. we hope you approve it. i know some may be looking at the difference between what we proposed last year and what we got in the budget deal. but i want to reiterate that we've mitigated that difference in this budget meets our needs. that budget deal was a good deal. it gave us stability.
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and for that, we remain grateful. doing something to jeopardize that stability would concern me deeply. the greatest risk we face in the department of defense is losing that stability this year. and having uncertainty and sequester and caps in future years. that's why going forward the biggest concern to us strategically is congress averting the return of sequestration next year so we can sustain all these critical investments over time. we've done this before. if we think back to a start of defense investments that made our military more effective not only technologies like gps and the internet and satellite communications but also in other areas like especially the all-volunteer force. they were able to yield tremendous benefits because they garnered support across the
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aisle, across branches of government and across multiple administrations. that same support is essential today. to address the security challenges we face and to seize the opportunities within our grasp. as long as we work together to do so, i know our national security will be on the right path. and america's military will continue to defend our country and help make a better world for generations to come. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary, for your remarks. chairman dunford, general dunford, thank you for being with us. and thank you for your remarkable career. >> chairman, ranking members, chairman rogers, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. i'm honor toed to represent the extraordinary men and women of the joint force, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines and civil servants remain our single most important competitive advantage.
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thanks to your support the united states military is the most capability fighting force in the world. with your continued support the joint force will continue to adapt, fight and win in current operations while simultaneously innovating and investing to meet future challenges. i don't believe we ought to ever send americans into a fair fight. rather, we must maintain a joint force that has the capability and credibility to assure our allies and partners, deter aggression and overmatch any potentialed aer ed adversary. and we need to develop the leaders who will serve as the foundation of the future. united states is not cop fronted with challenges from traditional actors and nonstate actors, we've identified five strategic challenges which secretary carter has already addressed. russia, china, iran and north korea continue to invest in military capabilities that reduce our competitive advantage. they are also advancing their interests to competition with the military dimension that
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falls short of traditional armed conflict and the threshold for traditional military response. examples include russian action in the ukraine, chinese activities in the south china seas and iran's malign activities across the middle east. isil and al qaeda pose a threat to the homeland, the american people, our partners, and our allies. given the opportunity such extremist groups would fundamentally change our way of life. as we contend with the department's five strategic challenges we recognize that successful execution requires that we maintain credible nuclear and conventional capabilities. our strategic nuclear deterrent remains effective but it's aging and requires modernization. therefore, we're prioritizing investments needed for a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. we're also making investments to maintain a competitive advantage in our conventional capabilities. we must further develop capabilities in a vital and
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increasingly contested domains of psych cyber and space. as the joint force mitigates and responds to challenges we do so in a fiscal environment that has hampered our ability to plan and allocate resources most effectively. despite partial relief from congress by sequester-level funding we've absorbed cuts and faces an $100 billion of sequestration indualsed risk through fiscal year '21. absorbing significant cuts over the past five years has resulted in our underinvesting in critical capabilities and unless we reverse sequestration we'll be unable to execute the current defense strategy. the fiscal year '17 budget begins to address the most critical investments required to maintain our competitive advantage. to the extent possible, within the resources provided by the 2015 bipartisan budget act, it addresses the department's five challenges. it does so by balancing three major areas, investment in
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high-end capabilities, the capability and capacity to meet current operational demands and the need to rebuild readiness after an extended period of war. in the years ahead we'll need adequate funding levels and predictability to fully recover from over a decade of war and delayed modernization. a wave of procurement requirements in the future include the ohio class submarine replacement, continued cyber and space investments and long-range strike bomber. it will also be several years before we fully restore full-spectrum readiness across the services and replenish our stocks of critical precision munitions. in summary, i'm satisfied that the fy '17 budget puts out the right trajectory but it will take your continued support to make sure the joint force has the depth, flexibility and readiness and responsiveness that ensures any future fight is not fair. once again, thank you for the opportunity to be before you this morning and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, general dunford. let me associate myself with the remarks of chairman rogers,
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concern about prisoners being released from guantanamo that go back to the fight. i mean, that is disturbing. i thinkñ5.p it makes me quite a. in light of the president's intention to visit cuba, there's been some speculation that there might be some announcement that would relate to the future of the naval station in guantanamo. can you assure us that there's no plans for any change of our operations and historic role there? >> i know of no such plans. our plan, in fact, is just the opposite, which if you're talking about the guantanamo bay naval base we're keeping that -- >> there's been some speculation -- >> gitmo is a strategic location. >> absolutely. we have less assets in the region than we've ever had. >> the detention thing is a -- is a -- is a separate subject. and just to agree with chairman
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rogers, the reason to have a conversation with the congress about the future of the detention facility at guantanamo bay is precisely because there are people there who cannot be safely transferred to the custody of another country. that means they need to stay in detext. and so they got to go somewhere and if they're not going to be at guantanamo bay, they have to be somewhere in the united states. the proposal that the president made and that we helped him craft asks congress -- because doing so is forbidden by law now -- to work with us to see if we can devise a detention facility in the united states precisely in recognition of the fact that we're never going to be able to let these people go. >> respectfully, my question had to do with the future of the naval station. >> the naval station is -- >> no plans -- >> none. >> -- for some sort of
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announcement that would change our historic role there? >> no. >> let me focus a little bit on the middle east, the committee will be taking looking a look at the overseas contingency acco t account, which historically and still aimed at the focus of the war on terrorism. we did a pretty good job of vetting in your last bill all aspects of that account. can you review for the committee very briefly -- i see at the top of the funding responsibility the issue of force protection. we still obviously have troops in the region. can you review for the committee very briefly the issue of force protection, our continued in its may i say a rather expensive investment in the afghan security forces fund, their capabilities, even after all these years of supporting and
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there's some questions as to how capable they are, and two areas that have been marred in some -- i won't say controversy. speculation, iraq train and equip, syria train and equip. can you briefly go through the list with our committee as to why these are your particular focuses. it's not that they aren't ours. but in reality could you briefly go through that list. >> absolutely. and i'll start out and ask the chairman also to elaborate on some of this. you're right, those are four ingredients of our oco request. there are others like the european reassurance initiative which i mentioned which is about russia. we very much appreciate your support for oco. and we understand that, you know, i know the constitution, which is we propose and you decide on the budget. so, every nickel that's in oco
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is subject to the visibility and approval of this body, and that's perfectly appropriate and we're used to that and very comfortable with that. and it is used for a variety of absolutely essential purposes. i'll touch on a couple of them. force protection is the highest priority that we have, both abroad and at home. taking care of our people's incredibly important. so, it remains a high priority. i'll ask the chairman to say something more about that, because he and i were just talking about that yesterday at some locations. he's also the expert on afghanistan, having done an absolutely fantastic job of commanding there, but just so he doesn't have to sing his own praises -- >> indeed he has. >> he really did. he really did. and as a consequence, despite all the interruption of a year, almost a year eight months in the transition of the afghan government from karzai to the national unity government of
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ghani and abdullah, despite the fact that -- and i remember this. when we started to build the afghan security forces you were dealing with recruits that couldn't read and write, so you're really starting from -- it's gotten garks the afghan security forces capability is growing. they have many of the capabilities, but not all the capabilities, they need. that's why we stick with them. that's why our plan is to stick with them. and that is why in our budget, by the way, we request funding for the afghan security forces for fy-'17 and our plan is to continue to do that in the future and all of the other nato and other partners have also committed. that's what's -- committed to doing that, supporting the afghan security forces because the whole strategy and the one that general dunford executed so well was to make the afghan security forces capable of securing the country, stopping terrorism from once again
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arising on that territory and striking the united states. and also to give us a friend in a dangerous part of the world. and all of that is what we're pursuing in afghanistan, that's why we want to stick with it. you mentioned also train and equip and -- >> well, to some extent we're doing -- part of what we're doing in afghanistan is a perpetual apparently train and equip. so, general deny fuunford. >> if i could start with afghanistan where you finished, to put it into some kind of perspective for the committee, when i arrived in afghanistan three years ago we had over 100,000 u.s. forces on the ground that were fundamentally responsibility for security in afghanistan, today we have 800 americans on the ground and in the interim period the afghan security forces have assumed responsibility for security in afghanistan and conducted two elections and gone through a very difficult and politically turbulent period, so quite honestly we have a lot of work
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to do particularly in aviation enterprise and special operations and intelligence and so forth, but if you put in perspective where we've come over the last three years and you put in perspective the current investment where we were three years ago, but more importantly, if you put in perspective our national interests in afghanistan is to maintain an effective counterterrorism platform and partner in that part of the world from which we face a still significant threat, my assessment is that we're moving in the right direction. certainly not as quickly as we want to. let me assure the committee on force protection, we have very specific standards. we work hard in the department to do that. i think, you know, when secretary carter was the deputy and we moved forward on the mrap program, that was evidence of the commitment that we have to our people. and today those standards and the lessons learned over the past ten years have been incorporated and frankly reflected in the investment that we make in taking care of our people. and very quickly on the syria and iraq -- >> yeah, i mean, there's been obviously a lot in the -- open sources about the lack of
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success in some of those areas, so maybe you can talk a little bit about that. >> lack of success in force protection? >> no, in train and equip. >> train and equip. >> we got a lot of people on the payroll, we're training a lot of people. >> chairman, over the last -- over the -- >> want to make sure the tax dollars -- >> first of all, the endeavors in iraq and syria if you put them in perspective to the things we've done in the past is still relatively new. we've trained over 15,000 in iraq and it's demonstrated in ramadi and anbar province. where we were four months ago i will tell you four months ago we did not have the momentum and campaign in iraq. today i can tell you with authority that we do have the momentum and the iraqi security forces have proven to be capable in the anbar province and are now organizing for operations up in the north. we've trained 2,500 pesmurga and they are cutting the lines of communication between iraq and syria and they'll also be important as we conduct
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operations in mosul. in syria itself, you know, we had a slow start. but right now as secretary carter outlined, the partners that we have on the ground that are being supported by u.s. funding are the ones that just recently took the city and are going down to isolate soon the caliphate, the location of the caliphate in raka and, again, they've also been successful in cutting the lines of communication between iraq and syria. so, from my perspective the enemy, a lot of work left to be done, but the enin i is under great pressure and we've begun to virtually and physically isolate them in their major areas of concentration and we are doing that by and through the iraqi and syrian partners that we've trained over the past year. my assessment is, again, much work to be done but the trajectory is in the right direction. >> we'll be watching those programs very carefully and thank you for your assessment. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, just for the record, would continue to reiterate my concern about making sure we're on schedule for the department
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to have auditable statements by 2017. not orally here but for the record if you could respond to any major invest menments that l need to be made and if so, any of those automated systems whether or not they are fully funded in the fiscal year '17 request. >> we'll provide that. >> i appreciate that. mr. secretary, the issue i'd want to address at the outset is the industrial base that i'm very concerned about, i think all of you are as well. are there any particular sectors, industries, components that the department today has a problem with? every time we get a waiver notice from the department of acquisition, it brings this problem to mind, and i'm very concerned about it. follow-up is what can be done. is there something from a budgetary standpoint that is lacking that we can be helpful with.
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>> well, thank you. and i share that concern and long have shared that concern because second only to our people, it is the unparalleled quality of our equipment that makes us the finest fighting force the world has ever known. we've got to keep that going. it does depend on healthy industrial base. and two things, senator, come to mind. first of all, the stability that you have provided that i spoke of early, simply having a knowledge of what our budget is going to be two years in a row, that's the kind of thing that allows our program managers to manage programs in a more stable basis so that the levels below the prime contractor which depend so totally upon those, make all the spare parts and so forth, are -- stay in the game and don't decide they can't work with defense anymore. in answer to your question what's the single sector that i
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am most concerned about, one is certainly manufacturing. and what -- that is one of the reasons why we have started manufacturing institutes, funded manufacturing institutes, several places around the country. these are public/private partnerships focused on manufacturing. because it's a problem in our country overall is making sure that we maintain competitive advantage in manufacturing relative to other parts of the world. but it affects the defense industrial base very directly. and then finally there's some products that we can't outsource to other countries because we can't fully trust them and that is the reason behind such investments, the trusted to ed y and so forth to make sure we have control over certain critical components. it's a very broad -- you know, we have, geez, almost $200 billion of investment that in
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our industry every year, research, development and acquisition. it's a very substantial part of the industrial economy. and it's important that we manage it well so that the strength of america's manufacturing base stays strong and stays strong for us. >> besides the predictability which i wouldn't at all argue, are there any budgetary shortfalls? you mentioned the institutes, is there anything we can do to be helpful to make sure we don't have any more degradation? >> if i may, i'll come back and try to highlight the things that we have done. it's very much on the minds i know of our undersecretary of acquisition, technology and logistics, mr. kendall. the manufacturing institutes come to mind. changes we've made in payment schedules on contracts, but the main thing is the stability of our overall programs.
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but i will come back to you with more specifics because i think it's an excellent -- not an excellent concern, there's no such thing as an excellent concern, but i certainly share your concern. >> if you want to move on, go ahead. >> chairman rogers and then ms. lowe has joins us. chairman rogers. >> china, developing, procuring aircraft carriers, submarines, amphibious assault capabilities, making territorial claims to shoals and reefs in the south and east china seas, expanding them into islands of some size. by all accounts china's positioning itself to exert more influence in the pacific and trying to build itself into a maritime power. meanwhile, they claim that they're being provoked by their neighbors and by the west using
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it as a justification to aggressively pursue their own interests with regard to territorial disputes in the east and south china seas. mr. secretary, what's your thinking now? has your thought process evolved in lieu of these -- in light of these fairly recent developments on the importance china's placing on the development of a blue water naval force? >> mr. chairman, first of all, i agree with your assessment completely. and our assessment has changed over time. not because we've changed our assessment but because the facts have changed. china is doing exactly as you say. there was a time when the chinese military was largely a land-based military. it was a military focused on defense of its own territory. now, it clearly has the aspiration to extend its sway in
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the pacific. and the united states policy there is, as it has been for 70 years, to remain the pivotal military power in the asia-pacific. that's that our rebalance to the asia-pacific is about, that's why we're making all the investments in new kinds of weapons, new aircraft, joint strike fighter, long-range strike bomber and so forth in recognition of that. with respect to the chinese specifically in the south china sea, the idea that we have provoked them into that -- the reason that these activities are getting notice is because the united states is doing something new. we've been sailing in the south china sea and will continue to sail wherever international law allows for decades now. we're not doing anything new. the thing that's new is the chinese -- there's some other countries that do some of this, but nothing on the scale of
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china, exactly as you say, dredging and putting military equipment on. that's having two effects. it's being reacted to in two ways. first is by us in our investments and that's why when we talk about this being an inflection point in our budget, that's part of it, looking to the future including china. it's also having the effect of causing others in the region, both to increase their own maritime defense activities and to align them with the united states. old allies like japan, south korea, australia, the philippines and then new partners like vietnam and india that are working with us increasingly, so the chinese behavior is having the effect of self-isolation and it's also galvanizing others to take action. against it. you know, that is a change in the strategic aspect that china
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presents to the region. we're determined to do what the united states has done for 70 years, which is to keep a peaceful and stable environment. that's the environment in which the asian miracle has occurred, it's because of the counterweight of the united states to what would otherwise be a region that has no nato, no security structure. we've provided that for 70 years. >> do these actions of china recently, does that threaten our ability to live up to our treaty obligations to taiwan? >> well, no. our treaty obligations to taiwan are very strong. we're constantly adjusting them. obviously the more the threat grows from china, the more we have to adjust both our operational approach and our technical approach. that's one of the reasons why we're making these investments is because our commitment under the taiwan relations act to
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capabilities to defend taiwan. but i think just to follow what you said, mr. chairman, earlier, china's activities have expanded to beyond taiwan, which has been with us now for several decades. and they're looking to the south china sea, the east china sea, and so forth. so, it's not just taiwan anymore, but it certainly includes taiwan. >> general dunford, could you address this subject, the threat that might be posed by the recent changes in china's activities in regard to blue water capability and/or aircraft or land based? >> chairman, i can. it's very clear to me that those capabilities that are being developed, they're intended to limit our ability to move into the pacific or to operate freely within the pacific and we call that anti-access, area denial capabilities. so their developments in anti-ship capability,
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anti-aircraft capability and then as you describe the blue water navy clearly intended to limit our ability and that's why in this particular budget we have focused on capability development that allow us to maintain a competitive advantage versus china. it's also why we're fielding the most modern capabilities in the department to the pacific first. things like the f-35, the f-22 and so forth are in other capabilities are going to the pacific first. so, i absolutely share the concern that you've outlined, chairman rogers, and certainly something that for me in terms of joint capability development it's a priority for us over the next 5, 7, 10 years to ensure, you know, what secretary carter said is true, we are capable today of meeting our obligations in the pacific and there is no doubt in my mind that we have a competitive advantage over china today. it's equally clear to me that on the trajectory that china is on today were we to not maintain an investment profile as outlined in the current budget we would lose our competitive advantage over time and find ourselves unable to adequately advance our
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interests in the pacific. >> some people say what china is doing in the region as we've talked about here is more to impress and perhaps intimidate their neighbors than it is to confront us. what do you say to that, mr. secretary? >> well, it's both. because it is definitely intended to intimidate or dominate the neighbors. but it's also partly clearly strategically directed at us because it is we who have provided the security structure in that region. now, you know, i'm not one of these people who believes that conflict with china is inevitable. it's certainly not desirable. but, it -- it is we who have provided the environment of peace and stability there that has allowed china to develop freely and economically. and before them japan, before them south korea, before them taiwan, before them southeast
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asia and now india and china. it is we that have provided the environment. some chinese think it's a good thing. we're not out to keep china down but we don't look for anybody to dominate the region and certainly anybody to push the united states out. we're a pacific power. we're there to stay. it's where half humanity lives and half of the american economy and an important part of the community, we're there to stay. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and welcome, and thank you for your service, secretary carter, general dunford and undersecretary mccord. i know that there was some discussion before i arrived at the budget, but i'd like to hear you say it again. what problems are created when congress does not pass a spending bill by octoberegzñ 1? what does it do for your budget? and can you carry out the department's mission within the amounts proposed in your fy-'17
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request? >> thank you, congresswoman. we can carry out the mission as we said, with the budget that we have proposed, which we proposed at the level prescribed by the bipartisan budget agreement. the stability provided by that agreement is very important to us and to get to the first part of your question, when we have instability, what happens. within the department we start to do things inefficiently, first of all. we begin to shorten the contract times and some money is wasted. and we can't plan programs for the long run. there's program instability, which hurts the industrial base. for our people it is very bad for morale military and civilian, hey, what's going on here. there's gridlock in washington. we don't have a budget.
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the government's going to close down, the sequester is going to come in. i don't think it's fair for our people. they look at their families and try to plan their future, they say is this an institution i can plan my life around. we need them to see a future with us. and finally i worry about what it looks like around the world. our friends and foes alike who say, geez, can't you get it together here and have a budget for the long rupp. it's very deleterious for us to have instability and that's why i'm grateful to really you on this committee among others for coming together this year and putting together a bipartisan budget agreement that's the basis on which we submitted our budget and the stability provided to us is incredibly important. and chairman, you may want to add anything on stability. >> the one thing that i would say, congresswoman, you know, as i look at the last several years we've kind of lived year to year, and i would echo the secretary's comments. i'm confident that we can meet our obligations today.
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i'm equally confident that the procurement that i talked about in my opening remarks is a bill to be paid in the future. as confident as i am about being able to say we can meet our requirements today i'm equally confident if we continue to do what we're doing over the last few years there's absolutely no way five or seven years from now we would have the same conversation about china that we just had with chairman rogers. it would be a fundamentally different kind of conversation. that's the piece of predi predictability and stability, you have to have a coherent long-term view and the uncertainty and the budgets incomplete, one is causes us to make bad decisions in that environment and the know cuss continues to be on the near term and we've got to be able to do two things at one time we've got to meet the current requirements and we've got to do the innovation and investments necessary to remain the
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competitive balance in the future and achieving that balance requires a much different fiscal environment than the one we've been operating under now for some three or four years. but thanks for your question. >> well, thank you. and i know if it's up to chairman rogers and i, we will proceed with regular order. but talking about competition and workforce, i'd like to ask a question on cyber security. first of all, if you could please describe the primary risk faced by the department of defense in the cybersecurity realm, and the budget indicates that measures are taken to increase the capabilities of the cyber mission force initiated in fy-2013. could you could describe the primary elements. and how does the budget request support your efforts in cybersecurity. >> thanks for that. i'll start with that, and chairman, you add. our highest priority to get to the first part of your question, our highest priority has to be defending our own networks. because our military networks are what stitches together the
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ingredients of our military and makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts, so all of our operations of ships, planes, tanks, people, troops, intelligence and so forth comes together in the network and making sure those networks aren't penetrated or compromised is job one. we spend a lot of effort on that. we also recognize that cyber can be a tool that we can use against our enemies, so, for example, right now, and i can't go into details in this setting, but i can with you separately, cybercom is operating against isil, because these guys, you know -- why should they be able to communicate? why should they be using the internet? these are people that are not part of the free, open culture that the internet supposed -- these are evil and shouldn't -- and the internet shouldn't be used for that purpose. we can do that and under our authorities as part of our campaign against isil.
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and the last thing, another priority for us is we do help -- we don't have the lead here because there's homeland security and law enforcement and so forth, but if there are other kind of attacks on the homeland potentially, we would assist in the defense of our homeland in cyberspace as we do in everything -- everything else. and in terms of our investments, you're right 133 cyber mission force elements at cybercom that's just a piece of it, though, because the services all have cyber effort. they're all tied up with the co-coms and they are included in the operations plans and we have an enormous investment in our i.t. systems. many tens of billions of dollars in our i.t. system, all of which is being modernized, put in the cloud, so it can be better defended so there's an enormous investment and we've increased it in this budget in recognition of the growing portion of cyber and your need, as the
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chairman just said, to focus on the future. >> general, briefly, because i know ms. granger would like to have -- >> i'll be very quick. first, with regard to the primary risk and i would echo the secretary, protecting our own war fighting capability is critical. but as much as you focus on the risk every time we talk about risk in cyberwe ought to talk about opportunity as well and we do have opportunities and so to your second question about the investment, the investments are across the range of our primary missions to defend our own network and support the defense of our nation as well as take advantage of offensive capabilities to take the fight to the enemy and the secretary alluded to what we're currently attempting to do against isil which we obviously wouldn't talk details in this particular venue but the investments we're making and the cyber mission force. we did build the 133 teams and our investments this year have focused on providing with the tools and frankly the training facilities which are unique in the cyberworld but those are probably two of the other areas that i would highlight that we're trying to do, again, to enhance the effectiveness of the
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capabilities we have, this year's budget is focused on enhancing the capability and the cyber force we've been building over the last few years. >> thank you, ms. lowe. ms. granger and then mr. israel. >> thank you, general dunford and mr. secretary, for all the attention you're giving and keeping us safe and there's nothing more important. as we do that, we have partners that we're asking to play an increasing role in the fight against isis. my concern is the foreign military sails. the process is cumbersome and it's bogged down. for example, the congressional notification for the f-18s for kuwait has been stalled in the executive branch since march of 2015. this is just one example of the many concerns we've been hearing. in fact, the delays are driving our partners to turn elsewhere including russia and china for assistance. that's not a good situation for us. the relationships are critical
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to the u.s. national security and they must be protected, our current action, or lack of action, is risking our long-term strategic alliances. i know this is not just a dod issue, but, mr. secretary, you play a significant role in the process. what are you doing to try to expedite the requests from our partners? and what changes are being made to fix this problem? >> well, i align myself completely with what you said. our exports, defense exports, are a two-fer. they help our industrial base, which in turn helps us, because they make -- when others make investments in our defense industrial base, those are investments in the base upon which we depend. when they buy aircraft that we're also buying, they make them less expensive for us, so it's all good, and you know from the joint strike fighter and other aircraft how important that is. and then the other thing is, that it makes them stronger.
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and they're our friends and we don't want to have to do everything ourselves. so, we're trying to get other people to get in the game, not be free-riders, help us fight the fights that need to be made and they need capability to do that. and then the last thing i'll say, you're absolutely right, if we don't give it to them, somebody else will give it to them, and that somebody else isn't what we want to have in there. so, for all those reasons speeding up the approval process, you're right, it's too cumbersome, there are lots of people involved. it's something i've been working on for a number of years. my predecessors did as well. and then i talked to secretary kerry about and secretary pritzger as well. but this is an important, positive thing for american defense when we're able to arm our friends and allies so that they can help -- we can help them help themselves. chairman? >> congresswoman, i would just echo that. i was in kuwait on monday as a
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matter of fact and met with the minister of defense and my counterpart the chief of defense. you know, from their perspective, great partner, you know, our presence in kuwait has been critical to prosecute the current fight against isil. it's been critical for the last two decades, plus. and they're incredibly frustrated and i agree with secretary carter. those are the kind of countries that we should be keeping close. they're valuable allies. both in the fight and from a u.s. posture perspective. and we should look for ways to expedite the delivery of equipment. because they have, and they will, go elsewhere. and we want to build interoperability. we want to build effective partnerships and allies and one of the ways you do that is commonality of equipment and if they're going to buy chinese uav ms or aircraft or missiles or those kind of things it makes incredibly difficult for us then to put coalitions together in a circumstance like we find ourselves right now and winning in the circumstance we are in right now. make no mistake about it is going to require an effective coalition. so, i think it's a foundational
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element of us actually advancing our national security interests is to make sure we have that interoperability and commonality of equipment and in order to incentivize people to work with us, we got to make it easier. >> we really do. and anything we can do in the congress to speed it up or make it smoother, please let us know, because we understand, when they had the uprising in egypt, you know, everything shut down. there was no communication except military to military because they're using our equipment and we trained their pilots and so we kept that going and knew what was happening that way. and we really need to do everything we can to make it faster and smoother. thank you both very much. >> thank you, ms. granger. mr. israel, then judge carter. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, general, welcome. before i ask my question, i want to, mr. secretary, commend you on -- i know you make many smart decisions. one of the smartest is the appointment of steve hedger as principal deputy assistant
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secretary, he started in my office. >> thank you for that, because i couldn't agree with you -- he's absolutely fantastic and i rely on him completely and i'm grateful for him. >> and now we've embarrassed him authori thoroughly. a good bit of the debate in revolves around technology and platform and systems. i want to ask about the software. by that i mean how we educate our officers, our troops. the intellectual talent that we need. this is something i learned when i was on the hask and former chairman ike skelton and i worked on professional military education and i learned it firsthand on a visit to iraq when i spoke with general ordierno, when i said what kind of deficiencies do you have. he went through a variety of issues and he said, do you know what, congressman, i think we could use more cultural
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anthropologist and we need an awareness of culture and linguistics, you got to know when you are kicking in a door who is behind the door. so, i'd like you to comment, mr. secretary, and then i'll have a question for general dunford, i'd like you to comment on, are we doing enough to invest in that software. and some of the challenges that we're just too busy to learn, is it the challenges our budgets don't allow us to make those investments and what more can we do on the professional military obligations that we have. >> thank you, congressman. while we're acknowledging people who have done a tremendous amount for our country, i'd like to acknowledge you also for your service in this body and to the country in your loyalty to the department of defense. thanks. you're on one of the things that chair -- one of the subjects that the chairman and i think feel most passionately about. it's a critical part of the force of the future, and that is professional military education
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or the continuing development of our people. we need to get the best, which is why recruiting's so important, but once we get them, we need to develop them in the konks course of their career, because the world changes, technology changes and the skills they need change, and in order to retain them, we need to -- they need to feel continually like they are building their skill set. and that's crucial. and when you talk to young folks -- and i do all the time -- and say, what does it take to keep you? what would make you leave? what do you talk about when you go home and you sit around dinner table and decide whether you are going to stay or not, what do you talk about? there's lots of things they talk about, and we try to account for all of them. but the big one always is am i growing. and one of the things that is part of society today that wasn't so much in the past is companies recognize that, a lot
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of people recognize that their education didn't end when they were kids. you have to educate yourself your whole life because you need to keep up, otherwise the world's going to pass you by. that's true everywhere in our economy. you see people trying to do that, but it's very -- it's critical for our military, both to keep their skills sharp and to make them motivated to stay. and a concern i have and one of the things we're addressing in this budget and i -- and it's not a lot of money. it's really attention is this -- every time there's a little shave in the budget or turbulence -- i was asked earlier about consequences of turbulence. where you go in and you grab money where you quickly can because all of a sudden you have to grab money, which is a bad way of managing yourself, when we have to do that kind of thing, one of the things you grab is professional military education funding. fellowships and so forth. that's -- that's penny wise and pound foolish and it's an example of the near term killing the far term. so, i think you're absolutely
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right. i like the word software and i'll stop at that point and see if the chairman wants to add anything. >> actually, general, if you would elaborate on that in the time i have left and also comment on something you have worked on and that is the value of mindfulness in helping to shape a sharper and better minds in the military. >> i will, congressman. i'll start with the mindfulness question. i became aware of mindfulness about six years ago when i was commanding out in the west coast the first marine expeditionary force and we were looking for ways to enhance the resilience of our marines and sailors at the time. and i got a briefing from a dr. liz stanley at the time who clearly -- who made it clear to me that mindfulness will help us in terms of enhanciing resilieny of force and mitigating posttramatic stress and more importantly to enhance the ability of people to deal with the challenges and focus on the challenges that confronted at a particular time. i think there's a lot to that and we've continued to work on
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it over the last few years and i think there's a lot of promise to enhance the capability of the force with mindfulness of training. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> judge carter. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and welcome. we thank you for all you do for our nation. you're an important part of keeping us safe, and i'm proud to know you. secretary carter, as you well know, only five of our nato i%rqáhsqqá their obligations on defense spending, with one of them being greece who backed in the wrong way. a strong and stable europe is, of course, vital national security interest of ours, but even more importantly it's of the european citizens. with the european reassurance initiative funding in fy-'17, quadrupling, what concrete steps are you taking or can we take to force europe to you're reassure
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themselves and how can we better incentivize european countries to contribute more to their own safety? could you take us through the decision making that was involved in deciding to implicate -- implement a rotational abct as opposed to a permanently stationed abct? wouldn't an enduring unit encourage critical strategic partnership with allied nations armored forces and provide a greater institutional knowledge and mission capability as compared with a rotational force? >> thank you, congressman. and, you're right, the europeans need to do more. they are as -- in general, and i'm now on a long string of secretaries of defense who have decried the decline in european defense spending. it's not uniform. there are countries that are increasing their level.
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i would -- particularly i would just single out the united kingdom as one. and, of course, our allies around the world, like japan, australia, and some of them, they're all doing more. and so they're getting stronger. but in general, europe has underinvested. and our european reassurance initiative, our plans there are to work with them to defend them. to do that we need their participation and assistance and their own capabilities. eri puts some equipment there permanently, but, you're right, our approach to force -- to increased force presence there is rotational presence, persistent rotational presence, rather than permanent presence, and you say why. and the reason is that the -- is two-fold.
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one is that we don't think it's practical for us to get support for increasing more overseas basing in europe. the pressure on us has been in just the other direction, and we've been doing less in europe. continuing to have a strong defense of europe, but have fewer forces positioned in europe. we think we can do the mission -- we know we can do the mission rotationally in a better way in the following sense. and i'll let the chairman elaborate on this, but i know if you -- if you spoke to the chief of staff of the army ands acting secretary of the army about this, this is what they've told me. they actually prefer the persistent rotational presence because it's better for readiness. these guys who go over there -- and i've met with -- i've met with them, i visited our guys in europe in estonia and so forth, and they say we are much more ready now as a consequence of our being here. we know the environment.
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we're at a high state of readiness. so, it's good training for them to rotate. then they go back home. if they were there all the time and the people back home never got to go to yoeurope, the readiness for europe wouldn't be as high. so the army believes by rotating different units through europe, you increase the proficiency and therefore the punch of the eir. i would ask the chairman to elaborate. >> i view it as a way to meet an enduring requirement as opposed to seeing them separate. we used the rotational method to meet its requirements and multiple tubes in okinawa, where we meet the majority of our requirements. i couldn't agree more, my experience is that rotating -- using a rotational basis to put forces in europe will actually ensure that they maintain readiness and it will give them a breadth of experience that they might not otherwise have were they permanently in europe. i think it's a good way to meet our requirements and, again, i
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don't view it as either enduring or rotational, i view rotational forces as wa way to meet an enduring commitment. >> how effective is european participation if their rules of engagement are strictly defensive, which what we've experienced in some of the theaters when they participate. you say you're still challenging them, but in reality, we got to have people that fight. >> congressman, i had the privilege of commanding, you know, all the nato nations in the isaf mission. we had 50 members of the coalition and i would tell you, there are some exceptions, but that issue of caveats and rules of engagement, we overcame that in afghanistan, probably back in 2011 and 2012. and we have some incredibly effective partners and over time they were able to accomplish the mission and operate within the same roe that we do. and my expectation is that
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they'll do that in the future. there is certainly alongside of us today we don't have nato in iraq, for example, and syria, but we have nato nations there. and almost anywhere we are we have either members of the nato alliance or nato itself, and i frankly think that we can work through those things and we have in the past. it's a political issue. but once there's commitment and will to the mission, the forces are more than capable enough to be shoulder to shoulder with us and make an invaluable contribution and i believe that as a commander. >> thank you, judge carter. it is a critical issue. >> first thing, mr. secretary, general, i think right now that the job that you're doing we're in a good position as far as protecting our country. with that said, we know a lot about cyber. we know it's one of the biggest threats we face. we know it affects our business. our communities. our combatant commands wherever we are. we have a lot of work to do that. in regard because of the fact that we need to deal and focus on cyber, i personally believe
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that we need to take cyber command and make it into a fully functional combatant command. i say this, too, i happen to represent nsa in my district and ft. meade in that area. are you considering that? if you are, do you have any time frame? and also we need to focus on the budget issue. and then if i do have time i want to follow-up one question on what judge carter was saying about russia. >> thank you, congressman. with respect to cybercom, yes, we have considered various -- and continue to consider various ways of improving our managerial approach and our command approach for cyber. cybercom is a very effective organization. it is a growing organization, so we're going to have to see where it goes. as you know, it is now a subunified command to stratcom. that is an arrangement that works now, but it's not necessarily optimal which is why we're looking at it. we do have a reluctance about
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adding new headquarters staffs because one of the things that we're doing in this budget is cutting headquarter staff, so we need to be careful about that. but whichever way that turns out, the command structure, cybercom has an important future. and you mentioned nsa. it's important to me that cybercom and nsa are in the same place. and the reason is very simple -- >> i agree with that, too. >> -- we don't have -- you know, skilled cyber people and this gets back to some of the earlier questions are not -- they're hard to find. cyber is partly a money issue for us, but it's not really a money issue, it's a people issue. and finding good people is critical. having nsa next to cybercom means that they can interchange talent and draw on one another. that's a huge strength for both of them. so, the fact that address miller roger wears both hats director
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of nsa and cybercom that's a critical advantage right now. there may come a time when we have enough people that we could do something different, but for now i would not recommend that separation. but it's people. that's the long pole. >> if i have time, i do also want to get in a question about russia. i was in russia this november about the syria issue. and then we -- then went to estonia and latvia. and there is a great concern in talking with representatives from other countries in the european area, poland and romania, there's a great concern, will the united states stand behind them if the aggression of putin continues to go on. especially in those border states. they are concerned. i think the fact that we're going to put about 4,000 or 5,000 troops in that area will help them, but i think we have to let them know and let the world know and let putin know, we're the strongest military in the world and we-kñ need to let
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people know that. you don't want to escalate but you want to stand up and show you are strong and you need to get the morale of these countries. something putting troops on the border if that's the case. i'm not saying to do that. that's your call as far as the military, but i think we need to show that we're strong, that we're not going to tolerate the aggression of russia and especially with our allies that are right on the border. >> i'll start first, then chairman. the reason why we're quadrupling the eri is precisely for the reason you say, to signal the determination of the united states and nato to defend nato territory. we do that with the activity sets, which are these equipment sets that move around. we do it with rotational presence. we do it with the permanent presence that we have there in europe. we do it with exercises and so forth. but -- and russia should know that what they see there in europe on a daily basis isn't
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what we'd use to defend europe. they'd get the whole weight of the american military behind the defense of europe. and we have plans to do that. that's one of the ones i was alluding to earlier for the defense of our nato territory in concert with them. we would do it with the full weight of the united states as has always been the case in the defense of europe. it will be a different kind of thing than it was in the days of the gap. we call it the new play book. it's not just territorial. it's little green men, hybrid warfare. you have heard about it in your travels. other things you saw in crimea and ukraine. it is a different threat but we have to plan in order to show strength and most importantly be strong in defense of our nato
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allies. you asked a question about were we to posture forces on the border would it make a difference and what the european reassurance initiative does is two things. one, helps us to develop on rabltle with our nato partners which is important. but the desire to sebd a clear message of our commitment, our commitment to article five of the alliance. as importantly a clear demonstration to russia that, you know, if russia faces nato they face the weight 28 nations, the economy of 28 nations and the political will of 28 nations. if you put that together that's an overwhelming challenge. and a design to make sure one part is clear. we can bring the full weight to
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bear in the event of contingency. >> it would be appreciated by the ukraines still waiting. mr. crenshaw and mr. mckolum. >> thank you for your service to our men and women in uniform. you have laid out all the threats we efface. i can't think of a time we faced on the short term or long term basis. we are facing them at a time of shrinking budgets. this subcommittee has a role to play. some of us served under different presidents and secretaries of defense. we bring unique perspective. i want to have a brief discussion with you about your decision to end the combat ship program at 40. if you look at the program, you
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can see that it was set up to be a 52-ship program. that decision, the memo and the reason i say it is your decision, there was a memo that you wrote, secretary of the navy reported in the press. and it talked about the fact that maybe some of the le that will ti wasn't there. it was almost like the report said maybe the navy spends too much on ships and not enough money on some of the other platforms like the e 2 d hawkeye or the f-18. i'm a supporter of the programs. i'm not sure it's correct to justify them, comparing them to other programs. when i read that memo and talk to senior members of the department of defense it seems there is a question of, well, maybe it's more of a presence
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ship like a patrol border, frigate there to show presence and maybe doesn't have the high tech capabilities in the new world to deal with china, russia, iran. i guess my concern is that's one opinion. you read articles about how important the lcs can be. you talk to the folks who have been on them on the asia-pacific. they would tell you that you almost need those ships to defeat some of the folks over there. i guess my question is if the navy says we need 52 that was the estimate. we reiterated that after a year-long study we asked them to do. then your decision is they need 40. i guess the question becomes how does that requirement change so quickly? and will we get to see an analysis that went into your
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decision? in other words, do you really believe we need less total combat or do you believe we need to spend more money in other areas? bottom line is that a decision based on the long-term national security or a decision based on a short-term budget. >> it is a decision based on long-term security. the combat ship is a successful el program. it is an excellent ship. it will be much better than the mine counter measure ships, the coastal pale troll craft it replaces. these are critical capabilities. in general in shipbuilding this budget makes a huge investment in shipbuilding. new ddgs, virginia class submarines, aircraft carriers. overhaul and maintenance of
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aircraft carriers. amphibious ships. the first ohio class replacement submarine. there is an enormous amount and also the added virginia payload modules. for the submarine program. so there is a lot that goes into ship-building and our ships -- the number of ships in the navy is increase ing. it's going to go to 308. about 280 today. we'll have a bigger navy, not a smaller navy. that's in the budget in front of you. the navy gets larger.z the navy's war fighting analysis concluded 40 of them were enough. yes, we did want to apply resources elsewhere to the lethality of the ships. that's critically important that we not only have enough ships and warships but they are the very best. that's why we are investinging
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in combat systems. we are investing new missiles and the new lightweight tor me do and heavyweight torpedo program. missiles including the new capabilitile for the surface to air missiles rg all the things that make our navy the most lethal in the face of china, russia, iran, others trying to have the capability. there is balancing that needs to be done between high end and very important lower end ships. there is nothing wrong with it. we like it. our plan is not to buy 52 but to buy 40. that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the program. it's been successful and is needed. >> thank you. the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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mr. secretary, the 2017 fund it is committee proep rates will be available to support the policies and programs of the next president. the next president the american people elect in november. the leading candidate for president is telling the american people and the world that torture works. he says he will use torture to beat isil including things way beyond water boarding ordering the military to take out the families of islamic terrorists. i assume that means directing the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to use men and women under your command to intentionally kill innocent family members including children that might be suspected terrorists. i find these rants frightening and dangerous to our nation. general, do you support allowing u.s. troops or the intelligence
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community to use torture to exact information from suspected terrorists? does the use of torture advance the military or the national interests of the united states? >> before the chairman answers, i really need to say something. the question is a fair question. i want to say something about the framing of it that i believe strongly. >> please, sir. >> this is an election year. we'll have a new president. i recognize that. i feel very strongly that our department needs to stand apart from the electoral season. i decline to answer questions that arise from the political debate going on. i don't think that's appropriate. i want general dunford especially, even more so than me, not to be involved in political debates. i think if you address the general question of how we try
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to conduct ourselves as a military in the air in syria. you were commander in afghanistan. that's fine. with great respect. >> we respect your decision. >> will you just make a blanket statement then as to the military's role of the use of torture? we have had a lot of hearings on this. it caused a lot of angst in this congress. one administration used it. as far as i know we are working to stop and ban the use of torture because it doesn't serve the national interest. >> let me answer a question broadly without getting into what was highlighted. one thing that makes me proud to wear the uniform is we represent the values of the american people. when our young men and women go to war they go with our values
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and our performance in the battlefield in the last decade-plus of war reflects young men and women bring values with them. when we find exceptions you see how we pursue addressing those exceptions. what i would say in response is we should never apologize for going to war with the values of the american people. that's what we have done. that's what we expect in the future. that makes me proud to wear the uniform. >> i assume the values of the american people do not include torture. thank you. >> i agree with you. i agree with the general's statement as well. mr. grays and then ms. captor. thank you both, everybody for your patience. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i'm very concerned with the timeline and the funding reduction including this year's budget for the j-stars recap. i want to discuss that for a few minutes. the timeline for ioc is gone from 2022 to 23 to 24.
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as a result the existing j-stars fleet's livle cycle costs are going through the roof. every year the air force defers recapitalization. they are missing out on $100 million or more in reduced operations and maintenance costs. secondly the current aircraft are reaching the end of their service life and require waivers and additional funds to maintain themselves. this will lead to a lengthy capabilities gap depriving war fighters the battle management. half the fleet was in maintenance. this all but ensures a capabilitile gap in the 2020 time frame for a replacement aircraft ready now. now we are told there is a need for more tech maturation, at odds with the plan we have heard from the air force over the last four years. they have said the recap will
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involve mature technology and that the recap will be an int fwrags effort. can you help us understand and explain why this year's budget explains additional delays which result in additional expenses and gaps in capabilitile? >> i will describe the acquisition. you're right. the area force does have a continuing requirement for a ground moving target indicator. this is a fleet of 16, 707-based aircraft. they have been around for a long time. they have to be recapitalized. we need the capability. you don't need physically a radar anymore. radars got smaller. we flew a bunch of them. the general's forces flew them in afghanistan and we have flown
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them elsewhere. so the air force is committed in our budget and does lay in the funds for a j-stars recap. they want to do a competitive source selection for that, both for the radar and the integration with the airframe. they haven't picked a winner of that yet. they have announced the competition for a j-stars replacement and put in money between two and three million dollars to be gin recapitalization. we can get you more detail but the thing i can say as secretary of defense is we are committed to the capability. we have to recapitalize the j-stars. as you note it is an airframe now decades old. we can't keep flying it. we need the capabilitile. >> you're right.
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it is needed today. in the not too distant time from now half of the fleet will be at a full lifestyle. we still don't seem to be on a timeline that would fill the gap. we have had tremendous support for this program and for advancing it and moving as quickly as possible because of the deep concern for troops and the capabilities in the field. any additional support. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. general dunford. thank you for your service to our country. i will ask my questions quickly. you can use the time remaining to answer them. first of all, the four top yibs
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will be russian propaganda, isil's growth, the state partnership program and survivor benefits. on russian propaganda, i read general dunford your statement in the russian military presents the greatest challenge to u.s. interests. i agree. i want to express my own deep concern about russia's well funded and organized propaganda war in ukraine, the baltics, europe, and even here in the west. i observe the west's approach to confront that force of hybrid warfare is fragmented and underfunded. can you respond potentially review what's being done across various departments. design a strategy to counter russia in their efforts including assigning a lead in the administration to this task? working with our alleys. number two, on the state partnership program it's one of
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the most effective tools in working with european allies to meet the challenge we face in europe. ohio, for example, our guard has a relationship. what does the budget do to facilitate this which is essential to carrying out activities in the realm. tribe the development and size of isil as a terrorist force and the motivation for what seems to be drawing additional adherence. would appreciate for the record dod's view of victory in syria. finally on the mat of survivor benefits i was contacted by a veteran constituent with three children who is an afghanistan veteran herself at the e-7 level. she has pts. she is a gold star death through to the death of her husband in iraq in 2004. under current law a required off set in payments between her
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survivor benefit plan prohibits her from receiving the full amount of both. let me state 5% of military widows remarry. 95% of widowers do. for women with children, it seems there ought to be something going on at dod that would help those who have served our nation. i want to put that on the record. if you can't answer it here, i appreciate it here in your written reply. first on the russian prop fwan da issue. >> thank you very much. i will start on the russian propaganda thing. it is related to hybrid warfare. russia bought media in the west. no question about it. you can turn it on in your own living room and sometimes that
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contains what i call the big lie. our principal response is a country and as the west is the truth. we have to watch the effect of that. the state department does it. the intelligence community does it. you asked us. it is related to have the initiative in parts. it is important but another part of the eri is hardening the states of europe to essentially subversion which shades into subversion. hardening them by to defend themselves from cyber manipulation and from other
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kinds of insidious influences we saw in russian actions in crimea and ukraine. that's what hybrid warfare means. it is part of the new playbook as i call it for nato. it's not like nato was long ago which was a more conventional type of conflict. we expect a more unconventional type of conflict and that's what the chairman and i and general breedlove think and plan for. if i may put in a plaug for the state partnership program with you, we get huge value out of the state partnership programs. we fund them and their people are enthusiastic. the countries tell me all the time how much they love the
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state that's their partner. it is a great way of tying america to others and complement ing what the defense department does institutionally. i appreciate your support. >> i hope with that endorsement you will find ways to broaden it, fully use it, particularly in those places which are at risk now. on the propaganda front. i really hope in your position you can lead an administration effort to be coordinated. not just dod but we have to come back to propaganda. it's flooding nations like ukraine. not in liberty's interest to have this continue without an equal response and the west response is anemic compared to what's coming out of the russian. >> while you are aiming at russian propaganda we could come up with a plan for the islamic state asle well. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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secretary carter. general dunford, thank you for being here. thank you for your service to our country. i appreciate it. i want to expand on the questions regarding china. obviously china has been closelecloseling the technology gap. it was focused internally. the primary mission as far as the existing government. in their country. recent history. they have been interested in project i projecting military power in their own region. i would argue that we win wars not just because we are the best trained and most proficient. we are very good at large scale strategic operational and tactical logistics. supply, maintenance procedures and practices. we are good at getting people and equipment anywhere on the globe in a timely manner and
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have decades of conflict experienced through the world. in prepping and executing service support functions. china is new to this. i question their ability to conduct these functions effectively in fighting the conflict beyond their shores. you can have the largest military in the world. but if you can't feed and supply them after three days they become worthless. can you comment on china's ability to project more fighting power beyond its shores but especially the ability to conduct effective logistics, supply and maintenance operations external to china? i don't think we put a lot of thought into that. >> congressman, thanks for your question. first of all, i agree with you. our logistics capability is one of our competitive advantages. i agree that from a power projection perspective the
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chinese capability is relatively immature. however, if we are talking about within the pacific they have one advantage. if we talk about a conflict in taiwan and those areas, they are challenged less than than the challenge we would have as we project to the middle east or the pacific. i do see from my own personal experience when you talk about putting equipment at sea, employing sea based capabilities and logistics over long distances that takes many years. we have maritime ships. i was around in the early days and we put equipment aboard a ship. six months later try to take it off and the fuel turned to sludge. we had to make sure the level of maintenance and readiness is what it is today. that was a learning process that took years to develop. i would agree with the thesis that the chinese have a long way
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to go in terms of developing power projection. if you look at the investments they are making, attention they are paying to it. the reorganization is a recognition in part of the comment you made. they aring looking at our capabilities in terms of integration. our logistics capability. they made major reorganization inside the chinese military which is in part to mitigate the challenges you identified and they know exist. do i think they have a legitimate projection capability today? no. do i see forces deployed to djabuti, the aviation developing.
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again in the near term what they are developing would provide the capability that's much easier to attain and that's the capability with interior lines in the specific scenario to project power that i mentioned. >> mr. ryan and mr. womack. >> thank you. mr. chairman, thank you for being here. one of the issues, the issue we talk about here, the budget, money, how we're going to free up money. we have a lot of priorities. the challenges we face today are, i think, unlike we have had to as far as dealing with global challenges, the technology, making sure the third offset. all the new investments we have to make. so we have to be smart in how we free up money. i know we have been spending a good deal more money on health care. so one of the issues i want to
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ask about briefly and put in a plug for when we look at rates of diabetes and blood pressure and all the things causing us to spend money. want to talk about the healthy base initiative, food, nutrition and the warriors. a lot of them are diet related. if we start feeding our soldiers, airmen and the rest healthy food that a lot of the problems frees up money. what we can do to make sure we start driving down some of the health care costs to free up money for some of the other things. i know it was mentioned the
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defense industrial base issue. youngston ohio is home to america makes which is the manufacturing incity tuesday doing a phenomenal job. the idea of mind fitness training. again, mind, body, health. how we prepare the men and women to function at the highest level possible and using the most cost effective ways to do it. we mention ed liz stanley. she's not doing more work within the military now. we need to reconsider that.
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we are now dealing with the global zika issue. i see we are reducing the c-130 j request by three. i just wonder can you touch upon the issue, keeping troops safe, making sure we have the capacity to address the issue and also will the reduction of c-130 js affect our ability within the aerial spray unit and others to combat the global problem. >> you have a minute and a half. >> you can do it. >> i will be brief. we'll get back to you on the healthy base initiative. we do spend $50 billion a year on health care. it is a big part of the budget. obviously like everywhere else in the economy we want to not see that grow.
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it is a tremendous success. these are public, private partnerships. they are model ways of doing things and they are critical to keeping manufacturing and high skilled jobs but more importantly industry supporting defense from our point of view in the united states. i'm not aware in any way the program is at risk as a consequence of the bye. with respect to zika, there are funds made available to the department of health and human
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services for combatting zika. we stand ready to help with research, whatever they end up asking for. we are on tip-toes. >> the focus is on preventative medicine. all individuals are at high risk. pregnant women in south america, those things and afforded them the opportunity to leave the area whether they are at risk for the zika virus. we are making sure the force wherever they are deployed particularly in the area where is the zika virus is present. we are taking the measures to be sure we have a healthy force. our medical professionals are very experienced and good at preventative health el. something like this, they are good at making sure we are proactive in keeping the force
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active and healthy. >> the committee would like to commend the department for their good work addressing ebola. your command and control was important. mr. womack, thank you for your patience. >> thank you, mr. secretary, general, always great to see you. mr. secretary, i'm a big picture guy. it's obvious with your strategy you are a big picture guy. i appreciate that. there is another big picture view that's a stark reality. everybody here knows it. we talk about it a lot. that's the trajectory of the federal budget. it's alarming to me. we don't have an answer for that. that said, as a result of sques
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radiation and the budget control act, we have lost a lot of what i believe is readiness capability because of a very difficult constrained resource environment. it looks like they would be trying to buy back some of the readiness now and deferring some of our other onlile investigations to the future which this congress is good at. i hate to see the department of defense having to do the same. that's the reality of the constrained resource environment we happen to be in. i will throw it out on the table as a concern from this member of congress and ask you to comment and give us the reality of what's happening in the pentagon and how we are having to push a lot of very vital procurement
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needs to be able to buy back some of the readiness that was lost to date. >> i will start. i ask the chairman to do the same. we are trying to find money for those two priorities elsewhere in the budget. that's why, as i said, the shape of the budget is so different. this year and how they are trying to turn a strategic corner. with respect to readiness, each of the services is different. but they are trying to get back to full spectrum readiness. we are funding their return to near spectrum readiness. the stability you gave us with the bipartisan budget act is absolutely critical.
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without it, we can't be on that. trajectory. full spectrum readiness. the stability is important. we began by talking about everything that goes into it. we are the department of discretionary budget. we understand you have to deal with all the parts of the federal budget. we can't keep focusing the budget on the discretionary part of the budget as has been the case. i'm so glad that the budget agreement was reached and gave us some stability but red yness is a big priority for us. let me ask the chairman. there is a factor of time.
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it will take time. has an effect on readiness. some of the impact of the last few years with regard to the maintenance backlog that has resulted in a physics issue in terms of getting the equipment fixed which needs to be fixed. some of the equipment three, four years ago are out now three or four years from now. what i tried to do when making recommendations to the secretary for this budget is you look at readiness and structure. my perspective was given the resources we have, we have to achieve balance among those areas and posture ousts for five or seven years. you don't want to make decisions.
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what we try to do highlighted by the capability areas is we lived year to year. i know it from life as a service chief. we tried to get through the fiscal year and delay some of the decisions three to five years. we reached a point this year where we recognized in critical capability areas we could no longer wait before we started to make the investments. we tried to achieve the best balance we could in four areas i mentioned so we were making an investment in the future while being attentive. job one has been for the secretary and i making sure the young men and women today have the wherewithal to accomplish the mission with little loss of life or equipment. given that, we did make other decisions that would allow us to balance the readiness with long term readiness. the investment you make today are really about health and wellness of the force tomorrow. tough decisions have to be made. i would say we came out of fy-17
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balancing the resources we had the best way we could. you have identified something that's my number one concern. my number one concern is less what we are doing in fy-17. my number one concern is where will we be five or seven years from now if we don't change the trajectory. where will we be if we don't make the investments to allow us to have the same conversation we have had this morning where we could say russia is a challenge? sure it is. north korea, iran, china, all challenges. make no mistake. we have a competitive advantage. we can dominate today. >> others have referred to the enormous contribution of the national guard of which you were part of for many, many years.
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i know we are past high noon. i would like to talk about the issue of deflect ing of our -- deconfliction with others in the middle east. there is a lot of open source there. in iraq we have elements of the kuds force. to some extent we see russian superiority. in major portions over syria. could you talk a little bit about what we are doing? there is a report in the washington post that we have been getting sort of letting the russians know where certain operations are occurring.
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>> in greater detail with you privately in another setting. but i will start. i'll do syria and you can do iraq or whatever. in terms of the russians in syria we have a memorandum of understanding with them. it's accurate and precise to deconflict our war on isil. from what the russians are doing which unfortunately is something quite different decided in the civil war which is not what they said they were going to do. so they are off on a wrong trajectory.
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and we are not aligning ourselves with the russians but working with them so we don't run into each other in the air or on the ground. i have to say they are abide big the memo of understanding. it is professional, mille tear to military at a very operational, professional level. not the chairman and me. the russians conduct themselves in accordance with me. at the same time i just have to repeat we don't associate ourselves with the russians in syria because it's wrong headed. >> they have been able to unite militias and have been successful in terms of
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influencing the course of action there. i wonder if you have any degree of discomfort and what's your feeling about what's happening there? >> thanks. in iraq they were colocated with the recent. we have an aggressive counter intelligence program to make sure they are taken care of. that's a piece of what you alluded to. with regard to the military forces backed by iran one thing i'm encouraged by is the government with ramadi, they recognize the support was conditioned. not having the iranian backed forces around the area. they weren't participating in ramadi. there is energy to talk about how to integrate into legitimate iraqi forces. we are not providing support for forces that aren't legitimate
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agreed part of the iraqi government in baghdad and under prime minister abadi's control and responsibility. >> we are interested here in the issue of force protection. just because at this point in time people that are cheek by jowl are leaving us alone, one has to assume that they themselves are doing what we are doing. >> i can tell you just to make sure it is clear, we are concerned about that. we are watching that very closely. i wouldn't suggest for a minute we are complacent about it. our commander on the ground aren't either. we have a significant amount of resources dedicated to make sure we can recognize the changes and take appropriate action in anticipation of the changes. >> good to have that public reassurance. on the issue of rules of engagement, one of the benefits of congressional travel is that we often separate ourselves from general officers, talk with the
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men and womenle who do remarkable things. i follow a lead of my predecessors. from time to time i run into situations where remarkable people who have done courageous things have been injured. it bothers me when i hear that they didn't get the air support they needed. you pointed out maybe the afghans are ready for primetime. i hear more than anecdotal information. some of the forces don't fight at night. as a result, some of our men have been put in compromising positions. it's sort of hinges in my introductory remarks which aren't political. there is a feeling out there.
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this is shared by a lot of members of congress. there are forces higher up. i understand the chain of command. people have to check with a variety of different people before they say look after the mission that they are involved in. could you comment a little bit about that and give a level of reassurance that somebody would be checking on you. in positions of command and second guessing you. i wouldn't understand at walter reed. i have talked, too. they have confusion. they don't hesitate to unload if
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you make yourself available for questions. they are going to ask them. i would distinguish the rules of engagement. kind of has become a catch-all phrase for a wide range of ak ifts in the battlefield. i can assure you of this. when it comes to the rite of self-protection there is nothing from taking appropriate action if threatened. that's the fundamentals of the rules of engagement. to combine arms on the battle feed, i would tell you there are times when the decisions are made at a senior level . i made them at a senior level because there are strategic implications sometimes with regard to civilian casualties. >> collateral damage. >> sometimes that has to be managed. we have various levels of authorities associated with the numbers of civilian casualle tis. the amount of collateral damage that could take place in a
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certain operation. that's sometimes elevated to the general officer level. my experience is, again, when it comes to soldiers taking action that involves their right of force protection they can crush a hand set and call and combine arms to do what must be done. when it comes to a deliberate strike with deliberate implications we have, we do and we will make decisions at a level where risk can be managed appropriately to make sure what appears to be tactical actions with strategic consequences, the decision making is being made at the right level. it was managinging a very difficultle relationship with the governor of afghanistan. in some cases our presence and ability to conduct counter terrorism was a result of the strikes. from the troops' eyes i try to explain to them like i tried to explain to you, look.
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you can't necessarily see. even looks through a soda straw in combat. everyone's is different. your straw is a little wider than a squad leader or platoon commander. when it comes to doing what needs to be done. it's decentralized. sometimes we make decisions at a level the troops, lieutenants and captains prefer to make themselves. that's of us that are more senior feel sometimes we ought to make decisions. >> i'm glad to hear it. i think our footprint and there is the certain inevident ability. we have every soldier and whoever is representing our government deserves that assurance. i just want to make sure it was clear that's the case. >> if i could return to the
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european reassurance initiative contained in oko and we had a number of interchanges to the difficulty in planning year to year, any sense of my impression that this is going to be a situation for some period of time us vis-a-vis the russians and some of them migrate into the base budget as opposed to ending up in, say, 18? the reality is this is money we have to spend on a requirement that's quickly become upon us. it is appropriate that it be in oko. there are other things we are doing about the russians and the threat represented by the russians in the base and are part of the enduring investment. so there is a mix here.
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if the question is are we doing more about the threat represented by russia and china in the base budget in the future, you see it in fy-17 already. i think you will see it in the out years. assuming that what the chairman said is our biggest risk here, strategic risk which is a collapse of budget agreement and a reversion to the budget control act which is what he was referring to early. that's the biggest risk to everything we are trying to do, eri and everything else. >> if i could ask one more question and more if you wouldle want to address the issue of the reck men editions on health care retirement. i mentioned in the past. i think congress has a huge burden to bear, not that the administration is always right. we mentioned mandatory. you suffer from the same problem. if you would from the
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administration perspective what's your justification of doing this from a budgetary standpoint. >> we have made proposals and the department continues to ask for your support. to cap the rise and the growth of health care costs. we try to do it in a way that's not against the quality of care. medical treatment facilities. using them more efficiently. the issue of co-pays.
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they are very small co-pays. the purpose is to make people ask themselves, do i need to go to an emergency room or could i take a different route. if they need to go, go. this is just a little signal in that regard. we try to allocate efforts across the population so that we protect the parts of the military family to required who have the greatest needs and have the fewest alternatives. we know it's difficult. we know we have not received 100% support. we are grateful for the support we got from this committee and others. we understand it is tough on the congress. there is ab approach tori tiermt
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for new members, a blended retirement system. that's a good thing. volunteer force going forward to remind you for members of the service who are already in, they don't have to go to the blended retirement if they don't want to. nobody is changing the deal for people already in the military. to put it in perspective from where i sit, sometimes we look at health care and compensation. to me it's all about taking care of people. our number one responsibility to bring our young people home alive and keeping faith with them. there is a balance. i can share with you why we are so focused on the areas now.
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we spend close to 60% if we keep going on people. we spent close to 70% on people. in health care, i think it's gone from 4% of the budget to some 9% of the budget if i'm not mistaken. as i started to as a service chief look at the cost of people there is no way i can make sure they are trained and equipped as well as compensated. there is a balance that has to be achieved. these initiatives are, in fact, designed to provide better programs through recruit and retan high quality people and also to control the cost and take care of people. when i try to control the cost of personnel we used to spend a service perspective. we used to spend 12% on modernization. now close to 8% on modernization. at the end of the day you could
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be well paid, live in a good house with good medical care. but we may not have the wherewithal to provide the best training and equipment. the spouses say, you better not compromise on the equipment and training you provide to my loved ones. it's the package that ensure it is most well trained, well equipped and the most well incentivized force we can have. i appreciate the latitude to make decisions. we all share high quality people that are recruited and remained and frankly in the right skill sets. we share making sure when we ask them to do something we give them the wherewithal to do it.
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since my chairman brought it up a minute ago. rotation brigades are adeal for reserve component formations. does a lot of things. i won't go into those here. state partnership programs. particularly with host nation support. the relationships that are there become combat multipliers. if necessary. just put in a plug for that. what a remarkable person to be able to make 30,000 look like 300,000 on a given day. i know he relies ehly on the state partnership programs for that, too. i just throw that out there and ask for your continued support in that regard. >> thank you. i know most of the speaking today also rely on secretary michael mccourt. while you didn't say anything, may i commend you and thank you
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for the close working relationship with the staff. >> mr. chairman, if i could make a comment. >> please do. >> on the discussion on the imi and the value of those, we are looking carefully at sending programming this year to create one more. that's a possibility. >> we look at all the programs and ask for a full dose. yes? >> i have been remiss as a notre dame grad for congratulating the comptroller on defeat ing notre dame and the next day your women's team meet tbeat the mar women's team. it just rolls on forever. >> i wasn't going to bring it up. >> that's why i respect you. >> thank you for thanking the undersecretary. he's terrific. we are delighted to hear that.
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>> on behalf of the remarkable -- please extend our thanks for their dedication and service. all volunteers, the best of america. we need to look after them and their families. we stand adjourned. thank you very much.
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>> thank you, again. all right.
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former bill clinton will campaign for his wife, hillary clinton, this evening in winsboro, south carolina. he's at a get out the vote rally at a middle school. you'll be able to watch that live starting at 7:45 eastern on c-span. coming up saturday, the south carolina democratic primary. c-span's coverage gets under way at 7:30 p.m. eastern with results, candidate speeches and your reaction on the phone and on twitter and facebook. i am supporting hillary clinton and because i think that she's a fighter and the record shows that she's been fighting for children and minorities and women her entire life and she's never been liked but she always works hard and keeps her head
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down and gets stuff done. >> all right. i'm supporting bernie sanders for president because, you know, we have some insurmountable changes we need to have happen and, you know, incrementalism will not work. hillary wants to chip paint off the wall, bernie wants to bring down that wall. that's what my generation needs with the environment, with the economy, with all the international things going on. hilla hillary's a war hawk, she'll drag us into more wars. that's kind of it. feel the bern. last week, the federal communications commission held an open meeting on video programming and proposed rule changes to the television set top box purchases. commissioners voted 3-2 to approve rule changes which allow developers to create third-party devices and apps. after, fcc chair tom wheeler and media bureau chief william lake took questions from reporters on
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how the changes would impact consumers. they were followed by the two republicans on the commission who discussed their opposition to the measure. this is just over an hour. >> good afternoon, everyone. we're going to get started with a press conference. before we get started, just a few reminders since there are some new faces here today, it's a large crowd so we're going to try to stick to the one question per reporter. also please speak into the microphone when you ask your questions so everyone can hear. if possible, say your name. with that, the chairman will
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give a brief introduction and we'll get right to your questions. >> good morning, everybody. i guess it's good afternoon now, everybody. moments ago the commission approved two distinct items which share common themes. the first of these is consumer choice. consumers essentially have no choice when it comes to picking the equipment that they use to access paid tv services. 99% of consumers access their video provider through a set top box or application that the provider leases to them every single month and they don't have any choice. by introducing competition into
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the set top marketplace, as congress has mandated, consumers will finally have options for how they access paid tv and those competitive options will do what competition always does which is drive better services, drive down costs, and create opportunities. and when it comes to video conte contest, consumers have more choices than ever on multiple platforms. but on the most popular platform, television, there are concerns that the range of diverse programming choices are narr narrowing. thanks to the leadership of commissioner clyburn, the mission is taking a fresh look at the video marketplace to help
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ensure that tv viewers have diverse programming options as congress has mandated. the second key theme linking today's items is removing barriers and expanding opportunities. today's set top box market mapl has closed standards. closed standards. controlled by the paid tv industry. we propose to establish open standards for set top boxes. the same way that we have open standards for cell phones, for routers, for other devices. and we hope that by removing those barriers, innovators will step up to develop new ways for consumers to enjoy their favorite programming on their terms. on the content side, the commission has heard time and again from independent programmers that demands made
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during carriage negotiations with cable providers and others are often obstacles to reaching enough viewers to have a viable business. with today's notice of inquiry, we're taking a fresh look at the video marketplace and examining these challenges and how best to remove barriers and expand the availability of independent and diverse programming. and when we expand opportunities for innovators to innovate, and let consumers choose their favorite products, programs and services, everybody wins. so with that, i'll be happy to answer any questions. should we pick on monty first? >> monty, com daily. thank you. commissioner o'reilly paired the
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set top proposal with the effort to turn to expand the definition of an mvpd. he said those are two things working hand in hand to expand the fcc's reach. do you have any reaction to that? is there any relationship between the set box. proposal and mvpd thing? >> no, he's wrong. ryan? >> hi, mr. chairman. earlier you said that the item on set top boxes doesn't require a multibillion dollar reengineering of the network but mvpds say the opposite, that even though the item doesn't require this, what's ultimately going to happen is that they'll have to pour money into the network to comply. so is there something that, you know, you know about networks that they don't know? what's -- what's going on there? >> that's why i tried to show those charts today. can we throw the charts up again? that -- if the charts will come up. yeah. so the devices work exactly the
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same way. if you look at those four steps of back and forth between the cable operator and the device, they are identical whether or not it is a device that you are forced to have or a device that you can choose amongst companies. that's just -- first, signal goes down says, okay, what channels are available, what numbers are they on? signal goes down. that's step one. step two, signal goes down and says what's the authorization for this box? what tiers can it look at? can it record? things like that. signal comes back saying this is what the consumer has chosen, and then the content goes down. that's unchanged. i mean, you know, the cable operators have, you know, roku, for instance, as a box that some of them have blessed and used. they didn't have to rebuild the
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network to do that. >> is the idea here that, you know, the criticism here from the industry is that they would be required to build their networks so that they could then respond to every potential third-party device that wants to connect to the network. and that that would be the costly thicost ly thing to do regardless of what the capabilities of the device were. >> that's why you have standards, you come up with this is the way it will interface. one standard. this is how it works. and give consumers choice. >> so your hope is that the standards process -- sorry -- but your hope is the standards process will lead to a solution that does not require expensive network engineering? reengine reengineering. >> so let's look at how the standards process works. when wi-fi routers are standardized through a standard


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