Sec. James Mattis In- Flight Briefing CSPAN February 11, 2018 9:46pm-10:20pm EST
questions and other british public appearance programs. here is a look at our live coverage monday. on c-span, former president barack obama and first lady michelle obama on -- but -- attend the unveiling of their portraits. supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg discusses her career. senate minority leader chuck schumer will be at the university of louisville and kentucky. and, beginning work on immigration legislature. u.s. capabilities and modernization efforts. after that, a look at the government's oversight role in national security. defense secretary james mattis has become a six-day trip to italy, belgium, and germany to hold bilateral meetings with officials and talk about strategies for isis, syria, russia, and afghanistan. the secretary talked with
reporters, and took questions about north korea and the pentagon budget. this is about 30 minutes. secretary mattis: thank you for coming out. i'm sure i have ruined your saturday and sunday. as many of you remember, i took you to rome, went to this place come -- then we went to brussels, munich. de-isis conference is where we get together with nations and talk about the way ahead. there are numerous questions asht now about what's next we go forward. first, to finish off isis physical caliphate. that's still underway.
those of you who were on the plane remember me saying the fight is not over against isis. it's not over. it goes on. there's been tough fighting in the past week with isis. we have the added complexity, april regime force -- a pro-regime force crossing the river. sometimes we cross the river. for example, coordinating with -- through the russians. in this case, they came across the river and went some attempt -- some 10 miles. they knew what was our position. how do we know that? they began shelling it. we had headquarters there. .e responded and stopped that force repeated back to the west side of the river. there's also been other firing going on there.
we cannot give you a reason for it. we don't know. as you know, the deconstruction line has pretty much worked. the deconstruction communication line between us and the russians has stayed up for months, has never gone down. it was up throughout this latest series of incidents. the russians told us they have no forces -- had no forces initially. that's still the case, but we don't have full clarity on what the regime forces are doing there. , at least at this moment, it's calm. talking we will be about the way ahead. this has to do with the recovery efforts for the areas occupied by isis. that's a lot of recovery
got to go on. we will be talking about that as well. most of what we will be talking about will be the initial recovery for isis. how do you get people out of the againclean water flowing so you don't have disease outbreak, that sort of thing. then i'm going to brussels for a defense ministerial. there's nothing tiny about this, normal routine for that. obviously, an opportunity to strengthen the alliance. i've gotten a lot of phone passed toes, letters me from allies, expressing support for the national defense strategy and nuclear posture review, both of which -- if you have been on the plane before, the conferences, those were coordinated going in. we were talking about
consulting for them, theirgtheir -- getting inputs and ideas. same with public defense strategy. no surprise it has been embraced by the nations. look atnue to interoperability and coordination. modernizations and burden sharing, and we have for years. in the last administrations, plural, both bush and obama. forontinue today to press everyone carrying their full, fair share of the load, and keep nato, probably the most success military -- successful military alliance. it printed more than anything else. it is engaged in fighting now as you know in afghanistan. afghanistan will be a key part
of the discussion in brussels. we remain unambiguously to the alliance and to our allies. that comes through loud and in the national defense strategy. i'm basically going to start guard to see our combatant commands, ever, and you come. we'll talk about their specific focus areas, missions. always it -- also a clarification of the military, what we expect from our military commanders. they have critical roles, you come looking mostly to the east and to the south. -- they are mostly
-- the onlyfforts way to describe this campaign, we will talk about what we will be doing in the future. coming outeport soon. we have an incident where we support, it's making its way to me. it's not been sent to me yet. but i would expect as soon as the commander has reviewed it, it's extensive, thousands of pages long.
not justook at this, for that the statute specific incident, but broader circumstances surrounding that so you get a holistic view. it will take a while to get through it and make recommendations aced on the investigating officer, chief of staff, senior officer basically of the staff, went in to do the investigation. once we get that up, we will be briefing you. see, but that too is -- that is something i will need to confirm when i see the commander. again, each of the commands that take the words through our allies, turn them into reality, , not just series, which i want to hear how they are doing with our allies. we will break that out into
this, however we doing this country, that country? there's a main concern that we are responsive to other nations, we are aware of the challenges they face. i'm going to go over to munich. it's the premier security conference in europe each year. really want to do, i want to do a lot of listening and some bilateral engagements just like i will be doing in rome, minister of defense, the minister there since i came in. . will do it in brussels in munich i would be meeting mostly with ministers who are not nato, other people around europe and elsewhere. i will be doing that work throughout the trip and all the locations, reinforcing the transatlantic bond to which we are fully committed.
that gives you a sense of where i'm going, what i intend to do. >> are you ready for question? >> i have to go. [laughter] >> go ahead. i was born ready for your question. hasou said there have -- been tough fighting against isis. i was wondering if you could expand on that. can you be more specific about the nato discussions? , i wouldis campaign that youto it is no are pushing against. you know the iraqi security here,, basically are now good on the small cells. basically, on the iraq side of the border, isis has lost everything. as if seen here, all the way
, to what we call the middle euphrates river valley. that's basically the river valley downstream to the iraqi border. you are compacting what is left of isis. the fighting becomes tougher at that point. plus, you've got the distraction of what's going on, what's drawing off some of these democratic forces which have got about 50%. that's probably not a firm percentage. could be less, could be more. attack. people under that's probably their attention to shift in some cases. some of the troops have drawn off. not a significant number right now.
you've got them fighting down the line, what we call the middle you freight is river valley. >> you said it would be key to the discussion of nato. >> last august i think it was, we have rolled out a new strategy. we will start with original view. they have not had a device or's for a long time. i was at fort benning, discussing with people who are going in. gone. paid my the link -- to drive
them to the reconciliation table. even if we have any reinforcements there, start talking more. we have to make sure our pre-seat -- pre-fighting seasons are fully engaged. we will be in line with who is bringing more troops. we've got a dozen people -- nations are now sending more it requires parliamentary .ction i want to sit down with people, see what they are going to do, some that can't send more troops right now.
take a look at france, the troops down here. can they provide either schooling for officers in their countries, money to support the campaign? it's all about coordination. >> yes, thank you. >> a couple follow-ups. my first gut -- with some distractions, are you concerned -- are you concerned about these fighters attacking people more frequently? discussions over the d confliction line? mattis: we keep each other informed. the russians professed they were
not aware. as it came closer. we heard there were no russians there. we go out of our way to ensure we do not endanger, as you know. so when we put them under fire, wenthe artillery fire, we after them. to us, no it is not a concern right now. i say it is not a concern? we're quite capable of rebuffing this. it is perplexing they are doing this. sense. not make i think that is probably why the russians are perplexed by it. >> the russians, looking ahead, kent native -- note do deep confliction,
coordination with the russians. we do deep confliction. conflictionave a d line, it does not need a lot of coordination. they have to go off for isis or are taking fire on the other side of the river, we will coordinate. what they do is up to them, but you know, we don't do coordination of that nature. we don't need to. it does not inhibit us, our operations on the other side of the river, does not inhibit their operations on their side. of course if we have aircraft near the river we will talk to each other. >> but they are having less ?nfluence on syria sec. mattis: not i don't know if it is the same influence and this is a group on its own
agenda. i am not willing to say the russians have lost influence or gain influence. clearly, coming out of so she sochi and moscow, they would support geneva. is the kingoy maker. not the kingmaker, the peacemaker here. few days, there seems to be a warming of tensions between north korea and south korea. bepyongyang, he appears to accepting it. is that a positive sign for the peninsula question mark is a concern about that putting a wedge between the u.s. and south korea? sec. mattis: i know people are watching for a wedge.
traction once the olympics are over we cannot say right now. is it a good sign? sec. mattis: i do not know. it is too early for me to tell because in the midst of all this he ran a military parade that highlighted his ballistic missiles. it is a very strange time if in fact he is trying to show a warming to the country that he repeatedly. impeach their last president, clearly a democracy that runs its own affairs. so it is just too early to tell. [indiscernible]
sec. mattis: that is a good question. it is one of the most complex battlefield you can never imagine. as soon as you think you can make it this complex it grows in complexity. we are there for one reason, isis.s to fight this is an international campaign. no country in the world supports isis. lebanese hezbollah has gotten a state sponsor, early on. isis has no nationstate sponsor. note state has stood up and said, we are for them, we are there. across europe, they have contributed money or forces, whatever is needed. this campaign whereon is couched that policy of defeating isis. you sought in iraq.
after what aside did to his own people -- after what bush our aside did to his own people after they rose up against him. assad did to his own people after they rose up against him. for some reason, without telling the russians, without coordinating with anybody, they came across the river and attacked us. so we will rebuff anyone who taxes, obviously. that is natural. broaden is not going to the war. there will be no mission creep. we will not choose to enlarge that mission. tracks but are you going to defend the lives of -- >> but are you going to defend the lives? sec. mattis: what we do are
going to do is use that geneva process to come up with a post-conflict map and post-conflict plan for the way isis 2.0 ensure that does not arise in the middle of all of that and derail everything we have fought for and many people are paid the price on this thing. we don't simply up and leave before the caliphate is finished and leave the diplomats without a leg to stand on against people that have no diplomatic exclamation. it will be difficult. but we do difficult. note problem. -- no problem. there has to be an appropriations bill. that was quite an achievement for the president to get it to
where it is. --president trump has said budgetar, and the [indiscernible] -- is that still true? is 28 -- supplementalwe got money from congress as you know last spring. that was almost like stopping the bleeding. the continued degradation of the military readiness. buying more spare parts. getting more fuel. aviatorsre fuel for yet more time in the air. it was just a stopgap, not an integrated effort. the effort was led in the white house, and it was made very collaborative with us.
we saw different drafts. we went in with our inputs and all. the same time we are putting together our national defense strategy. do, ourwe were able to budgeteers were getting constant guidance. a national defense strategy was put together, so we were already starting the longer term. and other words, this all feeds into the longer-term view. it is all inside the defense strategy. whether it will be a larger military initially or whether we will just bring on the additional capabilities, i will give you an example. cyber troops. last 5-10 years, we have operated under continuing resolutions. aat do i did was it give us stop and go so we could not really just to the new forms of warfare that were coming out.
so first of all, we have got to further enhance what we have right now. in some cases that means buying new gear because squadrons that rate 10 airplanes only have seven. they could no longer repair the others. to buy some new thes, for example, to keep f-18 squadrons where they can be maintained that full strength. we will be standing up some new elements. ciber is one example. we will recruit more mechanics into the air force. we will recruit more soldiers to fill in the gaps in the u.s. army, for example. so it is not a lot bigger organizationally, it is built more to address the changing forms of warfare and to bring the current capability up. but the longer-term defense strategy rejections, that is
these funds where are going. we were able to use some of this. kind of a long answer. [indiscernible] sec. mattis: i am very confident what the congress has now done and what the president is going to allocate was in the budget is what we need to bring us back to a position of privacy. quick, -- >> how about doing one for me on the record -- >> you mentioned a situation -- can you speak a little bit about how much you -- if they have
done anything and what more you would like them to do. and describe a little bit the relationship with turkey. right up front, turkey as a nato ally. it is the only nato entry with a neck to have a insurgency sound border. we are assisting turkey. a number of the nations are assisting turkey and terms of missile defense and counterterrorism. on the continue to work areas of disagreement, which is how do we take down isis as rapidly as possible. but they have a legitimate security concern and we do not dismiss one bit of that along the border with syria. i do not care whether you are israel or lebanon or jordan or rack or turkey, you have legitimate political and
security concerns. how do we thread that needle in campaign?complex it is tough. we are to continue to work closely with turkey. our military's meet daily right now. your other question about burden-sharing, clearly nato has downward trend. we're now into the second year, i believe, where the nations are spending more on defense. you see the number of nations that of already achieved 2.0 this year. you see it and the numbers. 2.0.et that you see it more broadly in europe, if you take a look at sweden and finland. what they are doing with their defense as step was met. i would say it is on a positive trajectory.
it is clearly stated by a number of nations, they are going to make the 2.0, they are already there. you see it in france, britain is severed 2%. -- is overt 2%. germany, you see putting together the new government. delaying those kinds of policy decisions. but i have a very close and collaborative working relationship with my counterpart and she assures me germany will be doing more. expect, i am going to wait on one thing until after the government forms but basically, the trajectory is very positive. i would like to say that everyone is where they need to be our has a plan for where they are going and we will discuss that. we are all sovereign nations and these are sovereign decisions so we have to discuss it so everyone is carrying their share. betweentty big dustup
israel and the syrian regime. can you talk a little bit about, [indiscernible] -- is it increasingly perceived as a threat? sec. mattis: first of all, we were not involved in the events basis.last military we have no involvement in the fighting there with the israeli air force at the syrian forces. it is interesting that everywhere we find trouble in the middle east, you find the same thing whether it be in syria.r beirut or in .ou always find iran engaged
now, in two places i can say, well it just happened to follow that way. in three places, it is starting to look like there is something to it. i think the further you are from there, the easier it is to dismiss this as some sort of washington, d.c., chick honoree or something. chicanery. but if you are in ball right now and the police have picked up explosives clearly from iranian or you are picking up a arabian missiles or you have explosives in the red sea, you can see iran isu ran -- where or in theducing fight.
when syria, which has made no -- has not hidden at all, made no excuse for what they are with natogside iran, providing throughput ford weapons, -- throughput for weapons. they have an absolute right to defend themselves, they do not have to wait until their citizens are dying from that attack to address that issue. israel has an absolute right to defend itself and that is what i think happened yesterday. >> so you are all ok to go off ?he record here announcer: c-span's washington journal, live for every day with news and policy issues that impact you. we take a look at the weekend in washington with reuters white house correspondent and the usa
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