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AFRICOM's Ham Testifies Before the Senate Armed Services Committee
<i>Following is the transcript of General Ham&#39;s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, April 7, 2011. See also: <a href= http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=6399&lang=0>General Ham&#39;s Testimony Before House Armed
Following is the transcript of General Ham's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, April 7, 2011. See also: General Ham's Testimony Before House Armed Services Committee HEARING OF THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE SUBJECT: "U.S. TRANSPORTATION COMMAND AND U.S. AFRICA COMMAND IN REVIEW OF THE DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION REQUEST FOR FY2012 AND THE FUTURE YEARS DEFENSE PROGRAM" CHAIRED BY: SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D-MI) WITNESSES: GENERAL DUNCAN MCNABB, COMMANDER OF THE U.S. TRANSPORTATION COMMAND GENERAL CARTER HAM, COMMANDER OF THE U.S. AFRICA COMMAND LOCATION: 106 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C. TIME: 9:30 A.M. EDT DATE: THURSDAY, APRIL 7, 2011 SEN. LEVIN: (Sounds gavel.) Good morning, everybody. We want to welcome our witnesses this morning, General Duncan McNabb, commander U.S. transportation command, TRANSCOM; and General Carter Ham, commander U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM to testify on the programs and budget needed to meet the current and future requirements within their respective commands. Gentlemen, please extend on behalf of this committee our gratitude to the men and women of your commands and their families for the many sacrifices that they've made on behalf of our nation. Thanks to both of you for your long careers of leadership and service. I guess the best way we can thanks the troops and their families is to make sure there's no gap in the receipt of their paychecks. I know every member of this committee is thinking about how to avoid that gap. General Ham, congratulations on your recent swearing in as commander of AFRICOM. Your first month on the job has been extraordinarily busy. However, as Admiral Stavridis told this committee, AFRICOM has demonstrated just a few years after reaching full operational capability that is capable of conducting and coordinating a major, multinational effort to prevent a tyrant from massacring his own people, people who simply wanted to exercise their fundamental human and democratic rights. You and your staff at AFRICOM are to be commended for your performance in this effort. Over the past few weeks, international military action in Libya has established an arms embargo and a no fly zone, stopped Gadhafi's advancing army, and has seamlessly passed the command of the military effort from the U.S. led joint task force to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Moving forward, the question is whether the coalition or coalition member or members should supply the opposition with arms. I believe it is important that any such decision be made with the support, or at least the acceptance of our coalition partners because of the military and political importance of maintaining broad international support for the mission. President Obama has been cautious in weighing the considerations and conditions for the use of military force, and I'm confident that he will continue to do so in considering the many questions surrounding supplying weapons to the opposition forces. We look forward, General, to hearing your views on this issue and other Libya-related issues. From a transnational terrorism perspective, there are many other areas of concern to this committee including Somalia and Northwest Africa. Today, large regions of Somalia are, quote, "ungoverned spaces" where the Al-Shabaab terrorist organization operates freely and with impunity. To make matters worse, Al-Shabaab numbers are growing as it recruits young men from the Somali Diasporas in Europe and North America. To counter this growing threat, a small African Union force known by its acronym of AMASOM stands between Al-Shabaab and the Somali transitional federal government. So General Ham, this committee looks forward to what you can tell us about that as well. In the region that includes Niger, Mali and Mauritania, al-Qaida in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM, is growing stronger through the extraction of ransoms, taxing illicit trafficking and general banditry. Over the past year, this group has stated in no uncertain terms that it intends to strike western targets in the region and possibly in Europe. That is a cause of great concern not only to the United States but to our allies in Europe. We must also make sure that AQIM does not take advantage of the fog of war in Libya to its advantage. If these al-Qaida franchises grow unchecked in the Horn of Africa or across northwest Africa, it may lead to further attacks against U.S. interests overseas or in the homeland. While Libya is in the headlines today, there remain many other challenges in General Ham's area of responsibility, including the evolving political situation on the Ivory Coast, the post protest recovery in Tunisia, the growth in illicit trafficking across the continent, and the ongoing elections in Nigeria. While confronting some of these issues fall squarely in the lap of a combatant command, many do not. Which means that your command is being directed to assist in both traditional and nontraditional ways and often where the jurisdictional lines within the federal government are blurred. General McNabb, we know that things have been busy for you as well. Ever since you assumed your job at TRANSCOM: TRANSCOM has played a critical role in supporting our war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, less well known but no less important has been TRANSCOM's role in supporting the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts as well as previous relief efforts around the world. We applaud those efforts. We also know that TRANSCOM forces have been involved in supporting forces engaged in operations in Libya. A number of ongoing critical issues confront TRANSCOM. One is modernizing the forces. One acquisition program supporting TRANSCOM has received a lot of visibility and has been resolved and that's the strategic tanker modernization program. TRANSCOM has received Congressional additions to the budget to buy C-17 aircraft in excess of what DOD and TRANSCOM said were needed to support wartime requirements. Now as the Air Force is taking delivery of those extra C-17s, the Air Force is seeking authorization to retire C-5A aircraft because it believes that they do not need the extra aircraft, and cannot afford to operate them. TRANSCOM is also facing other less well known modernization challenges. The ready reserve force, the RRF, a group of cargo ships held in readiness by the maritime administration is aging and will need to be modernized with newer ships over the next 10 years. While perhaps not as glamorous as airlift operations, sealift support is critical to our capabilities. We have relied on sealift to deliver more than 90 percent of the cargo to Iraq and Afghanistan similar to previous contingencies. This committee has sought to ensure that our combatant commanders have what they need to succeed in all of these missions, conflicts and challenges. This committee will continue to support the needs of our warfighters in these conflicts. Senator McCain. SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And let me thank our distinguished witnesses for their many years of dedicated service to our nation. This is an important moment to discuss the issues within both of our witnesses' commands. In the AFRICOM area of responsibility, Libya is obviously the top priority, even though General Ham is no longer the operational commander of the military effort there. I remain a strong supporter of the president's decision to take military action in Libya. It averted what was an eminent slaughter in Benghazi and has given us a chance to achieve the goal of U.S. policy as stated by the president to force Gadhafi to leave power. That goal is right and necessary. I'm very grateful that we have capable friends, especially our air partners and NATO allies who are making critical contributions to this mission. But for the United States to withdrawn our unique air to ground capabilities at this time is only increasing the odds that this conflict will last longer, that more civilians will be lost unnecessarily, and that what began as a peaceful protest could turn into a long and bloody stalemate. Gadhafi's forces are regaining the momentum and they're clearly adapting to NATO's capabilities and tactics, which is only making it harder for our coalition to identify and attack regime forces that are threatening Libyan civilians. We cannot say that we intervene to prevent an atrocity in Benghazi only to accept one in Misratah or some other city. As a leader of Libya's opposition forces, General Abdul Fattah Younes said and -- as reported in this morning's New York Times, and I quote, "NATO blesses us very now and then with a bombardment here and there and is letting people in Misratah die every day." That's not success, and that's why the United States needs to remain engaged militarily, especially with our unique close air support capabilities such as the AC-130 and the A-10. Let's be honest with ourselves and the American people. Our objective in Libya is regime change, whether the administration wants to call it that or not. That's not to say that we should commit ground troops to remove Gadhafi from power. I don't support that. But it is to say that our military mission should work toward the goal of our policy, which is to compel Gadhafi to leave power. This is not the case at present. Rather than playing a supporting role within NATO, America should be leading. Our military should be actively engaged in degrading Gadhafi's forces in the field, which could significantly increase the pressure on his regime. There are continued to be hope that his regime will crack and that he will leave. I hope it does. But hope is not a strategy. With so much focus on Libya we mustn't lose sight of other important developments in Africa, the situation in Somalia remains an increasing source of threat to the United States and to our friends, especially as Al-Shabaab now appears to have aligned with al-Qaida; however it's not clear that we have a strategy to foster stability in Somalia while marginalizing and defeating al-Qaida and its allies in East Africa. To the contrary, their influence in the region has experienced, to quote General Ham, a quote, "dramatic increase." Similarly, with a growing threat of piracy, I would welcome an explanation of what more we and our partners need to do to disrupt and defeat pirates operating in and out of Somalia and East Africa. Finally, on a more positive note, the peaceful revolution in Tunisia started the entire Arab spring and we must help their transition to democracy succeed. The Tunisian military has played a vital role throughout this process and I'd like to hear from our commander what more we could do to support the Tunisian military in protecting their borders, policing their coastal waters, and performing their other essential duties during this historic opportunity for the country. What happens in Tunisia will have a major impact across North Africa and the Middle East, especially in Egypt which is the heart of the Arab world and the major test case of whether the hopeful opening of the Arab spring will endure and thrive. Their issues are pressing issues with the U.S. Transportation Command, especially the security and effectiveness of our supply routes into Afghanistan. Our southern supply line has been and remains plagued by uncertainty, instability and growing threat. And the strategic consequences of our dependence on it have been problematic. So last year we added two additional routes to the Baltics and Central Asia, helping to facilitate a faster flow of cargo with less cost and risk. I'd like to hear from the commander about his efforts to support the northern distribution network and how we might expand it further. At the same time, informed by the results of a critical airlift study from last year, Congress mandated a 316 aircraft floor for large size cargo planes. From testimony presented earlier this year, the committee has learned that the Air Force has hit the congressionally mandated floor for cargo planes. The Air Force now wants appropriate relief from the restriction in last year's defense bill, meaning that its new C-17 Globemaster aircraft are delivered, the Air Force wants to start retiring C-5A Galaxy aircraft which are too old to re-engine cost effectively. The administration's proposal to this effect seems reasonable, especially considering that congressional appropriators earmarked $13.2 billion for 44 C-17s that the Air Force did not request and does not need, but which they now have a surplus of, thanks to congressional earmarks. For this reason, I'm leaning towards supporting the retirement of some of our oldest, least capable C-5As. However I'd like to hear the commander's views on the administration's proposal to repeal the statutory requirement imposed by Congress for the Air Force to maintain a large sized cargo aircraft inventory of 316 aircraft. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator McCain. General McNabb? GEN. MCNABB: Chairman Levin, Senator McCain and distinguished members of this committee, it is my distinct privilege to be here with you today representing more than 145,000 of the world's finest logistics professionals. Throughout 2010 and continuing today, the U.S. Transportation Command team of active duty guard, reserve, civilians, merchant mariners, and commercial partners accomplished incredible feats in the face of historic challenges. I have three outstanding components who execute our global mission every day, the Air Mobility Command led by General Ray Johns; the Military Sealift Command led by Rear Admiral Buzz Buzby; and the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command led by Major General Kevin Leonard. When a regional combatant commander like General Ham is given a mission that requires U.S. TRANSCOM support, we rapidly plan solutions and then as the TRANSCOM commander, all I do is unleash them. It is amazing to see that no matter the challenges our components face in execution, it is their amazing men and women who figure it out and then get 'er done. We have a saying at U.S. Transportation Command, we view our success through the eyes of the war-fighter. Our mission is to always support the six regional combatant commands and their joint task force commanders. Working with the Defense Logistics Agency, the joint staff, the services, the combatant command staffs, our LOG Nation and transnation teams have provided unparalleled logistic superiority to the combatant commanders. From the services and the Joint Forces Command getting the forces ready to go, the TRANSCOM team delivering the force and the theater commanders receiving the force, this is the best overall performance I have seen of the end-to-end logistics chain in my almost 37 years of service. Sitting next to me is one of our finest war-fighters and my good friend, General Carter Ham. I was proud to support him as he commanded military operations over the skies of Libya in Operation Odyssey Dawn, and I look forward to continue to support him as he takes AFRICOM to new and even higher levels. It is he and the other combatant commanders that I am always supporting and we view our success through their eyes. I feel blessed to be the custodian of one of our nation's greatest asymmetric advantages, our strategic ability to move. Since taking command of U.S. Transportation Command in the fall of 2008, I have been amazed to see some of the unique capabilities that are inherent in the command. First and foremost is the power of the total force team. Nobody matches up our active duty force with our Guard and Reserve partners like the U.S. Transportation Command. When we called for volunteers to help relieve some of the suffering in Haiti last January, the men and women of the Guard and Reserve stepped up in huge fashion. This included a contingency response group from the Kentucky Guard that was just coming up to speed. During the surge of forces into Afghanistan we relied heavily on activated C-5 and C-17's crews, maintainers and aerial porters and they were crucial to meeting President Obama's deadline to complete the plus-up by 31 August last year. Most recently we saw their patriotism in action in responding rapidly to the air refueling requirements in support of the Libyan operation. I'm also in awe of the power of the U.S. flag fleet, in the air, on the sea and over land. The U.S. flag maritime fleet and their outstanding merchant mariners stepped up during our historic surge last year into Afghanistan and out of Iraq, and we didn't have to activate one ship for either operation. Our commercial team delivered. They continue to be key to supplying our forces in Afghanistan whether coming up through Pakistan, or over the northern distribution network that Senator McCain talked about. In the air, our commercial partners have continued to meet the demands of the surge in Afghanistan, and most recently responded brilliantly to bringing Americans home from Japan following the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident. We know the combatant commanders around the world depend on us to deliver the forces and their sustainment day in and day out. From resupply of the South Pole to air-dropping food, water and ammo to a forward operating base in Afghanistan, to delivering fuel to our fighters and bombers enforcing the Libya no-fly zone, U.S. TRANSCOM delivers. If we do this right, our war-fighting commanders do not worry about their logistics lifeline. This is what the secretary of Defense intended when he made U.S. Transportation Command the distribution process owner, or DPO, in 2003. He gave the DPO influence over the entire supply chain, from factory to foxhole, and we constantly look for more effective solutions for the war-fighter while also being good stewards of the taxpayers' dollar. Since its inception, the DPO has realized over $5.3 billion in savings and we're still counting. Last year alone that savings was $1.7 billion. A big part of the savings is taking advantage of lower cost surface transportation whenever possible. When we match surface-to-air and commercial-to-military modes of transportation, we are leveraging our enterprise to maximum advantage for both the war-fighter and the taxpayer. We recently saved over $110 million a month moving life-saving mine-resistant all-terrain vehicles to our forces in Afghanistan, using a combination of commercial surface and military air. We also did it faster than air alone by maximizing every air sortie into Afghanistan. We continue to look for every opportunity to use multi-modal operations throughout our global enterprise. My final call-out is to the power of the interagency and joint team. President Obama, in ordering the plus-up of forces in Afghanistan and drawdown in Iraq, set a very tight timeline for execution. We knew we would need some help increasing capacity on our existing supply lines and help in establishing new supply routes. Again what, Senator McCain, you were alluding to. We took our recommendations to the interagency and the whole of government came through with excellent results. The National Security Council, ambassadors around the world, the State Department, the office of the secretary of Defense, the Maritime Administration, the combatant commands, and the LOG Nation and translation teams came together to make logistics magic. This was at a time when we were asked to expand quickly and redirect flow due to the earthquake in the Caribbean that devastated Haiti; a volcanic eruption that shut down European air space for three weeks; a coup in the country where we have our major passenger transload operation; the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf, and the worst floods in Pakistan's history during the last month of the plus-up; and we still closed the force on the president's deadline of August 31st. And our operations continue today at record-breaking pace, as, Chairman, you alluded to. We continue to support our forces in Afghanistan and the drawdown in Iraq. We've pivoted the transportation enterprise rapidly to support General Ham and the implementation of the no-fly zone over Libya, and we moved out urgently to help with disaster relief in Japan and provide immediate responses to the nuclear incident with special equipment and nuclear specialists, and we stand ready to do more. I could not be more proud of the men and women of the United States Transportation Command. I've flown with our air crews and loaded and moved containers with our stevedores. I've walked through the pilot holding areas with our aerial porters in Afghanistan and explored the cargo holds of our ready reserve fleet with our merchant mariners. Daily I'm amazed and humbled by what our people accomplish. Chairman Levin, Senator McCain and all members of this committee, thank you for your continued superb support of U.S. Transportation Command and our men and women in uniform. It is my distinct honor and privilege to appear before you today to represent the 145,000-plus men and women who are the U.S. Transportation Command, and to tell you their story. I ask that my written statement be submitted for the record and I look forward to your questions. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, General. It will be made part of the record in full. General Ham. GEN. HAM: Mr. Chairman, Senator McCain, members of the committee, thanks for this opportunity to discuss with you today the accomplishments of the men and women of the United States Africa Command. I am honored to be here seated beside General McNabb, a highly distinguished Airman and Joint Force leader, and it is no exaggeration to say that Operation Odyssey Dawn would not have occurred as it did without Transportation Command's great support. This is indeed a historic time for U.S. Africa Command. We've completed a complex, short-notice operational mission in Libya and have now transferred control of that mission to NATO. The situation in Libya and the conduct of Operation Odyssey Dawn highlights some important matters about Africa. First, this event illustrates the dynamics of the African political-military environment, one that has seen the growing threat of transnational extremists in Somalia, election crises, coups, the southern Sudan referendum, the scourge of the Lord's Resistance Army, to name just a few of the challenges to security on the continent. In order for Africa Command to reduce threats to our citizens and our interests, both abroad and at home, we need to contribute to operations programs and activities that help African states provide for their own security in a manner consistent with the rule of law and international norms. We must continue our efforts to enhance regional stability through partnerships with African states and sustained, reliable support to African regional organizations. Africa Command's programs are designed to help prevent conflict, while simultaneously assuring that the command is prepared to respond decisively to any crisis when the president so directs, as demonstrated in our conduct of Operation Odyssey Dawn. Secondly, building the coalition to address the situation in Libya was greatly facilitated through the benefits of long-standing relationships and interoperability, in this case through NATO. This is the kind of regional approach to security that U.S. Africa Command seeks to foster on the continent. U.S. Africa Command's priority efforts remain building the security capacity of our African partners. We incorporate regional cooperation and pursuit of interoperability in all our programs, activities and exercises so our African partners are postured to readily form coalitions to address African security challenges as they arise. Everything that U.S. Africa Command has accomplished is the result of the professionalism and dedication of the uniformed and civilian women and men of the command and our teammates from across the U.S. government. Their dedicated efforts are a testament to the American spirit and determination and reflects our commitment to contributing to the well-being and security of the people of Africa. Our guiding principles within the command are, first, that a safe, secure and stable Africa is clearly in the best interest of the United States, and secondly, that we seek to help Africans find solutions to African challenges. I am cognizant that this command is only able to accomplish its missions with the enduring support of this committee. I thank you for that and invite you to come visit us at our headquarters. Or, better yet, come see us at work in Africa. And Mr. Chairman, with that, I welcome your questions. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, General, very much. Let's try a seven-minute first round. General Ham, let me start with some questions about Libya. You were the operational commander at the time our mission was initiated in Libya. And my first question would be is whether or not you supported the limited military mission in Libya. GEN. HAM: I did. SEN. LEVIN: And do you continue to do so? GEN. HAM: I do. SEN. LEVIN: Now, in your judgment, was it important to obtain United Nations Security Council and Arab League support for the mission before the missions -- the military operations were initiated? GEN. HAM: Mr. Chairman, I believe that was important. I think, absent that support, the negative reaction regionally would have been fairly dramatic and made it difficult for Africa Command to continue its enduring mission on the continent. SEN. LEVIN: Would it also have been more difficult to put together the coalition? GEN. HAM: I believe that would be the case, yes. SEN. LEVIN: Now, in your judgment, should the military mission be expanded to include regime change? GEN. HAM: Well, it's clearly our U.S. policy that the current leader has to leave. Adding that as a military task greatly complicates the matter. So I would advise that that's a difficult task to achieve militarily and would add to a greater complexity and make the duration and extent of U.S. military involvement much more uncertain than it is today. SEN. LEVIN: And because of that, would you recommend against it? GEN. HAM: I would at this point, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Now, did you support the policy to hand off this mission promptly to NATO? GEN. HAM: I did, Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Can you tell us why? GEN. HAM: A couple of reasons, Chairman. First of all, there's great capability within NATO, though we didn't know when we started that NATO would be the organization to whom we would hand off the mission. It was our hope that that would be the case, but we were prepared to hand off to some other coalition, should that be necessary. And there is great capability in those other nations. But more so, most of the forces, the U.S. military forces who were engaged in this operation, are either recently returned from or preparing to deploy for operations in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere. They are in the so-called dwell period. And while we can certainly surge to meet operational needs, as we did for operations in Libya, there is a longer-term effect if greater numbers of U.S. forces had been committed for a longer period of time in Libya. And it would have had downstream operational effects in other missions. SEN. LEVIN: And the surge you refer to was in Afghanistan, I believe. Is that correct? GEN. HAM: Sir, I'm sorry. I wasn't clear. No, the ability to surge assets for an unforeseen operation, which was the operation in Libya. SEN. LEVIN: I see. I understand. Now, does NATO have the adequate capacity to carry out this mission? GEN. HAM: Sir, I believe they do. SEN. LEVIN: Are the AC-130s and the A-10s available to the NATO commander upon his request? GEN. HAM: Sir, the AC-130, as a very precise and specialized capability, remain available. They were not available when I began, just because of the transit time to get those aircraft into theater. And they are available. The A-10s, similarly, were not available when I began -- when U.S. AFRICOM began the operation; became available, and with good effect. And they are available, but NATO must request the A-10 availability. SEN. LEVIN: Now, rebel commanders have expressed concern about NATO's willingness to strike Qadhafi's -- the regime targets. And in your view, is NATO willing to carry out this mission? GEN. HAM: Chairman, in my experience, NATO is. And the conduct of several important NATO allies during the period for which U.S. AFRICOM was responsible for the mission, we saw several nations very active, very effective in the conduct of strike operations. And I -- it is my assessment that that continues today. SEN. LEVIN: Should the United States provide arms to the rebels? GEN. HAM: Not without a better understanding of exactly who the opposition force is. And that would -- my recommendation would be we should know more about who they are before we make any determination to arm them. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. LEVIN: OK, thank you very much, General. Senator McCain. SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Hearing your testimony, General Ham, is almost an Orwellian experience for me. The fact is that if we had imposed the no-fly zone four weeks ago, Qadhafi would not be in power today. The fact is that the situation on the ground is basically a stalemate. Would you say that the situation on the ground is a stalemate or an emerging stalemate? GEN. HAM: Senator, I would agree with that at present on the ground. SEN. MCCAIN: So the goal -- our policy objective of the removal of Qadhafi -- is further from being achieved than it was three or four weeks ago. GEN. HAM: Senator, I don't know that I would agree with that, because that, again, was not a military mission. The military mission of protecting, I think, was not wholly achieved, but achieved in large part. SEN. MCCAIN: The citizens of Misratah would be very interested in hearing your comment. GEN. HAM: Senator, I would -- Misratah -- I said, as I mentioned -- SEN. MCCAIN: Oh, so it's only Benghazi that we need to worry about. We don't need to worry about Misratah. General, you are trying to defend an indefensible position. Is a stalemate in the United States' national-security interest? GEN. HAM: Senator, only if it allows the international community to seek a political or diplomatic solution through at least a cessation of--[inaudible]--attacks. SEN. MCCAIN: Gadhafi remaining in power is in United States -- which is result of a stalemate -- is in United States national security interest? GEN. HAM: Sir, it's clear that the United States' position -- SEN. MCCAIN: Is it or not? I'd like an answer to the question. GEN. HAM: Sir, I don't know the -- SEN. MCCAIN: Is it in United States' national security interest to see Gadhadi remain in power which is the result of a stalemate? That's a pretty straightforward question, General. GEN. HAM: Sir, it is clear that the United States has said it is in the United States' interest for Mr. Gadhafi to no longer be in power. SEN. MCCAIN: So right now we are facing the prospect of a stalemate which then means Gadhafi remains in power which means that we will then have a very, very serious situation with Mr. Gadhafi in the future if he remains in power, particularly given his past record. So in other words, you believe we are doing exactly the right thing which we pursued a course which you strongly support that leaves us in a stalemate situation. Is that correct, General? GEN. HAM: Senator, the military mission which U.S. AFRICOM was assigned did not include -- SEN. MCCAIN: General, I didn't ask you about the task you were assigned. When you were nominated for your position, you were asked if you will state your personal opinion when asked by the members of this committee. I'd like to know if you think a stalemate is an acceptable outcome of the conflict in Libya. GEN. HAM: Senator, it is not the preferred -- my personal opinion, that is not the preferred solution. SEN. MCCAIN: Not the preferred solution, I see. Well -- and I guess is a stalemate more or less likely now than when you were in command -- when you were commanding Operation Odyssey Dawn? GEN. HAM: Yes sir, I think it is now more likely. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. MCAIN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator McCain. Senator Lieberman. SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN (ID-CT): Thanks, Mr. Chairman. Thanks to both of you. General Hamm, let me come back to a question that the chairman touched on, and I want to try to draw you out a little more on it and Senator McCain mentioned it, too, which is certainly the impression or the opinion that the rebel forces, the opposition to Gadhafi on the ground has, as expressed by General Younis, who I guess is the head of their military, that the support they've been receiving has diminished since the transfer of operations went from your command to NATO. If you were sitting at a table with General Younis now, how would you answer that? What would you say? GEN. HAM: Senator, I would say that that's not the case. What has changed dramatically has been the tactics applied by the regime forces where they have shifted from their traditional use of conventional armored equipment which was easily identifiable as regime forces and therefore easily targeted. They now operate largely on civilian vehicles. And when those vehicles are intermixed with the opposition forces, it's increasingly difficult to discern which is which. Secondly, we have seen an increased tactic by the regime forces to put their military vehicles adjacent to civilian aspects -- so mosques, schools, hospitals, civilian areas which would result in significant civilian casualties through the strike of those assets. So I would say and then a third factor, Senator, would be frankly just the weather. We went through a period of a few days significantly impeded the ability to collect and to strike. SEN. LIEBERMAN: So you're an experienced commander. Isn't there a way around this response that Gadhafi forces have developed to the attacks that the African Command oversaw? GEN. HAM: Sir, there are some things that would help. One of the challenges is the opposition forces are not a regular military, not disciplined and they have a -- we've seen a tendency for them to get intermixed with the regime forces rather than maintaining some degree of separation, which again would allow for more effective targeting of the regime's forces. SEN. LIEBERMAN: I want to come back to that in a minute. But there's been a lot of conversation here. We had it last week with Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen about the A-10s and the AC-130s. Were the A-10s and/or the AC-130s be able to operate more effectively either in the bad weather or in response to the kind of subterfuge that Gadhafi's forces are involved in now? GEN. HAM: Sir, we have tried that, and while U.S. Africa Command had some limited effect, but frankly limited. The AC-130s are affected by weather to be sure. They're also affected by a significant number of surface-to-air missiles that -- and systems that remain effective and operational, the technical mobile systems that the regime has, which do in fact pose a significant threat to the AC-130s. The weather for the A-10s, the weather has been probably the most significant factor in being able to identify and strike targets. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Which command has control of the A-10s and the AC-130s? Yours or European command? GEN. HAM: European Command has -- it will have operational control and those can then be placed under NATO operational control if NATO requests that and the secretary of Defense approves. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Are those planes remaining somewhere close by the Libyan -- GEN. HAM: Yes, sir, they are. SEN. LIEBERMAN: And what's required for the NATO commander to ask that the A-10s and AC-103s come back? GEN. HAM: Sir, the process is that the Canadian officer who is the taskforce commander would make a request through his NATO chain that would go ultimately to Admiral Stavridis as Supreme Allied Commander. He would then make a request to secretary of Defense in his -- SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right. GEN. HAM: But that process would take a very short period of time. SEN. LIEBERMAN: OK. Let me come to the rebels or the anti-Gadhafi forces. I mean, we all acknowledge that this is not a military force, not an organized military force. But if you take the discussion that you had with Senator McCain, we've got the -- this has been a difficult inconsistency here for us. We've got the political goal of getting Gadhafi out of power but it's not a military goal. So we're using diplomatic, economic pressure on him. On the other hand, it seems obvious to me that the boots on the ground are the Libyan boots. The stronger they are, the more that puts pressure on Gadhafi, in addition to the diplomatic and politicalpressure, to get out. But at this point if we keep saying, as you did -- and it's the answer that the administration basically gives -- we don't know enough about the rebels to give them the arms and training. I'm afraid if we wait much longer there's not going to be a reason to help them because Gadhafi will have effectively have won the battle. And that's why I want to ask you again. Don't you think that either we or NATO or somebody in the region has to work quickly? These rebels have a will. They have a passion for their cause but they're not trained, and they're not, in my opinion, fully equipped as they should be to take on Gadhafi's forces. Shouldn't we be making sure that somebody's giving them some training particularly, a military organization and additional weapons as determined they need? GEN. HAM: Senator, there are -- I have some indication that some Arab nations are in fact starting to do that at present. The points you make are great points and I know that that debate is occurring within the U.S. government. There is a tactical urgency which I understand, but as the commander who also inherits the long-term security aspects for Libya as part of our area of responsibility, I think the long-term effects also have to be considered. SEN. LIEBERMAN: How do you -- what do you mean by that? GEN. HAM: Sir, again, I think, not knowing who the opposition forces are, are they trustworthy -- we have seen, certainly, media reporting of extremist organizations at least espousing support for the opposition and we would need, I think, necessarily to be careful about providing lethal means to a group unless we are sure that those U.S.-provided weapons would not fall into the hands of extremist organizations. SEN. LIEBERMAN: But don't you -- a final question -- don't you also, as head of the African Command, with a responsibility for Libya, conclude that Gadhafi's remaining in power is a very bad result for Libya and for the region? GEN. HAM: Senator, I wholeheartedly agree with that. SEN. LIEBERMAN: OK, well, to me that's a much worse result than the possibility, which I understand is only a possibility from everything I hear about the opposition, that there may be some extremists involved in there. Everything we know says that the leadership of the transitional national council and the military are not extremists, they're not Islamists by any means. My time is up. Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Lieberman. Senator Brown. SENATOR SCOTT BROWN (R-MA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Generals, for appearing. As you know, there's been plenty of discussion about -- from my colleagues about Libya so I'm not going to beat a dead horse, but I will also echo the concern about the escalation of violence in northern Africa and across the Middle East. And the state of Libyan affairs demonstrates the value that AFRICOM has to promote a secure and stable Africa, so I want to thank you for your efforts and I recognize that there are a lot of challenges. I'd like to discuss the piracy issues coming out of Somalia and how it frames the broader question of how to deal with the growing terrorism in failed states of that continent. The fact that piracy enjoys a safe haven is not a big surprise in the per -- Somalia has a per capita GDP of $600. As a result, stealing a $5 million ship carries a pretty big incentive. How would you recommend we begin fixing the problem? GEN. HAM: Senator, I would absolutely agree with you that in the mid-term the extremist threat emanating from East Africa, notably Somalia, is our greatest concern and piracy has some play in that. I'm not exactly sure yet what it is, but I have to believe that at least Shabaab and others are drawing at least some economic support from the piracy activities. I think also the murder of four Americans aboard the motor vessel Quest changes this dynamic. This is -- some would argue that this had heretofore been exclusively an economic activity. I think the murder of four Americans, at least in my mind, very significantly changes that position. I am headed to Tampa tomorrow to speak with U.S. Central Command, who shares -- who has responsibility for the maritime aspects of countering piracy to see what we can do more effectively together between the two combatant commands to counter this growing threat. SEN. BROWN: It seems to me that the -- let me ask a question. Are there rules of engagement when it comes to dealing with the pirates and when you can engage them? Are there rules that you're dealing with or the ships themselves are dealing with? GEN. HAM: Sir, there are. The rules for the application of military force apply. It's probably something we should talk about in a closed session. SEN. BROWN: I'd enjoy that. And have you noted any -- what's your assessment of al-Qaida's involvement in the piracy issue off Somalia? And if none, do you think it's a matter of time before they do get involved? GEN. HAM: Sir, we've not seen the direct links. We have seen direct links between al-Qaida and the Arabian Peninsula and al-Shabaab, so I believe it is indeed just a matter of time before al-Qaida is associated in some way with piracy activities in Somalia. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. BROWN: Great. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm all set. Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Senator Brown, thank you. I think Senator Reed is next. I don't have a card. SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): Thank you very much. SEN. LEVIN: I'm sorry. I apologize. Senator Begich is next. I didn't have a card in front of me. Excuse me. SENATOR MARK BEGICH (D-AK): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me -- General Ham, let me -- I just want to pursue one clarification here. I don't think we -- none of us -- and I think I heard this from Secretary Gates -- I mean, having Qadhafi out of there is a good thing. I mean, if we can get rid of him, great. But we've kind of been in a stalemate for 40 years since he's been there. Isn't that fair to say? I mean, he's been there for 40 years, and now we're in a different kind of level of stalemate. Isn't that a fair statement? GEN. HAM: Yes, sir, it is. But I don't think we had previously seen his very clearly stated intent to kill his own citizens. SEN. BEGICH: Well, maybe not publicly. Is that a fair statement? GEN. HAM: It is. SEN. BEGICH: I think there's been activities that a lot of his citizens from Libya would tell you otherwise. GEN. HAM: That's -- I think that's accurate, Senator. SEN. BEGICH: So, I mean, our struggle there -- we could probably point to multiple countries all around the world that we have concerns with their leadership. But this is what we're engaged in right now, to a certain level. Is that a fair statement? GEN. HAM: Yes, sir. SEN. BEGICH: Let me -- I want to get to an issue that I started last week with Secretary Gates. I want to just make sure I get -- clearly understand, not to debate the policy, because I have some concerns, but I'm going to put that aside. It's the money issue that I'm now starting to get concerned about. As you know, we've spent at least a reported $550 million to date so far. I'm getting different reports on what the burn rate is now and how -- kind of where we're at. Can you give me a sense of what you see and what your anticipated costs are to manage the affairs from your end of it? I know there's State Department. There's CIA. There's all these other players that are burning money at the same time here. Can you tell me what you estimate your costs are going to be? GEN. HAM: Sir, the best estimate that I've seen from the services and from the office of the secretary of defense comptroller office, is about that $550 million initially, and then about $40 million per month in continuing costs. It's not a cost -- the command does not -- doesn't oversee and budget those operations. The services fund each of their service components. So in this case, largely Air Force and Navy, as the primary contributors to this, bear the burden. But that's the best estimate I've seen is about $40 million in sustained costs over the -- per month. SEN. BEGICH: Here's my struggle, because I heard that from the comptroller also about a week ago or so. You know, I read a report yesterday that the Air Force is burning about $4 million a day. So I'm, you know, doing the math. On a 30-day cycle, that's more than $40 (million). So I guess -- when do we get to that $40 million level? I understand, you know, there's other elements that deal with the budgetary. But at the end of the day, you're going to have to figure out resource allocation for the command that you're involved in. And if you're burning at a certain rate, which I don't know what it is today -- and maybe you have an idea of what your costs are per day right now -- when do we get to this supposed level of $40 million a month, which seems pretty cheap, you know, from the perspective of $550 (million) in 10 days that we burned up? GEN. HAM: Senator, if you'll allow me to take that for the record so I can make sure I can give you an accurate assessment. SEN. BEGICH: I'd appreciate that. My biggest concern is, for example -- and another question I have for you on the ISR platforms and aircraft that are required in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq -- let me ask you this from just an equipment utilization. Have we utilized or have we shifted any of their missions or activities to this now that we're doing in Libya? In other words, some of those platforms that were maybe programmed or planned or utilized as backup for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. GEN. HAM: Sir, we probably should have a detailed discussion in a closed session. But in general, I can say that there were some assets that were, in fact, diverted from the Central Command area of responsibility to support operations in Libya. There were stateside assets which were either in training commands that are generating future capabilities that were pulled from that mission and sortied to support operations in Libya. So there is and has been an effect. We probably should discuss the details in closed session. SEN. BEGICH: Thank you, General. Let me ask you in regards -- now that NATO has taken the lead and starting to move in that direction, what have been -- I know we have AWACS and refueling and some other activities. What percentage of our assets are now being used compared to when we first started to where we are now? In other words, where are we in the global picture of now NATO taking the lead? Where do we fit? Are we 10 percent, 40 percent, 80 percent of the assets that they're utilizing or partnered with them? GEN. HAM: Sir -- SEN. BEGICH: Does that question make sense? GEN. HAM: It does, sir; if I could divide it into two different categories. In the strike assets, those aircraft which were actually attacking targets on the ground, the U.S. now contributes a very small percentage of that, and it is principally those U.S. unique capabilities, surface to air -- suppression of enemy air defense systems which are unique to the U.S., the AC-130s -- which others have mentioned, which is a unique U.S. capability, are in that category; so a very, very small percentage. I would guess maybe less than 15 percent of the strike assets. SEN. BEGICH: And that's as of right now. GEN. HAM: Yes, sir. SEN. BEGICH: OK. GEN. HAM: In the other category, in the support category, which are tankers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance assets, again, a number of those are unique U.S. military capabilities. We are probably about -- I would -- ballpark, 60 to 70 percent of that capability is U.S. again, because many of those systems are unique U.S. Tankers are a special case. Many other nations have tankers, but they don't have tankers in the quantity that the United States has. And so we are, again, while not a unique U.S. military capability, the quantity to sustain operations requires the U.S. to contribute some to that effort. SEN. BEGICH: Let me ask you the question in regards to -- as you know, we've frozen -- I think it's about $32 billion, give or take, in regards to the Qadhafi family and assets. Has that -- have you seen any -- as I'm just assuming here, within the efforts of conflict, he needs money to do what he needs to do. Have you seen any impact of that amount of money that we have frozen, the $32 billion that he could have access to? Has that had any -- have you seen anything that indicates any impact to his operations? GEN. HAM: Sir, not a direct tactical effect. But I think we are starting to see that now. I think one of the reasons that the regime forces are not pushing forward is that their sustainment capability has been significantly attacked by U.S. and now by NATO, and he can't replace that. He doesn't have the money to replace those systems. And I think that is starting to have, if not a tactical, at least an operational impact. SEN. BEGICH: Very good. My time is up. Thank you both for being here. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Begich. Senator Sessions. SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well, General Ham, I remember that -- I think I've got it correct -- Patton quote that a good plan violently executed today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. I believe that Senator McCain and Senator John Kerry were close to correct. I tended to be supportive of their view early on that a no-fly zone would make a difference. Now you've talked about the advantages of international support, and there are advantages from that. I don't deny it. GEN. HAM: Yes, sir. SEN. SESSIONS: But we now have gone -- we waited about three weeks before we got all these international agreements and so forth somehow agreed to. And in during that three weeks, Gadhafi rallied, consolidated his power and put the rebel forces, the contras on defensive. And it's not a good situation today and I'm worried about that. So let's talk first about the UN. We apparently spent a good bit of effort in getting a resolution out of the UN. China and Russia abstained. Have either one of those vetoed the resolution, could we have gotten a resolution out of the Security Council? GEN. HAM: Senator, I'm afraid that's pretty far beyond my area of expertise. SEN. SESSIONS: Well, I would say that it's pretty clear that it takes a unanimous vote of the Security Council to get a resolution. And so first of all, by going to the UN we put the policy of the United States in the hands of a unanimous vote there. Then with regard to NATO, it operates on a consensus theory, does it not? GEN. HAM: It does, Senator. SEN. SESSIONS: And consensus means unanimous vote. GEN. HAM: Twenty-eight nations, yes sir. SEN. SESSIONS: And one nation can object and stop a military operation that's part of a NATO operation, can it not? GEN. HAM: That's correct, sir. SEN. SESSIONS: I just had seen in The Washington Times today the rebels are blaming the lack of air strikes -- the air strike lull -- on Turkey. Is that correct? GEN. HAM: Sir, I also saw that report but it is my military assessment that that is not the case. SEN. SESSIONS: Well, are you involved in the negations that lead up to the deployment of forces in the Libya campaign? GEN. HAM: Sir, I was, but I am not now. SEN. SESSIONS: Well, they say, "Turkey is blocking NATO attacks, said one of the rebels. We believe the reason why NATO attacks have come down in the last four or five days is Turkey is vetoing a lot of them." Are you able to say with certainty that NATO has not -- Turkey has not vetoed any air strikes? GEN. HAM: Sir, I have no evidence of that. SEN. SESSIONS: But you're not just saying that that's true, not true. GEN. HAM: Sir, I am not privy to internal NATO discussions. SEN. SESSIONS: On the question of arming the rebels, Mr. Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, rejected the idea of arming the rebels, saying it could be conducive to terrorism. Isn't it a fact that if Turkey and Mr. Erdogan objects to arming the rebels even if we were to decide it was a good idea; we wouldn't be able to do that under the nature of the operation that we're now in? GEN. HAM: Senator, again that's beyond my purview. I'm not sure that that would necessarily be the case, but others would have to address that more definitively. SEN. SESSIONS: Well, as I remember in the Kosovo campaign, the United States Air Force, what happened was NATO met and deployed the United States Air Force. Ninety percent of the sorties were flown by the United States, and it took a virtual unanimous vote and they voted on various targets inside Serbia -- which ones we could hit and which ones we couldn't. Doesn't that make it more difficult to act decisively in a military campaign when you get 28 nations to agree on the targets that your aircraft may take or the kind of attack that might be executed? GEN. HAM: Sir, it would, but I spoke with the Supreme Allied Commander-Europe and the current NATO task force commander, and they are -- individual targets are not being subjected to individual target approval by the alliance. SEN. SESSIONS: Well, certainly the activities of the U.S. military are under the control of NATO. I don't think that is in dispute. Now the question of regime change, we're operating under the essential rules of engagement that the United Nations passed, are we not? GEN. HAM: No, sir. The forces are currently operating under NATO rules of engagement and previously under -- before transition into NATO under U.S. rules of engagement. SEN. SESSIONS: It's not -- the United Nations clearly has stated that their objective is not regime change, isn't that right? They set forth a limited number of objectives and it did not include regime change. GEN. HAM: I believe that is correct. And I mean -- SEN. SESSIONS: Well, I mean, you're the commanding -- GEN. HAM: -- retroactive of 1973, I think that is correct. SEN. SESSIONS: All right. Well, what about the NATO -- that's not one of the goals of NATO either, is it? GEN. HAM: No, sir. SEN. SESSIONS: It's explicitly not the goal. That's been discussed and explicitly decided it's not the goal of NATO to have a regime change in Libya. And does that not impact how you conduct a military operation? GEN. HAM: Sir, again, I'm not privy to the internal NATO discussions, but I do know that when the U.S. military mission did not include regime change, that did not in any way impede the conduct of our military operations. SEN. SESSIONS: Well, it alters them, does it not? I mean, if regime change was one of the missions you were given, you'd be approaching this conflict a lot differently, would you not? GEN. HAM: We would, sir. We'd devote an increasing amount of intelligence, collection and strike activity to an individual personality, and we've had, as you know, some difficultly in that previously. SEN. SESSIONS: Well, I'll just -- my time is up. I would just conclude by saying that yes, it's good to have international bodies support us, but in this instance I think we've all learned an invaluable lesson. Weeks go by from the time Senator McCain and Senator Kerry said use a no-fly zone, three weeks plus I think went by. And in the interim bad things happened that leave us now in a stalemate, which might not have been the case had we been able to act sooner. And we ended up with an amorphous policy, that's put us in a stalemate and it's just not a very comfortable position for this Senate to be in. I hope we're successful. I believe it would be good for the world if Gadhafi is gone, but we've got to have more clarity and more decisiveness in our plans. And I would make one more complaint that this administration apparently found time to consult with the UN at length, with NATO at length, but a totally unacceptable amount of time spent with the United States Congress to explain why they felt it necessary to commit the United States military to this action. And I think we're going to -- we should let this thing calm down a little bit. At some point we need to talk more in detail about congressional role on the -- particularly these military actions that are actions of choice and not defending the direct interest of the United States. Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Sessions. Senator Reed. SENATOR JACK REED (D-RI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for your service. General Ham, when you began to take air operations, it appeared to me and others that the Gadhafi regime was on the verge of taking Benghazi effectively ending the revolution, and consolidating that position in a way that which likely be irreversible. But at this juncture, the Gadhafi regime's going from the verge of victory now to a situation where their hold is weakening. Is that a fair estimate, in your view, of what took place? GEN. HAM: Senator, I would agree with that general characterization, and the important part is that I think at this point the regime has a significantly degraded ability to continue to attack civilians, but if I may -- SEN. REED: Yes, sir. GEN. HAM: With the notable exception of Misratah, and that is a particular challenge and one that I will frankly bear responsibility for as long as I live for that particular situation. SEN. REED: Yes, sir. And the Misratah situation is such that that is within their operational control, except for the city itself, and they've been able to introduce forces in there in essentially street-fighting. Is that -- and it's difficult to strike from the air, is that -- GEN. HAM: Senator, that is correct. The opposition forces have held an area in the northeastern portion of the city in the port, and frankly the port has been operating to get some relief. But the regime forces are and remain active in the city against civilians. SEN. REED: Let me ask you from a military standpoint, does the fact that this is an international alliance that has been sanctioned by U.N. resolution, supported by NATO and the Arab League, increase your -- the effectiveness of these forces and the military capabilities available? GEN. HAM: Senator, I believe that it does. SEN. REED: Thank you. One area that I think many of my colleagues are interested in, and so am I, is the specific operational objectives of NATO. It was very clear initially that they were going to suppress any Gadhafi air activity -- which they've done. They have the authority to intercept and to disrupt any activity that is designed to attack the Libyan people. But could you give us an idea more specifically, is it their goal, for example, to degrade completely the command and control system of the Gadhafi forces? Is it their plan to try to disrupt and destroy all of the ammunition depots, etc., all that being factors that would help the overall mission of protecting the Libyan people? GEN. HAM: Senator, I believe that to be the case. It was totally the case when the U.S. controlled the operations that those were objectives. As we transitioned those missions to NATO, I believe they share those same priorities. SEN. REED: : And from your perspective which is, again, you're no longer the direct commander but you have significant insights, that those objectives, those plans and the tactical operations are continuing as they were under your leadership? GEN. HAM: Sir, I believe -- I believe they are. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. REED: Thank you, sir. Thank you, sir. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Reed. Senator Cornyn. SENATOR JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General McNabb, General Ham, thank you for your service to our country. General Ham, as a combatant commander and as a general proposition do you think that it is important before the United States intervenes militarily that there be a clear mission, that the mission be authorized by Congress, and that that mission has the support of the American people? GEN. HAM: Senator, absolutely we have to have a clear mission. I would have to leave it to others about the second part of your question, but certainly it is preferable always to have the support of the Congress and certainly the support of the people, as represented by the Congress. SEN. CORNYN: General, I thank you for your answer. It wasn't supposed to be a trick question. It strikes me that we've learned from sad experience what happens when the United States gets involved or stays involved in a military conflict where public support and support from Congress wanes in terms of its impact on our success of accomplishing the mission. Let me move on, though, to the question of intelligence. It strikes me as unusual, and maybe something that Congress needs to look at further, that our intelligence capabilities are so limited that we don't even know the composition of the opposition force in Libya -- and I'm just using that as one example -- before we intervene militarily, and that because we are in doubt about the composition of that opposition force that we are constrained from equipping them or providing them with access to the resources they may need in order to accomplish our goal and their goal at the same time. Is this unusual in your experience or is this common? GEN. HAM: I think it's -- I would describe it as unique, at least in my experience, of not having a clear understanding of who the opposition forces were. Senator, I would also -- it is also important to remember that our mission was not to support the opposition but rather to protect civilians. Now, certainly, in the protection of civilians, there was some obvious benefit to the opposition forces when we would do that. But it was a distinction in my mind of the purpose of the mission. SEN. CORNYN: Well, to protect the civilians in Libya, there's been a lot of discussion about whether we should arm the opposition forces or the rebels. And I'm entirely sympathetic to your concerns and those expressed by others that we don't want to arm them if we don't know who they are and what they might become. But it strikes me as very strange and certainly a deficiency in our intelligence capability if we've intervened in a military action, even for humanitarian purposes, and we don't know who the opposition is. So we are thus constrained from going further and giving them the resources they need in order to win and expel Qadhafi from power. But let me ask you another question. What sort of signal does it send to our other adversaries in the region, notably Iran and others, for us to intervene militarily and fail to accomplish a regime change in Libya, whether it be by military or political means? Does it strike you as a sign of weakness or lack of American resolve or inadequacy of planning that we would actually go to these -- this far, and yet not accomplish or seem ambivalent about accomplishing regime change? GEN. HAM: Sir, I would -- I would say again -- I'd come back to the first part, which was the execution of the military mission to protect civilians, establish a no-fly-zone embargo, which I think was successful. And I think a message to others around the world is the speed with which that was accomplished was pretty significant. I don't think the -- I don't think people should misunderstand a policy decision that says it is the policy for there to be regime change, but to seek that through means other than military. I don't think folks should misunderstand the lack of seriousness which that means. We certainly could use military force. But again, we have some history in trying to apply military force to regime change where we have been less than successful. SEN. CORNYN: Yes, General, it's not your responsibility or your fault, but I go back to my initial questions with regard to clarity of mission, support from Congress and support from the American people. And any ambiguity, it seems to me, in any of those things would seem to me to give you less than the kind of support you need in order to accomplish that mission, whatever it may be. Let me move on to ask about -- there's been questions -- I think Senator Lieberman, Senator McCain -- about the A-10s and the AC-130s, which you said are unique American capabilities. I think you and Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen all said that these are available. Although they're unique American capabilities, they're available to NATO if they request them. To your knowledge, have they been requested? GEN. HAM: Yes, sir, they have. And they have been provided. SEN. CORNYN: They have been? They're currently being deployed in the fight? GEN. HAM: Sir, I don't -- the AC-130s, I believe, are currently available. I believe the A-10s are currently available on request. SEN. CORNYN: So the AC-130s are in the fight now. GEN. HAM: I think they are. My last understanding was that they are available to the commander, should he want them. SEN. CORNYN: Okay. And then, finally, let me ask, General, the -- I think there's an impression, a mistaken impression, that by the U.S. initiating this fight and then handing it off to Libya, it's somehow handing it off to a third party that does not necessarily -- that is not the United States. But the truth is, NATO could not function as a fighting force without U.S. support, could it? GEN. HAM: Sir, the supreme allied commander is a U.S. officer. Much of the military capability that enables the current operation is provided by the United States. SEN. CORNYN: And one of the perennial problems in NATO is that our allies do not resource, either funding or in terms of personnel, their military requirements like the United States. The United States spends more on our national security than I think the top -- the next 22 nations in a row. In other words, the United States is the biggest -- is the biggest and most powerful nation as part of that coalition. Wouldn't you agree? GEN. HAM: Sir, I would. Contributions of other nations have been significant and very important. But certainly the United States has provided to this point the preponderance of military force. SEN. CORNYN: And that includes, as Senator Begich asked, the obligation as part of that NATO coalition to fund operations at whatever level is required by our agreements with NATO. GEN. HAM: Sir, my understanding is that NATO contributions are currently funded by the individual states. And I'm not a NATO expert, but I'm not sure that NATO common funding is being applied. SEN. CORNYN: I certainly understand and appreciate that. You've been very good about answering my questions. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Cornyn. Senator Hagan. SENATOR KAY HAGAN (D-NC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And once again, General McNabb and General Ham, thank you for your testimony, your service to our country, and being here today. I wanted to talk about NATO and Libya. And as you know, the Libyan rebel forces allege that NATO inaction and bureaucratic delays are placing the lives of civilians at risk, complicating the rebel efforts to fight Qadhafi's forces and allowing Qadhafi's forces to advance against the rebel strongholds. And it seems that the pace of military -- of the NATO -- that the pace of the NATO military operations in Libya is complicated, obviously, by the importance of protecting the civilians and avoiding any sort of collateral damage. And meanwhile, Qadhafi's forces are reportedly using civilians as human shields and hiding armor in populated areas, decreasing NATO's ability to hit targets. I've read recently where Qadhafi's forces are keeping their heavy equipment, such as their armored vehicles, hidden in more highly populated areas and are actually using more trucks and light vehicles. In terms of the use of air power, what is the proper balance between destroying Qadhafi's air force, neutralizing his air defenses, degrading the ability of his ground forces to wage war, and avoiding collateral damage? GEN. HAM: Senator, your characterization is one with which I would generally agree in the manner in which the regime forces are operating. So with the application of air power, even as precise as we are, the circumstance, as you describe, becomes increasingly problematic. But air power can do other things. Certainly when regime forces move is when they are most vulnerable, and we have collection systems that are able to see them move, and then NATO is able to apply and has applied effective air power against moving forces, particularly their heavy equipment. The Air Force is also very effective in degrading the regime's ability to sustain its operations, denying the movement of supplies, fuel, ammunition and the like. And it is my military assessment that the attacks on those kinds of targets are what have presently not allowed regime forces to continue their attacks against civilians. SEN. HAGAN: What is your assessment of the effectiveness of NATO assuming command and control of all phases of the missions in Libya? GEN. HAM: Senator, I believe, actually, it's been quite good. NATO assumed command first of the arms embargo, which was largely a maritime effort. That, I think, has gone quite well. There have been numerous instances where NATO vessels under NATO command have stopped, queried, inspected and denied movement of shipments along the coast of Libya. That's been very successful. Clearly NATO's assumption of the no-fly zone remains effective. We have not seen regime aircraft operate in Libyan air space. And then the toughest mission is the protect-civilians mission. And it is my military judgment that NATO has done that effectively, but in an increasingly complex and difficult scenario in which to attack regime forces. SEN. HAGAN: Thank you. Let me ask about the arming -- the question having to do with arming the Libyan rebels. Without allied intervention, Qadhafi would have to continue -- from what I understand, he would have continued to slaughter his people. And the opposition of Libya wants Qadhafi out. And they also, I understand, what democracy and freedom and economic opportunities and an end to the corruption that's been going on. So I want to know more about the nature of the opposition. Some people have suggested arming them. And I'm skeptical about that approach because I think we need to have a lot more information to know about whom exactly it is that we're talking about if we -- or the discussion going on about whether rebels would arm. And once you put those weapons out there, there's no getting them back. And I understand in the early days of unrest the opposition forces broke open the Libyan military arsenals and obtained a large number of weapons. Do you believe there are members of al-Qaida in this opposition, and how concerned are you with the potential regional proliferation of weapons that the opposition has already acquired? GEN. HAM: Senator, to the second part of your question first, I'm very concerned about the proliferation of weapons, notably shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles which we assess there were perhaps as many as 20,000 in Libya as the operation began. Many of those we know are now not accounted for, and that's going to be a concern for some period of time. The first part of your question and the presence of al-Qaida or other violent extremist organizations with the opposition to me is very much the important unanswered question that we must have to have better understanding of the opposition. We have seen intent expressed by al-Qaida in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb by the Libyan Islamic fighter group and others to partner with the opposition, if you will, in an anti-Gadhafi regime mode. I think we need to know more about what that means before we were to make a U.S. decision to arm, though I think others are working in that direction. I would also note that the U.S. Special Envoy's presence and engagement with the opposition forces is an important step in trying to get a better understanding of exactly who the opposition is. SEN. HAGAN: Thank you. Let me move to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As you know, this area the Democratic Republic of the Congo needs an integrated and professional army to protect its citizens. What is your assessment of the effectiveness of AFRICOM's training and equipping of the armed forces of this area, and what lessons would you derive from this train and equip effort and how does this fit under the context of the whole of government approach? GEN. HAM: Thank you, Senator. We have trained one battalion and frankly with good, but some mixed results. Clearly, there's a capability within the country. They have a willingness to participate in the training and become more operationally effective subordinates to civilian control respective of the rule of law, all those attributes that we like. There have been some technical challenges in the provision of weapons and communication, certainly some leader development challenges. But I think for a first effort, it was okay. We're doing an assessment now to say what can we do in the future to make our training and our sustainment more important. And I would argue that it is indeed the sustainment. It's insufficient to just train one time and then let them go but rather an enduring effort. And I think that's one of the reasons that Africa Command was established, was to have that kind of enduring effort, and we look to do that. SEN. HAGAN: Do you know what the retention is of the battalion that they have trained? GEN. HAM: I'll have to check, ma'am. My indications are from a personnel standpoint it's pretty good. But there are concerns about the retention and maintenance of usable equipment. SEN. HAGAN: Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Hagan. Senator Graham. SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General McNabb, we're going to just keep you in a holding pattern for a while. We'll call you if we need you. (Laughs.) I appreciate your service, okay. General Ham, I think you have one of the most fascinating commands in the whole military, and I want to compliment President Bush for creating Africa Command and President Obama for continuing to stand it up. It's really a region ripe with opportunity and heartbreaking all at the same time. Secretary Gates, I've been told, has instructed the Department of Defense to look for a stateside home for Africa Command to move you out of Stuttgart, and that the leading contender, the most preferred site was Charleston Air Force Base. Are you familiar with that decision? GEN. HAM: Senator, I'm not familiar with the decision. I have direction to assess and make a recommendation as to -- SEN. GRAHAM: Would you like to live in Charleston? GEN. HAM: Sir, I have visited Charleston and enjoyed that visit very much. SEN. GRAHAM: Good. We would like to have you. I just want to let you know that that was the preferred site in terms of the assessment, and that the community is willing to provide infrastructure to the Department of Defense to move your headquarters to Charleston so you won't have to deal with military construction contracts. So all politics is local. So I really do want to talk to you about that potential move. The other issue is that there's $7.6 billion being appropriated through the foreign operations account for Africa assistance. From a commander's point of view, how important are those funds, 4.78 billion (dollars) for health-related issues in Africa? Could you tell this committee the importance of those funds to your mission? GEN. HAM: Senator, I believe what that enables us to do as the military component of a U.S. whole of government approach, it allows us to more effectively achieve the U.S. government's desired end states in Africa consistent with the goals which the president has described to include health care. Our military component of that is largely focused on building capable, credible military and security institutions responsive to the rule of law, responsive to civil authority so that increasingly Africans can provide for their own security nationally and regionally. SEN. GRAHAM: And America needs to know we have a very small military footprint in Africa relatively speaking. Is that true? GEN. HAM: Sir, it is very small. Just one -- other than the defense attaches in the embassies -- it is essentially one location at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. SEN. GRAHAM: So I would just urge the committee to look at the fact that our foreign operations account probably is our most effective tool in achieving stability in Africa and helping the African continent develop in a positive way. So, I just want to let that account be known as important from the military's point of view. Now let's go to Libya. What's the likelihood in your view and I know you're not the current commander of the rebels being able, even with the air support provided by NATO today, to fight their way to Tripoli and replace the Gadhafi regime by military force? GEN. HAM: Senator, I would assess that as a low likelihood. SEN. GRAHAM: I think that's a very honest answer. I would assess it as almost impossible. Now the AC-130s and the A-10s, are they in the fight or not? GEN. HAM: Senator, it is my current understanding is that the AC-130s -- SEN. GRAHAM: Okay. GEN. HAM: -- are provided as a U.S. unique capability which are indeed available at present to the NATO commander should he need to employ them. The A-10s are a part of the on-call package which the commander would have to request separately. SEN. GRAHAM: Is there an equivalent capability within the NATO countries to replace the AC-130s, the A-10? Can you replace those capabilities? GEN. HAM: Sir, the AC-130 is clearly a unique U.S. capability. No one else has that capability like that. The A-10 has great capabilities, some of which can be replicated or provided by other strike aircraft but not as a total package like the A-10 can. SEN. GRAHAM: I'm going to stand up for Senator Ayotte's husband who's an A-10 pilot, and she'll be the first to tell you that it's almost impossible to replicate the A-10's impact on the battlefield. Well, if we can't fight our way there, if the rebels can't fight their way there with the air cover being provided, how does this end? GEN. HAM: Sir, I think it does not end militarily. I think militarily the present condition with the regime forces and the opposition forces essentially opposed but neither moving -- SEN. GRAHAM: Could I suggest a scenario where the military part of it may actually help it end quicker? The inner circle of Gadhafi cracking is probably the most likely scenario where people tell him, his inner circle, you need to go. Do you agree that's the most likely way this ends for regime change? GEN. HAM: Sir, I think that's a likely outcome. SEN. GRAHAM: Okay. Would it be helpful in that regard in terms of putting pressure on the inner circle to make that decision, to take the aerial fight to Tripoli and start looking for targets where the inner circle operate out of and to put pressure on them militarily? Is that within our capability to do if we chose to do that? GEN. HAM: Senator, it is and we have been from the very start attacking targets of regime command and control in Tripoli. SEN. GRAHAM: Is that still going on today? GEN. HAM: Sir, I believe it is. I know of no prohibition to that and specifically to the 32nd Brigade which is, if you will, the regime's inner protective force was a very specific target for us and U.S. AFRICOM, and I know that it continues to be so for NATO. SEN. GRAHAM: Well that's curious because he's still on TV. Is there any effort to knock him off radio or TV? GEN. HAM: Sir, there is again another one of the unique U.S. military capabilities -- SEN. GRAHAM: Would you agree with me that if he were unable to spread his propaganda and fear through radio and television, he would be less effective in holding power? GEN. HAM: Sir, I would agree with that. SEN. GRAHAM: Why hasn't he been knocked off radio or TV as of now? GEN. HAM: Principally, sir, because of a concern for civilian casualties in the broadcast systems that he uses. SEN. GRAHAM: Thank you. Finally, when it comes to putting pressure on this regime, I know we have a variety of strategies, but the idea that the Tripoli targets are being robustly pursued, I think it would be news to me because I don't hear any reporting on the ground of targets in Tripoli being pursued in an aggressive manner. Am I wrong there? GEN. HAM: Sir, again I don't have the day to day tracking of the battle but again I'm not aware of any prohibition to attacking command and control facilities or others in Tripoli. SEN. GRAHAM: And last question. Is there a prohibition of going after Gadhafi the individual? GEN. HAM: There's -- in the U.S. mission, we had -- I expended no effort in tracking him personally or devoting assets to attack him, but there was also no prohibition if he happened to be at a command and control site or some other site that was attacked -- SEN. GRAHAM: Would you agree with me that if he were neutralized or taken out of the fight through kinetic activity it would end this whole conflict rather quickly? GEN. HAM: Sir, his removal by any means would end this relatively quickly. SEN. GRAHAM: Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Graham. Senator Manchin. SENATOR JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you two both. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. MANCHIN: General Ham, thank you again for all your service. I know it was talked about Charleston, South Carolina I believe as your AFRICOM base or they would like to entertain that. Why wouldn't the command be in Africa? GEN. HAM: Sir, we will look at some locations in Africa but there are some pretty significant hurdles in terms of transportation in and around the continent. There are not great air links and frankly, cost to establish a new, a wholly new base would be pretty expensive. SEN. MANCHIN: Do we have any other of our operations in other parts of the world that where we operate out of the United States? GEN. HAM: Yes, sir, Central Command headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida and Southern Command headquartered in Miami. SEN. MANCHIN: Gotcha. And again, General Ham, Secretary Gates had told me last week, I believe, that – and I told him I was giving him my overview of basically what happened in the first Gulf War when Saddam attacked Kuwait and when we went in and was very successful in that mission and the Kuwaitis and the Saudis paid. I guess they paid the bill and we as Americans felt good, we were able to help, we were asked to help, and the American people weren't burdened with the cost. I understand now as of April the 4th, $608 million has been spent in Libya. It was 550 (dollars), there's been an additional 58 million (dollars) since then. And with that being said, if we've been asked to come in by the people who the neighbors of Libya, why won't they pay? Why do we have to, as American people, burden this financial obligation? GEN. HAM: Sir, again, out of my area of expertise but I know there are efforts to seek to defray those costs but I'm not cognizant of the status of those efforts. SEN. MANCHIN: Secretary Gates said he did not expect to get any money at all from the other ones because they don't see it as an imminent interest or imminent threat. And I'm thinking if you have a bad neighbor, a thug in the neighborhood, you want to get rid of that thug. But if they don't think, and they're living there, why should we interject ourselves? Because I applaud basically getting the agreement from NATO and the other, Arab League, before we did go in, because we tried going alone and we see where that's ended up and we've been in the longest war in the history of the United States. But with that, I just can't believe that we would continue to interject ourselves in all these challenging areas when the people there really don't care. And they certainly have the resources to pay their own way to clean up their neighborhood. GEN. HAM: Sir, I can't disagree with you but in this particular circumstance, I think the urgency to conduct military operations to prevent the slaughter of civilians, had to, in my view, appropriately superseded the concerns about cost. But I think now that we did intercept, at least that effort in the east for the regime to attack its civilians, it seems wholly appropriate that we would seek efforts that defray costs. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. MANCHIN: Okay. And also General Ham, I just can't believe that we had to have a northern route because of our ally, Pakistan, was shaking us down for 30 percent of all the products being moved through there. Don't you find that to be extremely offensive? GEN. HAM: Sir, that's a tough way to do business. SEN. MANCHIN: I'm done. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Manchin. Senator Ayotte. SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General McNabb and General Ham, for your distinguished service, and please express my gratitude for all that serve below you and for the sacrifices that they're making. I wanted to follow up on a question that Senator Hagan asked. In response, you said, General Ham, about the Libyan rebels, and you had said that there was an intent of al-Qaida in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb to attempt to partner with the Libyan rebels. Can you tell me more about what we know about that and how did they attempt to partner, so that we can assess that aspect of what we do know about the rebels? GEN. HAM: Senator, we should probably have a discussion, a more detailed discussion in a classified setting, but it is clear to me that there is at least that stated intent. It has been very difficult to ascertain whether that intent to support the opposition with AQIM personnel has actually materialized anything on the ground, and we're watching that for indications of that very clearly. But in my view just the stated intent is one that ought be concerning to us, certainly is to me as the commander responsible for that region in the long term. SEN. AYOTTE: I would agree with you, General Ham, and as a follow-up, the stated intent is -- to what extent do we believe, and if you think this is more appropriate for a classified briefing, please let me know. But to what extent do we think that al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb would be in a position to also provide weapons to the rebels? GEN. HAM: My sense would be that they probably could do so, but not on a large scale. I think it would be probably fighters but, again, we're talking about an organization where small numbers of people can make a pretty significant difference and pose a pretty significant threat. So it is an area I think we've got to approach with a great deal of precision and caution. SEN. AYOTTE: Well, I would agree and I appreciate that you're doing that, because obviously if we're making decisions about how we're going to treat the rebels in Libya we've got to know who we're dealing with and we certainly don't want to encourage them to partner with al-Qaida or other groups that want to do us harm. I wanted to follow up also in regard to terrorist activity in Africa. Do you believe that the activity and recruitment of al- Shabab, other groups that are affiliated with al-Qaida, is that growing or diminishing in Africa? GEN. HAM: Senator, I believe -- unfortunately, I believe it to be growing. SEN. AYOTTE: And if that activity is growing, what are the factors that you think are driving that growth and do you have any thoughts about how we could help you better address to make sure that we nip this in the bud before it, again, becomes the site of attacks against our own country and our allies? GEN. HAM: Senator, the factors that encourage particularly young people to be attracted to the violent extremist organization way of life are -- I think are common in East Africa as they are in other parts of the world. It's lack of good governance. It's lack of education. It's lack of stability, security, economic opportunity that makes many young people susceptible to this violent extremist message. And I think, you know, the challenge is how do you get to those underlying causes which do in fact require a whole-of-government approach, not simply a military approach. Of particular concern to me with al-Shabab has been at least an expressed interest to recruit Somali-Americans -- U.S. passport holders to that effort, which I think poses probably the single greatest threat to us. SEN. AYOTTE: With regard to if we were -- with the activities that we have in Africa -- if we were to detain a member of al-Shabab or al-Qaida -- obviously they're partnering there in Africa -- where would we detain them for purposes of intelligence gathering? GEN. HAM: Senator, that's probably a question we ought to answer in closed session and I would need some lawyerly help on answering that one. SEN. AYOTTE: OK. Well, as a -- just -- I appreciate that. Just -- others have testified before this committee including Secretary Gates that hypothetically, if we were to catch -- to capture a member of al-Qaida or a significant member of leadership in an area that we're not in a current armed conflict -- for example, a Afghanistan-type scenario -- that it's unclear -- that with the administration not putting additional detainees in Guantanamo, that it is unclear what we would do with those types of individuals. So I would -- I would just raise that but obviously would love to hear from you more in an appropriate setting. I finally just want to ask you a question about the coordination between the Department of Defense and Department of State. As I understand, in Africa the way that you align jurisdiction in Africa is different and so, General Ham, you're actually dealing with two different agencies of the Department of State because DOD and DOS don't have the same alignment. Could you describe that for us? GEN. HAM: Yes, ma'am. That is true. Sub-Saharan Africa is managed at State Department by the African Bureau and North Africa by Mideast and North Africa, so it does -- it does cause us to have interaction with two entities of State but, frankly, that's not been an impediment. One of the reasons it's not is the interagency construct of the Africa Command headquarters -- in fact, seated behind me is the deputy to the commander for civil military affairs who is a long career Foreign Service officer, Ambassador Tony Holmes, who helps the command understand how we most effectively interact, not only with the two bureaus in State, but with the whole of the United States government. SEN. AYOTTE: General, as a follow-up -- and Ambassador, appreciate your being here -- wouldn't it make more sense though if we coordinated the boundaries because then you would be dealing with the same area? I very much appreciate that with the activity -- the war, for example, that we are prosecuting in Afghanistan there's a significant and important relationship between State activities and Defense activities and that coordination in a counterinsurgency strategy is critical. And given what you just told me about recruitment and the issues that drive young people to unfortunately join terrorist organizations, I would think that that alignment would be important. And wanted to get your thoughts on if you were to realign and have the same jurisdiction whether we would gain a better ability to communicate. GEN. HAM: Senator, I think this is a subject of some long debate. There are pros and cons both ways. To have the State Department and Department of Defense looking at the same countries and in our case the, you know, 52 or 53 nations of Africa, depending on how Egypt would fall out, there is some goodness in that. But what you lose in that -- in that -- in such an alignment is the view outside of the area of responsibility and how activities on the continent of Africa might affect, for example, southern Europe or into the Mideast. And I think in that regard Egypt is a good example. It is in -- though it's obviously on the continent of Africa it is in Central Command's area of responsibility, but there is -- for matters of African security, then we have that discussion with the -- with Egypt. Similarly, across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen, obvious concerns there. It's in Central Command's area of responsibility, but we have sufficient ties and dialogue to maintain effective operations. So I think it's worthy of discussion but I'm not -- I'm not so sure that necessarily equal alignment is the best way ahead. SEN. AYOTTE: Well, thank you very much, General Ham, and I appreciate what you've said about that. The only issue I think that we need to also make sure that we're focused on is the more you have -- if you -- you have to deal with two areas of Department of State. As long as there's good coordination and you don't feel like one area you're getting good information and one you're not; that coordination seems key when you don't have aligned boundaries. So I appreciate your comments on it and thank both of you for your service. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Ayotte, for raising that issue -- that alignment issue. We are hoping the GAO is going to get back to us on that issue and then that'd be great if you could get deeply involved in that. But we are expecting a -- apparently a report on that -- my staff tells me on that very issue. So we'll make sure that that gets to you so you can get back into that. SEN. AYOTTE: Thank you, Chairman. I look forward to delving into that and looking at that closely. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. SEN. AYOTTE: Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. Senator Webb. SENATOR JAMES WEBB (D-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General McNabb, welcome -- General Ham. Let me begin by following on with what my good friend Senator Graham mentioned about the relocation of Africa Command, and I'd like to ask you if you've had the opportunity to visit Norfolk. GEN. HAM: Senator, I have, but not since arriving at Africa Command. But clearly, that is one of the stateside locations that we'll look at. SEN. WEBB: I hope you will -- you'll come down and take a look. As you know, JFCOM has been greatly reduced and we've got a facility that you can just turn the lights on and move right in, and we hope you'll take a look. I hope that we can be much more careful in the rhetoric that we're using when we're discussing the situation in Libya, and I think the terms of reference we need to be much more precise about when we're having this discussion. And let me begin by pointing out that the goal which this administration has set out is regime change by other than military means, as you have mentioned, but there's -- I think there's been a little bit of perhaps maybe public confusion in some of the exchanges that have taken place here, and I think in that respect it's important to remind people that the United States still recognizes the Gadhafi government. This came up in an exchange when I asked Undersecretary Burns in the Foreign Relations Committee a couple of weeks ago. We have never severed our relationships with the Gadhafi government. I had my staff call over to State Department during this hearing to make sure that is still the case. And so we're in a sort of an anomalous situation in which we are conducting military operations with the goal of deposing a government -- or at least the leader of a government which we still recognize. That would lead me to assume that what we are doing in terms of our military operations are indeed limited, and the goal is perhaps the implosion of the government in terms of Mr. Gadhafi. So I think we ought to be real careful about, you know, another end-state. We're talking about another end-state for this individual. I've had concerns about the way that this decision was made by the president. This was a unilateral decision to use military force when it came to the way that the United States government is structured. We were not under attack. We were not under an imminent threat of attack. We were not responding to a localized attack on our people, as we did in 1986 when I was at the Pentagon. I fully support what we did in 1986 after the Gadhafi regime had supported the killing of some of our soldiers in Berlin. We were not rescuing Americans, as we have in many periods of our history, including Granada, or in the piracy situation, which if I could offer -- we had an exchange earlier about rules of engagement in the piracy situation. I think my view would be shoot the pirates, blow up the boats. That's a pretty good rule of engagement. I would support that. But in this situation we weren't responding to an attack on a treaty ally. We have a very unclear picture as to who we are supporting. In fact, Secretary Gates and I had an exchange last week when I asked him if this was a civil war, and he said clearly in his view it was not a civil war because the opposition is so disparate that there is no one entity that we could work with if we were supporting forces against this present government. And this all -- this has relevance, I think, particularly to your command, more than any of the other commands because there's so much volatility in the continent that you are responsible for. What specifically is your understanding of the authority under which the president made this decision? GEN. HAM: Sir, it is my understanding that the president made this decision and issued authority to conduct military operations to protect lives, and did so; it is my understanding, with notification to the Congress. But sir, I'd have to defer, again, to the general counsel and others to give you a more definitive answer than that. SEN. WEBB: So probably -- I mean, I've read the letter of notification. It's a generalized statement of the powers of the commander-in-chief. But as it applies here, this is a humanitarian situation that doesn't involve any of the situations that I just mentioned, correct? GEN. HAM: Sir, there was no imminent threat to Americans, that's correct. SEN. WEBB: So it would be conceivable that with this very broad interpretation of presidential power it could be used in pretty much any manner in which this president decided to use it with respect to other humanitarian situations in Africa, like Ivory Coast? GEN. HAM: Sir, I would have to defer to the policy folks in the general counsel's. SEN. WEBB: Well, I'd just like to reiterate my concern that if we don't use the War Powers Act here, we need to use something like the War Powers Act for the Congress to really examine the future of what we're going to be doing in Libya and other situations. I think it's a proper way for us to exercise the powers that we have here in the Congress. I would assume that planners are considering the prospect that there might be an international force on the ground in Libya in the future. Let's say not boots on the ground in combat, but if Gadhafi leaves, is that in the cards? GEN. HAM: Sir, I think that is certainly one potential outcome of this, an international force of some composition intervening between the regime and the opposition forces. SEN. WEBB: Would it be a consideration for the United States military to be on the ground in that situation for you? GEN. HAM: Sir, I suspect there might be some consideration of that. My personal view at this point would be that that's probably not the ideal circumstance, again, for the regional reactions that that would -- that having American boots on the ground would entail. SEN. WEBB: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Webb. Senator Inhofe. SENATOR JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well, first of all, I read in Defense News this morning the discussion that has been around this table on where the headquarters should be. I was, as you know, General Ham, I was very much involved in dividing out the continent of Africa into one command and parts of three commands, and I was involved in that change. And at the time, my preference was to have it in Africa, have the headquarters in the place that I at that time felt would be more appropriate because of the location of the various AFRICOMs or unions would be in Ethiopia. But we also understand -- it's interesting when you talk, as I do, individually to the presidents of the various countries, they agree that it would be better. But the problem is, and we all know it, with this whole idea of the colonialism and all that, they felt nobody wanted the presence in Africa because it would make it look like kind of a takeover thing. So I understand all that. But, you know, I'd be very much opposed, and I just want to get on record that if there is a serious look at changing the headquarters, obviously we've got to take our Air Force base out and all that, but it should stay, in my opinion, in Stuttgart, for this reason. We have our other COMs that -- like the Pacific Com is in theater, it's in the Pacific, and we -- in these areas if you put it where it's a different time zone, you've got a problem. I know your predecessors were -- they have to come down, and we want them to have relational -- you know, be present in the continent as much as possible. It would be very difficult if you were coming from the United States, in my opinion. Stuttgart works well. It's got two commands there, and I would hope that we leave it there until the day comes that we be able to move it to a -- with the acceptance of Africa -- to some African nation. I just think it would be very awkward -- it's really kind of awkward right now, and I've talked to your two predecessors in terms of getting equipment down there and responding and all that. Even the distance between Stuttgart and places on the continent are inconvenient. So I guess I just would -- if it gets any kind of a serious talk about changing that, I want in on the discussion, OK? GEN. HAM: Yes, sir. Absolutely. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. INHOFE: All right. That's good. General Ham, I'm very interested in a lot of things that are going on there. As you know -- well, one of the differences between you and me is when a decision is made as a policy decision by this country, whether you personally agree with it or not you, a soldier, you carry it out. I'm not. So I disagreed with our attitude toward the government in Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo and his wife, Simone. I know what they've been accused of in the past. But I also know that what happened in that election -- and I have documented it on the floor of the Senate -- certainly brings it into question as to whether or not it was legitimate. The French, then behind -- on the same -- Ouattara -- actually participated in -- not just in Abidjan, as they did with their war -- with their gunships, and we have no idea how many hundreds of people were killed three nights ago there. And that was something, where specifically the French said to the United Nations, we authorize you. We're going to use our troops if necessary to go in there and try to get the Gbagbo administration out. Now that's a real hotbed right now. It's going to have huge repercussions in the future. But I hope that when things like that start coming up that you'd be in a position in terms of what our response will be, to talk to those of some of us who are pretty familiar with what is going on in Africa. Now that same thing would go, as you and I have talked in the past, with the Lord's Resistance Army, for example. That's something where we now have Uganda, Central African Republic, the Congo and Rwanda all in agreement that they need to get this guy, and we now have a policy of the United States, because I passed a bill that we need to do away with Joseph Kony and the LRA. Do you have any comments to make about that and where that is on your priority list? GEN. HAM: Sir, it is a high priority, and I think it factors into the lack of security in East Africa as a whole, and I think so long as the Lord's Resistance Army is able to operate in the horrific manner in which they do, it will continue to contribute to instability in the region. We take very seriously our military responsibility in a supporting role in executing the strategy, and in fact this afternoon I'm headed to the State Department to have discussions on this and many other topics. And I think the challenge for us in AFRICOM is, while we may not have access to the full array of forces that we would like have to support this endeavor, we should do what we can now. And I think that would be my approach in the near-term, to enable the Ugandans particularly, but others as well to put as much pressure as possible on the Lord's Resistance Army. SEN. INHOFE: Well, I know my time has expired, Mr. Chairman, but I want to make sure I get into the record how serious this is, this Joseph Kony. For over 20 years, almost 30 years now, he's been going into the villages and stealing these little kids. It's called the kids or the children's army. They have to go back after they're trained -- I'm talking about 12, 13 and 14-year-olds -- they have to go back to their village and murder their parents and all that. And they have gone through and just -- they've mutilated these kids for all these years. We now have a position of the United States in this thing. I do say this, that we have some really good presidents, like Museveni in Uganda, who is just as interested as we are; Kabila, in Congo, is just as interested as we are, certainly in Rwanda they're concerned. So I would like to stay on top of that. Anything that is new in the way of a development, I would personally like to be advised of that. And then for the record, if you could put in your thoughts on IMET and train and equip. I'd like to have that because when we start developing our authorization bill I want to get everyone on record. I've said the same thing for you, General McNabb, as to the significance of those programs. Mr. Chairman, thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Inhofe. Senator Blumenthal. SENATOR RICHARD BLUMETHAL (D-CT): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to join in thanking both of you, General McNabb and General Ham, for your service to country and hope that you will convey that thanks to all of the brave and distinguished men and women who serve with you. I want to focus on a number of areas quickly. First on, General Ham, on the Joint STARS aircraft. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about the role and importance of the Joint STARS mission in Libya and other areas. GEN. HAM: Senator, Joint STARS has been an integral and important component of the suite of collection assets which the U.S. and others have applied to operations in Libya. Joint STARS' particular capability in detecting moving forces has been particularly useful and noteworthy. Especially early on in the campaign where the regime forces were moving, Joint STARS was able to identify those and greatly aided the vectoring in of aircraft to interdict some of those efforts. So it is -- it has been and remains a valuable component. It's got long on-station time and a great capability. SEN. BLUMENTHAL: And so it's been extremely useful in surveillance, reconnaissance, targeting many of the areas where American aircraft have been so instrumental in the Libyan operation so far? GEN. HAM: Yes, sir, American and others. SEN. BLUMENTHAL: And if you had more of them, would that be of use to you? GEN. HAM: Sir, I have sufficient for this particular operation, which was of course limited in scope. But certainly in a larger scale operation and the ability to deal with multiple simultaneous contingencies then that would be the case. SEN. BLUMENTHAL: Do you know whether those aircraft are still available to NATO? Are they still in use in helping to target? Because I understand that one of the challenges in Libya is identifying non- civilian targets. GEN. HAM: Sir, it is my understanding that Joint STARS is still flying and operating. It is difficult, again, when both opposition and regime forces are operating in the same area with the same type of equipment. That's a tough target set for J-STARS and others to operate against. SEN. BLUMENTHAL: But J-STARS has been useful and instrumental in that effort? GEN. HAM: It has been, yes, sir. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. BLUMENTHAL: [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] And thank you, General Ham, as well. Thank you. GEN. MCNABB: Sir, it's absolutely a labor of love. SEN. BLUMENTHAL: Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Blumenthal. Senator Shaheen. SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And Generals McNabb and Ham, thank you so much for being here. I'm sorry to drop in at the 11th hour. I know you've thought you were all ready to go and then I walked in. So I apologize for missing your testimony. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. SHAHEEN: Well, thank you. We appreciate that and appreciate your kind words for the missions that have been done from there to support the Libyan effort. General Ham, I missed much of the discussion earlier in the committee about al Qaeda's influence in northern Africa and in Libya and concerns about that. I certainly share the concerns that have been expressed today. And one of -- in a hearing yesterday before the Foreign Relations Committee, we heard testimony about the finding of shoulder-fired rockets in Libya by the rebels -- we heard this testimony from Human Rights Watch -- and the fact that those shoulder-fired rockets then disappeared not too long after they were found in a warehouse. And you mentioned, as I understand, here the possibility that there could be as many as 20,000 of those rockets that exist in Libya. And I wonder if you could talk about what the threat is to the operation in Libya and what we're doing in cooperation with our allies to try and recover those shoulder-fired rockets. GEN. HAM: Senator, it is a very real problem. We do estimate that there were as many as 20,000 of these types of weapons in Libya before the conflict began. It's very, very difficult now to ascertain how many of them are still accounted for and how many of them may have been taken to other places. And it does pose both a regional and an international concern, I believe. The threat to current operations is relatively easily mitigated by the aircraft operating at an altitude generally above the effective range of those shoulder-fired air defense systems. But the threat longer term, that if these systems were to be controlled by violent extremist organizations and the threat that that would pose, is really to me the greater concern than the immediate tactical effect. SEN. SHAHEEN: And so can you speak to what kinds of cooperative efforts we're doing with our allies in the region to try and recover those? GEN. HAM: Yes, ma'am. It starts of course with intelligence and trying to track through a variety of means where those systems may have been taken and how they're stored and under whose control. But it gets to the larger issue and the larger, longer-range mission of United States Africa Command and the U.S. interests there, of helping African states establish good governance, good security apparatus that would have the ability to detect the movement of such weapons into their countries, and then be able to take actions themselves to bring those under control. That's really what we want to get to long-term. In the near term it will be intelligence-driven, and then in collaboration with the regional partners to try to take action to get those out of extremist hands. SEN. SHAHEEN: Well, as you talk about trying to help the African states on issues like this, one of the most horrible challenges that I think continues to threaten Africa is violence against women in those regions, especially when it's used as a tool of war, as it was in the DRC. And I just wondered whether you're looking at any ways in which you can help, as you're supporting the African nations and helping transform their militaries, and if you're thinking about any kind of training or awareness of the challenges of violence against women, particularly sexual violence against women and how you're dealing with that, if you are. GEN. HAM: Yes, ma'am, it is a very real threat. The command has previously highlighted that as an important issue and has incorporated such training with its partners when it helped develop military forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It's a program I think that bears our further and continuing interest. Again, it gets into the notion of what are the characteristics of a military force that is responsive to civilian control, respectful of the citizens that it serves. And sex-based violence, while there is some tradition of that and history of that, is something that's got to be expunged from the ranks of the militaries of those nations. And we will continue to do what we can in modeling by our own behavior, but specifically targeting instruction and leader development in that regard. SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you very much, General Ham. I really appreciate hearing that. Yesterday the head of the Office of U.N. Women, former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, was here and she talked about the challenges that they have and the importance of engaging men in African nations in this fight so that they understand how they're affected by these actions. So I very much appreciate that. If we in the Senate can help in any way in this effort, I'm certainly ready to do that. Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Shaheen. Just a couple more questions on Libya. General Ham, if the military mission were expanded, as some are proposing, to include regime change, what would be required to achieve that military mission? GEN. HAM: Mr. Chairman, at the outset it would require a very significant increase in the intelligence collection. To be able to track, you know, that particular individual and his movement would be a considerable increase in the current effort against a very difficult target set. And then have available military forces to be able to act on very, very short notice to that intelligence. So I think it would be a pretty significant increase from the current level of effort. SEN. LEVIN: And would that probably require boots on the ground then? GEN. HAM: It would -- chairman, that would probably in some cases make it -- would be part of the intelligence collection. Again, because this is a very practiced individual in terms of concealing movements so the human intelligence component would probably necessitate some presence, maybe not military, but to contribute to that intelligence picture. SEN. LEVIN: And what about in terms of the removal if the intelligence were obtained? Might that require boots on the ground? GEN. HAM: Sir, that could be an option, and certainly it would be the most precise and the less likely to have civilian casualties or additional collateral damage, but very, very difficult to execute. SEN. LEVIN: And if that mission were amended, expanded to include that goal, does that have an effect or might it have an effect on the coalition and on the resolution? GEN. HAM: Sir, I believe it would. It is not addressed in the current Security Council resolution and I think if it were to be included, I think we would find it more difficult to find willing partners. SEN. LEVIN: Could it have an effect on the NATO agreement? GEN. HAM: I believe it could, Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: And what about the support of the Arab League? GEN. HAM: I believe it would have a negative effect. SEN. LEVIN: Now if the no-fly zone had been put in place earlier, in your judgment would we be in a different place today? Would the situation be different in Libya from what it is today? GEN. HAM: Chairman, it's difficult to assess. I think had the no-fly zone been imposed unilaterally by the U.S., or perhaps with a small subset of other willing partners, it probably could have had some effect, would have had some effect on – the regime's aircraft conducting some attacks which they did in Benghazi. Probably could have had some effect there. But I don't think the no-fly zone in and of itself would have had any deterrent effect on the regime's ground forces moving toward Benghazi. SEN. LEVIN: Well said. We thank you both. General McNabb, I think you've had about as good a partner as you could possibly have today. (Chuckles.) We thank you both. And thank the men and women with whom you work. We'll stand adjourned. END.
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