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TRANSCRIPT: Gen. Thomas Waldhauser and Adm. Craig Faller Remarks at Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM
AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM 2019 posture testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee February 7, 2019.

ROUNDS:

--Commander of U.S. Southern Command and General Waldhauser this is likely your last hearing before this committee. I want to thank you for your nearly 43 years of dedicated service to this nation. It's also fitting to note that 12 years ago yesterday February 6, 2007, President George W. Bush directed the creation of U.S. Africa Command. It was the right decision and AFRICOM continues to play a vital role in the defense of our nation.

This committee's top priority is to ensure the effective implementation of the National Defense Strategy which identifies competition with China and Russia as the central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security. Both AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM should be viewed as key fronts in our global campaign and to compete with China and Russia.

In both of your areas of responsibility, China and Russia are increasingly active using economic and military means to expand their influence and challenge U.S. interests. And while on the half of the chairman we agree with the need to prioritize our efforts against China and Russia we cannot take pressure off of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. Despite operational setbacks, these groups continue to control territory in Africa and still pose a very real threat to U.S. interests and our partners.

Lastly, while the challenges in your areas of responsibility are on the rise both of your commands have long suffered from resource shortfalls. We look forward to you to explain how these shortfalls increase risks to your forces and impact your ability to execute the National Defense Strategy.

I want to remind our members that Admiral Faller and General Waldhauser will be available in SVC 217 immediately following the open hearing that we are in today to discuss any classified matters that may come up today. And with that, ranking member.
 

REED:

Thank you very much Senator Rounds and let me join you in thanking our witnesses for appearing today to provide an update on our security situation and the U.S. military activities in your respected areas of responsibility. Both of you are sleeting commands during very challenging times and we thank you for your continued service and please also extend our gratitude to the men and women under your command for their outstanding service and dedication. And let me join Senator Rounds, General Waldhauser, in thanking you for your distinguished service to the nation and the Marine Corps.

I'm very concerned about the growing Chinese and Russian influence in both Latin America and Africa. China is leveraging its economic might and influence to gain access to ports and loaning large sums of money for infrastructure projects many of which are not economically viable and will leave these countries beholden to Beijing.

Russia is engaging in massive disinformation campaigns to undermine U.S. influence and propping up authoritarian regimes in both regions. Both of you are tasked to counter Russia and Chinese influence with limited funds, equipment, and people as many of the department's resources are being diverted to the INDOPACOM and EUCOM AORs. I would like to hear how this implementation of the National Defense Strategy has affected the resources that you have to counter Russia and Chinese influence in these critical regions as well as any additional resources you might need for this vital task.

In Africa, as in South and Central America, we are working with local and international partners to advance our shared security goals. However, the complex and often interlocking challenges to stability will not be solved by military means alone. Indeed many significant issues including rapid population growth, demographic changes, famine, and migration are long-term and multidimensional in nature and require whole of government policies that take an equally long-term view of investment and engagement in the region.

In December, the administration announced a new U.S. strategy for Africa that highlighted the importance of the region to the U.S. economic interests and the growing competition with China and Russia throughout the continent. However, the administration has routinely submitted budgets that slash critical aid dollars and reduced engagement across the AOR.

General Waldhauser, I hope you will discuss the importance of long-term engagement in Africa and the types of investment we should be prioritizing to best position ourselves for strategic competition in your AOR.

Admiral Faller, you also have a difficult problem set. Narco trafficking has flooded Central and South America with illicit funds that exacerbate rampant corruption especially among police forces. Poor economic conditions and a lack of citizen security has led to a humanitarian crisis that forces families to flee to look for better living conditions. Authoritarian governments propped up with Russian and Chinese support are undermining democratic values and destabilizing the region.

Despite all of these problems, I do want to note that there are some bright spots. We have several capable partners in the region such as Colombia, Peru, and Argentina who are willing to work with us and are now net exporters of peace and security.

On a final note, Venezuela is an unfolding crisis. I am hopeful that there will be a peaceful and democratic transition in Venezuela led by the Venezuelan people and supported by the international community. It has been terrible to watch the starvation of the Venezuelan people and destruction of the Venezuelan economy by Maduro and his regime.

Current efforts to support interim President Juan Guaido are being led by the State Department and Treasury. Congress must be consulted if there is any military planning (INAUDIBLE) for the evacuation of U.S. citizens (INAUDIBLE) personnel. I know the events on the ground are changing day by day and it is impossible to tell what event or set of events will trigger Maduro's departure. I'd like to hear any updates you might have on what you expect in the weeks to come. Again, thank you to our witnesses. Senator Rounds, thank you.
 

ROUNDS:

Thank you, Senator Reed. General Waldhauser, would you like to care--would you care to begin with your opening statement and your full statement will be made part of the record.
 

WALDHAUSER:

Thank you very much, Senator Rounds. I appreciate it. Senator Rounds, Ranking Member Reed, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to update you on the efforts of the United States Africa Command. I am honored to be here this morning with Admiral Faller and discuss many of the similar challenges we face in both the AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM areas of responsibilities.

I would like to begin this morning by remembering the soldier we lost on the continent during operations in Somalia this past year. I offer my sincere condolences to the family of Staff Sergeant Alexander Conrad, United States Army. We honor his commitment, service, dedication to duty, and dedication to our country.

We also honor the sacrifice of our African partners who paid the ultimate price across the continent this year as well to bring security, stability, and prosperity to Africa. Additionally this morning I'd like to thank our families, servicemembers, and civilian workforce especially those who serve on the continent oftentimes in remote locations for their professionalism and commitment to AFRICOM's mission.

2019 marks the beginning of AFRICOM's second decade as a combatant commander. As we enter this period, we have adapted our strategy for Africa based on updated national guidance which includes the president's 2017 National Security Strategy and the 2018 Secretary of Defense National Defense Strategy. These documents have shaped the focus of the Armed Services outlining broad guidance to enhance readiness for high-end combat while instructing the combatant commands among other things to strengthen alliances and attract new partners.

The recently released U.S. strategy towards Africa, the Department of Defense Strategy for Africa and the National Strategy for Counterterrorism refocused our whole of government approach in an era of great power competition to advance the United States influence and maintain strategic access not only in Africa but around the globe.

Taken comprehensively the overall U.S. strategic interests in Africa are very clear, prevent the undermining of our alliances toward destabilization of African nations, counter violent extremist organizations, decrease the potential for Africa to become a failed continent, protect U.S. citizens in the homeland and advance American influence including economic opportunities and transactions.

To underscore this strategy for disrupting extremists we remain committed to synchronizing our kinetic authorities. Persistent pressure on al-Shabaab, ISIS and al-Qaeda-associated groups remains necessary to prevent this destabilization of African nations. U.S. strategic interests on the continent cannot be solely advanced through the use of military force alone. As such AFRICOM utilizes the military tool in concert with diplomacy and development efforts to help negate the drivers of conflict and create opportunity.

In Somalia, we work closely with the Ambassador now permanently stationed in Mogadishu alongside with the USAID Mission Director to help the Somalis assume responsibility for their own security and own prosperity.
 

WALDHAUSER:

That's correct. And you know, it puts us in a very unique position because we have a Chinese base roughly several miles from the front gate of our location in Djibouti. So we have some interesting engagements with safety flight, weapons training on the--on the range and so forth.

So we have a requirement to work with them to work through some of those issues. But that said, overall on the continent, China has been there for quite some time and they have worked at this relationship. What we try to do from the AFRICOM or DOD perspective is try to show that we are the best partner, the type of training we give them, the weapons perhaps that are sold by the United States have high quality and try to make sure that our influence remains. It's a difficult task.

You mentioned the issue of all the security chiefs into Beijing. You know, as an anecdote, I have no way to prove this, but in April 2017, we in AFRICOM invited all the chiefs of defense to Stuttgart for a conference. We--we had about 40 or so turn up. I believe the Chinese read our playbook and I believe after that particular engagement, they saw it and they wanted to make sure that they were on the same playing field as we were.

But moreover, I would say that in addition to the Chinese defense or the--the defense group, in September of this year, China had a forum for cooperation between China and Africa where over 50 of the heads of state of Africa went to Beijing and were President Xi rolled out $60 million of--$60 billion or so of loans and grants and programs. So the Chinese work at the relationship and that's one of the things that we try to combat in AFRICOM by just being good partners.
 

INHOFE:

Yeah, it's been my experience in the continent that--that China never comes in unless there's something they can gain from it. And of course, they use their own labor and they--they're not doing that much of a benefit. But nonetheless, they have resources and I can't figure out where it all comes from but much more than we seem to. And the same thing, you don't hear so much in SOUTHCOM about the activity of China. Just real briefly, just what are your thoughts on that?
 

FALLER:

Senator, in SOUTHCOM, they are invested in over 56 ports. I recently returned from a trip to Central America and my small team, the entire hotel floor right below ours--below ours was completely booked by Chinese. They are offering schools all-expense paid, 13 days for a half-day school, no strings attached and cash for the countries to do what they want. Again, our--so they are there and they're there in force and they have a long-term vision economically and--and militarily. Our best counter is education and being there. The IMET program is--is huge for our partners. They want to come to the United States, they want to go to our schools. Our schools remain the world's best and it's something to emulate.
 

INHOFE:

Yeah. This is my own opinion, but I think some here agrees with us. Of all the COMs that we have, AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM are the two that are the most under resourced and I'd like to have you be very blunt on just very briefly do you agree with that and what do we need to do to correct it?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator Inhofe, I do agree that we are under resourced. However, we do make the most and the best of what we have.
 

INHOFE:

I know that.
 

WALDHAUSER:

Certainly with reconnaissance assets, ISR assets, medevac assets, and also non-episodic but where--where we could count on--
 

INHOFE:

--But those you just named, which are the least resourced right now? ISR--
 

WALDHAUSER:

As any COCOM would say here, we--we would prefer more ISR for our counter VEO fight.
 

INHOFE:

Yeah, yeah. Do you agree with that, admiral?
 

FALLER:

I would agree with that. We--we could also use some naval assets as well, Senator I know our Navy needs a bigger Navy, we need some of that.
 

INHOFE:

I understand. You've done great work. Senator Reed.
 

REED:

Well, thank you very much Mr. Chairman. Again, gentlemen, thank you for your service. Admiral Faller, with respect to Venezuela, your views would be very much appreciated, but there's a presumption that the military at this point is the key sort of power base for Maduro and that, as long as they stay with him, he will be incentivized to stay in Venezuela. Is that accurate from your perspective and--and what are we doing to try--what are the Venezuelans--the--the legitimate president, what is he trying to do to--to pull the military away?
 

FALLER:

Senator, Venezuela has about 2,000 generals, more than all of NATO combined, and the majority of them are on the--on the payroll of Maduro via illicit drug trafficking and corrupt businesses and--and that's what he's using to buy their loyalty and their protection. In addition, Cuba, as I mentioned in my opening statement, pretty much owns the security around Maduro and is deeply entrenched in the intelligence service. And we can go into more detail in closed session.

And so that remains a center of gravity for Maduro. The legitimate government of President Guaido has offered amnesty and a place for the military forces, most of which we think would be loyal to the Constitution, not to a dictator, a place to go and I think that the diplomacy path is--is that path that we're--we're trying to support.
 

REED:

Thank you. Over many, many years, I've had complaints about the human rights abuses in Central America, Honduras and Guatemala particularly. In fact, there's a report recently provided by the Sisters of Mercy that a former member of the Honduran Congress has been imprisoned for in a press conference suggesting who might have been involved in the killing of Berta Caceres, who was a prominent environmentalist in Honduras. And this is one example, so how are we conditioning our security assistance and are human rights training in these--these countries to--to promote the rule of law?
 

FALLER:

During my recent trip, senator, I emphasized professionalism as the key to being the legitimate force in professionalism. A big part of that is human rights and it's like blood running through your veins. If you're not legitimate to your people, you're not going to have a force that is going to ultimately secure that population.

We had those discussions with--with all the leaders of this countries, the chiefs of their defense, and we have a human rights team that goes in there and performs work--workshops. Part of the steps that must be taken by the embassy and our country teams to certify the deliverance of those aides includes a certification that they are going to go to vetted forces and forces that have complied. So we're looking at that every day, Senator. It's very important to our efforts.
 

FALLER:

In Libya, our counterterrorism commitment supports the U.S. Sharzei (PH) who works closely with the international community to prevent civil conflict and facilitate the political reconciliation process.

Additionally, our engagements, exercises and activities throughout Africa are designed to increase U.S. influence, strengthen local security and ensure our status as the preferred security partner. For example, in East Africa, our programs continue to modernize partner security forces as in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, who also export security and contribute forces to the African Union Mission in Somalia. In North Africa we have seen significant return on investment with Tunisia and Morocco, demonstrating the capacity to absorb advanced U.S. programs and to lead security-related exercises and operations. In the Western Sahel and Lake Chad region, AFRICOM provides training, advice and assistance to the Western African nations, which make up the G5 Sahel organization, as well as those who make up the multinational joint task force working to contain violent extremism and secure the borders of the Lake Chad basin countries. Our partner networks and influence ensures U.S. access for U.S. forces in times of crisis to protect our personnel and facilities on the continent, such as in Djibouti, a location which is--which has strategic significance to multiple combatant commands.

In conclusion, the most important use of the military tool on the African continent is where our engagement--engagements emphasize relationships and capacity building, and I am proud to lead a team of professionals who have built a strong and trusting relationships with our African partners, U.S. interagency and the international community to foster security, stability and prosperity in Africa. On behalf of the service members, the civilian employees and families of the United States Africa Command, thank you for your support, and thank you for the opportunity to be with you here this morning. I look forward to your questions.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator Waldhauser. Senator Faller.
 

FALLER:

Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today with my shipmate, General Waldhauser, and thank you for the steadfast support you provide our men and women every day. I'm joined today by my wife, Martha, who is passionately committed to serving our military families and ensuring their readiness and welfare. Also with me are SOUTHCOM's Command Sergeant Major Brian Zickefoose, my eyes and ears, representing the backbone of our military, our noncommissioned officers, and Master Chief Stacie U'Ren (SP), our dedicated gender advisor. Sergeant major, master chief and our human rights team work together to build professionalism, both within our SOUTHCOM team and with our partners.

Professional forces have legitimacy within their ranks and their populations. Professional ready forces build trust. Western Hemisphere is our shared home. It's our neighborhood. We're connected to the nations in Latin American and Caribbean by history, culture and geography. From my headquarters in Doral, Florida, it takes me longer to travel to DC than it does to many of the countries in our area of responsibility. We're connected in every domain, sea, air, space and cyber and land. Our security and prosperity are inextricably linked. When our neighbors succeed, we succeed, and when our neighbors are threatened, we are threatened. Our partnerships in this region are critical to the layered defense of our homeland and to our collective ability to meet complex global challenges.

Ultimately, we want enemies to fear us, friends to partner with us, and the Western Hemisphere to shine as a beacon of peace, prosperity and potential. To ensure the security of the homeland, SOUTHCOM works closely with interagency teammates, the department of state, USAID, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Teamwork within the defense department, especially with Northern Command and the U.S. Coast Guard is also critical to mission accomplishment.

Over the past two months I've traveled to Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to get a first-hand view of the opportunities and challenges that directly impact the security of this hemisphere. Criminal organizations, narco-traffickers, illegal immigration, violent extremists, corruption and weak governments are principal among those challenges. The most disturbing insight, however, has been the degree to which external state actors, especially Russia, China and Iran, are expanding their influence in the Western Hemisphere. Russia, in particular, enables actions in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba that threaten hemispheric security and prosperity. And as a leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world, Iran's activities in this hemisphere are concerning.

Venezuela. The situation in Venezuela is dire. Maduro's illegitimate government starves its people by using food as a weapon while corrupt generals are rewarded with money from illegal drug trafficking, oil profits and businesses, all at the expense of the population and other--and the rank and file military. Migration out of Venezuela is now over 300 million, creating a crisis for our friends in Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. While Russia and Cuba and China prop up the Maduro dictatorship, the remainder of the world has united. SOUTHCOM is supporting diplomatic efforts, and we are prepared to protect U.S. personnel and diplomatic facilities, if necessary.

I saw firsthand the impacts of this humanitarian crisis in Venezuela when I visited the United States naval ship, Comfort. The solidarity and compassion displayed by Comfort's international medical team made a lasting difference in the lives of thousands. The United States of America provided Comfort as part of our enduring promise to the hemisphere, while Russia flew nuclear capable bombers. Who would you want as your friend, and who would you trust? Building strong partnerships is the best way to counter threats and turn the challenges of our hemisphere into opportunities. In this hemisphere, our neighborhood, a little goes a long way. We need the right, focused, consistent military education and presence. We cannot achieve positive results and influence outcomes without being on the playing field.

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Reed, thank you again for the opportunity to testify today. SOUTHCOM team, our civilians, military members and our families appreciate the support Congress has provided us. We will continue to honor the trust you and our fellow citizens have placed in us. I look forward to your questions.
 

INHOFE:

All right. Thank you very much. First of all, let me apologize for being late. I had a very small part to play in the national prayer breakfast, so I had to choose Jesus over you guys.

(LAUGHTER)

But that's behind us now, and so we're ready to get back to work. First of all, let me just go ahead and--with the areas that you're working so hard in. I've been concerned about China for a long time because we saw it coming. In fact, in Djibouti that was the first time--it's my information anyway, that in Djibouti it's the first time that China actually did devote its attention to actually starting a function in a country outside of city limits. So that happened in Djibouti. Now they are as far south in Africa as Tanzania. They're making things happen, and everywhere you go the same thing. America tells us what we need, and we, China, gives them what they need. And they have also--you know we're all committed to the IMET program--they actually, in China, as you and I discussed in my office, for the first time they've invited 50--50 of the leaders showed up in China, in Beijing, out of 52 nations talking about how much--how close they want to be with them and trying--what they're trying to do is expand the IMET program that we've been so successful in, into China.

So anyway, that's something that is there, and I'm sure you're feeling some of the effects of that. I'd ask both of you, because it's happening also in SOUTHCOM, what kind of--what are the effects right now that you're seeing that--from China that weren't there in just a--until recently? Starting with you, General (INAUDIBLE).
 

WALDHAUSER:

Thank you, Senator Inhofe. You know, it's interesting about Djibouti. It is the first overseas base that China has developed.
 

INHOFE:

Yeah, the first one. People are not aware of that, that this is the first base that they've established outside of their city limits.
 

REED:

The (INAUDIBLE) General Waldhauser, there's a--I think an issue that both of your AORs share. It's under-resourcing, both military but also on the civilian side, the AID, the State Department, et cetera. And when you talk about capacity building, both of you are very eloquent and very focused, but I've traveled through Africa, as you know. General Waldhauser, you were hosting my return.

In Somalia and one of the reasons Al-Shabaab is so influential is that they're able to collect taxes, administer justice, provide basic public services, the civilian capacity. And so, the question here now is that, you know, even with all the military effort we put in, if we don't have the civilian capacity component, I don't think your mission's going to succeed.

So, I mean you can side--you have a similar problem I think in South America also.
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, thank you. Just to provide some context, you know, today since the first time since 1991, we have a USAID mission director in Mogadishu with the ambassador. Now, this is a very important step because in-in December of 2017, USAID signed an over--over $300 million compact with the country of Djibouti. This is very significant. There are issues of--of education, agriculture, government business, and so forth. And so, it's very important now that we have an ambassador in the country alongside with a senior USAID rep who can oversee and synchronize those development efforts and make sure that the return on investment of that $300 million is well spent.
 

REED:

But, that is a good example of how it-it's working, but there are many more examples where we don't have the resources. We don't have ambassadors. The ambassador in Mogadishu arrived, what, a few months ago finally after years? So, I mean there's this complementary civilian capacity issue that if we don't get right, you can do your job very well, and we will not succeed.

So, Gen--Admiral Faller, your points, because there are many of the same situations in South America and Latin America?


FALLER:

Exactly the same situation. The-the military needs to be the small ammo in support of the big diplomacy and the big economic-y (SP). And I see that, where it's working. An example would be in El Salvador. We've made some significant progress in the reduction of violence and-and this has--this has been by targeting in really bad neighborhoods some 50 locations where USAID comes in with public and private partnerships and partnership with the government. And we're there in small presence to connect the police force with the military.
 

REED:

Thank you. Mr. Chairman? Thank you, gentlemen.
 

INHOFE:

I think we're all aware that we're going to have a closed session after this. So, anything that gets into an area that's more appropriate in a closed session, you can pass that on to that when--Senator Rounds.
 

ROUNDS:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Waldhauser, I'm--I'm just curious. In--in your--in your opening statement for the record regarding Djibouti, you note that our continued access and the-the ability to use an unimpeded basis, the Doraleh Container Port, is critical to our logistical efforts in-in and around East Africa. Given China's increased presence within the port complex, do you have any concerns that our access and usage could be at risk short or long term?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator Rounds, thank you. You know, last year at this time when I testified, Djibouti had just taken that port over from the UAE. There's been some international court issues of adjudication. I won't get into that today, but the Djiboutians have run that port now for over a year. Based on data that we get from the embassy, the Djiboutians have, quite frankly, done a better job, been more efficient, and have-have had better throughput then when the Emirates ran the port.

I have spent time directly with President Guelleh, talk with him, and with the ambass--our ambassador there and spoke with him about our concern that we need unimpeded access because it's no secret that roughly 98 percent of the logistics support for-for-for Djibouti as well as Somalia and East Africa come through that port. That port is one of five entities in the overall Djiboutian port. And so, our access there is-is necessary and required.

We have the word from President Guelleh that we will--we will always have access there. You--and they have no intention of selling out to China. Those are his words, and his actions thus far have-have backed that up. So, I have no reason not to believe that.

But, the bottom line is I still remain concerned about our access there because if we were denied access or had limited access, it would have a significant impact on our activities in East Africa.
 

ROUNDS:

Thank you. I'm also curious. I--I--I want to just change subjects a little bit. You had made a comment on your statement for the record pertaining to Algeria. You note that U.S. relations with Algeria continue to foster cooperation and further regional stability. Can you give us some examples of what AFRICOM can do to foster the U.S.-Algerian security relationship? And I just want your thoughts also with regard to the security implications of the Tindouf refugee camps through Algeria. That-that refugee camp has been there for 40 years, and there clearly is-is an issue there that we--I've been there one. And-and I plan on being there again. I'm just curious. What's your thoughts about that situation? How big of an issue is that for security, for Algeria, who clearly is allowing these folks to be there? And they're providing humanitarian aid at this time, and I'm presuming that we're offering some assistance there as well.
 

WALDHAUSER:

So, let me start by talking a little bit about our relationship with Algeria. And first of all, I would say that the Russians' weapons sales on the continent, that's one of their number-one customers. They sell high-end weapons to them, ships, submarines, that type of thing. So, the--so, the Russians who sell the majority of equipment on the continent, Algeria remains a big partner of theirs.

That said, I've personally visited Algeria and met with senior officials there. And the AFRICOM relationship is one that is really in a crawl, walk, run stage. We have limited engagements, but we work some issues with equipment and repairs. We have visits periodically. We've participated in some of these D-Day activities and so forth.

So, although it's an arms-length relationship, we do all we can to continue to foster. Now, with regards to the refugee camps, you know, on the continent, 12.3 million internally deplaced--displaced people are all over the continent. This is--has a lot to do with conflict. It has a lot to do with--with famine, drought, and the like. And all these particular camps require a lot of care and the ability for our NGOs, our nongovernmental organizations, to work there freely. This has been a significant issue over the last few years because really some of the terrorists groups don't adhere to the rules of war and the laws of war with regards to NGOs.

So, these camps, they--they--they--they're--they perpetuate all over the continent, and the one in Algeria, though, I'm not directly familiar with.
 

ROUNDS:

OK. Well, it--I understand that it has to do with relationships between Algeria and Morocco. Challenges for the group of people that have been literally out of their--what they consider to be their homeland for nearly 40 years now, and it seems to me that at some stage of the game, some additional attention to that would be--would be appropriate. And I'm not sure whether it starts with you or with the State Department, but most certainly it--it's an item that I think should be of interest.

Admiral Faller, I'm just curious. You mentioned that most certainly the U.S. Navy could use some additional assets. On your wish list, if you were to request additional resources, specifically what would be the resource that would be number one on your list of--of requested items or--or--or equipment?
 

FALLER:

Senator, the additional ISR maritime patrol aircraft helicopters coupled with ships, so we look forward. The Navy plans to deploy littoral combat ship late--later this year that--that-that's mission fit for the kind of missions that we'd have down there, which would involve partnering with nations, training, humanitarian assistance possibly, but also the drug interdiction. So, that--that--that would be number one, top of my list, sir.
 

ROUNDS:

Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator Rounds. Senator Shaheen?
 

SHAHEEN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you both very much for your many years of service. General Waldhauser, we will miss you. I'm sure you won't necessarily miss coming before this committee, however.

You reference in your written statement, General Waldhauser, the Women, Peace, and Security Initiative. And in the 2019 Defense budget, we included $4 million in funding for full-time gender advisors. I was pleased, Admiral Faller, that you introduced your gender advisor, who is here this morning. But, AFRICOM has been commended as a leader in implementing the Women, Peace, and Security Initiative. Can you talk about what you have seen and the success of this initiative and how you see it be--seen it be helpful in Africa?
 

WALDHAUSER:

I think--thank you, Senator Shaheen--I think the strategy we've applied over the last few years has--is just take little things and keep moving forward. So, for example, a lot of the AFRICOM headquarters, we run a program every year where we bring about 15 to 20 females from the African continent and take them all over the United States to talk to various military leaders and so forth, to give them basically a leadership seminar. We also have seen growth. For example, we have--we run communications seminars in Cape Verde, which is an island off the Western Africa. The number of females who have come to those particular engagements has increased significantly over the last few years.

You--you also have an example of we have a flintlock operation, which is a special operations main exercise of the year, which, by the way, will start here later this month in Burkina Faso. Last year when it was in Niger, USAID was able to bring together lead--women leaders, business leaders, bring them to this exercise, and have a discussion in a forum with military members about women and peace and what women can contribute.

The bottom line is we've-we've kept chipping away at small programs. We think they're having an impact, and we're pretty proud of how--what we do.


SHAHEEN:

Well, I agree. I think you are to be commended. Can you talk about what kind of impact you see? Why--why does this make a difference?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Well, I think first of all it's just exposure I mean to--to see that you know a mixed gender military is a better military and with various--you know, we have a large continent with different countries and different cultures and so forth that exposes them to our leadership. It exposes the African military male leaders to what the female can bring if you will to the military. So I think from that perspective it's really a bottoms-up approach.
 

SHAHEEN:

Great. Admiral Faller, I want to switch topics because we are still struggling with the opioid epidemic here in America and New Hampshire has had consistently, unfortunately, one of the highest overdose death rates in the country from opioids and much of what we are seeing in New Hampshire is heroin that has been produced in Mexico but also in a number of Central American countries and it comes in by boat and by air into the United States.

At one point we had a--before you became the head of SOUTHCOM, we had a briefing with then head of SOUTHCOM, who said that we interdict a very small percentage my recollection was about 20 percent of the--what we see that we could interdict because we are lacking in resources. Can you update us on whether you are seeing an improvement in those numbers and what you need to have in order for us to do a better job with interdicting those drugs coming into the country?


FALLER:

Senator, it's a national security crisis, over 70,000 deaths as you are well aware from your home state and while I would say we've made progress 2017, 2018 were record interdiction years we've got a lot of work to do. We're not there and we are focused on our partners; El Salvador has stepped up, Guatemala, Panama but there are other partners that need to do more. And we need some additional assets, some ships, some force--we call them force packages from the ISR that we need to detect to what you'd need to interdict and so more--more work to be done for sure in this problem, Senator.
 

SHAHEEN:

Well, thank you. I'm glad you mentioned El Salvador because New Hampshire's National Guard has a state partnership program with El Salvador. Can you talk about the difference that those partnership programs make in a country like El Salvador?
 

FALLER:

It's--it's one of our main efforts. They bring a lasting, long relationship to the state. Before I went to El Salvador I had a videoconference with your general and we shared--he shared more with me that I was able to share with him and I sent him my trip report afterwards. It really helps us build capacity. They go in there and they work on the mill to mill engagement. They also work on civil projects where they'll go we'll build a school, dig a well and things other things that we need to help stabilize the conditions for the citizens. It's very important, senator. Thank you for the support.


SHAHEEN:

Thank you. I'm out of time but General Waldhauser the last time you were here I ask you about the girls who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram and what we are doing in AFRICOM to help the Nigerians in particular address that issue. Do you have any update for us?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Ma'am, I really have no update. I would just tell you that of the 276 girls who were kidnapped in April of 2014 I think a number of 163 have been recovered but the other--there's 113 or thereabouts that still are unaccounted for. I could talk in more detail in the classified session but the bottom line is there has not been much progress from what I can see in terms of getting any of those remainder back.
 

SHAHEEN:

Thank you.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator Shaheen. Senator McSally?
 

MCSALLY:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks, gentleman for your leadership. General Waldhauser, it was about 12 years ago that I was sent to Stuttgart as part of the AFRICOM transition team to stand up your command. We had just a handful of us no resources, no facilities, no assets. At the time we were going to be the kinder, gentler command without a whole lot of operational focus.

I was the J33 chief of Current Operations. We very quickly realized Africa continues to be a potential hotspot for terrorist activity both on the East Coast and the West Coast and other areas and ungoverned spaces and we had to ramp up very fast to be able to take on that task. However, you know I see in your testimony you talk about al-Shabab and the challenges in Somalia. At the time we were running the time-sensitive targeting operations we watched, literally watched with our ISR hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of al-Shabab-trained militants out there in the middle of nowhere with no collateral damage concerns being trained in training camps and then being released because at the time the civilian political leadership in our country didn't want to--didn't feel that we needed to do anything about it.

Like a cancer growing and metastasizing, we continued to see their strength grow and the capabilities grow, we just didn't do anything about it. So do you have the authorities you need to address the terrorist threat in your area of responsibility now unlike back when I was there? I've got bad memories about all of that and also you know how does that fit within our vital national interests and the National Defense Strategy?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Thank you, senator. There's a lot there and I hope we are living up to our expectations of how AFRICOM is performing. It's a little bit better than when you were there starting things up.
 

MCSALLY:

I know.
 

WALDHAUSER:

But let me just take the strikes on. I'll try to be brief but I think it's important to provide some context. In April of--of 2017, we were given authorities from the national security apparatus to initiate to be able to have offensive capabilities inside of Somalia. That combined with the legitimacy of a federal government there our strikes are tied to their strategy, our legitimacy comes from our authorities as well as the federal government that we are tied in with.

We had strikes for seven months in the year of 2017 where we had 35 strikes. Last year in 2018 we had 47 strikes for the overall 12-month period. Thus far this year we've had I think 12 so far but the bottom--the point I want to make is that the strikes are tied to the transition strategy that the federal government of Somalia and the Somalian National Army are trying to execute. So, in other words, we're trying to support their plan.

President Farmajo has indicated that his main effort for security is Mogadishu and so his transitional-- his transitional strategy has that in mind. Finally, I would just say that at the end of the day these strikes are not going to defeat al-Shabab but they are going to provide the opportunity for the federal government and the Somalian national Army to grow and assume the security of the country.

I would just say that and that points to my bottom line is the strikes won't defeat, they certainly--we know that they are causing problems, we know that they are deterring; it's an open question as to how much but we know it's causing al-Shabab problems giving this opportunity for the government. But the bottom line is the Somalian National Army needs to grow, it needs to step up and it needs to take responsibility for their own security, not only for our strikes but the overall international community that's tied there.

We are talking about the European Union, we are talking about the United Nations, the UK, Turkey, we all have pieces of the puzzle down there and our--one of our pieces is the strike aspect but the bottom line is the Somalian National Army needs to grow, needs to step up and we have made this point very clear both the new ambassador and myself on numerous occasions to President Farmajo and Prime Minister Khayre. They know this. They've got to step up, it's up to them to take advantage of the opportunity they have right now.
 

MCSALLY:

Great. Thank you. Admiral Faller, I just have a little bit of time left but I want to get back onto the counter drug and the drug flow in your AOR and I know your resource, you are short of resources that you need. What are you seeing as far as the trends of the cartel activity over water, over land, submarines, light aircraft and--

I mean they are nimble and they are innovative so what are the trends? Are they still kind of going over water up until then over land from Mexico up or slight what are you seeing in the trends and what else do we need to combat it?
 

FALLER:

They are very nimbler and they are agile and, in many cases, better funded and the security forces they face. So they adapt. We are seeing them go further out to sea, as far out into the Pacific as around the Galapagos and up. We are seeing them integrate with fishing vessels in a different manner. We are seeing them with lower-profile vessels including some submerged vessels. In the air we are seeing them use Venezuela as a launch point to fly out of Venezuela so cross-border traffic if you will using Venezuela's current state as a launch point up through the middle of the Caribbean and then into remote airfields throughout Central America and so as they adapt, we adapt but they adapt faster and they have more flexible resources and so we are trying to get after it but it's a challenge.
 

MCSALLY:

Thanks. I'm out of time. Appreciate it.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator McSally. Senator Peters?
 

PETERS:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you, gentlemen, where testimony today and your distinguished service over many years. Admiral Faller last year I asked Admiral Tidd about the situation in Venezuela including the role of military advisers from Cuba; certainly, a lot has changed since that meeting.

I want to follow up on a question that Senator Reed asked basically related to the military and your response was that there are more generals in Venezuela than there are in NATO. So my question is if Maduro is going to be clearly relying on this military to prop him up what is the extent to the everyday soldiers, the enlisted folks, the discipline in the military, do those generals really have command over that military?
 

FALLER:

Senator, the--the leaders, including the Cuban guards that completely surround the illegitimate government of Maduro seem to have a grip on--on the top level. What we read at this level, that we can talk about more in a classified setting session, the--the rank and file are serving just like their population.

I had the opportunity to go on the Colombian-Venezuelan border to one of our medical camps and it was operating off the comfort and see some of these kids who had lost 25, 30 pounds in a year, they are stick then, they'd never had medical attention, we think that condition affects a large swath of the population and we think that population's ready for a new leader, senator.
 

PETERS:

Admiral Faller, you also mentioned some of the additional assets that you need, ISR and ships and you mentioned the littoral combat ship coming on line how that's going to contribute to--to the fulfillment of your mission. Could you give us some sense of the status and timing of that and how you see that being fully developed in the months and years ahead?
 

FALLER:

Senator, the--we expect to have a littoral combat ship this year and that will be a--a big benefit for our exercise program for our engagement with partners and because of the flexibility it brings for counter narcotics interdiction. Counter narcotic will be his first mission and then we look forward to continuous presence moving forward. We're working with our Navy. They have readiness challenges and they don't have enough ships so I think that's well--been discussed well before this committee and we have the support we need. We look forward to the assets.
 

PETERS:

In addition to those assets, I know your predecessors have talked about the fact that the--the Navy and the Southern Command has white haul (PH), it's--the U.S. Coast Guard performs brilliantly in those counter narcotics missions as well as other missions related to your task. You know, I visited Coast Guard units in Michigan who were in incredibly stressed as a result of the government shutdown, concerned about their families, particularly junior enlisted that were living on the edge, you have men and women in the Coast Guard being deployed away from home worrying about their families. Could you talk a little bit about the impact of the shut down on--on morale and the ability to execute the mission?
 

FALLER:

Sir, Monday morning I had the opportunity to stand on the deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Forward with Admiral Schultz, the commandant of the Coast Guard. This crew of 110 of America's finest had deployed over Christmas. Record number of seizures. Seventeen metric tons of cocaine, which is hundreds of lives saved in the U.S. They did that deployment with, a large part, without pay and without adequate parts because that was affected by contracting.

And it was difficult for Admiral Schultz and I to address some of their questions. They had remarkable resiliency and remarkable attitude and they are our main battery. During that period, there was nine Coast Guard Cutters deployed, counter narcotics missions, some 1,600 Coast Guard men and women working for the United States Southern Command. And it did have an impact on we're thank for that the shutdown is over, senator.
 

PETERS:

And why we can't have any more shutdowns for that rate very recent and make sure the men and women of the Coast Guard are getting paid like every other member of the military out there defending us. So I appreciate those comments. General Waldhauser, we--we have talked in this committee quite a bit about China's influence in Africa and as it continues to increase, you mentioned in your opening comments that Russia is also increasing their involvement. Would you please elaborate on that involvement to the committee and why we should be concerned about Russian involvement on the continent?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, I think the issue with Russia has to do with influence. I think in--in recent months over the past year they've perhaps gotten more involved in mineral extraction, but to a large degree it's still a matter of influence, especially in areas we're not or especially in areas where they could say that the United States or the UK or Western partners are perhaps backing away from Africa. It's I think clear that their strategy along the northern part of Africa, southern part of NATO, if you will, in the Mediterranean to have--to have influence inside Libya, for example, the relationship--the relationships across that country, they want to have across the continent they want to have influence on the continent.

I would just point to the central Africa Republic right now where the Wagner Group has about 175 trainers where the--some individuals are in actually the president's cabinet and they're influencing the training as well as, at the same time, having access to minerals in that part of the country. So we are concerned that that model might be looked at or viewed positively by other countries in terms of their ability to train and their ability to influence the government at the--at the presidential level as well as then getting involved in instruction of minerals.
 

PETERS:

Thank you.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator Peters. Senator Scott.
 

SCOTT:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral Faller, can you talk about Cuba's intelligence security and military influence in Latin America and what they're doing and what--how we can combat it?
 

FALLER:

You can't talk about you but without talking about Russia and Russia is entrenched in Cuba weapons systems and--and support and then looking at across Latin America we see Cuba inextricably just intertwined in all enemy elements of Venezuela. In fact, the national security advisor called it Cubazuela yesterday. I would agree with that characterization. We see that in that Nicaragua as well and--and it's a--it's not helpful to democracy and it's an autocratic way of life that runs counter to relieve the--the principles of the hemisphere, which are very much a democratic hemisphere.
 

SCOTT:

The--the sanctions that we've imposed on nationals in both Cuba and Venezuela have you seen them have any impact question mark have you seen anybody change their action as a result of them?
 

FALLER:

We are--we're watching that closely. We're watching intelligence. There is a discussion of the impact. We're seeing impacts, but we haven't seen the desired result, which is a peaceful democratic transition to a legitimate government yet, senator.
 

SCOTT:

But--but you know, the sanctions we done against individuals in Cuba, and we've done that over a period of time, have you seen--has anything happened?
 

FALLER:

It doesn't seem to have affected the overall calculus of the--the Cuban regime other than harden it, solidify it, and tie it more closely to Russia. But I think it's almost like deterrence. You don't know what happens when you don't have them, senator, so it probably has an impact. We don't see it. I would recommend full-court pressure works.
 

SCOTT:

Okay. And the Venezuelan military, have you--I mean, have you seen any cracking from the standpoint of what we've been doing over the last, especially the last two weeks? Has anything changed?
 

FALLER:

Certainly the--there's been readiness aspects of their military that we've watched very closely. It's a degraded force, but it still a force that remains loyal to Maduro and that makes it dangerous. We're--we're looking for signs of those cracking and we can talk in a closed session with some more details and trends we are seeing.
 

SCOTT:

Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 

JONES:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, I'd like to ask you about a question, but first of all, thank you both for not only being here today, but for your service and all you do for this country. General, I'd like to ask you about a--there was an article yesterday by Reuters concerning the cut off of assistance to Cameroon because of concerns about human rights abuses by the Cameroon government. The program halted included C-130 aircraft, a number of different things.

And I'd like to--it--that report indicated there was a 2017 report by the U.S. State Department that listed a number of significant human rights violations and abuses that were observed in the Cameroon government. Could you comment on what we are doing there other than just this halt? Are we making progress on trying to get that government to stem the tide of their human rights violations?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, thank you. Let me try to explain this and I'll start by why--why we are in Cameroon and what we're doing there. We talked this morning about the Chibok girls from a couple of girls a year years ago, but Boko Haram is the issue there.

In 2015, they were the--the number one terrorist group on the planet. Depending on what you read, they've killed over 20,000 people. Some estimates quite higher than that over this time frame. The Chibok girls' issue, all kind of atrocities. They--they are extremely volatile group that needs to be dealt with.

So in that region, our--our mission there is to train the counterterrorism forces in northern Cameroon that deal with Boko Haram. We've been doing that for several years and quite frankly, the BIR, the brigade of rapid intervention is the--is the top shelf counterterrorism unit inside Cameron. They performed well and they--and--and that training, by the way, has certainly law war and battlefield ethics. So that's why we are there.

The issue on the Anglophone piece, I won't go into detail on that. I think the article plus the video this morning did a very good job explaining the history of how it got to the point where we are today. In October 2017, when it came kind of to head, the Anglophone states said we--we want to actually form our own state, the Ambazonia state. There have been issues there with atrocities, issues with allegations of--of law of war issues and this is something that brings all this to a head.

Over the last several months or so, the State Department has put on hold several security forces assistance programs. Right before the election in October, I with the ambassador, went and paid a visit with President Biya and we had a very direct conversation with him with regards to investigation of these atrocities, transparencies of these atrocities and appropriate battlefield behavior. Since that time, and the State Department has made the decision not to allocate significant money but, at the same time, they've released some money that's been on hold to things like Scan Eagle and Cessna aircraft that assist in the Boko Haram fight in the north.

We still have programs that we continue with them, all kind of small engagements as well as exercises. We did have--we talked about the state partnership program with Nebraska. We put that on hold and, in conjunction with the--with the ambassador, AFRICOM, we decided not to pursue that because it wouldn't have been a--a good place for that particular group to be. So we put a halt to that.

So the bottom line is, right now, in--in Cameroon, they have been a good partner with us counterterrorism wise, but you can't neglect the fact that they have--there are alleged atrocities and what's going on there. And so we continue to take our cues from the State Department and from the ambassador and our level of engagement will continue but not get out ahead of what they do State Department would say is if we have to take other actions. We were very emphatic with President Biya that the behavior of his troops, the lack of transparency could have a significant impact on our ability to work with them.
 

JONES:

Great. Well thank you very much.
 

JONES:

Admiral, I was struck by a couple things with your testimony. Number one, I was struck by the charts that you provided because I think people are not paying as much attention. We've always heard of, since the Cold War, about the influence of Russia, but the Chinese influence in our backyard is just incredible to me. And I was struck by your initial comments about our shared responsibilities, our shared security with our neighbors, and how we share so many things together. And I'm new to this committee, and so I've been reading a lot, and I've seen that there are initiatives for the Pacific and Europe. Would a--some similar initiative to that be appropriate for Central America or for SOUTHCOM?
 

FALLER:

Senator, I think a big idea, initiative that recognizes the importance of our neighborhood, recognizes that what goes on right here in areas connected by sea, land, air, space, cyber, is important to our shared security, and our future would be of great benefit. I worry, senator, that we're not going to be (INAUDIBLE) on the field in enough numbers to play the game. You've got--we've got to be there to influence the outcome and the results.
 

JONES:

All right. Well thank you, sir, and we'll send you some more mobile-based, mobile-built LCSS.

(LAUGHTER)
 

COTTON:

Thank you, gentlemen, for your appearance today and your service to our nation, for all those men and women who serve underneath you in Africa Command and Southern Command. Admiral Faller, I want to return to your comments about the presence of Cuba and Russia in Venezuela. You said earlier Cuban guards completely surround the Maduro government. Does that mean that Maduro is dependent on the Cuban security and intelligence forces for his continuation in office?
 

FALLER:

Senator, I think it's a good sense of where the loyalty of the Venezuelan people are that to his immediate security force is made up of Cubans.
 

COTTON:

So the men that surround Maduro, like our Secret Service, are Cubans, not Venezuelans?
 

FALLER:

That is my understanding and assessment of the situation.
 

COTTON:

So Venezuela's Intelligence and Security Services are so corrupt, so incompetent, so disloyal, so sclerotic that Maduro cannot even count on his own personal safety in his bed at night on his own people?
 

FALLER:

That's a fair assessment as I understand, senator.
 

COTTON:

How far does that go throughout the Venezuelan Security and Intelligence Services? Does Nicolas Maduro have to depend on Cubans and Russians on the streets to beat his own people to keep them in line?
 

FALLER:

Senator, I'm not--beyond the--what I characterize I'm not aware of the details, but we watch that closely. We've seen reporting of Russian Security Forces being flown in. We're looking for evidence to how that will play out, and certainly this is an area that has our focus as well as all our partners in the interagency.
 

COTTON:

And that was another point you mentioned that you said you can't speak of Cuba's presence in Venezuela. Let me stop myself. Can you estimate in this setting how many Cuban security and intelligence officers there are in Venezuela?
 

FALLER:

Sir, I don't have that number. I'd take that for the record.
 

COTTON:

Is a fair to--is it fair to say there are lots?
 

FALLER:

I'd say there's a--there are many, sir. I'd also mentioned, senator, the presence of China. China has not been helpful in a diplomatic way. I'll leave that to the diplomats, but China is in there, and they're involved in cyber in ways that are absolutely not helpful to a democratic outcome.
 

COTTON:

You talk about Russians traveling into the country. Have we seen an increase in Russian presence in Venezuela in the last two months as the National Assembly began to take its seat and President Guaido declared himself as interim president, and the United States and so many other nations around the world have recognized his legitimacy?
 

FALLER:

Senator, it's hard with Russia to figure out what they're really up to.
 

COTTON:

You don't say?
 

FALLER:

There was reports last week by Russian official TASS news agency that I was actually on the Colombia and Venezuela border, and they rolled out with B roll footage of amphibious landings and helicopter assaults. I was actually walking out of Senator Rubio's office at the time, but I don't think the truth goes very far when it comes to their media, sir.
 

COTTON:

Okay, thank you for those comments, Admiral Faller, about Venezuela. You mentioned China's activity in Venezuela in the cyber domain. They obviously are very active, as well, in what you might call debt diplomacy through their Belt and Road Initiative. Secretary of State Pompeo was in Panama last October cautioning that nation and all nations who are participants in China's Belt and Road Initiative about what it could mean for their sovereignty. Obviously China has foreclosed on the port outside of Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Malaysia recently left the initiative because of China trying to throw its weight around. What's been the results of Secretary Pompeo's visit in the region, and what feedback are you getting from some of these Belt and Road Initiative members?
 

FALLER:

Senator, the memb--the states in the region, the countries, they want to continue to partner us, but I've cautioned the leaders that I've met with that while you might want to do that, if you leverage your ports and many of your businesses, including your IT infrastructure, to Chinese companies with no strings attached and limited understanding of what the internal workings are, that you've actually put yourself in jeopardy of having a meaningful security relationship with us. It gets to a point where I won't be allowed or authorized to share information because I just don't know where that information is going. So been very emphatic about that in terms of how it would affect us being a partner of choice. This is my concern to the other questions that have been asked about what this hemisphere looks like 10, 15, 25 years from now and who the partner of choice is. We've got to be present, Senator.
 

COTTON:

Thank you, Admiral Faller. General Waldhauser, one question for Africa. This is a little bit outside the war fighting domain, but the American military is called upon to do a lot outside that domain around the world, especially in your area of operations. Nigeria has its elections next weekend. Nigeria is the seventh largest country in the world, way larger than Russia, or Mexico or Japan. Important ally of ours. What are the prospects for that election? Does it appear that it will be free and fair, and that either party, should they win, will continue to be a partner of the United States?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, we're very much aware of the elections on February 16, and from the military respect--perspective, we watch that from the standpoint of actions leading up to and what will happen afterwards. We are--we--on the (INAUDIBLE) reports we hope it will be a peaceful election, but I think our sights are set on forward and not in the rearview mirror, meaning that whoever would win, that now okay, let's sit down and talk about where we are and how we can best help, whether it be the displaced people and the issues with humanitarian issues in Northern Nigeria, whether it's their army and their work against Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa. So my answer to that question is let's get the election over--and they're watching this today, by the way. I mean, my comments are going to be watched in Nigeria, and it's very important that I don't sway either way.
 

COTTON:

Sure. Well--
 

WALDHAUSER:

The bottom line is whoever wins, we want to sit down with them and now how do we move forward and improve this situation?
 

COTTON:

Good. Well, I appreciate that answer, and of course their election is a choice for the Nigerian people, and we want to have a good, stable relationship with whoever wins to help continue that partnership. Thank you, General.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you. Senator Cotton. Senator Duckworth.
 

DUCKWORTH:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here today. We've already discussed, got a good idea of how complex your missions are in both of your areas of operation, and you know, our (INAUDIBLE) national interests are threatened by violent extremists, by great power competition, and all of multifaceted challenges that you face. As I looked at recent reporting on SOUTHCOM, much attention has been on a dictator's effort to citing clinging to power while in AFRICOM the persistent presence of violent extremists. Are these events merely symptoms of a larger systemic problem in both regions? And what, in your assessments, are the prime drivers of instability in SOUTHCOM and AFRICOM? And how are your commands postured to deal with the root causes because it's one thing to deal with the symptoms, but what are we doing to really get to the root causes that are occurring in both of your regions?
 

WALDHAUSER:

I'll go first, senator. Thank you very much. And I'll use Niger as an example. Niger has a population of about 19 million. About 50 percent of those are under the age of 15. They certainly are in a very difficult area of Africa, meaning that they have pressing from all sides, whether it be ISIS West Africa, JNIM in the West, whether it be AQ coming down through the Algeria Niger border on the way to Mali. They have ISIS West Africa on their eastern flank. So they are in a tough situation.

But I think this is--what goes unnoticed sometimes is the whole-of-government approach that is used in Niger. So for example, USAID has about $150 million a year that they use for things like education, especially for young girls, for government and government infrastructure and so forth. Moreover, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has a--they're on the, I think, the second year of a five-year compact down there which has to do with agriculture, watering crops and so forth. So if you look at the security assistance that we're providing and you add to that USAID's effort and the Millennium Challenge compact, that's, I think, a good example of a whole-of-government approach of how we're trying to deal with a country that has some very significant security challenges.
 

DUCKWORTH:

Thank you. Admiral Faller.
 

FALLER:

We do have some bright spots. I'd like to point out Brazil has been a exporter of security by--in--in our history, same with Columbia. And the trajectory of both our mil-to-mil relations with those countries is very positive. In the current Venezuela situation, we're--we're sharing a lot of information. We're looking at this as a regional solution.

Chile commanded in--in our largest exercise in the Rim of the Pacific, but around the region the corruption, weak governance, lack of jobs, these are things that are--affect, and these are where the military is a part of this whole government solution. I saw this in--in Honduras. I was in an outreach center run by USAID. It was right next to a partnered police station. We had a few army civil affairs people there meeting with some young men and women that had been supplied jobs.

And I asked the one individual. He had gone all the way to the U.S.-Mexico--Mexico border and turned around and came all the way back, walked, as part of the caravan. But, he came back. I said, "Well, why'd you come back?" He said, "It was pretty scary for me. I felt--I felt that I should come home." I said, "Well, why did you go?" He goes, "The family next to us was starving, or we're starving," and the family next to them was starving. But, across the street, they had some food because their-their father had made it to the United States and was sending remittance back.

So, at the heart of this is--it's a--it's a want of a better life and--and an economy and a want to have your kids go to school, and all citizens of all the world deserve that.
 

DUCKWORTH:

Thank you. So--so, looking at this whole government approach, how easy has it been--or for you each to work with other executive branch agencies to provide a coordinate whole government approach? And is this happening--for example, it may be happening in Niger, but is it happening in other parts of Africa? And-and how are we--are we consistent in applying this approach? And what can we do to-to really help you be part of this as team so we can get at the root causes?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Well, senator, I would say that the AFRICOM staff has individuals from those agencies that work very closely with--on--with us on a daily basis. Moreover, as dollars become tight, our return on investment needs to be demonstrated. And as a consequence, we have to better stewards of the--of our efforts in terms of where we--where we want to place our emphasis. We need to coordinate that and synchronize that with this agency because really it gets, I think, to the larger issue of influence into China influence as well. We-we need to demonstrate that we can compete with them. We may not be building soccer stadiums or--or government buildings, but at the same time, we're teaching them how to be better farmers. We're showing them what education can do for them.

So, the bottom line for us is we need to continue to work with our partners, which we have good relationships with, by the way. Those--this development diplomacy and defense effort in--in the AFRICOM at State Department with AFRICOM is a very, very positive experience.
 

DUCKWORTH:

Admiral?
 

FALLER:

We have representatives from every interagency at my headquarters, and they sit in at every meeting. We're working this problem set hard, and we'll work it in conjunction with country teams in the embassy. Consistent level resourcing is important and recognizing this is a problem that will take years to solve, not months or days.
 

DUCKWORTH:

Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator Duckworth. Senator Ernst?
 

ERNST:

Yes, thank you, Mr. Chair. And thank you, gentlemen, for being here today, and of course, to the men and women in your commands. We thank them for what they do for all of us. To the family members that are here, thank you so much for the support that you give to your loved ones. So, thank you.

Admiral Faller, I'll start with you. We've talked about a lot of different groups that are engaged in SOUTHCOM. But, what I'd like to do is--is dive in a little bit to Hezbollah. They do have a notable presence in South America and, as we saw last year, Argentina and Brazil. They both took action against Hezbollah assets in their respective countries. And we've heard from regional authorities that they are aware of Hezbollah's presence in the tri-border area of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

So, can you go a bit further into the threat that Hezbollah presents in SOUTHCOM? And what are our interests in making sure that they are not affecting us? What are those national security interests, for us and our partners?
 

FALLER:

Hezbollah is present. We watch them closely. It points to the importance of partnerships in the intelligence-sharing relationships that we-we are keen to develop and strengthen even further because a lot of the--what's required to monitor them is human intelligence.
 

ERNST:

Um-hmm.
 

FALLER:

And those nations know their terrain best. Hezbollah's con--con--connection to Iran can never be understated.
 

ERNST:

Um-hmm.
 

FALLER:

Iran is the largest sponsor of state terrorism in the world. There is a nexus there that goes back, and we watch that working partnership with the other combatant commands, Defense Intelligence Agency, very, very closely. We look for trends, indications, and warning. A terror threat anywhere around the world could be a threat of our homeland.
 

ERNST:

Um-hmm. And I appreciate you highlighting how Iran is interconnected here. We talk about some of those near-peer threats with China and Russia in the SOUTHCOM AOR, but we also need to recognize that Iran is a player as well. So, thank you for making that connection.

Do we have sufficient information sharing authorities in place then? You've mentioned the need to communicate with friends and allies. Do we have the right authorities available?
 

FALLER:

Senator, we--we have to work that on a country-by-country basis. And that is--it's a key thing that we look at when we do our country engagements. So, the answer is, we never have enough. We have countries where we want to sign additional agreements. We have to get assurances with them about what they'll share and who they'll share it will. It goes back to my concern about who owns the IT infrastructure in a-a given city or a given fusion center.

And so, we're--we're constantly looking at this. I fly Sunday to Brazil for my meeting with their new military leadership. This will be one of our top areas of discussion. I would say that's a very healthy intel-sharing relationship that's growing, and we've been able to really work with our partners because sharing information intelligence builds trust, frankly. And that's--building trust is what is going to ensure our long-term interests in this hemisphere are safeguarded.
 

ERNST:

That is very good, and we've also talked about the-the role that special operations plays in achieving your objectives in SOUTHCOM. Part of that types back into Hezbollah and others. But, what are some--what are some of the biggest challenges that you'll face with regard to resources or authorities when it comes to our special-special operations and how we employ them in SOUTHCOM?
 

FALLER:

We have very small numbers of special operations teams that are engaged with partners, building their security forces, and building it very effectively. Those--those need to be habitual relationships that are keyed off of what the partner needs. It's also good for our training as well, as our partners train in jungles in tough kind of terrain. I would say our challenge is maintaining that. Our soft forces are under pressure worldwide, and as we look at what their deployment ration is, amount of time they're spending away from home to the time they spend at home, making certain that we get that balance right and making certain that we don't decrimate (SP) the--the small presence that we have, which would break trust and really break the training and the stability of our partner nation security forces.
 

ERNST:

Thank you. Yes, our dwell time is--is very small. We need to work on that. Before I--I move onto the general, we have also talked about Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay, and right now, we do have Iowa National Guard soldiers deployed there as a security force. And so, what--what can we do to ensure that the troops that we have that are stationed or a rotational force at Gitmo, that they are being cared for, that they are safe? Not only do we want to make sure that the--those that are held there are kept in a safe environment, but also for our troops. What more can we be doing? Can you explain some of the challenges that we have at Guantanamo Bay right now?
 

FALLER:

I had the honor to visit with some of your Iowa Guard prisoner guards, detainee guards--
 

ERNST:

--Thank you--
 

FALLER:

--Just last weekend, senator. And they're doing fabulous work. So, thanks--
 

ERNST:

--Great, thank you--
 

FALLER:

--For the state for that. They--the facilities were built with about a five-year lifespan, and that's been 15, 20 years ago. And so, our responsibility is the safe, humane treatment of the detainees, but also the safety of that guard force. So, we have facilities that we--we're beyond the ability to repair the roofs where the alarm systems are-are questionable based on the water intrusion. And so, we're--we have--when the president's budget is released, I expect it to include money that would be put for some long-term facility upgrades and development. We need that for the safety of the guard force and for the future of safe detainees.
 

ERNST:

Um-hmm. Thank you. I appreciate that. And in the few seconds I have remaining, general, as well, special operations forces in Africa, do we need to maintain our special operators in Africa and the work that they are doing?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Well, we certainly need to maintain them, and we certainly have to take a close look at how we employ and deploy them and what their schedules are. And we--we--we continue to reevaluate that all the time. The bottom line is yes, but I would say what we really need in AFRICOM are some predictable--predictable general purpose forces that can do things with regular armies on a somewhat episodic but yet predictable basis.
 

ERNST:

Very good. Thank you, general, I appreciate it. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, senator. Senator--Senator Kaine.
 

KAINE:

Thank you, Mr. Chair and thank you to our witnesses. The chair and ranking indicated that a unifier in your two regions is that you are under resourced. I think another unifier is in both your regions you have a real cross disciplinary non-siloed focus of not just military assets but the entire spectrum of what the U.S. can do and I think that's something about SOUTHCOM and AFRICOM that I really appreciate.

Admiral Faller let me start with you. The discussion about Venezuela is a really important one and if the world wants to see it a democracy versus dictatorship challenge, Venezuela is just like the perfect test case for circa 2019 what--what do democracies care for and what do dictatorships care for. The Venezuelan government of Maduro is supported by Russia, Cuba, and Iran and they are enabling him to do all kinds of horrible things economically and in violation of human rights, et cetera. The--the Guaido interim government, which has a constitutional claim that in the vacancy of a president, the speaker of the legislative assembly becomes an interim president supported by the United States and the EU.

You really can see what the difference between democracy and the aspiration of democratic governments and dictatorships and what they care about writ very clearly in the Venezuelan circumstance now. But--but here's a really a reality. We are dealing with regional institutions like the OAS, for example. In the OAS, every nation has one vote.

The U.S. has a hard time getting the OAS to--to firmly come out against the Maduro government because many Caribbean nations still support the Maduro government. They have been bribed to do so with low-priced oil. But it's very hard for us to do something like this on our own and when a principal regional institution like the OAS isn't completely with us, it's hard to put the appropriate pressure on and I guess the point that I want to make is hard to beat something with nothing.

The--the Chinese and Russians have been investing so heavily invested in Venezuela. Billions--tens of billions of dollars over and over and over again. These Caribbean nations, they might feel culturally closer to the United States, but they are getting--there getting something from Venezuela that they need and your point about we need to be on the field is really, really important and, as I talked to leaders in this region, they say we are so much--we would so much more like to do work with you guys.

We are culturally connected, and we are all Americans, you know, but--but the other guys are there and present and investing. And even if we have suspicions, they're there with resources and you aren't. And so I think that's an important lesson.

I want to ask about the Northern Triangle. It's a resource question as well. The Alliance for Progress has been in initiative the last three years to invest money and insecurity and economic development assistance in the three nations in the Northern Triangle. Would it be your recommendation so long as we can make those investments smart, would be your recommendation that if we can improve the security and economic development arc in those three countries that that would help us deal with some of the challenges that SOUTHCOM has to deal with?
 

FALLER:

Senator, the week before last, I visited projects in all three countries that were a direct result of the investments that you just cited. Those projects were USAID, state INL, and small footprint of department of defense working side-by-side to bring security with local policing and jobs and host nation investment in a way that stabilized some of the worst neighborhoods and--and showed hope. We talk to citizens that lived there, we saw the results and--and I think consistent investment in accordance with our laws is a--is a good thing in that area. Investment of a dollar there is going to save lives and result in better security here at home.
 

KAINE:

That's--that's really important, the funds for those initiatives have been pretty dramatically slashed the last years. We don't know the what the budget submission will be that we'll get hopefully by the end of the month, but I think it's penny wise and pound foolish to cut development and security assistance and then complain about people coming to our border. We need to help build and support economies there and security there if we want people to not leave their own countries.

Let me quickly, General Waldhauser, to you, on page five of your submitted statement, you write in the fight against Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa, we operate with partners in the Africa Union and force multinational task force. The Fiscal Year '18 NDAA included a provision in section 1264 that required the administration to provide an initial report and subsequent updates on the legal and policy frameworks for use of military force.

I'm--I'm interested, the initial report, which was submitted March 2018, I'd like to put that in the record, if I could, it makes no mention of ISIS West Africa or Boko Haram as an associated force. As far as I know, there's not been an updated report submitted to this committee, as would be required if any new determination were made. Has Boko Haram or ISIS West Africa been determined to be an associated force within the either the 2001 or 2002 AUMF?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, first of all, we do not have offensive strike capabilities or authorities in those countries, so we can't strike. We can strike in Somalia, we can strike in Libya, but not in Nigeria, Chad and the like. So we don't have authorities there. Now, ISIS West Africa has grown. They go by different names every once in a while, but they have grown in numbers. There now in the neighborhood probably in the neighborhood of around 3 to 4,000. That's the best estimate that we have.

They have been very aggressive over the summer into this year. They now have taken large pieces of real estate in northern Nigeria and I think, of the two right now, they're the one that we have the most concern about because we are not sure what their intentions would be with regards to outside the region. Boko Haram probably around a thousand, bottom line though, senator, I can't say for sure whether they've been designated or not. I know that we don't strike him.
 

KAINE:

Do you--and when you say you don't strike, do you also include you don't strike under a collective self-defense doctrine?
 

WALDHAUSER:

No, it's collective--we--if we are accompanying, that's the whole key here now, if we are accompanying, we have the inherent right of self-defense and collective self-defense. If we are not accompanying, which we have not done at all in Nigeria and very--we haven't accompanied inside other places for quite some time, we do not have collective self-defense because I haven't designated it and we don't use it.
 

KAINE:

All right, thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator Kaine. Senator Hawley.
 

HAWLEY:

Thank you very much, gentlemen, for being here. Thank you again for your exemplary service and for all those under your command. General, let me start with you. The National Defense Strategy, of course, re-emphasizes great power, competition, and we talked a lot about today that you've mentioned to--to a great date agree in your testimony. I want to ask you about China, in particular, in your AOR.

What can you tell us to what degree and in what ways are we continuing to focus in resources to engage in this great power competition and counter Chinese influence in your AOR? And I'm thinking in particular of China's growing influence, it's base in Djibouti, I've seen some estimates that there may be as many as 25, 27 Chinese bases across the continent. What can you tell us about that and what we are doing to counter this growing influence there?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Well, thank you senator. Let me try to take that from the 50,000-foot level. And first of all, just emphasize, China has one overseas base in Djibouti. They participate in UN peacekeeping operations, places like Mali, places like Sudan, but they do not have other bases. Both--is that in their future? That's perhaps.

What I would say is from the African perspective is China has been there forced quite some time. They're in the process of building over 3,800 miles of worth of railroads. Railroads tied primarily to areas of mineral extraction, which again then takes this goods to a port somewhere. So they're are heavily invested and heavily involved.

From the African perspective, they, the Africans, do not want to be in the middle of this. They don't view it as we either choose the U.S. or we choose China and they don't want--they don't want to be the middle of that particular engagement. I think that one of the things that we do from the DOD perspective is we try to just show and just be good partners. When Secretary Tillerson was there a year or so ago, whenever the visit took place, I believe it was a year or so ago, you know, he talked about we need to work with the governments of those countries to make sure the arrangements they make are in their best interest.

And you had leaders from the African Union, you've had Paul Kagame is another one that, you know, that the African governments will make their decisions based on their best interests and they're capable of doing that. On the other hand, Chinese efforts in terms of selling equipment and some of the--some of the arrangements it's been made, there's been some blowback from various countries. Sierra Leone, for example, is walking away from an airport agreement that was supposed to be billed by the Chinese.

The Kenyans, for example has a very, very--have problems with the Chinese equipment that's been sent to them. So again, the bottom line is in the AFRICOM OAR, China is there. The final thing I would say is in order--this issue of influence and how we want to be the best partners, the Chinese work hard at developing and maintaining the relationship with the senior officials of the--of the governments inside the African continent.

We are very grateful, for example, of Senator Inhofe and his team and his visits that--that they make there, but I read an article the other day that talked about in the last decade 80 senior level, we're talking minister level and above, to improve include the president of China visits on the African continent, that's a lot. And moreover, since 1990, their foreign minister his first trip is every year in January is to a country in Africa just to see how they're doing. So I would just say the whole of government approach, if we want to maintain influence, we have to kind of up our engagement and develop and work at the relationship part of this.
 

HAWLEY:

You testified, I think, last March to a House committee, March of 2018 that you expected that China would--we should expect an increasing number of bases, outright military bases. Do you--do you think is that still your assessment?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Well, I think the, first of all, the Belt and Road Initiative is what is driving all of this and I think what the Chinese are doing is they are taking a lot of lessons learned and they are learning a lot from their first overseas bases that they have in Djibouti. This is not an easy thing to do. The United States is very good at it. They watch what they do, but they are learning this.

They certainly have their eyes on other facilities. Ports, for example, are a key to what would facilitate their not only mineral extraction but there markets for their goods to come into the--to the--to the continent as well. I mean, they view this large youth ball as the population, the demographics, which we haven't talked about today but it's in the testimony, they view a large consumer class as a place where they can sell their--their goods sometime in the future. So although they're--they don't--Djibouti is the only base, they certainly are looking at other options.
 

HAWLEY:

Let me just ask you more generally of about our European allies and--and their help or lack thereof in your AOR. What thing should we be doing in order to encourage our European allies to, in this era of renewed great power competition, to be helping us with our strategic objectives in your--in your area under your command?
 

WALDHAUSER:

From the AFRICOM perspective, the European Union does a lot on the continent with regards to training. So they have European--there are European Union training missions in Mali, there are European training missions inside Somalia, and those are just two examples, and we work closely with them because we are one, for example, I indicated in Somalia, we are one of a group of organizations and countries that's trying to, you know, make things right there.

The European Union is a big player and we coordinate with them. I talk with their leadership all of the time and we, in our effort to coordinate the training activities in a place like Somalia, the European Union is a big player. They--they do a lot and they, by the way, are the ones who pay the stipends for the Somalia National Army. They put a lot of money into Somalia, no doubt about it.
 

HAWLEY:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator Hawley. Senator Blumenthal and Senator Reed presiding.
 

BLUMENTHAL:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you both for your service and for being here today in critical commands that are perhaps less in the spotlight, but no less important than any of the others that we oversee, both of them absolutely critical to our national security. And so thank you and men and women who serve with you for your service to our nation.

I want to begin on the topic of military partnership programs, also perhaps less visible to the public but also very important and both of you, I think, have endorsed the State Partnership Programs, the international military education training program, as General Votel testified on Tuesday, are he said dollar for dollar the most effective funding that CENTCOM receives from a strategic perspective. And the Connecticut National Guard, as a matter of fact, is an active participant in the State Partnership Program and currently partners with Uruguay.

Next year is the 20th anniversary of this partnership and to date the Connecticut National Guard has conducted over 110 mutually beneficial exchanges with their Uruguayan partners. In April, the Connecticut National Guard will send 40 soldiers and airmen on a Connecticut Air National Guard C-130 H to Uruguay, marking our last largest contingent to Uruguay to date.

This is an enormously educational beneficial experience for them, for the Uruguayans and it is repeated again and again and again all around the world, and this kind of relationship, I think, is extremely important to both countries, to us and other countries around the world. So thank you for your support and General Ivan (PH), our tag was here this morning and we had a chance to meet with him.

I want to ask you General Waldhauser, I was searching for the exact statement you made about a year before the Niger tragedy, if I may put it that way, about the lack of sufficient intelligence resources devoted to your command, particularly to that area of your command. And I note in your testimony you say over a three-year period, U.S. Africa Command has increased Nigerian counter IED capability as well as intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, asset sustainment maintenance, and operation. Your estimate as to the dearth and deficit of intelligence in that part of the world was striking to me before the Niger incident. How much improvement has there been in the investment in intelligence and that part of the world?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, I think the best way to answer that question is, you know, our mission there really is to work with our partners, and in this case it's the French. And I would say over the last year that our relationship with the French to include intelligence sharing has really gone to--to as good as I've seen it.

And so, you know, the French have the lead in that area, and we support partners and in that particular case in the Sahel area of northern Mali the Niger area, they have the lead and it's our job to support them. So we kind of used the phrase its African led, France assisted, and U.S. supported. And what I would say is that our intelligence professionals as they synchronize what we bring and what they bring is something that has really added to our ability to understand the situation there over the last year.
 

BLUMENTHAL:

Do you think now that it is satisfactory, adequate, excellent? How would you characterize it? You said as good as you've seen, but that was not very good in the year before the Niger incident.
 

WALDHAUSER:

So I would use the words, as you said, satisfactory and adequate. We are never going to have the ISR total that we need to include the human intelligence that goes into places like that, but for our support and for what our mission is, its adequate ISR now as we utilize our partners and how we train and how we assist the Nigerian forces as well.
 

BLUMENTHAL:

Would you say, Admiral Faller, that that's true in your command as well that you are satisfied that there are sufficient ISR intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance resources devoted?
 

FALLER:

Senator, we are constantly looking at this. I think we--we do have gaps. We mitigate those gaps with different sources of intelligence. We--we are deficient in our ISR for the counter narcotics mission.
 

BLUMENTHAL:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 

REED:

On behalf of Chairman Inhofe, Senator Blackburn please.
 

BLACKBURN:

Thank you for being here today and we look forward to a closed session with you. I want to come back to something each of you have mentioned, but we've really cannot talk that much about and that is the Telkom issues that are in each of your AO are and the participation of China, Huawei, ZTE and their relationship with the Russians. And the chairman mentioned earlier his concern about how China is putting their fingers into every area when it comes to not only the ISR but the communications component, building out these networks. And he mentioned he didn't know where their money came from and, general, I'd be interested to hear from you. When you talk about China and how they are advancing, how much of the bankrolling of this comes from Russia or do you all know?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Well, ma'am, the best way to answer that is I think that when the Chinese come to a country with a plan, whether it's to build railroad, infrastructure, bridges and the like, they come with a full plan. They come with the--the--the charts to do it, they come with the money to do it, they'll bring the workers to do it and it's just kind of a one-stop one.
 

BLACKBURN:

Does the money come from Russia, primarily?
 

WALDHAUSER:

This is Chinese now. In fact, how I would answer that is kind of a, not to be kind of antidotal way, but recently in the elections and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Joseph Kabila which went out of office, one of his component opponent said that the Chinese bring the money and the Russians bring the muscle.
 

BLACKBURN:

Got it.
 

WALDHAUSER:

So I think that's a good way to try to illustrate where these two different countries are when it comes to their engagement.
 

BLACKBURN:

Okay. Let me ask you this, when we look at what has happened with with the Chinese and with their access into the Telkom area and as we look at artificial intelligence and--and 5G, how do you see Huawei and their participation and how is that going to affect the build out in your AORs? And admiral, if you want to go at it first and then the general?
 

FALLER:

It's concerning. The extent to which China would own the IT infrastructure of a country, their intelligence or fusion centers, would affect our relationship and our ability to share information.
 

BLACKBURN:

Do they understand that you will not share information with them if it is going over Huawei or ZTE?
 

FALLER:

We've had frank discussions, senator, about this.
 

BLACKBURN:

Very frank discussions. Okay.
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, the way I would answer that is we obviously have some unique challenges in Djibouti. I mean the Chinese base is several miles away from where we're located. The Djibouti base services not only AFRICOM, but it does CENTCOM and SOCOM, I believe as General Votel testified the other day. We'd be naive to think that the counterintelligence and the communication issues, and the fact that they have actually built the system inside Djibouti, they're not trying to get after what we're trying to do.
 

BLACKBURN:

How do you make certain--what is your best effort in making certain that we remain the partner of choice?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Well again, as I said several times this morning, from our military perspective we want to be sincere in our efforts. We want to deliver what we say we can do. We want to be role models when our troops train with African troops. We want our equipment to be quality equipment, and we just--we essentially want to be good partners. And I think that when you bring in the agencies that we talked about, USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation and so forth, their projects, I mean we've got to make sure we elevate those because in places like Senegal, for example, the Chinese will build a wrestling stadium, but at the same time we have all kind of compacts ongoing that don't get the publicity that some of these things do. So it's--bottom line for us is we have to make sure that we're really doing a government, whole-of-government approach, and we're synchronizing our efforts, and we make sure that we take credit for some of these programs that may not get the visibility that a brand new infrastructure would.
 

BLACKBURN:

Thank you for the comments, and we hope that that whole-of-government approach continues to include making certain that we're paying attention to those telecom and wireless networks. Yield back.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, senator. Let me just announce it looks like we're down to the most important, of course, last we save for. We are going to have, I say to the staff of those who are not here right now, we're going to have a closed session immediately following this in Visitor Center 217 for those who would like to come and ask some of the questions that were not appropriate to be asked in an open session. Senator King.
 

KING:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral Faller, you're not going to be surprised by this question. The question is interdiction of drug shipments, and I understand it's already been discussed to some extent. What do you need? If you were given a blank sheet of paper, what do you--what does the Coast Guard need, what do you need, what do we need to do a better job of interdicting those drug shipments that we know about? I just--it just is so frustrating that we are only interdicting about 25 percent of what we know about. So do we need 18 more Cutters, 12 more--more zodiacs? What--what's on your list of assets?
 

FALLER:

It's all of our responsibility, and we've got to start to source. So very encouraged by the Colombian government getting back into--seriously back into the eradication game. And they've met their goals for '18, and we're seeing progress in '19. So record cocaine is going to mean record drug flows. And we've got to stop it along the way. That requires ISR, intelligence and surveillance assets, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters.
 

KING:

No, I understand that, but I'm asking you for some specifics. Do we need eight more Global Hawks? Do we need 14 more Cutters? What is it we need?
 

FALLER:

We need more Navy ships.
 

KING:

Okay, of what nature?
 

FALLER:

From our U.S. Navy. So the littoral combat ship is fit for purpose for this type of mission, senator. We need multiple force packages. We need the Coast Guard, a sustained presence. They've stepped up in a big way from five to eight Cutters over the holiday. And then we need partners in the game. We're seeing improvements in some of the partners. I'll credit El Salvador, Guatemala. We need others to step up, and that requires pressure from our government and myself to get that to happen. So a lot of work to be done, senator.
 

KING:

But do you feel we are moving the needle? Are we moving forward on these multiple fronts?
 

FALLER:

We had record interdiction in '17, '18, but it's insufficient. We're nudging, but we're not moving the needle enough, senator. And one of the areas you asked me to look at previously I need to get back to you on is the authority piece and whether we have artificial seams between the air land boundary, and how we can better utilize and work across that boundary. We've stepped up our partnership within the last year with the Drug Enforcement Agency and fusion centers here in the United States. Again, more needs to be done to stay ahead of the threat.
 

KING:

I just hope if there are assets in terms of either budgetary resources, authorities, you will let us know because this-this is--these drugs are killing our people, and one a day in Maine, and this is a--this is a, it seems to me, a high return opportunity here given the fact that we know of the shipments that we can't interdict.
 

FALLER:

Senator, I agree 100 percent. It's a threat to our nation, killing our citizens. It's killing citizens of our partner nations as well, and the money from this is fueling those drug and criminal organizations, which is driving instability. It's contributing to the other factors we see, like the illegal migration. So it's important for many reasons that we have to get after this.
 

KING:

Well, keep--keep--stay with us on this, admiral. Thank you. On the issue of--and you mentioned in your testimony, I think in answer to Senator Kaine, about progress you're seeing in the Northern Triangle countries based upon American investments. I would point out that there was a huge refugee problem in the world in 1945. There were about 10 million refugees in Western Europe after World War II. One of the responses of this country was the Marshall Plan, which was designed to stabilize the economies of those of that region. It was very controversial at the time, but it--I think all would agree now it was immensely successful. I think we need a similar kind of approach to stabilizing those countries so people don't have to flee. The best way to stop someone coming to our border is that they never start on the journey. And that means, I believe you agree, that that means work, AID, agriculture, all of those programs in those countries, again, dealing with the issue of corruption, but to try to do that effectively. Do you agree that that should be a priority?
 

FALLER:

Senator, I agree that should be a priority.
 

KING:

Thank you. Quick question, general. By the way, these graphics are terrific on the--on Chinese and Russian influence in Latin America. I compliment your staff, whoever presented them. They're very dramatic and sobering. General, in Africa, China is doing similar kinds of things, investing, blending, developing infrastructure, all those things. Is there a concern that this is a precursor to a military presence? I mean, is Djibouti a beginning of a militarization process that presents a kind of global threat or an expansion of a threat from China?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, I think at this point in time it's too early to make that leap at this point. I mean they obviously want--one of the reasons for their engagement there is they've got, you know, 2000 or so peacekeepers. They've got 300,000 or so civilians there. They want to be able to protect their interests in their projects that they're working on. So whether that leads to a militarization of the continent, it's still early to tell, but I would say that one of the areas of concern that we have there is in the Djibouti, the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb area where the Red Sea comes down, where we've had really open access for quite some time, that is an area of concern because not only the Chinese, but the Russians, the Emiratis, the Saudis, are all interested in real estate on the Red Sea on the African side, Sudan, Eritrea.
 

KING:

And they're using an interesting technique of lending money and then calling it. It's a kind of debt colonialism.
 

WALDHAUSER:

Well they have leverage in many of their situations, and as I said, I mean these are decisions these governments have to make, but Djibouti is really a classic example where the Chinese own over 80 percent of their overseas debt, and this is certainly a concern.
 

KING:

Thank you. Thank you, gentlemen.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator King. Before Senator Perdue is recognized, I want to repeat to the staff that's here that there will be a closed session after this. I hate to ask you to go over because there may be nobody there when you get there, but nonetheless, there will be this opportunity. All right, Senator Perdue.
 

PERDUE:

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you both for your careers and for being here today. I want to beat a dead horse because I don't think we've gotten to the essence of the issue yet. We're all concerned about what China and Russia are doing in your AOR. So General Votel was in this week, and we had the same conversation about China's Belt and Road Initiative in harbors like Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Gwadar in Pakistan. We've just seen the first foreclosure in Sri Lanka, obviously, but what Russia is also doing in Kaliningrad, and Sevastopol and (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE)

Americans have always projected power based on our Navy and based on our allies who allow us to service our military through their geography. Russia and China are both now--because we have such an advantage in the sea--it seems to me that they are setting the stage across three continents that are of tremendous strategic importance. I'd like us to talk about what the NDS does, doesn't do and what you both need in your AORs to deal with what we naturally have to assume is an effort that is an economic, if not military, involvement that is beyond anybody's expectation five years ago. And when I look at what Huawei is doing in some of these Latin American cities, I'm very concerned. So I'd love both of you to address the question specifically. Before I ask you both, general, first of all in Africa we know now--admiral you've just told us here--56 port investments in South America. In Africa, general, do we have a similar estimate of the ports that they've made these, what I call debt trap diplomacy loans in the specific port infrastructure?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, I'm not an expert in that area, and we can take that for the record, but what I will say, the Chinese are involved in port operations all around the world.
 

PERDUE:

Yeah.
 

WALDHAUSER:

So it's not unique that perhaps you have a Chinese company that has equities in a port on the African continent.
 

PERDUE:

Right. So what we saw in the South China Sea, though, is where they had, quote, nonmilitary interest have now we've got plenty of evidence that they've converted those to military bases. I have no doubt that they're going to have some of the same interest in, particularly in Hambantota, right there. That's such a strategic thing, location. The question I have is I don't think the NDS actually addresses this growing potential threat because we haven't been able to confirm it, as you just said, general. So my concern is in these two AORs you and General Votel are three guys that sit right in the middle of what China and Russia are both doing, and I'm worried because of the effort and the focus we have on the current crisis today around the world, where we're taking our assets and spreading them very, very thinly. What are we doing now to preclude the potential that we won't be able to show up, it will be too late once we recognize that they've actually done what we were worried they were going to do? Would you both address that as it relates to the NDS?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Senator, let me just kind of clarify. You know, I don't have a crystal ball to predict what the Chinese will do militarily on the African continent.
 

PERDUE:

Understood.
 

WALDHAUSER:

But what I do know is that they've made a conscious decision to put their military on the world stage in an area where United States is not necessarily engaged to a large degree.
 

PERDUE:

Yes, sir.
 

WALDHAUSER:

So they work in areas where they don't really have any competition from us. We're not in countries where they are. We're not at places where ports on the western side of Africa, which is my big concern by the way, on the western side of Africa we're not really located there. So there is no doubt about the fact that they have long-term--a long-term vision, and by 2049, the 100-year anniversary, part of this Belt and Road Initiative, this is not--Djibouti is not the first, and it won't be the last port. And the growth of their military on the continent, I don't know what it will turn out to be, but I do know that the Chinese, they've made a conscious decision to start there, and they're not going to get smaller.
 

PERDUE:

Other than Djibouti, do we have any other access ports in Africa?
 

WALDHAUSER:

Well, I think I would say (INAUDIBLE), Senegal, these are places that we've talked about before that are--you know, they're good locations for the Chinese. They want to have a government that's relatively stable. They don't want to have to deal with problems and so forth. You look where the military geography, meaning deep water ports are there. So I mean they certainly want other ports on the eastern--and I could--there's all kind of speculation about what those other ports might be on the eastern side. But I do know they're looking on the western side, and that's a concern for us because they could be in the Atlantic Ocean rather quickly.
 

PERDUE:

Admiral, the ambassador in El Salvador actually warned last August about what the military is--Chinese military is planning to do in (INAUDIBLE), that commercial port where they do have a proprietary loan there. Can you speak to how the NDS will affect this in your AOR?
 

FALLER:

Senator, I think the NDS rightly shined a light on this as the biggest challenge that will confront us perhaps in the next generation.
 

PERDUE:

But we haven't resourced it yet.
 

FALLER:

We're working on the resourcing. It's not, as I've mentioned in previous questions, we need that consistent level of resourcing in this AOR. In addition to the ports you mentioned, I would also point out the space stations that Chinese are investing in and partnering in in this AOR. And again, back to the education, some of the basic military building blocks. They're taking a page from our playbook. The Peace Ark deployed to South America and the Caribbean this past year. They're trying to replicate our playbook to win both access and influence, and our counter has to be to remain present. We have the--we have the ability to have the winning hand based on our values, our democratic principles and the shared interest that we have in this hemisphere.
 

PERDUE:

Thank you both.
 

INHOFE:

Thank you, Senator Perdue. Okay, that's it. All right, it seems this has come to a conclusion. We appreciate your attention very much. It has been very significant. I also appreciate the time both of you have spent with me and other members of this committee. If it's not an inconvenience to do so, we will now go to the Senate visitors number 217, and we'll see how many people want to conclude this with some questions that may not have been appropriate for open session. So with that, we are adjourned.

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