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TRANSCRIPT: AFRICOM's Ward Testifies Before Senate Armed Services Committee
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee March 9, 2010, the commander of U.S. Africa Command provided an overview of the strategic environment in Africa, explained U.S. AFRICOM's strategic approach, and showed how security
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee March 9, 2010, the commander of U.S. Africa Command provided an overview of the strategic environment in Africa, explained U.S. AFRICOM's strategic approach, and showed how security cooperation efforts promote stability in support of U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives. General William "Kip" Ward testified before Congress as part of an annual requirement for regional military commanders. He testified before the House Armed Services Committee on March 10. For the text of Ward's written testimony to Congress, see In the below transcript, Ward testified alongside other senior commanders. Testimony not related to Africa Command has been omitted. HEARING OF THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE SUBJECT: "U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND (EUCOM), U.S. AFRICA COMMAND (AFRICOM) AND U.S. JOINT FORCES COMMAND FY 2011 BUDGET" CHAIRED BY: SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D-MI) WITNESSES: ADMIRAL JAMES STAVRIDIS, COMMANDER, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND (EUCOM); GENERAL WILLIAM E. WARD, COMMANDER, U.S. AFRICA COMMAND (AFRICOM); GENERAL JAMES N. MATTIS, COMMANDER, U.S. JOINT FORCES COMMAND (JFCOM) LOCATION: 216 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C. TIME: 9:00 A.M. EST DATE: TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2010 SEN. LEVIN: (Sounds gavel.) Good morning, everybody. Today's hearing is the first in a series of hearings that our committee will hold over the coming the coming weeks with our combatant commanders to receive their testimony on the U.S. military strategy and operational requirements in their areas of responsibility. This is part of the committee's review of the fiscal year 2011 defense national authorization request. This morning, the committee receives testimony from Admiral James Stavridis, commander, U.S. European Command and NATO's supreme allied commander Europe; General William Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command; and General James Mattis, commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command. First, let me take this opportunity on behalf of the committee to request that you pass along our gratitude to the men and women in your command, to their families for their commitment and their sacrifice in carrying out the missions of your commands. While Admiral Stavridis is not new to appearing before this committee, this is his first time testifying as EUCOM commander and supreme allied commander Europe. U.S. European Command's engagement with our allies and partners in Europe is an essential component of the transatlantic relationship. Nowhere are the benefits of this relationship more clearly demonstrated than in Afghanistan, where 43 countries and nearly 40,000 non-U.S. troops, the vast majority of which come from areas in the EUCOM area of responsibility, are participating in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. EUCOM's efforts to build the capacity and interoperability of our allies and partners in Europe are an important contribution to ISAF's mission to bring security and stability to Afghanistan. We welcome the increased commitment of forces by our ISAF coalition partners since President Obama announced the commitment of additional U.S. forces in December. In addition, ISAF soldiers from Britain, Denmark, Estonia and Canada joined U.S. soldiers and Marines and Afghan troops in the recent combat operations in Helmand province, and more than a dozen ISAF troops have died in that operation. We honor their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of their families. At the same time, an issue that I want to get into further this morning is the continuing shortfall by our NATO allies to provide the additional trainers. The NATO training mission in Afghanistan needs to build up the Afghan National Army and Police. It's apparent that growing the Afghan security forces so that they can take responsibility for ensuring their country's security is essential for the success of our counterinsurgency strategy and for meeting the July 2011 date that President Obama has set for the start of the reduction of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. There is no shortage of recruits for the Afghan army thanks in part to that July 2011 date which has energized Afghan -- Afghanistan's leaders to bring in more recruits. According to General Bill Caldwell, the head of our training mission in Afghanistan, a major problem is the continuing shortage of trainers to provide the initial basic training. Training the Afghan army is a mission that our NATO allies should embrace regardless of their ability or their willingness to be on the front line of the fight. Yet at a recent conference to generate forces, NATO members pledged fewer than half of the approximately 1,200 additional NATO trainers sought by General Caldwell. That is more than disappointing; it is unacceptable. The European Command faces a number of other security challenges within its area of responsibility. President Obama's new plan for NATO -- excuse me, for missile defense in Europe, the phased adaptive approach, is supported by our NATO allies. In addition, later this year NATO plans to complete a revised strategic concept for how the alliance should adapt to today's security challenges, the first major revision of NATO's strategic concept since the events of 9/11. General Ward, the challenges in the AFRICOM AOR are staggering, from the conflicts that rage across borders, to fragile governments, to nations where peacekeeping or peace-enforcing forces are the best and sometimes only hope for security and stability, and to the spread of violent extremism. While confronting some of these issues falls squarely in the lap of a military command, many do not. And your command is being directed to assist in nontraditional ways where the jurisdictional lines between the Departments of State and Defense are blurred at best. The committee looks forward to your testimony on these issues and AFRICOM's activities designed to confront and to counter them. The threat of terrorism from Africa and particularly the potential for havens and recruiting grounds for terrorists in ungoverned or undergoverned areas are cause for deep concern. The attempted Christmas Day bombing of an airliner reminds everybody that al Qaeda and violent extremists who share their ideology are not just located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region but in places like Somalia, Mali, Nigeria and Niger. The committee's eager to hear how AFRICOM is working to confront those very real threats. Turning to the U.S. Joint Forces Command, General Mattis is responsible for the training, certification and mission readiness of our armed forces, as the joint force provider for present and future operational needs. I hope that General Mattis will discuss how JFCOM has changed and promoted DOD practices that result in more efficient and effective policies and coordination, with respect to joint operations, as well as meeting the anticipated threats of the future. We're also interested in hearing about the role of U.S. Joint Forces Command, with respect to the drawdown of forces in Iraq. Specifically of interest would be your views on how the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will have an impact on JFCOM's ability to source the combatant commanders' requirements, in the future, how the services and other government agencies are preparing to execute the drawdown, and how well the services are meeting their expected dwell times, to restore readiness rates. In addition, as persistent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to stress our armed forces, our committee is interested in hearing your assessment, General, of the readiness of deploying forces. Again we thank our witnesses for their dedicated and continued service. And we look forward to your testimony. Senator McCain. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank all the witnesses for being here today. And I'm grateful for your service and that of all the brave men and women under your commands. Many of my colleagues and I have been strong supporters of our transatlantic partnership in the NATO alliance. During the Cold War, NATO succeeded as we all know in promoting and protecting freedom and democracy in Europe. And we won. But today the alliance is facing a number of very significant challenges. Secretary Gates rightly said in his speech at the NATO Strategic Concept Seminar last month, and I quote, "Unless the Strategic Concept spurs operational and institutional changes, it will not be worth the paper it's printed on." Right now the alliance has serious budgetary problems and is facing a budget shortfall of some $900 million. The problem is not just the current underfunding of NATO. Over the years NATO and the national defense budgets consistently have declined to where only five of its 28 member states are obligating the required defense spending of 2 percent of ghost -- of gross domestic product. While the war in Afghanistan has shone a light on NATO's diminished capacity, these shortcomings are not new. For years before Afghanistan, NATO, due to its limited budgets, has let its capabilities decline. For example, NATO lacks the cargo airlift, the helicopters, aerial refueling tankers and ISR platforms needed to be effective in Afghanistan or in any other future conflict. Member states should be explaining to their parliaments and to their citizens that NATO faces common threats and shares common goal. I am concerned that they continue to allow the idea to build up among their publics that NATO is fighting wars because the Americans are making them do it. The alliance must be about more than fulfilling our obligations under Article 5, as essential as that is. It must also serve to deter potential adversaries and build partner capacity within the alliance and beyond. Only then can we begin to collectively transform our alliance from one of common defense to one of common security. Admiral Stravridis, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the future of defense spending among our NATO allies and your prescription for developing and better leveraging NATO's capabilities to meet future threats. I strongly believe it's important to nurture and scrutinize old friendships. It's equally important to develop and foster new ones. Africa is a continent full of potential friends and allies. We often grow too complacent and lack the foresight to prepare for the things we don't expect. And that's why I'm glad we have the Africa Command. Africa, as we know, has always been vulnerable to illicit trafficking due to widespread corruption, poor governance and abject poverty. Somalis continue to flow into Yemen and train with al Qaeda and its affiliates, and we don't have to look any further than the Christmas Day bomber, a Nigerian, as proof that violent extremists exist in many places we're not thinking about or fighting a war. But we have partners in the region. Malian troops have launched offensive against al Qaeda along its northern border with Algiers, and lost as many as 13 troops last summer. African nations are vulnerable to a variety of threats -- narcotrafficking, piracy and terrorism -- any of which would further weaken an already fragile region. So General Ward, I look forward to hearing your testimony and your command's need for trainers, forces and resources. General Mattis, your leadership of Joint Forces Command comes at a time when our troops are engaged in -- more than ever in joint operations. The branches of our armed forces are expected not only to team with one another but with allies and host-nation troops, as we have seen most recently in the offensive in Marja. The committee is interested in understanding how Joint Forces Command is preparing our troops to operate jointly, and what steps you believe the services should be taking in this regard. I'm also curious about how the rapidly changing feedback from the field in Iraq and Afghanistan will be incorporated in Joint Command's future doctrinal development. You're all highly decorated and highly respected members of the military. I appreciate your service and weigh your opinions, requests and predictions heavily, so I look forward to hearing all of your testimonies. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Senator McCain. We'll start I think with you, Admiral Stavridis. ADM. STAVRIDIS: Good morning, Chairman Levin. Good morning, Senator McCain, all the senators who are here. Thank you very much for -- SEN. LEVIN: Is your mike on? ADM. STAVRIDIS: Yes, sir. SEN. LEVIN: Could you just talk -- move it closer to you a little bit if you can. ADM. STAVRIDIS: Thank you very much, Senator Levin and Senator McCain, all the members of the committee who are taking the time to hear from my two very good friends and wingmen this morning, General Kip Ward and General Jim Mattis. I feel, as a Navy admiral, very safe between these two distinguished combat veterans. I want to thank the Congress. I want to thank this committee for the support you give us in all of our operations. It's vital, and it translates directly to our men and women, and we thank you for it. I'll be glad to talk about all of the things that were raised by the chairman and the ranking member. In Afghanistan, I would say that I am cautiously optimistic. I think Secretary Gates yesterday in Afghanistan put it very well. We have some challenges ahead, but we are seeing some bits and pieces of good news. And I'll be glad to talk about some of those. Senator Levin, I agree completely that we need to focus like a laser on trainers for the NATO forces. I'm committed to doing that, and I'll talk about it as we go along. I did want to mention also we're very engaged, from a U.S. European Command perspective, in the Balkans. And we don't talk a lot about that these days -- excuse me -- but I think we see a real success story emerging in the Balkans. And if we look back 10 years ago when we had almost 30,000 U.S. troops in the Balkans, today we're down to about 1,200. And our allies are working very hard in the Balkans as we move toward a safer and more secure area there. I'd also like to touch on today cyber and some of my concerns there, talk a little about Iran and potential threats to Europe, touch on our relations with Russia and then talk a bit about some of the initiatives we're undertaking at U.S. European Command, which focus on interagency, international, private-public partnering and the use of effective strategic communications. Sir, I'll close by saying I represent here 80,000 brave men and women from U.S. European Command. They're all proud to serve. They're all volunteers. They thank you for your support. Thank you, sir. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Admiral. General Ward. GEN. WARD: Good morning, Chairman Levin, Senator McCain and distinguished members of the committee. It's great for me to be here this morning as well, alongside my two great friends, the admiral and the general, who we've come to partner with over time. And I think our collaboration has been good for men and women who serve with us, as well as for our nation. I am very happy to be here to address the points that you've been -- raised, as well as others. I'd like to start off by just thanking this committee for the great support that has been provided to my command, its men and women, as we've carried forth our mission on behalf of our nation. We do what we do in AFRICOM to protect American lives and to promote American interests. And we do it by supporting security and stability programs in Africa and its island nations. We concentrate our efforts on helping African states build capable and professional militaries that respect human rights, adhere to the rule of law and more effectively contribute to stability in Africa. We're assisting our African partners in building capacity to counter transnational threats from violent extremist organizations, to stem elicit trafficking, to support peacekeeping operations and to address the consequences of natural disasters. Supporting the development of professional and capable militaries contributes to increased security. And stability in Africa allows African nations and regional organizations to promote good governance, expand development and provide for their common defense and better serve their people. The Africa Partnership Station, which includes our European and African partners as members of the staff, is now on its fifth deployment and has expanded some of the initial focus in the Gulf of Guinea to other African coastal nations. Africa Endeavor, a continental-wide command-and-control exercise, has been seeing a steady increase in participation that will amount to 30 nations participating this year; Exercise Natural Fire conducted by the nations in East Africa, a tremendously successful program that looked at how these nations respond collectively to a natural disaster. These programs reflect the willingness of our partners to work with us and with each other, against common threats, and reflect that our programs and activities are indeed producing tangible results. My focus is on activities, programs and communications that support our national interests and also reinforce success, in ways that assure progress toward the long-term goals our African partners have established for themselves, as they align with our national security objectives. We closely harmonize our activities with our colleagues at State, USAID and other agencies. Our service components are in fact maturing. Our offices of security cooperation, defense attaches, the network of forward operating sites and cooperative security locations -- including Camp Lemonier in Djibouti -- are tremendously valuable as we pursue our U.S. security interests. It's my honor to serve with the very distinguished uniformed and civilian members of the Department of Defense and our command, who work every day alongside our interagency partners, making a difference in this vitally important part of the world as we look to cause their work to lead to more effective global stability. Their dedicated efforts exemplify the spirit and determination of the American people, and they do contribute to the strength of our nation and the security and stability on the African continent directly supporting our interests there. I'm pleased to also say that representing those men and women that I've brought along today, our command sergeant major, the command senior enlisted leader, Command Sergeant Major Mark Ripka (sp), as someone who just exemplifies the goodness of that -- of that great, great team. So again, I thank you for your support, I thank you for what you do to cause our mission to be successful, and I stand ready to add any additional information that I can. Thank you very much. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much, General. And General Mattis. GEN. MATTIS: Senator Levin, Senator McCain, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify -- (off mike) -- written statement be placed in the record. SEN. LEVIN: And it will be. GEN. MATTIS: Over the course of this past year, Joint Forces Command has contributed to the wider combat-ready forces, combatant commanders to support the military operations and continues to prepare for future conflicts -- (off mike) -- historic change of command in NATO -- (off mike) -- handed over to -- (off mike) -- continued to ensure Joint Forces Command remains closely linked with our allied partners in NATO. The character of this current conflict remains different -- (off mike). We have continued to adapt our forces -- (off mike) -- become increasingly confident in -- (off mike) -- warfare. Across the board, Joint Forces specifically adapted to this new environment. (Off mike.) The chairman and the secretary of Defense have stated that we must not lose conventional superiority -- (off mike). Even as we continue to prepare and deploy forces in the irregular fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, we cannot permit dormancy of our conventional capabilities. Our forces are achieving balance and will continue to do so as dwell times build with the Iraqi drawdown. Through effective training and education across the force, we can strike the appropriate balance while ensuring our current and future combat readiness. I returned a week ago from Afghanistan, and our field commanders there confirm that our troops are superbly trained for the fight, even as we use lessons learned to further improve our readiness and not fall back on complacency. Based on the reality of current active operations and future trends outlined in our work on the future, Joint Forces Command's top priority continues to reflect this balance between support for the current fight and our constant assessment of the future to ensure we remain the most capable military in the world. Thank you, sir. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, General. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. LEVIN: Well, we appreciate that. General Caldwell at a press conference last week said that Afghan army recruitment is going ADM. STAVRIDIS: Some of them are very restrictive, and we work very hard to try and reduce those wherever we can. SEN. MCCAIN: Well, I thank you. There's a lot going on in NATO and in Europe, and we appreciate the great work you're doing. General Ward, this sounds like a -- perhaps a question that need not be asked, but should we be looking, as part of Africa Command -- some headquarters located in Africa? GEN. WARD: Well, Senator, the work of the command is in its programs, its activities, its exercises, the things that we do across the continent to help the nations of Africa increase their capacity. The headquarters location, quite candidly, doesn't affect that work, where we plan those activities, where we look to resource those activities. It's not something that the leaders in Africa are asking me about, and at this time it is my estimation that any great effort to locate a American-size headquarters of that nature would probably be more counterproductive than productive. SEN. MCCAIN: Because? GEN. WARD: Because of perceptions, because of the reactions to neighbors, to parts of the continent where the headquarters might not be located. Many unintended consequences, I think, would fall out from that type of a move. SEN. MCCAIN: What's your area of greatest concern? Maybe tell us a couple of countries that are of your greatest concern, General Ward. GEN. WARD: Senator, as we look at the continent, clearly the challenges are there. There are also opportunities. But when we talk about what's going on -- SEN. MCCAIN: I -- countries are of your greatest concern, General? GEN. WARD: There are -- what's going on in Somalia, what's going on in Sudan, what's going on in Nigeria, the extrajudicial means of -- changes of government that we saw in Niger, Guinea. Those activities concern me. SEN. MCCAIN: And do you believe we're making a -- since it's not in the news, perhaps it's obvious we're making some progress in the piracy issue. GEN. WARD: We are making progress from the standpoint of addressing the threat at sea. The weather lately also helped because of the high sea state and the inability of those small skiffs to go out and operate freely. The coalition that occurs at sea is a -- is an effective coalition. Big ocean however, as you -- as you are aware, and so these skiffs do in fact go around and get through. That piracy threat is not just in the Gulf of Aden, the East Indian Ocean. It's also the west coast of Africa. Our work to help these African nations increase their capacity, to deal with their territorial waters, is certainly making a difference. In addition to that, I would offer that the work that would need to occur on land, especially pertaining to good governance or governments that are more than less able to control their territories, will also contribute to increased stability and reducing the effects of piracy. SEN. MCCAIN: The main area of piracy operations is where? GEN. WARD: Predominantly the Gulf of Aden. SEN. MCCAIN: And what country? GEN. WARD: Somalia. SEN. MCCAIN: Somalia, an incredibly unstable country? GEN. WARD: Yes, sir. SEN. MCCAIN: And very little prospect for stability in the future? GEN. WARD: Well, it's a work in progress to be sure. Small things happening now, but much work to be done. SEN. MCCAIN: Could you just make a comment about Ethiopia and the situation there? GEN. WARD: Ethiopia remains a friend, a partner in our efforts to help produce stability there in the region. Their work that the Ethiopians do, in the counterterrorism business as well as in the work of their participation in peacekeeping operations, is important work. And I think our partnering with the Ethiopians, as well as other East African nations, is something that we will continue to look at and ways of helping produce stability in that part of the world. SEN. MCCAIN: I thank you, General. Thank you, Admiral. Thank you very much, General Mattis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator McCain. Senator Lieberman. SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (ID-CT): Thanks, Mr. Chairman. And thanks to the three of you for your extraordinary service. General Ward, let me just pick up where Senator McCain was, particularly in Somalia. I mean, we know from experience that where there's no government trouble grows, either piracy or the provision of space for terrorists -- Islamist terrorists particularly -- to operate. I gather that there is an attempt by -- I'm not sure what you call it, the provisional government, to retake the capital city of Mogadishu. And I wonder if you could give us both your estimate of how that's going and to what extent we're able to be supportive of that effort. GEN. WARD: Senator, as you know, Somalia has been ungoverned space for almost 20 years. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right. GEN. WARD: What we're facing today is clearly not new. What I will say, the current Transition (sic/Transitional) Federal Government, being supported by the African Union, being supported by the African Union's mission in Somalia, AMISOM, and being supported by others of the international community, to include the United States, is an effort that I would continue to endorse and think that it has, for now, our best potential for helping to turn around some of the instability and lack of governance that we've experienced there. What's going on in Mogadishu with respect to the desires of the transition government to reclaim parts of Mogadishu is a work in progress. I'm not aware of the specifics, so I'll have to come back to you, sir, with the specifics on what that current operation looks like. But to the degree the TFG, the transition federal government, can, in fact, re-exert control over Mogadishu with the help of AMISOM and others, I think it's something that we would look to do and support, as well as the other provisions of the Djibouti process that look to instilling governance, instilling developmental things that would serve the benefit of the Somali people, to cause that situation to reverse itself. We looked to participate with those who also support them, the other nations and the neighbors who contribute to the AMISOM mission, in particular Uganda, Burundi, supporting their work and trying to lend the hand that they lend to the TFG in increasing stability. So those efforts are ongoing. It's an effort that I think we would certainly support, and we would look to do it in ways that add to stability in that part of the continent. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Fine. Let me go to the -- Sudan. As you know, there's a lot of concern -- continuing concern here about the situation in Sudan. We're in a critical period in the coming year with national elections next month, which are the first in almost -- in more than two decades, maybe more than 2-1/2 decades, and then there's a referendum in the south in January. I'd like to hear first what your command is doing to support the U.N.-AU force in Darfur, where unfortunately the human rights abuses are continuing, and then, second, what AFRICOM can and is doing to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of January 2005. GEN. WARD: Senator, the -- you know, our support to UNAMID, the United Nations -- Mission in Darfur, is in the form of training assistance, logistics assistance, support to those forces that have -- who have been declared a part of that UNAMID mission. We provided logistics, lift support, as I've mentioned, and we continue to do that in support of the peacekeeping effort there in Darfur. As you know, we have no direct on-the-ground involvement there. Those processes, as a part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, are essentially political processes that we certainly support. We do support, in the case of southern Sudan, the formation of the southern liberation army in southern Sudan, their -- some of their professional development initiatives, some of their training initiatives. And we do that through -- in conjunction with the Department of State, working with the special envoy and doing those things that help increase the professionalism of that southern Sudanese force. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Let me -- let me ask you how you would suggest that we interpret the statements that President Bashir has made that essentially the war is over. What's -- how should we interpret those? GEN. WARD: Senator, the cooperation that we see emerging between, as an example, Chad and Sudan, between President Deby and Bashir, I think we would look to that as an encouraging sign. SEN. LIEBERMAN: So it's real. Something is changing there. GEN. WARD: Something is changing. It's -- SEN. LIEBERMAN: For the better. GEN. WARD: For the better. It's still fragile. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right. GEN. WARD: It's not irreversible, to be sure. But I think we should be encouraged by those signs. And we look forward to more of that as this political dialogue continues. [Discussion not related to U. S. Africa Command] ADM. STAVRIDIS: I agree. Yes, sir Thanks, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Lieberman Senator Inhofe. SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. INHOFE: Because it's one of these things that you can't explain to someone the actual conditions that they experience out there. Just -- you know, it's mind-boggling. GEN. MATTIS: Yes, sir. And we have a couple of programs to do that right now, and we're getting a lot of interest. We've actually had significant support from this committee. SEN. INHOFE: Yeah. Good. Good. Good. General Ward, of course, as you well know, I've been very interested in Africa. In fact, I've been criticized -- (chuckles) -- for the amount of time that I spend in Africa. And the -- I was very strongly in support of -- back when we had it, it was hard for me to understand why we would have had Africa, the continent, under three commands, as we did. And now things, I think, are working. As I've told you before, I would have preferred to have the headquarters in Africa, some place down there. I know the political problems that come with that. But let's start with -- I was recently in Djibouti, talked to Admiral Fitzgerald and to Real Admiral Kurta. And, you know, that's heavy lifting over there. But everything is happening there. Kind of briefly tell us what is happening in Djibouti and some of the successes there. GEN. WARD: Thank you, Senator. And thank you for your support to the command and also to our security efforts on the continent. We feel it and we appreciate it. In Djibouti, as you know, the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, we assumed responsibility for command and control over when we became a fully endorsed unified command a little over a year ago. Djibouti's programs, or the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa programs that we undertake -- in the eastern part of the continent, but also in other places as I determine a skill set that they possess that's required -- provide the type of training support, the type of mentoring, coaching, the type of programs that we are using, along with our civil affairs activities, to help the nations in Africa concentrate their efforts in causing a degree of harmonization of the training, the professionalism as well as the regionalization of security assistance and cooperation programs that I think are proving very, very beneficial insofar as moving to the next level the capacity of many of these African nations to increase their military and security capacity; doing it in ways -- because of our long-term approach to doing business -- doing it in ways that fully integrate the elements of diplomacy, development, as well as defense. And not that we do those things, Senator, but because we understand the importance of those all activities being a part of this dynamic, the comprehensive approach, it is working. SEN. INHOFE: Okay. I want to expand on that a little bit. But first, on the cuts that were there on your information operations program, are they going to hurt you? I mean, is that serious? GEN. WARD: It is serious. The information programs that we look to do, where we were cut the $3 million, that was about a third of what we wanted to do. And the focus for those additional programs would have been in the East Africa region to complement what we're doing in the Sahel and in North Africa. SEN. INHOFE: It's such a huge area, and that's -- I think people just don't really comprehend that. And how about any other equipment? At first, there were some problems there. You feel fairly comfortable with the resources that you have? GEN. WARD: We are always looking for resources, Senator. What they have are sufficient to do the work that we want to do. We could enhance that with additional resources. But the work that we are able to do, working with those nations, to include assisting them through, as was pointed out, the various programs, the 1206 program -- very, very important, very beneficial as we work with the nations on their territorial security as well as their maritime security and capacity building -- SEN. INHOFE: Yeah, I'm running out of time here, but do this for me. The reason that our activity in Djibouti is acceptable with the rest of the continent is because we were already there. Now, it's more difficult if you're going to start anew. I have felt that, as large as that continent is, we ought to have something probably in Ghana -- ECOWAS is there now, there's -- the activity's there. And maybe for the record you could respond as to what -- are there any hopes for that, or if there's anything -- should we continue to try to -- try to do that? And as I go around, I talk to the presidents, I find a lot of them, although there's a political problem with naming names, because they don't want other people to know that they agree that we should have that kind activity there. For the record you might answer that. And lastly, I've been enheartened a little bit by some of the new faces in Zimbabwe that have been on the other side of Mugabe. And I feel, for the first time in many years, somewhat optimistic that these new faces that want to bring that country, hopefully, back to where it was at one time, the breadbasket of sub-Sahara Africa. Do you share that there's room for optimism now in Zimbabwe? GEN. WARD: I do. I had a consultation with our new ambassador, who's been posted there, and he's gone there, Senator, with that same sense of optimism, to look to take advantage of what might be a changing political environment. SEN. INHOFE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. -- (inaudible). SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Inhofe. Senator Reed. SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for your distinguished service. Admiral Stavridis, not to be overly simplistic, but the last several years have forced us operationally, in our budgets and in acquisition, to become expeditionary. Has that same fever caught on in the NATO countries? Can you describe their budget acquisition and military policy? [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] Or is it still something that's unresolved and under debate? SEN. REED: General Mattis, if you want to, comment on that. I have another question. But I know you're -- GEN. MATTIS: Yes, Senator, and I completely agree with where Admiral Stavridis assessed this effort. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. REED: And can we assume that this model will be adapted into Afghanistan also; that as we make progress in terms of reducing the capabilities of the Taliban that we'll be able to put more of these types of units on the ground? GEN. MATTIS: Sir, I'd go so far to say that the units we're sending over there now into the area that Admiral Stavridis spoke about in Marja are completely capable on their own as combat units of partnering with the Afghans. We are learning, as a British prime minister put it: Once we've exhausted all the alternatives, we'll do the right thing. We've got it right this time, and we are using this -- these lessons learned to change the very makeup of the unit training. SEN. REED: Thank you, sir. General Ward, can you describe the nature of the partnership between AFRICOM and the African Union Standby Force of five brigades? GEN. WARD: The command, Senator, has a relationship where we have a presidential determination being put in place that allows us to work with these five standby brigades. Currently that determination is in place for the Southern African Standby Force, the West African Standby Force. We're working on one for the East African Standby Force. We see that these regional alignments for (peace ?) are very critical, important. And where they don't exist, we still work on a bilateral basis with the nations who would send forces to these standby brigades to increase their capacity as well. And so it is a training relationship. In some instances, it is an equipping relationship; in some instances it is a doctrinal relationship where we provide that type of assistance to these standby forces that are part of these regional economic communities. SEN. REED: Do we have an ongoing liaison with them in terms of boots -- personnel on the ground with them on a day-to-day basis, or is this -- GEN. WARD: We have a liaison officer with the African Union, which is obviously the continental organization. We have a liaison with the -- with ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, and their standby force. We do not have a permanent liaison with the Southern African Developmental, nor with the East African, but we do have a day-to-day relationship in East Africa with those East African forces as well. And we have supported each of them as they conducted training, exercises and other things to help increase their capacity to bring these brigades together. Yes, sir. SEN. REED: Well, I want to thank you, General Ward. I also want to thank you for your service, because it's a long time that we taught together at West Point, and I'm awfully proud of what you've accomplished for the military and for the Army. Thank you, sir. GEN. WARD: Thank you, Mr. -- or Senator. Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Reed. Senator LeMieux. SEN. GEORGE LEMIEUX (R-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General Ward. Admiral Stavridis, nice to see you again. General Mattis, thank you for your service to the country. Thank you for being here to answer our questions today. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] Admiral Stavridis, I want to talk to you about a report that came out, I guess it was last week, where a Spanish judge accused the government of Venezuela of maintaining illicit ties with FARC and ETA terrorists planning to kill senior government officials in Spain, including President Uribe. Secretary Tauscher, Ellen Tauscher, is in charge of that particular effort. She's doing a very good job working with the allies to move forward on it. So overall yes, I am a supporter of it. And I believe that it will be very effective in defending Europe over time, as well as the United States of course. SEN. LEMIEUX: Thank you, Admiral. General, and I may have missed this testimony before, so if I have, forgive me. But can you give us an update of the status of al Qaeda in Africa? GEN. WARD: We look at al Qaeda in Africa, Senator, in two locations essentially, although it's likely that they're in more but predominantly East Africa al Qaeda as well as al Qaeda Islamic Maghreb. We see in the northern part of the continent al Qaeda Islamic Maghreb. They're operating, conducting kidnapping, other sorts of activities that certainly threaten, you know, our interests, threaten those interests of our partners in the region. In the eastern part of the continent there, in East Africa, we see East Africa al Qaeda. Recently the claims of emerging between the al-Shabab in Somalia with East Africa al Qaeda are there; the linkages between East Africa al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, that network. And so I would say that we certainly see indications and the presence of al Qaeda in Africa. Predominantly they're in the East Africa region as well as in the Sahel there, in the greater Sahara part of the continent as well, sir. SEN. LEMIEUX: Is it a growing influence? Are they becoming more organized? GEN. WARD: I would not characterize it there. I would come back with something for the record, more specific detail. But I would also offer that the -- based on what they are saying, that they are seeking to expand their influence there in the East Africa region as well as in the North Africa region. SEN. LEMIEUX: General, this weekend we learned that 500 people, including women and babies, were massacred in Nigeria. What's our current strategy to curtail human rights abuses in Africa? GEN. WARD: We obviously -- Senator, as we conduct our military- to-military relations with the various nations of Africa, we encourage the promotion of human rights, we encourage the conduct of militaries in professional ways. Obviously those activities that you describe -- I've seen nothing that points that they were committed by the militaries of Nigeria. Clearly the role that's been taken by the Nigerians to go in and stop that action is something we applaud. We certainly, like all others, deplore that type of activity, that innocent killing of anyone -- of killing of any innocent. And so we would certainly encourage the work that's being done by the government of Nigeria to address those atrocities, to those who are responsible to -- to arrest them and do their very best to prevent that. But we clearly see that as something that's -- is deplorable and we certainly regret that loss of innocent life through those means. SEN. LEMIEUX: Thank you, General. General Mattis, there was a London Times article earlier this week which talked about our European allies and their vulnerability to a cyberattack and the rise of China as a hostile cybercombatant. [Discussion not related to U. S. Africa Command] What are we doing to strengthen our allies' defenses and safeguard the sensitive information that we share with them? SEN. LEMIEUX: Thank you. I think it's vital too. And I appreciate getting a follow-up on that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator LeMieux. Senator Hagan. SEN. KAY R. HAGAN (D-NC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral Stavridis, you recently discussed your concerns with me on cybersecurity and, in the broader context, how you view the vastness of this realm as "cyber sea." In a recent paper that you authored, I want to give a quote that really paints a picture of this sea for me. And you wrote, "The seas I refer to, however, are not of water and waves, but of zeros and ones, optic fibers and photons, routers and browsers, and satellites and servers. Is the (sic) cyber sea the new global commons, and it is untamed." [Discussion not related to U. S. Africa Command] SEN. HAGAN: Well, I understand that, in the summer of 2009, EUCOM held an exercise called the Combined Endeavor, which included a mix of international, interagency, and public/private entities focused on computer network defense. I also understand that NATO recently established a Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Estonia to enhance the capability, cooperation and information-sharing among NATO nations and our partners in cyberdefense. How can this endeavor serve as a model for the development of multinational policies to ensure continued, unimpeded and lawful access to cyberspace? ADM. STAVRIDIS: Thank you for highlighting those activities of European Command. I hasten to say that each of the combatant commanders is taking this on. And I know General Ward is doing this. I know obviously STRATCOM is at the very heart of it, as General Mattis said. We're all grappling with this. And I think that the more we cross-communicate and cross-level our efforts at this stage, the more effective we'll be in dealing with this. So I believe that exercises that bring international, interagency and private/public actors together as we try to do a Combined Endeavor need to be elevated and taken to a higher level by the -- by the -- by the nations that want to connect on this. And we're working that very hard, as you mentioned, on the NATO side, as through the center in Estonia. SEN. HAGAN: I'm very concerned about this, because I see just numerous examples going forward of where we will be subject to much more attack on the cyber (side ?). ADM. STAVRIDIS: Yes, Senator. SEN. HAGAN: General Ward, as you know, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the largest and most expensive. And reportedly the U.N. could begin withdrawing its troops from the western portion of the country, I understand, as early as June of 2010. And additionally, the U.N. peacekeeping mission reportedly plans to begin withdrawing from the unstable eastern portion of the country in June of 2011. And studies estimate that up to 1,200 people die each day from conflict-related causes as well as diseases and malnutrition. Rampant corruption and pervasive weak government allows members of the national army and members of armed groups alike to abuse civilians. Can you please describe the effects that a U.N. peacekeeping mission withdrawal from the Democratic Republic of the Congo would have on the stability of the country and region? And what plans are in place to counter the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda that's focused on destabilizing the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo? And I'll be happy to repeat any of that. GEN. WARD: (Laughs.) Well, thank you, Senator. I'm sure if I don't get to everything, you'll remind me. First, as President Kabila talks to the United Nations and the withdrawal of those forces from the Congo, I too think it would not be a good idea for that to occur too quickly. The conditions that you have described with respect to the corruption, the professionalism of the armed forces of the Congo, their activities, the lawlessness in the eastern part of the country, to be sure, all contribute to abuses to the population, to instability. And the United Nations force that's there has clearly been a force for good in addressing those conditions. As large as that contingent is, given the size of the Congo, it is still not covering that entire country. So any place where those forces are reduced would have, I believe, a negative effect. Right now the western part of the country is, in fact, the most stable, so it would probably be least affected with the withdrawal of United Nations forces. But clearly in the eastern part of the country, where the majority of the things occur against the people, either being committed by rebel groups who operate in that region or, in some cases, by the armed force of the Congo itself, I think the removal of United Nations forces would have a detrimental effect on those overall conditions. As we work with the Department of State and others with the Congolese as they address, in a comprehensive way, the plethora of conditions that contribute to that instability, that contribute to the lawlessness, our focus now is moving ahead with a training of a battalion, a battalion that hopefully can serve as a model for what professional behavior is and what it could lead to for other parts of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have begun that program in earnest about two weeks ago. It will run about another six or seven months. And should it prove successful, there's potential that it could be expanded to other battalions as well to help a process of increasing professionalism of the armed forces of the Republic of Congo to move ahead. The work being done by the FDLR in the east, those activities, the Congolese are addressing that through some of their activities, supported by the United Nations. And I think that, too, is important work as a part of the overall comprehensive way that those rebel groups have to be addressed. And as we've also seen, I might add, with the cooperation that exists between Uganda, the Congo, Rwanda, as well as the Central African Republic in a regional way to address these common threats, is something we also will continue to encourage. SEN. HAGAN: Well, I'm extremely concerned about the number of people that are dying every day and certainly the abuse of their men and women. It's just reprehensible. But thank you for your testimony. Thank you. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Hagan. Senator Burris. SEN. ROLAND BURRIS (D-IL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I, too, want to add my thanks to these three distinguished Americans who've dedicated their lives to protecting us. So from you -- from me to you, thank you, gentlemen. And I will submit, Mr. Chairman, some questions for the record, because I have a whole list of them here. And I'm going to try to start with General Ward. General, your command was designed to employ the whole-of- government approach to executing theater security cooperation and to facilitate counterterrorism effort within the African nations. Now, General, what is the future role of the Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and the military base in Djibouti? What is the future role of that, General? GEN. WARD: Sir, Camp Lemonnier is, I believe, a very critical part of our national structure in that part of the continent. It serves four combatant commands, not just mine. It also serves U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, as well as U.S. Transportation Command, as a logistics hub, as an end-route infrastructure point, as well as a training platform. It, I think, is in the long-term interest of the United States to maintain that facility to the degree that we have it and continue to improve upon it that will allow our activities in support of our missions in that part of the world to be facilitated. So it is very important to us. I think it has great long-term meaning for us. And I will clearly endorse it over the long term. CJTF HOA, which is my force that's there right now, continues to do work in the region insofar as helping build the capacity of those nations in East Africa to counter the terror threat, as well as to be able to deal with the threat of terror by increasing their capacity. We're providing training assistance, equipping assistance, mentoring assistance, professionalization of their militaries, as well as helping to bring together them in a regional way as they continue to work together toward just that common threat. So both activities, both the platform itself being Camp Lemonnier, important; the work being done by the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa as it executes its programs, fully in line with the goals and objectives of my command, of U.S. AFRICOM, also very, very instrumental in promoting that degree of professionalism in East Africa and in other parts of the continent where we see those unique capabilities that could be applied, in particular the civil affairs work -- SEN. BURRIS: General, do you feel, since you're the last command to be stood up here, that you are fully operative and fully personnel- staffed correctly, or do you really need additional staff personnel? GEN. WARD: Senator, we always look for more. And we think that the work that we've done with the interagency through our OSD -- the deputy secretary of Defense has written to all of his colleagues asking for additional interagency support -- not that we would do the work of the interagency, but so that the interagency input to our work could be further assuring that what we do, in fact, is in keeping with supporting the overall comprehensive work being done by other parts of our government. We don't have all that we would like to have, but there's a recognition on the part of our interagency partners that they should be and want to be a part of this command. And as we continue to move forward, we see that occurring. That's why I endorse all that the secretary of Defense and the chairman says about, you know, increasing the capacity of our interagency partners as well, so that they can, in fact, participate -- (inaudible). SEN. BURRIS: Are you going to get Egypt into your African Command? When do you anticipate that taking place? GEN. WARD: Egypt, as you pointed out, Senator, is aligned with Central Command. But for matters of the continent of Africa, currently we can work with Egypt. In fact, I will be in Egypt in the matter of a couple of weeks. SEN. BURRIS: I see. General -- GEN. WARD: So I work with them on matters of the continent. SEN. BURRIS: Pardon me for interrupting. And also, General, the reason why we've not been able to locate African Command in an African country is because of the politics of these countries. And locating the right country would be a major undertaking. Is that the reason why we've not located it there? Is it still in Stuttgart? Or can we find a very friendly African country to headquarter African Command on the continent of Africa? GEN. WARD: Senator, very complex. The reasons that you cite are part of it, but it's more than that. And at this point in time, I think if our work is to be about increasing the capacity of African nations, it's our programs, our activities that we do in about 38 different countries right now that's the important part in the effort. To find a location with all the other associated issues would be distracting to the real work of the command; that is, through our programs. SEN. BURRIS: And Admiral, the theater engagements seem to be a major tool used by the command when partnering with the nations within the area -- your area of responsibility. Now, how is the National Guard's state partnership program integrated into your theater engagement strategy, Admiral? [Discussion not related to U. S. Africa Command] Then there's a larger force of people that we would endeavor to train as well. And that would be the back-up force -- the sustainment force that would replace these others after -- SEN. BURRIS: So we are using contractors for some of this. GEN. MATTIS: I'm sorry, sir? SEN. BURRIS: We are using contractors for some of this service, are we not? For these forces -- you know, the private contractors that you see in the theater? GEN. MATTIS: The ones we're looking at that I just described are under the Department of State, Ambassador Herbst's effort, and those are all government employees. SEN. BURRIS: Okay. GEN. MATTIS: Contractors would be a separate issue and we do that when we have to fill the gaps, frankly, sir, when we don't have the active duty or active government civilians that we can put in. SEN. BURRIS: Okay. My time is expired so I will yield, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Burris. Senator Bill Nelson. SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for your public service. Tomorrow, in our Emerging Threats subcommittee, we're going to look at the comprehensive way that the military, integrating with the civilian agencies, can best project U.S. power and interest. This is particularly applicable to General Ward and Admiral Stavridis, not only with regard to your present interest in Afghanistan, Admiral, but also your previous command of Southern Command. And General Ward, clearly, Africa Command is taking this comprehensive approach. Now, Mr. Chairman, I just was not very satisfied when we had the assistant secretary for -- assistant secretary of Defense, Ms. Flournoy, come to talk to us about the policy. And it didn't seem to me that the Department of Defense had its act together on integrating. And it was like that there were the same old answers about stovepipes that we're trying to break down. You give your commanders on the ground the opportunity that they have a certain amount of CERP funds that they can go out and dig a well or build a school, but above that, an integrated approach -- which is key to Afghanistan, which is key to Africa, which is key to Latin America -- things like wells, education, training for jobs, the position of women, medical. All of these things that for us to be successful in Third World areas, like we're projected, there's got to be a holistic approach. Now, the military has been so good as the one who leads it. And that, of course, is what is the thrust of Africa Command -- and Admiral Stavridis, your former command. I'd like to have you reflect, because I'm worried about Afghanistan that once we get beyond those CERP funds, that these courageous young officers can go in and utilize, that then we get right back into the old stovepipes. And I've got the head of USAID coming in the morning. And I want to talk to that person about this. So can the two of you give me some advice? And also, advice for our Emerging Threats subcommittee, which is the -- it's the subject of our hearing tomorrow, Mr. Chairman. ADM. STAVRIDIS: Senator, I fully share your -- your prescription, which is that we have to put together what we actually call in NATO a comprehensive approach. It's a whole-of-society approach. It really is interagency, international, private-public. And it all has to be connected in a way that we have not been terrifically effective at in any of these theaters. We will never deliver security in Afghanistan from the barrel of a gun. It has got to come as a result of all of these mechanisms working together. To that end, I just met myself with Dr. Shah, the administrator of USAID. He's extremely impressive, highly energized and energetic and he's coming out of the Gates Foundation, which gives him a very significant grounding in this private-public kind of connection. So we're exploring with him how we can better partner. State Department, as General Mattis is talking about, is working very hard at this with Ambassador Herbst and his team. We have a long way to go, but I believe that this precise issue is the most important security issue for the United States moving forward in this 21st century. And back to the cyber piece: If you look at cyber as one of these emerging threats, it's a classic example of why this comprehensive approach is needed. So I fully validate it. I believe all of the departments should continue to be pushed very hard to integrate their efforts at all levels. And that getting that balance of civilian-military, private-public, interagency is crucial to our security going forward. SEN. NELSON: Kip? GEN. WARD: Senator, I clearly concur with what Admiral Stavridis just indicated. We know that it's something that's important to do. We have not broken the code at how to do it at echelon. We do it fairly well on the ground. The country teams in the countries where the Department of State, USAID, other members of the interagency who are there working with, obviously, the military component do a fairly good job of harmonizing the activities that occur on the ground. How we plan those endeavors we need to do better at it. In my command, as we bring in members of the interagency to help us with our planning, it's a two-way street, because through their understanding of us, their input back to their parent organization can help ensure a harmonization of the planning that occurs. As the secretary has pointed out, we think the capacity of some of the interagency partners to do that needs to be more robust. And so we support those efforts that would, in fact, robust their capacity to participate in the planning, as well as in the execution of these programs that bring the comprehensive effects to stability that you address. So we recognize it's an issue. It works more -- better than not at the lower echelons. We need to expand that through echelons so at the inception of our work, we have done a better job of combining what we called this 3D approach: the issues of development, that is obviously a public- private partnership; the issues of diplomacy, which includes obviously good governance and those things that address how a society is governed; and defense -- those security aspects that need to be there so that those other things can in fact work. SEN. NELSON: Well, what advice should I give to the head of USAID tomorrow? And what questions should I ask in our hearing tomorrow that would get around USAID -- they go out, and they contract with somebody to do this. Let's say it's digging wells, but there's clearly need for education over here -- let's take Afghanistan -- and a medical clinic, and training for jobs. How do we get the comprehensive approach? You've got each of these NGOs, and they want to do their thing. How do we get it all combined in an approach? ADM. STAVRIDIS: Two thoughts. One is the QDDR, which is what AID and State are working together now. This is happening in real time. So, I think that that's an opportunity to work on the integration, the alignment and the partnering between AID and State. [Discussion not related to U. S. Africa Command] LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Nelson. Senator Thune. SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): Thank you Mr. Chairman. General, Admiral, General, thank you very much for being here. And thank you for your outstanding service to our country. General Mattis, I wanted to get your views on the development of the air-sea battle concept. As you know, the new QDR directs the Navy and the Air Force to develop a joint air-sea battle concept for defeating adversaries with sophisticated anti-access and area-denial capabilities, which in turn, will help guide the development of future capabilities needed for effective power projection operations. [Discussion not related to U. S. Africa Command] SEN. THUNE: Admiral, advanced weapon systems design for anti- access and area denial are -- are being proliferated throughout the world, including in the European and command area of responsibility. Russia is developing advanced surface-to-air missile systems, advanced fifth-generation-type, fighter aircraft, and even hinting at plans to develop a new, long-range bomber. While the likelihood of conflict with Russia is low, it seems more likely that we will be involved in a future conflict against adversaries who possess advanced anti-aircraft and area-denial weapons systems sold to them by the Russians. What are your views on these activities by the Russians to develop and proliferate anti-access and area-denial systems? ADM. STAVRIDIS: Senator, we continuously evaluate globally all of the threat systems that are emerging. And indeed, Russia is developing some very sophisticated ones that you mentioned, along with some -- I would add some sub-surface submarine kinds of capabilities. So clearly, we have to pace that. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] ADM. STAVRIDIS: Sir, I have no idea. That would be squarely in the purview of the Department of State. SEN. THUNE: Okay. All right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all very much. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Thune. We expect votes just about now -- there's four votes coming. So let's try to have a second round for everybody. You have additional questions, Senator Burris? SEN. BURRIS: No, Mr. Chairman. I'm just trying to listen to these distinguished gentlemen -- SEN. LEVIN: Okay, great. I just have a few, and then we can turn it over to Senator Inhofe. ADM. STAVRIDIS: I think we are literally signing the final MOUs this week, and I anticipate that deployment going forward in the next 30 days. SEN. LEVIN: Okay, that's good. The AFRICOM manning issue has been raised, General, as to whether or not you have enough personnel, and you've indicated you'd like some more if you can get them. But my question has to do with this: You have apparently -- your service components are not assigned to you as assigned forces. Is that correct? GEN. WARD: The service components are assigned, sir. They have no assigned forces under them, but my -- SEN. LEVIN: Under them. GEN. WARD: -- my components are assigned to me. SEN. LEVIN: Okay, but underneath them there are no forces. Do I have that right now? GEN. WARD: That's correct. SEN. LEVIN: Okay. And those forces are generally provided through a Global Force Management and a Request For Forces system. And have you applied for forces -- have you made that request through that system? GEN. WARD: I have. I use the Global Force Management process, as do the other combatant commands as well, for satisfying my requirements for forces to do our missions that we have to undertake on the continent. SEN. LEVIN: All right. And finally, the department is currently in the process of updating the guidance for employment of the force -- the GEF, which establishes the department's strategic objectives for campaign planning, and security cooperation, and the priorities to be established. There's an ongoing rewrite of the GEF. It's the first, I think, since AFRICOM was established. Is AFRICOM receiving a fair hearing under that revision process? GEN. WARD: Yes, Senator. I've been a part of that process and I'm fully aware that the Department of Defense, as it looks at its revision of the GEF, is looking at ensuring that the requirement that we have for resources to conduct a very essential building partner capacity is being treated at a level of priority different than the past, so that those forces that are required to do that mission will enjoy a higher priority than has been the case in the past. And we are participating in that process. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much. Senator Inhofe. ADM. STAVRIDIS: Can I just associate -- SEN. LEVIN: Sure, Admiral, sure. ADM. STAVRIDIS: -- myself with General Ward on that particular issue. I think it is a bit of a sea-change in the department and it's a good one. SEN. LEVIN: Good, thank you. Senator Inhofe. SEN. INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Admiral Stavridis, there's only one area where I disagree with you, and I've told you this before, but I'd like to have you tell me where I'm wrong on this: Our intelligence tells us that Iran would have the long-range ballistic capability somewhere between 2015 and 2020 -- I'd say 2015 then, as serious as that is. [Discussion not related to U.S. Africa Command] SEN. INHOFE: Well, that's all right. And I don't disagree with you. I've been a strong supporter of the Aegis system, but we're talking about long-range ICBMs. And, okay, fine, we'll get that for the record. General Ward, I was appreciative of the fact that you said some good things about Ethiopia in the response to -- I believe it was the Chairman's question. Specifically, I know that the one who's been under attack in Ethiopia more than anyone else is Prime Minister Meles. My personal feeling is he's got a tough job. He's a tough guy, and he's been able to do it. Do you have -- would you make the same comments about his leadership as you would just Ethiopia in general? GEN. WARD: Senator, I meet with Prime Minister Meles quite regularly, and I have a huge respect for his leadership and the work that he does, especially as it pertains to addressing the threat of terror and cooperating with those who also address that threat of terror in East Africa, yes, sir. SEN. INHOFE: Yeah, and the fact that he was there with us when the Somalia thing happened. I think he's taken a bum rap, is my position. When you were talking to Senator Hagan, I guess it was, about the cooperation between Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo -- and I personally have talked to Museveni and Kagame and Kabila on their cooperation with each other, but in another area, and that is the area of the LRA in Northern Uganda, or whoever they are right now. We made a point to go over to East Africa, to Goma, thinking that was about where he was last seen, and he's had another reign of terror since that time. We have legislation right now that is going to try to give more assistance to those presidents in those countries, and to try to end this, what I call one of the worst reigns of terror I've ever personally observed, and I've been there and have observed it. Do you think we should be helping with more resources to end that particular LRA problem? Would you support me on that? GEN. WARD: Yes, sir. The work being done by that group of countries to combat the atrocities that the LRA has committed for over 25 years is work that's important and I think our support to those ongoing efforts is important support. SEN. INHOFE: Well, I think most of the members on this committee are actually cosponsors of the legislation that we have that would be helpful to resolve that. One of the problems we have is that all three of these presidents came from a military background and there's always a little bit of concern over, you know, is this reflecting "I can't do it myself" type of thing. But I think we're finally in a position to jointly work on this thing. Let's see. Is there anything else in terms of what is taking place right now in Africa? Maybe you can give us a couple of examples of the improvements you've made working with the African military -- some of the successes there. GEN. WARD: Thank you, Senator. There are several. As an example, as we work with the littoral nations on their maritime safety and security, our various programs -- what we call the Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Program. It's an interagency construct, we bring in members of the Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, working with African nations, their legal systems, such that they have a better ability to provide for their territorial integrity of their waters, and that is working. We conducted an exercise in East Africa whereby we had five participating nations, the first time ever they came together, jointly working to help address a natural disaster or humanitarian assistance scenario, but as was pointed out to me by a chief of defense of one of these nations, the first time ever that as convoys moved through that part of the continent, militaries that in the past, ten years ago you would not have thought that they would come together to link up and then move to a common objective, which was conducted in the north of Uganda where LRA had just three short years ago been running with abandon and devastating the populations there. Those are happening all over the place. We had a training operation in Mali. In the chairman's opening statement he mentioned what went on in Mali last summer. A member who received training this past January said he had that training prior to that last July situation, where the Malians encountered Al Qaeda and Islamic Maghreb forces. He said it would not have happened, so our work to train and assist these countries so that they can be in a better position to address these threats themselves is paying off. SEN. INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I applaud all three of you folks and the great work you're doing. GEN. WARD: Thank you, Senator Inhofe. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Inhofe. Senator Lieberman, I'm going to have to leave now, so I'll turn the gavel over to Senator Lieberman. Thank you all very much for your service. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Mr. Chairman. General Ward, I just really want to say to you, first, how impressed I am and as I hear you answer the questions about what's happening within the African continent and your involvement in it, your knowledge of it. And how important it is, I think that we created this African command, because I think we were paying too little attention to this critically important continent. And I think you're bringing to it the same kind of critical different relationship with the leaders there, that in some of the regions of the world the most important person in the region really is our regional commander. Now, as you said to me when I began this conversation before the hearing, it's only in a sense the door in, and it hopefully leads to other relationships -- diplomatic, political, economic et cetera -- but anyway, I wanted to thank you for the way in which you've done your job and it's been very important. Admiral Stavridis, I wanted to ask you -- I know you've been asked a little bit about missile defense. In your role, you're going to be responsible for operating the early stages of the phased adaptive missile defense system for Europe. I thought I'd ask you first for an analysis, if you will, or a report on what the state of European public opinion is about missile defense. In other words, do the Europeans feel vulnerable now? There have been times in not-so-distant history where I think they haven't. Do they feel vulnerable and if so, who are they worried about firing missiles at them? ADM. STAVRIDIS: Sir, I think there's a growing appreciation in Europe for the danger, specifically from Iran. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right. ADM. STAVRIDIS: I think they look at the nature of that regime, clearly a state sponsor of terrorism, working hard to develop a nuclear device. Additionally, I think there's a great deal of understanding that the ballistic missile technology that the Iranians possess is moving apace, and so that is having a salutary effect on the European proclivity to be engaged with us in missile defense. Now, it varies from country to country, and there are a number of factors that range from geography to relationships with the United States to general world outlook that shape it, but in my opinion it's fair to say that we are seeing a growing appreciation of it. And again, I have to applaud Assistant Secretary Ellen Tauscher, who is moving forward on the diplomatic side of this thing. She's an expert in all of this. And she's doing, I think, a very credible job of forging the practical partnerships which I believe over time will grow into a fully integrated missile defense. SEN. LIEBERMAN: I appreciate that and I appreciate the work that Ellen Tauscher has done, as you do. There was some concern here on Capitol Hill, as you know, when the decision was made to pull back from the initial plan -- the Polish/Czech plan. How are we doing? I know you've answered this in part, but how are we doing on the development of the alternative system, and are you confident that it will meet the target dates we've set so it will provide adequate defense? ADM. STAVRIDIS: I'm certainly confident that the first stage will. It'll be sea-based, and as you heard me say to Senator Inhofe, I've a great deal of confidence in that part of it. Given the track record of that system and the technology embedded in it, I am reasonably confident that it will be adapted, phased adaptive approach and will transition to a shore-based system within the targets that are set for it. Now, nobody can predict the delivery of defense technology. We've all been surprised on that occasionally, but given the track record of the system and given my understanding of where we are, I think it's very reasonable to expect that we will hit those bells as we move forward. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay, that's good to hear. You probably saw, there was a related article, relevant, in the Washington Post this morning about the MEADS system, and I'll quote from it. It says, "After several failed attempts, the Army is trying again to cancel a $19 billion missile defense system that the United States is developing in partnership with Italy and Germany, known as the Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS, that has been in the works for more than a decade and is designed to replace, in part, the Army's aging Patriot system." I wanted to ask you whether you have been involved in discussions with your Army colleagues about this program and what your opinion of it is, and ultimately, do you see this -- a unique feature of this is that we've got a couple of our European allies not only involved but picking up a big chunk of the bill -- whether you see the MEADS system as part of the phased adaptive missile defense system that you're now helping to implement. ADM. STAVRIDIS: I have not gone into detail on MEADS with my Army brethren who are developing that here in the United States. I will tell you in Europe there is a sense that the system can be a functioning part of a missile defense system, and I recently spoke with several chiefs of defense from the participating nations who mentioned that. I think, Senator Lieberman, it's also indicative of the relationship between the United States and Israel, where we are working and looking at some of the Israeli capabilities that you're aware of -- the Iron Dome system, the Aero System. I think we in the United States do not have the market cornered on all the smart technology and we would be well-served by reaching out to our allies and finding what can be integrated. And I think MEADS potentially is, in fact, a player in that, so I will continue to follow the MEADS story as it unfolds, but I think it's more important as an example of how additional technologies can be adapted to the phased adaptive approach, which is one reason it's an attractive system. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay, so at this point you're inclined to favor the continuation of the MEADS program? ADM. STAVRIDIS: I don't know enough about MEADS to make that statement, sir. SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right. Okay. But -- no, I agree with you. There is a growing appreciation among allies in Europe, in the Middle East, and in Asia of the missile threat, particularly from Iran and North Korea. And it just makes a lot of sense for us to operate as we have been, cooperatively. You're right. The last time I was in Israel, I saw some video of the testing of the Iron Dome system, which is a defense against short-range missiles or rockets, and it was quite impressive. And we're partners in that with the Israelis and we'll have full benefit, I think, from its technologies in terms, for instance, of protecting American personnel bases in places like Europe or the Middle East from potential short- range missile rocket attack. ADM. STAVRIDIS: Yes, sir. SEN. LIEBERMAN: That's it for me. I've got to go over and vote. It's been a very informational and encouraging hearing. I'm sure the committee, as it normally does, will try our best to authorize to a level that will continue to allow the three of you and the many men and women in uniform who serve under you to do the job that we ask you to do in defense of our security and our freedom. Thank you very much. This hearing is adjourned. (Sounds gavel.) END Copyright 2010 by Federal News Service, Inc., Suite 500, 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. 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