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TRANSCRIPT: United States Policy to Counter the Lord's Resistance Army
Amanda J. Dory, deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for African affairs, joined Donald Yamamoto, principal deputy assistant Secretary of State for African affairs, and Earl Gast, U.S. Agency for International Development assistant administrator
Amanda J. Dory, deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for African affairs, joined Donald Yamamoto, principal deputy assistant Secretary of State for African affairs, and Earl Gast, U.S. Agency for International Development assistant administrator for Africa, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's African Affairs Subcommittee, "United States Policy to Counter the Lord's Resistance Army," April 24, 2012.

The transcript is provided below.

For more information on U.S. policy to counter the Lord's Resistance Army, see video and testimony transcripts at http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/us-policy-to-counter-the-lords-resistance-army. Also see related article, "U.S. Supports Pushback Against Lord's Resistance Army".


Chaired by:

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)

Witnesses:

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto
Earl Gast, Assistant Administrator for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development;
Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Amanda Dory

Location: 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. Time: 10:00 a.m. EDT Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SENATOR CHRIS COONS (D-DE) (Sounds gavel.) I'm pleased to chair this hearing of the African Affairs Subcommittee examining U.S. policy to counter the Lord's Resistance Army. I'd like to welcome my good friend, Senator Isakson, Senator Inhofe, other members of the committee are expected, as well as our distinguished witnesses today, Principal Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto, assistant administrator for Africa of USAID Earl Gast and Deputy Assistant, excuse me, Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Amanda Dory. Thank you very much for being with us today and welcome.

And our second panel, Ms. Jolly Okot, Regional Ambassador for Invisible Children, and Mr. Jacob Acaye, a former LRA abductee who will share with us on the second panel their personal experiences of working to help communities in Uganda recover from the LRA and their personal experiences of being victimized by the LRA, which I think will add some strength and breadth to today's hearing.

As we all know, for more than two decades the Lord's Resistance Army has committed brutal attacks against civilians in central Africa that have destabilized the region, resulted in systematic killings, displacement, kidnapping, mutilation and rape. Joseph Kony and his commanders have abducted tens of thousands of children to serve as child soldiers and sex slaves forcing them to commit terrible acts. And today, as I mentioned, we are privileged and humbled to hear from two victims of the LRA, Jacob and Jolly, both about their enduring horrific experiences in Uganda and their courageous efforts to live forward and to make positive change in the world from that experience.

Joseph Kony epitomizes the worst of mankind and evil in the modern day and, as I mentioned, while the LRA has left Uganda in 2006, it continues to burn a path of destruction through the whole region. As you can see from this chart, in the past four months alone, the LRA has committed 132 attacks in three countries -- the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan despite an increased U.S. presence and regional efforts to counter them.

There has been and continues to be broad and bipartisan support for stopping Kony. This was demonstrated in May of 2010 with the overwhelming passage by Congress of the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which made it U.S. policy to work with regional governments to remove Kony and his top lieutenants from the battlefield and protect civilians.

There was also bipartisan support for the recent deployment of 100 U.S. military advisors which just yesterday President Obama, in his speech at the Holocaust Museum, announced would continue in their mission to train regional militaries.

Bipartisan support for this issue is so strong that six of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including the two senators with me on the dais at the moment, joined last week in releasing a video about the Senate's longstanding commitment to countering the LRA that I would like to make a part of these proceedings. And with the consent of the other senators I had hoped at this point we would show that video for the benefit of this hearing today.

(Video plays.)

SEN. COONS: That video was in large part motivated by a desire to respond to the millions of young people around the world who have been engaged by and encouraged to be active on this issue by Invisible Children, by Resolve, by the Enough Project and by their joint efforts to publicize this ongoing, decades-long scourge in Central Africa. It really is, I think, a once in a generation moment when we have the attention of millions of folks around the world.

And so I want us to now move to our first panel to hear about the status of the hunt for Joseph Kony, the multilateral effort against the LRA, America's investments in recovery, and I want to thank the two Senators to my left both for their participation in the video and for their long leadership on this issue.

At that, I'd like to ask Senator Isakson for his opening statement before we go to the first panel.

SENATOR JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA): Well, I'll be very brief because I want to hear from the panelists, but Assistant Secretary Yamamoto, Administrator Gast and particularly Amanda Dory, I'm delighted that you're here today. You gave me a great briefing before I went to Uganda early in the month of April, and I'm pleased to report coming back from that trip that our United States forces under DOD that are in Uganda and other parts of Central Africa assisting the various armies in the African Union are doing what our troops always do, they're making America proud and they're bringing resources to the use of those armies that would not otherwise be available. And the assets they've deployed and the intelligence that they are gathering is being very, very helpful in terms of the pursuit of Joseph Kony.

And I want to particularly recognize Jolly, who's here today, and Jacob, thank you for being here. We're anxious to hear your story. I'd lots rather hear from you than me, so, Mr. Chairman, I'm going to turn it back to you to conduct the hearing.

SEN. COONS: Thank you, Senator. Senator Inhofe.

SENATOR JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): I'll be very brief. I have another hearing across the hall that I'm going to have to be attending. But I just returned from the East African community and, as Ambassador Yamamoto would tell you, that was my 123rd African country visit in 15 years, and one of the most revealing one was back in 2005.

And I only want to mention this because I think it may have gone kind of unnoticed. My first trip up to Gulu was in 2005, when we heard there was a guy up there named Joseph Kony. When I got up there, there were three guys who I really believe we would not be where we are today if it hadn't been for them. They were the Invisible Children guys -- they had their camera going up there -- Jason Russell, Laren Poole and Bobby Bailey. And when they put together their first thing and went out and engendered the support I can tell you right now we ended up getting 64 co-sponsors to 1067. I did most of that and could not have done it without those kids harassing all the members of the Senate to get them to be interested in this mission.

So I joined them and I'm just glad that, hopefully, this will be the year. We are going to do all of the resources we can. I want to remind people, as I always do, that the amendments that we put on the 2012 national defense authorization language was one that precludes Americans from engaging in combat, and I think that's very important for people to know because we get a lot of criticism for getting places like Libya and other places where perhaps we shouldn't be, but they need the support, they have the support and I will be visiting with President Kabila later this afternoon on a plan that he has. So you have not just five countries but you have included in that the additional five countries of the East African Community, all working together to make this happen. Thanks for all your support on this.

SEN. COONS: Thank you, Senator Inhofe. I'd like to now move to our first panel. Ambassador Yamamoto.

DONALD YAMAMOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for this great opportunity to speak to you today on our efforts to counter the Lord's Resistance Army. The LRA is a weakened force but its humanitarian impact remains disproportionate. It continues to terrorize and uproot communities across three countries, primarily the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Southern Sudan. And, Senator, let me say that we are all very grateful to you, Senator Coons, Senator Isakson, and Senator Inhofe for everything you have done.

It's very humbling to be here before you and the work that you have done to inspire us in our work here. Consistent with the legislation that you all passed in 2010, we continue to pursue a multifaceted strategy to support regional efforts to end the threat posed by the LRA. Let me stress that the governments of the region are in the lead. Their troops are making the most important sacrifices and their people are confronting the LRA's terror. These governments are the ones that are ultimately responsible for ending this threat and protecting local communities. The United States is trying to help them fulfill these responsibilities.

Mr. Chairman, we continue to look for ways in which we can enhance the capacity of these militaries to succeed. Last October, President Obama authorized the deployment of a small number of U.S. military forces to serve as advisors to the regional forces pursuing the LRA. The president announced yesterday that the United States will continue this deployment.

My colleagues from the Department of Defense will go into more detail on this work of the advisors. We are coordinating closely with the United Nations peacekeeping missions in the region, especially to promote civilian protection. We have encouraged the U.N. to scale up its efforts when possible. We are also working very closely with the African Union to increase its efforts to address the LRA.

Last month, the AU officially launched the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the LRA. These new initiatives, united together, offer real promise. However, as Chairman Kerry wrote earlier this month, ending the LRA threat is not an easy mission. The LRA operates in very small groups across vast territories roughly the size of California and very heavily forested. Mr. Chairman, effectively ending the LRA threat requires simultaneously removing the top leadership from the battlefield and addressing the conditions that leave a community so vulnerable to the predatory troops such as the LRA. That is why the United States is seeking to pursue a multifaceted four-pillar program and that is to increase protection of civilians; the apprehension and removal of Joseph Kony and others; the promotion of defections of the LRA in support of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of remaining LRA fighters and; number four, the provision of continued humanitarian relief to affected areas.

And in partnership with USAID, the State Department is supporting projects to increase civilian protection, to enhance early warning capabilities and strengthen the overall resilience of communities. We also believe that the targeted efforts to encourage the LRA fighters to peacefully surrender can have a great effect on reducing the LRA's number. Mr. Chairman, we believe there is an opportunity for further U.S. support, using the State Department's War Crimes Rewards Program. We welcome legislations that would expand the authority of this program to that end.

In closing, let me reiterate that our partners in the region who are in the lead in countering the LRA threat and its impact, but the United States can provide a critical, capable support to these efforts. Mr. Chairman, I submit a longer version for the record and I also just want to take this, a word just to say thank you to Ben Keesey and the Invisible Children and to Jacob and the others who are here today. Thank you.

SEN. COONS: Thank you so much, Ambassador Yamamoto. Assistant Administrator Gast.

EARL GAST: Good morning, Chairman Coons. Good morning, Ranking Member Isakson. Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today. It's a pleasure to be back here again so soon.

For over two decades the Lord's Resistance Army terrorized communities across huge swathes of Northern Uganda, abducting civilians and forcing children to become soldiers. The LRA was finally driven out of Uganda in 2006, and since then, Northern Uganda has undergone a transformation that is tangible. People can move freely, banks and stores are open, and fields are being cultivated. Poverty declined from 61 percent in 2005 to an estimated 46 percent in 2010, and 95 percent of the more than 1.8 million Ugandans who were displaced by the conflict have returned to their homes.

Working with the government of Uganda and civil society organizations, the United States has done a tremendous amount to solidify this progress by supporting the rebuilding of communities and economies. Today the LRA's numbers are significantly reduced, but it continues to commit atrocities throughout large parts of Central Africa, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Sudan. LRA violence has displaced more than 445,000 persons in an area the size of California that is harsh, remote and underdeveloped. As the threat has shifted from Northern Uganda to the Central African Republic and the Congo and South Sudan, USAID has adjusted its response to address humanitarian needs and increase the protection of civilians in these areas, which is at the core of our strategy.

Our programs, which aim to assist nearly a quarter of a million persons are having a significant impact. Because the LRA preys on vulnerable communities, we are supporting coordinated efforts to reduce the vulnerability of those communities. In the DRC, USAID has engaged 24 villages to form local protection committees that are identifying security threats and assessing what they can do to mitigate those problems. Once these protection plans are in place, the use of high frequency radios will reinforce and extend an existing network of radios managed by the Catholic church as an early warning system.

USAID also supports the reunification and reintegration of formerly abducted children into their families and communities and is helping to meet their significant psychosocial needs with therapy and life skills training. USAID is also helping women purchase sewing machines, fabric and basic accessories. Most of these women are the sole providers for their children, and they can now earn a living through tailoring and producing clothing for clients in and around their communities.

USAID has been heavily engaged in LRA-affected areas of Uganda since the late 1980s and our efforts have shown that development can flourish once stability and security have taken root. As the conflict first began to exact severe economic losses, cause mass displacement and weaken governance in Northern Uganda, USAID focused on providing lifesaving assistance to those affected by the conflict. When the LRA was finally driven out of Northern Uganda, our programs shifted from relief to recovery and then to longer-term development, which is taking place now.

USAID's Northern Uganda Transition Initiative was a critical step in this evolution from relief, humanitarian assistance to development. This flagship program renovated public service buildings throughout war-affected regions including government office buildings, schools and teacher housing, health clinics, markets, police and justice facilities, and at a time of tremendous risk and uncertainty the initiative quickly became a cornerstone of our strategy in Northern Uganda and was highly valued by our Ugandan partners for its speed, for its flexibility and its impact.

By partnering directly with government offices, the initiative not only helped communities begin to rebuild but also increased the visibility of and confidence in all levels of government. This effort sent a clear message that peace had returned to the region and the government of Uganda was now at the helm of the reconstruction process.

In northern Uganda, USAID's strategy has now woven into the government of Uganda's Peace, Recovery and Development Plan, which has ushered in the return of stability to the region and we are working closely with the Departments of State and Defense as well as other donors and regional government and civil society organizations that are on the ground to make this a truly concerted push to help communities cope, recover and rebuild.

Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today and I welcome any questions. Thank you.

SEN. COONS: Thank you. Ms. Dory?

AMANDA DORY: Thank you. (Clears throat) -- excuse me. Thank you and good morning, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member. I appreciate this opportunity to update the subcommittee on the Department of Defense's role in countering the Lord's Resistance Army. I particularly appreciate the chance to appear before this committee and my first hearing in my new capacity as deputy assistant secretary for African affairs.

Consistent with the legislation passed by Congress in 2010 and signed into law by the president, the United States continues, as you know, to pursue a comprehensive multiyear strategy to help our regional partners mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the Lord's Resistance Army.

DOD's contribution to this multinational effort is consistent with the new defense strategic guidance which states whenever possible we will develop innovative, low-cost and small-footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives on the African continent, relying on exercises, rotational presence and advisory capabilities. In this operation, U.S. forces are combat equipped for self-defense purposes but do not have an operational role. U.S. advisors are supporting the regional forces in an advisory capacity and seeking to enhance our partners' capabilities to achieve their objectives against the LRA. The militaries of Uganda, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in collaboration with the African Union, continue to pursue the LRA and seek to protect local populations. They are leading this effort. As you know, approximately a hundred U.S. military personnel are deployed for Operation Observant Compass across the four LRA-affected countries. There's a command and control element in Uganda that is working to synchronize and oversee DOD's counter-LRA efforts and to coordinate at the headquarters level with Ugandan forces.

Small teams of U.S. military advisors are also now working with the Ugandan military and national military forces in field locations in LRA-affected areas of Central African Republic and South Sudan. In these two countries, U.S. advisors have helped to set up operations fusion centers to enable daily coordination, information sharing and tactical coordination. The U.S. advisors are also integrating local civilian leaders into the work of the partner forces to improve the effectiveness of the civil-military relations.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, U.S. advisors are supporting efforts by MONUSCO, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission, in the DRC as well as the Congolese military to increase the protection of civilians and address the LRA. Our advisors there are working with MONUSCO's Joint Intelligence Operations Center, which serves as the intelligence fusion hub for these efforts in the DRC. U.S. advisors are connecting the work of the JIOC and that of the operations fusion centers in Central African Republic and South Sudan to increase cross-border analysis and regional coordination on LRA movements.

We believe our support is helping the partner forces to improve their operations. But they continue to face significant challenges in terms of their capabilities to quickly pursue LRA groups across this vast area. DOD appreciates the support provided by the authority in Section 1206 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year '12 -- 2012, which allows the expenditure of $35 million to provide enhanced logistical support, supplies and services to our regional partners. DOD intends to use this authority to provide enhanced mobility support to the regional forces as well as supplies to upgrade the operations fusion centers.

I'll close for now by saying that we believe the U.S. military advisors have established a good foundation and made initial progress, especially considering the complexity of the operating environment, the number of partners involved and the remoteness of the operational areas. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with our interagency partners to ensure our support is having the intended impact. DOD appreciates Congress' strong commitment to countering the LRA and your support for the efforts of our deployed personnel, and we look forward to working with you in the months ahead. Thank you.

SEN. COONS: Thank you so much, Deputy Assistant Secretary Dory, for your testimony and for appearing before us today. Let me, if I could, start a first round of seven minutes with you, if I could, because I'm very interested in this sort of particular sets of questions. What is the level of cooperation at this point between the four regional governments in terms of sharing information, intelligence, coordination, now that these fusion centers are set up, now that the hundred U.S. advisors are sort of facilitating communication?

Where are they in terms of collaboration and what are the main practical and operational challenges associated with the U.S. mission that we might be aware of and might be engaged in supporting either additional logistical support or intelligence assets that might be needed to strengthen AFRICOM's role and to strengthen cooperation and effectiveness with our regional partners?

MS. DORY: Thank you. On the collaboration question, I can speak at the -- at the tactical operational level and I know the State Department will want to add from the diplomatic and strategic level. I'd say the level of collaboration is growing. The advisors that have gone into these operations centers, engaging with partner forces, arrived, for the most part, in the December and January time frame and the first period of time has been involved in establishing their operations and developing the relationships, building rapport and trust with each of the partner militaries.

As we all know, you can't surge trust. That's something that happens with time, and I think they've made tremendous progress in this initial period of time. I think at the tactical level, the level of communication and cooperation is quite close. We see that in terms of the closing between the provision of information and intelligence and then the connection with the operations that are undertaken by the partner militaries.

So I think we have increasing numbers -- (clears throat) -- excuse me, increasing numbers of tangible incidents to point to where there have been LRA engaged directly, where there have been abductees who have been released as a result of the collaboration and the cooperation at the tactical operational level.

In terms of the challenges, I highlighted a couple already and, as you know, the terrain itself is perhaps challenge number one. Challenge number two is perhaps our collective expectations management on how quickly we'll be able to succeed given the terrain, given the multiplicity of the partner forces and given the challenges associated with gathering actionable information during this operation.

I think in terms of some specific to the Operation Observant Compass logistics and ISR are challenge areas for us. There are logistics support being provided at the present time thanks to the State Department's peacekeeping operations, funding support. That's something that DOD will be taking over via our 1206 counter-LRA authority and we intend to increase the amount of the logistics support provided to the partner forces themselves. When it comes to ISR, as you're well aware, there is not enough ISR to go around for any of our combatant commanders. They are constantly making difficult choices within their areas of responsibility. AFRICOM has dedicated assets to the CLRA mission and is looking at other ways to increase the amount of ISR coverage that could be provided going forward.

SEN. COONS: Thank you very much. If I could, just a follow-on question. Then I'd like to go to Ambassador Yamamoto for the same question. But what are the benchmarks for success that will determine the duration of this deployment? You mention expectation management as one of the major challenges right up there with terrain. What's the timeline? What could you suggest in terms of benchmarks that would determine when you would think it was appropriate for the DOD role to wind down?

MS. DORY: I think I terms of benchmarks of success, when we look across the four pillars of the counter-LRA strategy there are quite a few benchmarks to look at. Some of those relate to the total number of defections over time. Some of them relate to the number of LRA successfully engaged. Some of them relate -- these are specific in the DOD realm -- to the capacity building of the partner forces and their ability to increase the effectiveness of their information and intelligence-gathering operations and then to translate that into operational activities on the ground.

Those are some specific ones to the DOD lane. I think there are also metrics or benchmarks when you look at the level of overall development in the areas in terms of the access for humanitarian assistance and the ability to engage in development activities over time along the lines of what we've heard from USAID.

SEN. COONS: Thank you so much. Ambassador Yamamoto, if you'd just speak to the same basic question -- what sort of progress are we making in terms of getting the regional partners we have to collaborate, to coordinate? To what extent is some ongoing hesitancy or distance between the DRC and Uganda contributing to operational challenges in the field and then to what extent is collaboration, coordination in the development and recovery mission also critical to our long-term success?

MR. YAMAMOTO: Thank you very much, Senator. The -- one of the main issues is that the four governments are committed. So that's really kind of the first step in trying to get them together. You are actually correct -- trying to get all these countries to coordinate and cooperate and to have an integrated military force that can coordinate and cooperate is going to be tough.

We were talking to Defense Minister Bozize last week from the Central African Republic, you know -- and his troops, they need equipment. They need training. They need a lot of logistical support. But then in comparison to the Ugandan UPDF they have a much more advanced operation. And so how to integrate these are going to be a challenge but we are trying to overcome those. I think the Special Forces group has been very good about enhancing coordination and cooperation.

The other issue, too, is, of course -- you're actually correct -- the Ugandan troops have not been in the DRC since the elections last year. That's going to take some time but they are committed. We've talked -- we've spoken to President Kabila and Museveni and they are going to work together to make this happen.

But one thing that's really important is that as long as we are remained committed -- the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and the African Union -- that's going to be important and I think the AU, especially setting up their regional task force in Yambio, South Sudan, is one step. The United Nations' peacekeeping operations contributing, that's another step. And right now as we're building that trust, and I think that trust will continue to expand. One thing -- just going back to what Amanda Dory was saying on the benchmarks is if we can engage the enhanced capabilities, coordination and cooperation, that is one level of success and benchmark.

SEN. COONS: Thank you so much, Ambassador. I'm going to turn to Senator Isakson. Then we can resume.

SEN. ISAKSON: Well, first of all, Administrator Gast, I want to describe what I saw in the Gulu area in northern Uganda because your organization and what the NGOs you're contracting with have made a remarkable turn in coordination with the Ugandan government.

We flew into Gulu by local puddlejumper, I guess is the best way to put it, but we got there from Kampala. But one of the things we saw along the way Museveni and the government, since Kony's been out of northern Uganda, which is about five to six years, have built a better road access between Kampala and Gulu where access is now somewhere between seven and eight hours whereas it used to be nonexistent before, which has kind of connected the north to the capital city.

And in the Gulu area USAID, through its contractor CARE is doing some remarkable village improvements in terms of their savings and loan concept and other things to do microfinance, if you will, at the villages and bring about economic recovery and the Pathfinder group that's in that area is doing the same thing, and then U.S. CDC is doing a great job in terms of PEPFAR and the AIDS problem that is in Uganda.

But I have to say if you -- if you talk about the horror of Joseph Kony in northern Uganda five to six years ago and the savagery and the destruction and the terrible things that were going on, a lot of credit has to be given to the renaissance that's now taking place in the Gulu area and northern Africa and a lot of that credit goes to USAID. You might want to comment on some of those contractors.

MR. GAST: Thank you, Senator, and thank you for your praise. I look forward, actually, to going to Gulu. I've heard about the tremendous impact that we collectively, the U.S. government, have made in partnership with NGOs -- international NGOs, local NGOs and certainly the government of Uganda.

It's -- we programmed more than a hundred million dollars last year into northern Uganda and that was about 50 percent of the resources that went into northern Uganda last year and it's all coordinated under the government's peace and reconstruction development program and AID is a major contributor. Other donors and the government itself is as well.

Before I get into commenting on some of the specific programs of our implementing partners, I do want to say that this is one area where we're being forward leaning, recognizing that there is some good capacity within some of the local governments there.

And so when Administrator Shah was before you and discussed some of the USAID forward reforms this is one area where we're actually piloting the reforms and so we're programming resources directly through the local government so that the local government can build infrastructure projects to support the community and at the same time we have an independent verifier. One of the NGOs, Winrock, provides that oversight to make sure that there's strict accountability of the money that USAID is providing. So that's -- I just wanted to highlight that as one success on the reforms of AID.

In addition to working directly with the local government, we're also working with a wide range of partners, some 20 NGOs, to include CARE, which is doing microfinance. We've had a tremendous impact in economic growth as well as in agricultural growth. So, for example, just the impacts -- just the interventions and loans that we've made in the agricultural sector last year resulted in an increase in $7 million worth of agricultural products last year.

SEN. ISAKSON: Well, you're causing a lot of economic improvement to take place in the lives of those people, which really helps for the political stability in the area. Ms. Dory, I want to comment on ISR for a minute. Intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance is critically important, as we've learned in many battlefields. That is being enhanced now a little bit and I understand will be enhanced a little bit more and that's the real key the United States, I think, can give to the AU and the UN and the other forces that are there.

But it should be underscored for everybody that has an interest in this, this is a very -- where he is believed to be is a very heavily vegetated, very underdeveloped part of the world where even surveillance sometimes is very, very difficult because of the canopy that literally covers the Central African Republic, South Sudan and that area. But you should be -- you'd be -- I'm very proud of what I saw and what our 100 advisors, plus or minus, are doing there and the cooperation and the aid they are giving to the Ugandan people themselves.

One example -- by the way, you talked about the reward program but they're also doing a great flier drop program like we used in a lot of battles all the way back to World War I and World War II. But they're dropping leaflets offering amnesty and recovery to abductees of Joseph Kony, who will come back and they're starting -- and that's starting to bear fruit, which is one of the great programs, and I want to commend the advisors for doing that.

We saw firsthand some of the fliers and some of the inducements to really provide these people with the confidence to leave where they are in terms of in support of Kony and come back and bring us the information necessary, and I'm -- and I also want to say one other thing. I appreciate the president extending the stay of those advisors in Uganda. I think Joseph Kony can be within our reach sooner than we might have thought in the past and in large measure it's because of blending the ISR with the capabilities of the African countries. So any comments you want to add to that and the reward program I'd appreciate.

MS. DORY: Thank you, Senator. The -- your comments about the ISR and some of the challenges there really underscore the need for all forms of information and intelligence to be fused together and, I think, underscore further the importance of the engagements with the local populations, the engagements with the defectors and the kinds of information that comes as a result of the defections. So the defectors are a key part of the information picture that helps the partner forces vector in on the whereabouts of the LRA leadership.

So very complementary to the use of assets -- ISR type assets -- is the human picture, so to speak, derived from the information and intelligence and to that end the rewards program, the proposals to expand the State Department's version of the rewards program, is well supported by the department, by General Ham at AFRICOM, as a way of inducing additional defectors who, in the end, help tighten the net in terms of the whereabouts of Joseph Kony.

SEN. ISAKSON: Just a comment -- I think DOD is very supportive of the resolution of Senator Kerry and Coons, myself and others to expand the information leading to the capture and conviction of Kony -- a rewards program which has been very helpful, as I understand, and your fellows who were deployed over there made it known to me how much they'd appreciate that opportunity. So I hope we can do that soon, Mr. Chairman.

MS. DORY: Thank you.

SEN. COONS: Thank you, Senator Isakson. That is, I think, our next step here legislatively -- not just to pass a resolution continuing to express support for the mission and for the undertakings, express gratitude to the regional armies but also Senator Kerry's legislation that will authorize the Justice rewards program to also include Joseph Kony and his co-indictees at the ICC.

I'd be interested in a series of answers, if I could. Ambassador Yamamoto, the one country we haven't talked about is Sudan. Sudan played a role in arming the LRA and in providing them some support years ago. There have been some reports that suggest Kony might be trying to seek some kind of safe haven in Sudan. What are the -- what's the status of our diplomatic efforts to pressure Khartoum to prevent any efforts by Kony to seek sanctuary in Sudan?

MR. YAMAMOTO: I think now the situation, of course, in Sudan is very fluid because of the situation in Heglig and the other areas. We have been following very closely, you know, the reports, then allegations that the Khartoum government is supporting the LRA for some time. We have not seen the evidence. We are looking. But every information that we receive we are following and if we do find verifiable evidence we are going to act on it immediately.

SEN. COONS: And in your view, what would the consequences be for the International Criminal Court and for its stature going forward were Kony to be captured, taken to The Hague and tried as opposed to removed from the battlefield in a way that prevented his being brought to justice?

MR. YAMAMOTO: I think the legislation by Senator Kerry and by you, sir, is really been -- has been extremely helpful as far as the rewards for justice program because it does limit and isolate Kony -- not only Kony but also the other senior officials, and we are supportive and receptive to how they're going to handle Kony. I know that the Ugandans are very much involved in trying to determine the ICC and other programs for Kony. But getting him off the battlefield is number one.

SEN. COONS: I'd be interested in an answer from the whole panel, if I could, in series to the next set of concerns I had. If you could give me some more detail about the AU -- the African Union's role, how you see their engagement, how sustained it will be, what sort of collaborative role they're going to play and that's both intergovernmental and then in terms of recovery and development and then, most centrally, in terms of the actual deployment. Is this simply rebranding troops who are already in the field with a different command structure? Will there be some additional troops sent to the field? What kinds of capabilities and origin do they have, first.

Second, civilian protection, I think, is a very important part of the long-term strategy. I'd be interested particularly, Assistant Ambassador Gast, to -- some comment about what you've been doing around civilian protection. And then last, how can folks who might be watching this hearing who are concerned, who are interested -- how can they be supportive? How can they be engaged? What difference can they make in America's effort at supporting our regional allies? If you would first, Ambassador.

MR. YAMAMOTO: We commend the African Union's efforts because their involvement is going to be very important not only in coordination and cooperation of these four countries but also in bringing the entire African Union to bear on this issue. As you know, the African Union selected their -- recently, the Mozambique diplomat, Madeira, as the special envoy to the LRA and in -- also in that context they've also established operations -- a task force in southern Sudan.

But what's going to be important, of course, is bringing the other groups together -- the European Union in funding and helping assisting, also the African Union to help coordinate much more and, as you were saying, is it going to bring more troops. And I think what they're going to do is bring a better coordination and cooperation among the four countries and then bring other support from outside. And also the other issue is that the -- our Special Forces unit is working very closely with the African Union. So that involvement is one element of helping to support and to sustain and to close in on Kony and his team.

MR. GAST: With regard to your question on Africa -- on the African Union, they're certainly playing a very valuable role in helping to coordinate on the humanitarian side with the UN organizations, with the host country government and also with the donor countries themselves and also with the EU, which is also a major provider of humanitarian assistance to those four areas, those four countries. With regard to your question on protection, this is something that we've put increased emphasis on over the past couple of years and we appreciate your earmarking of some $5 million in 2012. Most of that assistance will be going into supporting protection programs, mainly in Central African Republic where we feel that there is a gap at this time.

With regard to specific activities that we're doing in enhancing civilian protection, it's certainly on the humanitarian side going in, providing relief services, also providing psycho social health services and then reintegration services to livelihoods. But one of the innovative things that we're doing with the State Department and with the international community and also with the Catholic Church is the early warning system, and State Department will be working with 24 communities.

We will be working with 24 communities in the LRA-affected areas of Orientale province in the DRC, and in those areas there are about 60,000 inhabitants, and the early warning system is one critical component that we found missing -- how do we alert villages that an attack or guerillas may be on the way -- how can they enhance communications between the villages.

So that is something that we're doing. We're also working with Vodafone in a private partnership. Vodafone will provide -- will be providing the retail services and we're going to help with some state- of-the-art low-maintenance cell phone towers that we will be putting out in the eastern DRC to facilitate additional communication so that community protection committees can then get in touch with either UN forces, either with their own government forces or with other villages.

SEN. COONS: Thank you, Assistant Administrator Gast. Deputy Assistant Secretary Dory?

MS. DORY: Senator Coons, on the issue of the growing AU role, I think we can only express our optimism at this point that they are increasing their role, going from declaring the LRA a terrorist organization at the end of last year to now the designation of an envoy, the gradual mobilizing of forces to bring to bear. I think a parallel is interesting to consider when you look at Somalia in the first instance.

The neighbors are the ones who feel the impact and act first. But then over time the full force of the AU is brought to bear, as we've seen with the AMISOM mission. I think we could envision that that is a possibility for the counter-LRA mission as well so that it's not a rebranding exercise. It does become more than the sum of the existing parts.

SEN. COONS: Is it clear yet whether there will be additional troops actually deployed under the AU umbrella or is this still a work in progress? MS. DORY: I think it's still very much a work in progress. We see encouraging signs of shuttle diplomacy happening among all of the different leaders in the region at the political level, at the military level. So I think I would say stay posted.

SEN. COONS: And then if I could, just a closing question to all three of you -- both what could we, as concerned and engaged senators, do to be more supportive of the effort multilaterally and then what could anyone watching or interested do to continue to be supportive. If you would first, Deputy Assistant Secretary Dory.

MS. DORY: Thank you. In the first instance, the continuation of the bipartisan support for this mission is fundamental and this hearing today demonstrates that yet again. So we would just thank you for that support and sustained engagement. The visits to the region that help bring back the personal witness of what you've seen, how you've observed the U.S. government's comprehensive strategy in action -- again, just to encourage that.

We've talked about the expansion of the State Department's rewards program already -- Department of Defense fully supports that expansion -- the sustainment of the Title 22 appropriations that are so key to the efforts for many years now and going forward, and then just the support from your last question, encouraging the role of the UN and the African Union as they increasingly come online going forward.

SEN. COONS: Thank you. Assistant Administrator Gast?

MR. GAST: Very similar. One is continued hearings and speaking out on the issues, as you have done, visits to the regions certainly help and, third, resources.

SEN. COONS: Last, Ambassador Yamamoto.

MR. YAMAMOTO: Yeah. And, again, thank you very much, Senator.

What you've been doing with the legislation on Rewards for Justice -- your videos, your outspoken advocacy is important. And also, the efforts of Mr. Ben Keesey and others at Invisible Children, sir, has been very supportive.

And also, in continuation on your civilian protection. And what we can do is really work with these regional states because they are the ones that are taking the lead, are taking the hits and doing the battles and the fighting and the protection. I know that the Ugandans, for instance, in the last couple of years, have devoted about $50 million reconciliation and protection. And Earl and his group and the U.S. government have done about 500 million (dollars) since 2008, just for protection and humanitarian assistance.

So those are things that are continuing -- in support -- and those are really critical issues. Thank you.

SEN. COONS: Terrific. Thank you very much. I just want to thank our first panel. I'm grateful for your testimony today and for appearing before the committee, both for your thorough and detailed written and prepared testimony and for your availability to answer questions. I very much look forward to continuing to work with you as we sustain this very vital multilateral mission in Central Africa.

Thank you very much.

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