SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE HEARING ON THE UNITED STATES EUROPEAN COMMAND
F.Y. 2019 MARCH 08 2018
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ., CHAIRMAN
SEN. JAMES M. INHOFE, R-OKLA.
SEN. ROGER WICKER, R-MISS.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.
SEN. DEB FISCHER, R-NEB.
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS
SEN. TOM COTTON, R-ARK.
SEN. MIKE ROUNDS, R-S.D.
SEN. JONI ERNST, R-IOWA
SEN. THOM TILLIS, R-N.C.
SEN. DAN SULLIVAN, R-ALASKA
SEN. BEN SASSE, R-NEB.
SEN. DAVID PERDUE, R-GA.
SEN. TIM SCOTT, R-S.C.
SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I., RANKING MEMBER
SEN. BILL NELSON, D-FLA.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN, D-N.H.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.
SEN. JOE DONNELLY, D-IND.
SEN. MAZIE K. HIRONO, D-HAWAII
SEN. TIM KAINE, D-VA.
SEN. MARTIN HEINRICH, D-N.M.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS.
SEN. GARY PETERS, D-MICH.
SEN. NGUS KING, I-MAINE
WITNESSES: GEN. CURTIS SCAPARROTTI, COMMANDER OF THE U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND AND NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE, TESTIFIES [*]
INHOFE: The meeting will come to order. We are -- the committee meets with -- to receive testimony on the posture of U.S. European Command, EUCOM, and we welcome our witness, General Scaparrotti. Chairman McCain asked that I submit a statement for the record on his behalf and read the following excerpt. Quote, "The United States faces a new strategic reality in Europe. The first step in addressing it is to recognize the scope, scale and seriousness of the challenges Russia presents to our national security and to the international order. Then we need to -- a -- a coherent strategy and policy to deter and, if necessary, defeat aggression against the United States and our allies. We must be prepared to face the world as it is, not as we wish it to be."
INHOFE: Your testimony today is extremely relevant, as the United States is engaged in a renewed great power competition with -- with Russia. The National Defense Strategy prioritizes Russia and China, and it's been stated by several of the top people that we're losing some of our edge that we've had in the past. We clearly see the growing threat that Russia, especially in Europe -- Vladimir Putin recently discussed Russia's new nuclear capabilities, including a new ICBM, intercontinental hypersonic missile, nuclear-powered cruise missiles and undersea drone. This is in addition to Russia's aggressive behavior in Ukraine and the cyber domain. Then there's China and their militaristic expansion in the Pacific. While this is not part of your AOR, it's one where we -- several of us -- Senators -- Ernst and several of us just recently visited, and we were watching what's going on there. And, if something should happen in the East China Sea that would draw our assets over, that would have a direct effect on you, General. This week, we received testimony from the director of national intelligence in which he stated, quote, "The risk of interstate conflict, including among the world's great powers, is higher than any time since the end of the Cold War." General Scaparrotti, we ask you to help this committee begin to think through the requirements necessary to implement the new strategy and what resources and authorities you might need that you don't currently have. And thank you very much for attending. Senator Reed.
REED: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And, General Scaparrotti, thank you for joining us this morning. And let me also thank you for your service to the nation over many years. And please extend our gratitude to the military men and women and their families under your command for their commitment and service to the nation. Thank you. The new National Defense Strategy marks a shift in U.S. defense priorities, from terrorism, to the reemergence of long-term strategic competition with near-peer rivals, particularly Russia and China. This morning's hearing is an opportunity to hear from General Scaparrotti on EUCOM's military plans and operational requirements for implementing the new defense strategy within the European theater. There can be no doubt that Russia poses a serious threat to U.S. national security and that our allies and partners are also threatened. We have repeatedly heard from our intelligence leaders, including (ph) Director of National Intelligence Coats on Tuesday, that Russia is aggressively confronting the United States and its allies, seeking to destabilize the international order, which President Putin considers contrary to Russia's claim to great power status. Russia is also seeking to reassert a sphere of influence over its neighbors and has actively sought to prevent their further integration with Europe. To advance its strategic interests, Russia is using the full spectrum of capabilities at its disposal, from nuclear and conventional modernization, to asymmetric operations below the threshold of direct military conflict. Just last week, President Putin gave to (ph) nuclear and conventional saber-rattling in his annual address to the Russian nation. The Kremlin's hybrid aggression against the West includes deception, information warfare, cyber attacks, political influence and malign financial influence. Russia is using the war in Ukraine as a test lab for new hybrid warfare tactics, including that -- the White House recently confirmed the Russian military's NotPetya ransomware cyber attack against Ukraine. The intelligence community is already warning that Russia has launched an assault on the United States' midterm elections this year with even more sophisticated tools than in the 2016 presidential election. General Scaparrotti will be interested in hearing what tasking, if any, you have received from the White House to disrupt and prevent Russian operations aimed at interfering with our democratic institutions, as well as those of our allies. Over the last few years, Congress has authorized critical resources to reassure our allies and ensure a credible military deterrent against Russian aggression. The fiscal year 2019 defense budget request includes $6.5 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, or EDI, to continue to enhance our deterrence and defense posture throughout Europe. The committee is interested in hearing your priorities for EDI for the coming fiscal year. I commend EUCOM for taking steps to start rebuilding the command's expertise on Russia to better understand the Russian threat perception and the Kremlin's decision-making process. I remain concerned about our naval posture in Europe to counter a Russian threat and EUCOM's cyber challenges. The U.S. EDI funding has also been an effective tool for leveraging increased defense spending by our NATO allies, and I hope that will continue at the next NATO summit, planned for July in Brussels. As supreme allied command to Europe, you play a critical role in ensuring that the alliance is prepared to respond in the event of a crisis. In February, NATO defense ministers approved changes to the alliance command structure, including the establishment of a new joint force command for the Atlantic (ph). An area of concern is the ability of the NATO force structure to respond quickly during the early stages of a crisis, before NATO reaches an Article 5 declaration. I would be interested in your views on whether additional authority should be delegated to SACEUR to initiate the movement of force as a crisis begins to unfold and before NATO members reach a political decision. Strategic competition with Russia is but one of the many challenges with the EUCOM theater. Relations with Turkey have been tense due to the instability and violence in Syria and Turkey's decision to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system, which potentially jeopardizes the full range of U.S.-Turkey defense cooperation. The flow of people seeking refuge across the Mediterranean to Southern Europe has strained these nations' security resources, and it's helped fuel the rise of nationalistic, anti-immigrant political parties in some countries. And longstanding, simmering resentments in the Balkans risk increased instability in the region. I look forward to this morning's testimony. And again, thank you, General Scaparrotti, for being here today and for your service. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Reed. General, we have -- there's another hearing that's taking place at the same time. We have nine members of this committee that are also on Environment and Public Works. So you'll see some movement back and forth. Forgive us for that. And you're recognized for your opening statement, anything you want -- your entire statement will be part of the record, and try to confine it to around five minutes.
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you, Chairman. Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today as the commander of the United States European Command. It's an honor to represent more than 60,000 men and women who are forward deployed, supporting U.S.'s mission in Europe. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, our Coast Guardsmen and civilian workforce continue to demonstrate selfless service and dedication in an increasingly complex and competitive security environment. Our adaptation to this environment has made significant progress thanks to the resourcing provided by Congress, particularly under the European Deterrence Initiative. EUCOM deeply appreciates Congress's support for EDI, which has supported the largest reinforcement of Euro-Atlantic defense in a generation. In this reinforcement, the U.S. has been joined by NATO alliance, which remains a keystone to our national security, as it has been for almost seven decades. I'm proud to report that the alliance is strong. It is unified, and it's committed to being fit for purpose. Our European allies and Canada have turned the corner on defense spending, with increases in each of the past three years. During this time, they've added $46 billion to defense spending, including $5 billion increase from 2016 to 2017. In 2018, eight countries will meet NATO's 2 percent spending target, with at least 15 nations on pace to reach or exceed 2 percent mark by 2024.
SCAPARROTTI: Backed by these collective commitments, NATO is adapting to ensure its vigilance in peace, responsiveness in crisis, and that it possesses the strategic depth for high-end, large-scale, multi-domain conflict. Together with NATO, the U.S. has made significant progress, but we have much work to do as we execute our National Defense Strategy, fueling an increasingly lethal, agile and resilient joint force in long-term strategic competition with Russia and ready to counter violent extremist organizations. Russia is carrying out a campaign of destabilization to change the international order, fracture NATO and undermine U.S. leadership around the world. To this end, Russia's advancing asymmetric capabilities in accordance with its concept of warfare, which envisions the employment of the full spectrum of military and non-military power. Throughout Europe, along its periphery in the Middle East and beyond, Russia has demonstrated a willingness and capability to exert influence, spread disinformation and undermine confidence in NATO. At sea, on land, in the air -- frankly, every domain -- Russia's increasingly modernized military is operating at levels not seen since the Cold War. In response to the challenge posed by Russia's pursuit of power, the U.S. has increased its posture in Europe by deploying rotational forces, to include an armored brigade combat team -- a combat aviation brigade, as well. Additionally, we've implemented the framework battalion task force for NATO's enhanced forward presence in Poland. We have pre-positioned equipment for an additional armored brigade combat team. We've doubled the maritime deployments to the Black Sea. We've exercised theater anti-submarine warfare operations. We've executed bomber -- bomber assurance and deterrence missions. And, for the first time, we've deployed fifth-generation fighters to Europe. The U.S. has taken these actions in coordination with NATO, which, since the 2016 Warsaw Summit, has made significant gains in meeting its security commitments and in implementing decisions to enhance our collective defense. NATO has implemented its enhanced forward presence with four multinational battle groups backed by 29 nations. It's also established a tailored forward presence in the Black Sea region. Collectively, this enhanced deterrence posture is necessary to prevent further Russian aggression, preserve stability and reassure our allies and partners. The second major threat we face throughout the European area of operation is violent extremist groups. Since 2014, Europe has endured 18 major terrorist attacks. While the Defeat ISIS coalition, which includes NATO, recovers seized territory in Iraq and Syria, ISIS remains active and seeks to expand its operations across Europe. EUCOM provides forces for military operations against ISIS, such as Operation Inherent Resolve, and has increased information intelligence sharing among its -- among its U.S. agencies, international partners and the private sector. With the E.U. NATO, EUCOM -- with the E.U. and NATO, EUCOM supports a tri-nodal community of action to identify and counter terrorist threats. Also, EUCOM has increased coordination with Europol and Interpol to thwart terrorist activities. Our European allies deploy forces worldwide to support U.S.-led counterterrorism operations, including OIR and Operation Freedom's Sentinel (ph), and to conduct national counterterrorism missions. The allies are committed to this fight, and their support is essential to ongoing counterterrorism efforts. In addition to deterring Russia and defeating violent extremist organizations, EUCOM is working to strengthen strategic partnerships, bolster regional security and reinforce a free and open international order conducive to our security and prosperity. Thanks to the resources provided by Congress, particularly through the European Defense Initiative -- Deterrence Initiative, EUCOM has made significant headway in establishing a defense posture that is credible, capable and relevant to our strategic objectives. As our National Defense Strategy states, a strong and free Europe, bound by shared principles of democracy, national sovereignty and commitment to Article 5 of NATO's Washington Treaty is vital to our security. The service members and civilians at EUCOM stand ready to protect the homeland, strengthen the alliance and defend a Europe that's whole, free and at peace. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and I look forward to the committee's questions.
INHOFE: Thank you, General Scaparrotti. That's an excellent statement. I -- I think we all look at Russia now, and -- and, with the new strategy that we have, we include both China and Russia as the threats. Of course, in your AOR, it's primarily Russia, and it's a -- we've seen advancements there. There was a RAND report that came out yesterday, there are three things in the RAND report that I -- I want to refer to. One was, in 2016, Russia spent 5.3 percent of its GDP on the military. What's important is we look at some of (ph) what we are expecting from our NATO partners to -- to recognize this. Second thing that was in that report: Russia has the ability to defeat a NATO ally and present NATO with a strategic and operational challenge; specifically, that Russian forces could reach the capitals of Estonia and Latvia in 60 hours. And, third, they say Russia has approximately 32,000 troops in the Baltics region, compared to 78,000 for Russia (sic). And the -- NATO is -- is outnumbered 757 -- that's Russia -- to 129, NATO, in tanks in the AOR. In addition to the RAND report that came out, the Army Times article this morning -- plans on -- it says the Army plans on repositioning two fully modernized armored brigade sets of equipment in Belgium and the Netherlands and, as you said in your opening statement, in addition to one, I guess, rotational armored brigade combat team. So, to -- to set the -- this hearing off, let me ask you a series of five kind of -- these should be yes or no questions, however there's no such thing as a yes or no question in Washington. First, the national security adviser, General McMaster, stated that U.S. ground forces are, quote -- this is his statement (ph) -- quote now -- "outranged, outgunned and overmatched by Russian ground forces." Do you agree with that?
SCAPARROTTI: Chairman, if you look at in a -- in a -- in a concentrated way, on the border of Eastern Europe, and only on the ground force, I would agree with that statement. INHOFE: All right.
SCAPARROTTI: We -- we fight multi-domain, however.
INHOFE: I -- I understand that. The report -- the RAND report paints a pretty bleak picture. It warns that NATO could be overwhelmed by superior Russian firepower in a war in Eastern Europe. Do you agree with that statement?
SCAPARROTTI: Chairman, would you state that again please, I'm...
INHOFE: Yes. The statement that was in the -- in the report says that NATO could be overwhelmed by superior Russian firepower in a war in Eastern Europe.
SCAPARROTTI: Chairman, I don't agree with that. When you look at NATO writ large, it has the strength of 29 nations. The effort that's being made in NATO and the one that's being made here in the United States is to increase our capability to deter and, if necessary, defend.
INHOFE: OK. That -- that's a good statement. And I -- I'm not asking you to agree with this. But I am concerned, when we have so many reports coming out, that it's important for the American people to understand the threats that we do face -- not just here, but in -- in China also. And -- and then the other -- third thing is, do we have adequate U.S. forces postured throughout Europe to meet the challenge? I think you've already answered that. And this is (ph) -- and then Russia has developed a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the INF Treaty. Do you agree with that? I'm sure you do. And, lastly, the -- like we saw in -- two weeks ago in China, and -- what they're doing in the South China Sea -- and, as I said in my opening statement, this is not something that is in your AOR. But, as we have to meet those challenges -- and this was a much greater challenge than I thought it was before I was over there two weeks ago -- that it's still a draw of resources from you -- from your AOR. So -- so -- and you have to be very sensitive, too. So I'd say -- how did you come -- partner with -- on -- on the cyber security side, with the Cyber Command to prevent and mitigate threats -- that's in cyber threats now? Want to talk a little bit about that?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, Chairman. First of all, in terms of the cyber world, it's interesting, because we each have cyber centers, we each have teams committed, through CYBERCOM, to us. But cyber doesn't have boundaries like we do between I and General Waldhauser on the ground. So I think it's pretty fluid, and CYBERCOM is the one that helps us, you know, shift resources that might -- might need to be shifted. And, certainly, we share very closely with them any intelligence that we have, et cetera, that affects their AOR. So I think there's a close relationship.
INHOFE: Yeah. Well, this is the -- and this is the new threat. This is something that the general public is not very familiar with. One last thing I'd want to -- just -- you get on the record -- you know, we have this requirement in NATO for -- a 2 percent requirement. And, as it is right now, in 2018, the secretary general estimates 8 of 29 NATO allies would meet this, and then it would get up to 15 allies by the end of 2024. Now, right -- recently, there have been a lot of these countries complaining about this. And are you concerned that some of the European officials criticize the 2 percent requirement as arbitrary and unrealistic?
SCAPARROTTI: Chairman, I'm concerned. They need to invest in defense. We've -- we've discussed the complexity of this environment, and particularly in Europe. And, of course, we strongly encourage them to meet that 2 percent. But, also, the 20 percent requirement in modernization, focused at specific capabilities that are relevant to the environment we're in... INHOFE: Yeah. That was one of the first things, when the -- President Trump took office, that he examined -- was the burden sharing of NATO. And I agree with that, too. Senator Reed.
REED: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General Scaparrotti. As we all note, Russia has significant conventional (ph) power, and so does NATO. But they seem to be focusing their attention on asymmetric warfare, knowing that a conventional fight with NATO would probably not be something they could win. Is that your estimate?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. I think part of their strategy is, first of all, that, as you look at their doctrine, they intend to use activities below the level of conflict to undermine their opponent. And, if that would go well, they would undermine their opponent without firing a shot. And I would like to make the statement that I think that, while they have advantages, even conventionally, due to interior lines, proximity and size of force, which was noted by the chairman, in the longer run, NATO has great advantages that they actually recognize and fear.
REED: Thank you. Getting into the asymmetric warfare, one of the most disturbing aspects recently is the integration of information warfare and cyber operations. And, as you pointed out, cyber has no real limit. So, again, we've seen quite extensive activity in Ukraine. But have you noticed that this -- you know, similar organizations in Russia are concentrating (ph) not just on Ukraine, but also the United States? Are you beginning to pick up indications of efforts that are directed against us directly?
SCAPARROTTI: Chairman, I'll say that -- that I have. I've seen activity related to, you know, infrastructure, reconnaissance, et cetera within the United States. And I'll leave it at that.
REED: Fine. Are we, to your knowledge in the intelligence community and the geographic commanders, trying to map out the Russian sort of cyber infrastructure, the -- how it's delegated to commercial quote-unquote "enterprises," how it's sometimes retained by the intelligence community in Russia, et cetera? Have we got a good picture of that? Because, if we don't, then, you know, it's hard to respond.
SCAPARROTTI: My personal opinion is, yes, we're trying to map that out. We're getting better understanding of it. I would not characterize it as a -- as a good picture at this point. Not satisfactory to me. Thank you.
REED: Are you getting not only the resources, but the clear direction to fill in the missing pieces on your -- from your perspective, as well as worldwide?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes. I have had my -- my cyber operations center reinforced substantially. We've made good progress. And, over the next two years, thanks to both the funding here in Congress, as well as from CYBERCOM, that -- that will continue to give me the skills that I need in my cyber center. I also, upon request, have the authorities that I've asked for with respect to Russia over the past year to 18 months.
REED: Every time we get on this topic -- very quickly -- the "whole-of-government response" response comes up. So how would you assess our whole-of-government response? You -- you have CYBERCOM and -- within the duty of (ph) chain of command, et cetera. But the intelligence community, the Treasury Department, Homeland Security -- are -- do you feel there's a unified effort among all these different agencies and the State Department to effectively confront this threat?
SCAPARROTTI: I don't believe there's an effective unification across the interagency with the energy and the focus that we could attain.
REED: And that's something that would -- is something we should do immediately, because of the nature of the threat.
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, Senator, it is.
REED: Just changing slightly, we are and you are constantly trying to assess the -- the strengths, the weaknesses of the Russian forces, going forward, and not just Russian forces. Any sort of top-line sort of estimate of, you know, long-term, their -- their ability to be competitive with us?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, in -- in this setting, I would say that, given their modernization and the pace that it's on and what we are aware of they're doing, we have to maintain our modernization that we've set out so that we can remain dominant in the areas that we are dominant today. If we were not to do that, I think their pace would put us, certainly, challenged in almost every domain in a military perspective by, say, 2025.
REED: Just -- final question is that part of this is significant investments not just in platforms, but in basic research, which, during the Cold War, they were -- and we were -- deeply engaged -- international (ph) effort. Are they engaged in this kind of (ph) basic research -- quantum computing, A.I., et cetera -- to a significant (ph) extent?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, they are.
REED: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Senator Wicker.
WICKER: General, you did read and study that RAND report, classified and unclassified, did you not?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir, I did. WICKER: OK. In -- in that regard, Chairman McCain just asked Senator Inhofe to -- to read a statement in which he said there's a new strategic reality in Europe. General Dunford is quoted as saying, "The United States is losing some of our past edge." You have the report from RAND, which none of us enjoyed listening to or studying, where it said we -- there -- there are plausible scenarios where the United States can lose a war with Russia. What -- in that regard, what have -- what did we learn from the Russian Zapad exercises -- war game exercises in Eastern Europe in late 2017, regarding their intentions and capabilities? How well prepared are we based on what we've learned there? And then I want to ask you to respond generally about where you think the RAND report is missing the mark and where you think they're accurate.
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, with regard to Zapad, for the most part, what Zapad did is reinforce what we believed was their direction in terms of their doctrine, their training, their modernization. They focused on command and control for strategic to tactical (ph), and we saw throughout the exercise. They focused on both conventional and nuclear, which we expected. They focused on both offensive, defensive operations, and they incorporated what I would call a whole-of-society approach. They mobilized their people, et cetera, in some aspects of this. And so, for us, it was a reinforcement of the doctrine that we've seen developing over the last, I'd say, ten years. From that, I mean, we learn from watching. And it -- it helps us posture our force and train our force -- and also, you know, the development of our plans, obviously. So we take that very seriously, watch it very closely. We had a -- a focused effort to do so. And we'll employ it, and we'll be better as a result of that -- of -- of that -- of that focused effort in their exercise.
WICKER: So you were informed, but we -- we weren't shocked by anything we saw?
SCAPARROTTI: I -- I was not. I was not shocked by anything that I saw. With respect to the RAND report, we have worked with RAND on this. In fact, it was 2014 or '15 when the base report was done. From the basis of the report, I don't have any argument with -- with the basis of the report and the threat that we have, particularly in the eastern borders, what -- what it's focused on. That report was also a basis from which we've developed our war planning in EUCOM, and, since 2014, we've come a good ways, both in planning and with the posture of our forces there. So that report's been helpful in that regard.
WICKER: Did -- did you plan assuming that sequestration was going to be lifted as it has now been?
SCAPARROTTI: We planned with -- for what we need, Senator, yes. And -- and, having said that, I would (ph) -- the budget that we have before us today, with a -- with a two-year look, as well, that -- that Congress has agreed to, funds all of those areas that I need in EUCOM to get my posture and my capabilities where it needs to be throughout the FYDP. So it's -- it's an important one. The last point I'll make on this is that -- that we have re-postured forces since the RAND study was done. We've rewritten plans since that. And we would fight this differently than -- than RAND fought it -- fought that -- you know, that experiment or that exercise that they did. But there's elements of that that are -- that are still, you know, true today, hence my comment that I don't have all the forces I need in Europe today and we've got to continue to invest and establish the posture that's required.
WICKER: OK. Based on what we're going to do the 23rd of this month, regarding this fiscal year and the next fiscal year, how are you going to get the forces you need?
SCAPARROTTI: The -- the European Deterrence Initiative is a very foundational funding of the forces that I need. It is actually supporting the rotational forces that I noted in my opening statement. And my intent is just to use that, as well, to begin to station or rotate additional forces, particularly enablers that I need. So, you know, as you look across the FYDP, I can build the posture that I believe I need, given the funding that I -- that I foresee within the FYDP.
WICKER: Just quickly, that's -- that's what -- what number of troops today, versus what you -- you hope to get to?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I -- I can't -- it's difficult to give you the number of troops. I can take this for the record and I can provide you, by service, the posture that I believe that we should be in.
WICKER: Thank you.
INHOFE: Senator Shaheen.
SHAHEEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Scaparrotti, thank you for being here and for your testimony. As we look at the potential for future Russian aggression in Europe, how important is it for them to feel some heat for what they're doing and to have that whole-of-government approach to respond to their activities? So, for example, how important would it be for us to go ahead and implement the sanctions under CAATSA, so they understand that, if they continue their cyber intrusions -- that there's going to be a price to pay?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I think fundamental to deterrence is either, you know, denial or an imposition of cost. So an effective deterrent has to have one of those elements, or both, and it should have a communication aspect to it, as well, that -- that demonstrates both our capability and our will.
SHAHEEN: And do -- as you talk about that whole-of-government approach that you don't see happening right now, do you think that would accomplish a piece of the deterrence?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think, yes. And you mentioned CAATSA. I think, across the board -- I don't necessarily ascribe that we should always do what they do. We shouldn't mirror them. But even that underscores the importance of a whole-of-government approach, that we ought to use our other elements of power, as well, together, to demonstrate deterrence and also to establish limits on what's acceptable.
SHAHEEN: And so, as you look at the potential for mischief in the future in other parts of Europe, where do you see the -- the -- where are you most concerned about future Russian interference?
SCAPARROTTI: They're involved in just about every aspect of Europe in one way or the other. The area that I'm concerned about today is -- is the Balkans, actually. It's an area that, through the international community's work, and the United States' in particular, we've been able to keep stability there. We've been able to work on democratic governments and to reinforce that. But Russia's at work in the Balkans, and I think that we've kind of taken our eye off the area. It's an area where, in terms of diplomacy, we have to put some focus, in my opinion. And we have to continue our security reform and our capability building that we and the international community's engaged in in the Balkans. That's an area that we could have problems with again here in the future.
SHAHEEN: And how -- you mentioned our diplomatic efforts. How important is it that we have those robust diplomatic and economic efforts there, in the Balkans?
SCAPARROTTI: I think it's essential. They view that diplomatic effort and presence, frankly -- the people see that as -- that's one way that they determine whether the West is Syria (ph) about -- serious about their desire to be a part of the West. And so that involvement, I think, is fundamental.
SHAHEEN: One of the things that some of our European allies in NATO have suggested is that, rather than looking at sort of an arbitrary 2 percent of GDP contribution to NATO, that we ought to be looking at capabilities, instead. And, in view of some of the recent reports about the readiness of some of our NATO allies, how -- how good an argument do you think that is, as we think about what may be a better way to determine whether our allies are making the contribution that we really want to see to NATO?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I agree there's other ways. In other words, it's commonly called the three Cs in NATO; cash is one, at 2 percent. Contribution is one of those, and capabilities. But I would tell you, I think it's all three. It's not one or the other, or more of one and less of the other two. Two percent's a reasonable percentage of GDP, given the threat that we're under today, in my opinion. But you have to look at, also, their contributions and their capabilities. There are some of the countries that aren't at 2 percent today, but their contributions to NATO missions and also other international missions is quite robust. That should be taken into account. And then last is the capabilities they provide. Are they using the money in their defense to develop capabilities that are interoperable and in sync with our NATO planning? That's important, too, in order to have a strong NATO defense and deterrence structure.
SHAHEEN: So how worried should we be about some of those reports that have suggested that some of our NATO allies -- some of the bigger NATO allies are not prepared as they should be?
SCAPARROTTI: I think we should continue to press them to meet the standards. NATO has -- NATO has very well laid out standards and expectations of the forces that nations provide. And we should continue to press them to be a part of this defense. The alliance is strong as long as every member is strong and does their part.
SHAHEEN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Thank you. Several references have been made to the report -- the RAND report that just came out. So I ask unanimous consent to be made a part of the record. Without objection, so ordered. Senator Cotton.
COTTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General Scaparrotti, for joining us once again. I'd like to continue a conversation about the Balkans that you started with Senator Shaheen. Many people tend to focus on the Baltics, since they are NATO countries exclusively. But I think that NATO status probably makes them a bit more stable, in terms of the threat Russia poses, than the Balkans, in which there are numerous countries that don't belong to NATO. Could you be more specific and say a little bit more about which countries in the Balkans are matters of concern for you in terms of Russian meddling and interference?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think Serbia in particular. There's a -- there's a connection...
COTTON: Serbia proper or Republika...
COTTON: ... Srpska?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I would tell you that it's Serbia as a nation, but then the Serb population, as well, within the Balkans. There's obviously a historical connection there, an affiliation. And -- but there's also, because of that, a better opportunity for Russian influence. And they take advantage of that in terms of disinformation, influence upon those populations -- the spoiling effect, in some cases, perhaps with Serbia, with respect to Kosovo, or within the tripartite government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And that's my concern, and I've seen an increase in that, I believe, in the -- in the year and a half that I've been in this job.
COTTON: Last year, the Senate ratified the Montenegro accession treaty to have Montenegro join NATO. Obviously, that was an important part of our strategy to close the Adriatic Coast. They were the last piece of that. How has Montenegro's integration into NATO gone since they had their accession?
SCAPARROTTI: It's going very well. I visited the country, spent time with their chief of defense. You know, a small nation as a part of NATO, at this point, but active in providing troops for our missions, focused on their military capabilities and beginning to grow those and make them better. So I think they're going to be a valued member here as they -- as they move on. They are a valued member, but I think they'll continue to increase in strength. Having said all of that, they're not out of the woods with respect to Russian interference in their government -- influence and attempted influence in their government, which you know is (ph) very severe, just short of their application to NATO.
COTTON: I was in the Balkans last August, and I heard some of these points, as well. One other thing we heard and some of the things we witnessed was not just Russian influence in the Balkans, but also Turkish influence, sometimes not for the good. Could you say a little bit about what Turkey is up to in Balkans?
SCAPARROTTI: Turkey primarily enters most of these countries in the Balkans with a humanitarian approach and to assist in that regard. There are some that have said this influence isn't helpful, as you've said, in the ways that they operate. But I haven't personally seen that, myself. I -- if I could, I'd take this for the record, and I'll give you a little more concrete and accurate response.
COTTON: Sure thing. And, while we're on the topic of Turkey, there have been reports that Turkey may be on the verge of acquiring the Russian S-400 air defense system. That quite possibly could trigger sanctions under CAATSA, a law that Congress passed last year. Could you give your thoughts on what Turkey is thinking in buying a Russian system, especially now that CAATSA is on the books here and might target those kind of sanctions against a NATO partner?
SCAPARROTTI: The -- you know, they've stated publicly that they intend to purchase, and they've made a deal with Russia to employ the S-400 as -- as their air defense system. I've had this discussion with their chief of defense multiple times, and we continue to discuss it. If they were to employ this system, they obviously are interoperable with the NATO systems and the U.S. ones, and they couldn't be connected to the system. They're aware of that ramification, and we've made -- not only myself, but other members of our government have made them clearly aware of the other ramifications of moving forward with the purchase of the S-400. So they're aware of that. The last thing I'll say is that we're -- we're in close discussion with Turkey, with respect to air defense measures and the systems they could employ. I don't think that's a -- a finished deal yet. I mean, I think that -- that they're talking to us, as well as others, to purchase a system that's interoperable in NATO. And I think we have some time, and my intent's to continue to work that aspect, to convince them that the better system is, in fact, one of the NATO-interoperable systems.
COTTON: Good. Thank you, General. My time has expired.
INHOFE: Senator Hirono.
HIRONO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, General Scaparrotti. Good to see you again. You were talking about the modernization -- Russia's military modernization. And our big power competitors are Russia and -- and China. Do you have -- in -- in terms of the scope and scale of Russian modernization, as compared to China's modernization -- is China's modernization efforts many times more than Russia's modernization efforts?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, if I could, I -- I would -- I would say this -- and I'd like to take that for the record, as well, so I can think about this a bit in comparison. But, generally, having been in the Pacific, the ways in which they're modernizing, particularly with respect to their capabilities of their weapons systems, the domains that they're focused on -- maritime, et cetera -- there's a lot of similarity (ph) in terms of where they're focused. And so, you know, Admiral Harris and I -- when you look at what we're focused on for either research and development or modernization or pacing in our forces, they very closely align. So, from that perspective, I think there's a -- there's a -- there are common areas there. But, again, I can -- I can be more specific with a little bit of time to make a very specific comparison across domains.
HIRONO: That is not to say, of course, that that kind of conversation (ph) should lead us to take our eyes off either country. One of your main priorities is to deter Russia, and you noted that they use activities below the line of what they -- what might cause us to respond in some clear way. And one of the ways that -- excuse me. One of the activities that they use is to interfere with our elections using social media, cyber. So are (ph) -- you would consider that one of the ways that they are using to undermine our country and that we need a whole-of-government approach to counter what Russia is doing with our elections?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, Senator, I do. And you see it in Europe, as well. They've -- they've been involved in -- in elections in Europe and the influence of political parties in Europe, as well.
HIRONO: So that was going to be my next question. Have -- have we -- have we learned any lessons from Russian interference with European elections that would enable us to counter what they are continuing to do -- to do in our country?
SCAPARROTTI: I think we've learned from each other. I would put it that way. We helped the French -- France, and Germany, as they approached their elections, based on what occurred here. And, as they've gone through it, we've exchanged that information. And so, as a result, we've got a better idea of the Russians' approach, the capabilities that they use and how they use it. And that's all improving our ability to, you know, defend the sanctity and sovereignty of our election systems.
HIRONO: All well and good, but a previous testimony from the -- Director Coats and others -- I think it's pretty clear that we do not have a whole-of-government strategy, at this point, to counter Russian interference with our elections. So are you part of the efforts on our country's part to come up with a whole-of-government strategy? Have they come to you -- the executive branch?
SCAPARROTTI: I would -- with respect to our elections, that's not really within my portfolio as the EUCOM commander. That is at CYBERCOM, OSD, joint staff level. If there's a specific area that I would be involved in, they would bring me into that. We have -- we have connections. We have discussions on cyber operations, information operations, et cetera, frequently. But it wouldn't be one that I am directly involved in.
HIRONO: You know, there -- there doesn't seem to be any one agency that is taking the lead on this, and that is a -- a cause of concern for many of us. Let me turn to another subject. You note many times that it -- it will require a whole-of-government approach for us to maintain our position, let's say, (ph) in the world. And so concerns with the administration's cuts to the State Department and Treasury, along with -- along with the effects that these cuts would have on foreign diplomacy, which you have already noted, is really important. Can you talk a little bit about the effects of these cuts to State Department and Treasury personnel on your mission?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes. I -- I can't speak to the cuts themselves and how that impacts inside of State. That's best to go to them. But I will say this: that everything we do in EUCOM -- we look at it as an interagency activity, generally with State in the lead, as diplomacy leads from our -- as the way that we work here, in a -- in a democracy. And so everything I do, we look at from a whole-of-government approach. We look at it usually with one of the other agencies in the lead in most of what we do in Europe. And, in each country, my -- you know, my first goal is to ensure -- or objective, I should say -- is that we support the ambassador and the ambassador's country team and their efforts within that country. So a -- a reduction of their abilities would not be a positive. HIRONO: Thank you -- including a 26 percent cut to the State Department and the departure of many senior personnel. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Senator Ernst.
ERNST: Thank you, Mr. Chair. And, General Scaparrotti, thank you so much for your service and your willingness to -- to come in front of us and give us important updates today. As -- as the U.S. is turning its focus to great powers and near-peer threats, it is important for us to consider ways that we can best leverage our resources. And one way that the United States has begun doing this is by putting into place the Army's new Security Force Assistance Battalions, or the SFAB, that's located at Fort Benning. We are currently leveraging the SFAB in the Middle East and in Afghanistan. And perhaps this -- this unit, with its unique capabilities in the train, advise and assist areas, could be used to take stress off of our special operators, especially in -- in EUCOM. Could EUCOM benefit from those capabilities? And, if so, where could you see us using the SFABs in EUCOM?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, first of all, it's not necessarily in EUCOM, but I'll -- I'll respond, given that I'm also the SACEUR and U.S. is a part of Resolute Support -- you know, the mission within Afghanistan, which is where they're deploying the SFABs. I was just in Afghanistan last weekend. This is going to be a great boost to the mission there, because they're trained specifically for train, advise and assist. They're organized for that. They're prepared for the mission in the place that they're going to. And that's what we need in Afghanistan. We need the focus on train, advise and assist to continue to build the capability of their force. So I'm fully supportive of this and I think it is an efficient use of resources, and also helps us to maintain the readiness of our Army units as a fighting force, in terms of those other brigades, as opposed to pulling one apart to do the SFAB job. Within Europe, there's a time and place -- there's two ways. We do capability development throughout Europe with our allies and our partners. There may be an application there, as we get into a focused training effort, like we do in Ukraine, for instance, or in a projecting stability type of effort, where we assist in some countries in northern Africa, perhaps, in order to build their capability and prevent destabilization. Those are just a couple of quick ideas, but I think, having that force, there's certainly plenty of opportunity, when it comes to strengthening our partners and using a force like that.
ERNST: Right. Well, I agree, and I'm excited to see how their deployment goes in Afghanistan and how we can utilize their -- the adeptness of that type of unit in other cultural situations, as well. And, as we look to Europe and what we see going on in Ukraine, it might be another opportunity for our SFABs to excel. So I appreciate your feedback there. Now, we know that Russia -- that's (ph) the topic, it seems, this morning -- but the malign activity across the EUCOM AOR is, of course, extremely concerning. I think you've seen that demonstrated from all of us here sitting with your today, whether it's the illegal presence in Crimea, whether it is their information operations, their gray zone activities -- we've talked about a lot of that today -- violations of the INF treaty. We need to bolster our posture, and their destabilizing actions -- we need to push against that. So, the DOD's budget request for fiscal year 19 is $2 billion dollars -- or a near $2 billion increase for the European Deterrence Initiative. If it weren't for that funding provided by the EDI, do you think that EUCOM could fully perform its mission to deter and, if necessary, defeat aggression in Europe? And what if we no longer had those dollars?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I could not do my mission without the EDI and the increase. That -- as I have said, it not only continues what I have today -- what we've built, but, through the FYDP, this is what's going to establish the full posture that we need, in conjunction with our allies.
ERNST: And, if you had one dollar more, where would you spend it?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, that's -- that's -- I would probably go -- if you -- if you look at where we need to continue development, I would -- I would most likely, start at C4ISR, because our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is so important to me, particularly, when you don't have the posture you want. You've got to be able to get ahead of and be able to predict what your posture needs to be. And so that's probably the area that I'd put my next dollar into, if it were up to me.
ERNST: That is exceptional, because I think we hear from many of our other commanders, as well, that ISR is in high, high demand. So thank you very much, General. Thank you.
INHOFE: Thank you. Senator Peters.
PETERS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, General, thank you for being here again today, and thank you for your service, as always. General, how would you define the term, "political warfare"?
SCAPARROTTI: Political warfare -- well, I think it would be the attack -- or efforts to spoil policy or politics within a government. And that could, you know, cover a range of its governmental activities, its individual agencies, its policy and its values.
PETERS: Yeah. And that's certainly been an element of strategy for -- since the beginning of warfare -- just different types of technologies. However, in today's digital domain, that -- the ability to use political warfare is leveraged dramatically, and I think most observers see that that's going to be a major part of conflict going forward. It's a part of conflict that we're seeing right now, with Russians. You know, I had the opportunity, when I was in Latvia and Lithuania recently, to be there for Saber Strike, an exercise that went on with a number of countries. But I had the chance to visit STRATCOM that was dealing with communications that were coming from the Russians that were really about -- were -- really, in my mind, were kind of the classic definition of political warfare: to sow confusion, to create distrust. In fact, some of the communications that I saw were put out by Russians on social media that the Americans had dropped a bomb on a farmhouse or a store, some sort of civilian building, and that the Americans simply can't be trusted because, when they're in your country, bad things happen. I'm sure there are other examples. Could you give us a sense of the types of things that the Russians are doing on a regular basis that interfere with NATO's ability to have the trust and confidence of the citizens of those countries?
SCAPARROTTI: Yeah, thank you. I would just tell you that the kinds of things you described that you saw there -- is not uncommon throughout, particularly, the east, but even into the depth of Europe. Typically, when you look at their disinformation, their social media, it is generally targeted at the undermining of western values, confidence in that government, confidence in their governmental leaders -- almost always subtly just hedging (ph) away at that. And, because of today's capabilities and information, where they can use multiple -- multiple platforms and generate great volume, it can really undermine a nation, because all we have to do is just sow some confusion, primarily -- sow enough confusion that there's distrust in the government. And it's not an uncommon thing to see.
PETERS: In fact, it's going on constantly, is it not?
SCAPARROTTI: It is. It's subtle, but it's -- it is constant. It is in greater volume in the countries in the east than it is, perhaps, in the south, southwest of Europe.
PETERS: So, when I use the term political warfare, this -- they are engaged in political warfare with the West, generally, as a result of these activities, and trying to sow this distrust which undermines any of the -- the fundamental basis of democracy is that people have trust in their government and their ability to effect the changes in that government. And, if you sow distrust, it undermines it. So what -- what -- we have to combat this. Obviously, this is something -- we have to understand the Russians are not our friends. They're engaged in these activities not just in the United States, but all across Europe and other parts of the world. What would be the role for -- in your mind as -- in your capacity, for U.S. versus our allies, and the role of government operations versus what the private sector should be expected to do in civil society, generally? How do we grapple with this?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think one way is that -- that we in the military reinforce all of the civilian agencies and capabilities, to include national media, et cetera. And we have to -- we have to continue to focus on the values and -- you know, the values that democracies profess: democratic institutions, international rule of law. That's a very high-level, general statement, but we've kind of left that. Western democracies have -- have kind of assumed that our people understood what was important about a democracy and the way that we live. We've got to reinforce that, and it needs -- needs to be done across all the -- all the different levers we can do it, and that takes focus and it takes volume. It takes information volume to do that.
PETERS: And do you believe that we should actively engage some of the major tech platforms to be part of the solution and to be more active in this space than they are now?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, I do. And on our side, in conjunction with NATO and the other nations, we're actually employing our capabilities to get our messages out at volume.
PETERS: All right, thank you, General.
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you. INHOFE: Senator Tillis.
TILLIS: Thank you, Mr. Chair. General Scaparrotti, it's good to see you again. Thank you for the time that you spent in my office, and also being at the official launch of the NATO -- the Senate NATO Observer Group. I appreciate all the work you're doing, and Ambassador Hutchinson, and we look forward, with Senator Shaheen, in getting more engaged as we continue the rollout. I -- I want to probably talk about something you would have anticipated today, and it has to do with trade. We know that the -- the discussions around the -- the tariffs -- we know that China's a bad actor and that there are legitimate, I think, national defense concerns there. But the way that the tariffs get implemented -- it could sweep in even some of our NATO allies, if we don't get it right. I know this is a fairly new discussion, but I was wondering if, in -- in your role, you have heard any of the discussions among some of our allies about concerns with how that gets rolled out?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, actually, I haven't, at this point, because I was back in the states here for -- for meetings and then hearings. So, as this has been a -- a topic in the news and discussion, I've actually been in the states.
TILLIS: I (ph) -- would be very interesting -- maybe we can get -- get a readout once you get back over there, because, since these tariffs are moving forward on the basis of national defense concerns, it would seem to me that that will probably weigh into the discussion. The other reason -- I'd be very interested in the feedback. I won't press you more on the question. But I know that we're making great progress on our NATO partners' contributions as a percentage of GDP. A part of what's going to help sustain that upward trend is going to be good economic performance in those -- in those nations. If they start seeing a dip in their economy, then my guess is this is one area where they may look at and move their -- their continuing contribution to the right as they move up to the 2 percent target. So I think it's very important for us to get feedback and have that feedback get back to the administration so that, when they tailor it, they do it in a way that's not disruptive to the chemistry and the relationship that we have with our partners. And I'd appreciate getting that feedback. The -- the other question I have: How would you -- how would you grade the -- the mood of our -- our NATO allies and their sense that -- that the -- the U.S. is absolutely committed to moving forward and building on the partnership? Strong?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, I'd say it's strong. What they see is investments like EDI, $5 billion to $6 billion, and then the presence of our troops. That's -- that's a strong statement.
TILLIS: Could you talk a little bit about the -- the -- I think some people believe that -- this is for the benefit of the public. When you're -- when you're trying to get to that 2 percent margin, it's not like it's going to some NATO account, being spent on the new building and -- and all the other things there. Can you talk about the inherent capabilities and the readiness, the benefits to the nations themselves by -- by virtue of upping that -- their investment as a NATO partner?
SCAPARROTTI: Roger. First of all, we live in an environment today that's changed dramatically in the last even five years, but certainly 10, in terms of the threats that we have and the environment -- European -- the Euro-Atlantic environment. So they need a force that's relevant to that, and the force that they had five years ago, that we had five years ago, is not fully relevant. Take the cyber domain, for instance, as just one example; the increase in precision weaponry and the types of weaponry as another. So, to secure their population, their own sovereignty, which is a requirement of Article 3 and 4, and also to have the benefit of Article 5, they have to invest in this and they have to have a force that's relevant. It's to -- it's for their own population security and good, but it's also for us, as an alliance -- the good of the NATO alliance. NATO alliance secures 50 percent of the GDP of the -- you know, of our nations and theirs in the Euro-Atlantic alone. So, when you talk about prosperity, the increasing -- their increasing economy, which -- it is improving right now -- I think that security in NATO's -- foundational security is a part of that.
TILLIS: Well, thank you. And, just in closing, when you get back and -- and you get an opportunity, it -- it may be that nobody's talking about the -- the looming concern over the -- over the -- what the president described may be a trade war. I'd be very interested in seeing if that is having any sort of an effect on the -- the relationships that you're most concerned with. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
INHOFE: Thank you. Senator Warren.
WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, General, for meeting with me last week, and thank you for your service. Now, Russia continues to actively work to meddle in countries along its border and undermine unity within the NATO alliance. They do it through cyber attacks. They spread disinformation. They spread false stories through social media. They foment institutional corruption and use a lot of other manipulative measures. One of the countries in your area of responsibility is Sweden, which is not a member of NATO, but which did conduct major military exercises with the NATO troops last year. Sweden has a general election coming up in September. And I understand that they are taking preemptive steps to deter Russian interference. So, General, without divulging classified information, can you talk just a little bit about how you're working with Sweden and other countries in your area of responsibility to deter this kind of Russian information warfare and what you've learned that we might apply here in the United States?
SCAPARROTTI: First of all, I'd say that -- that Sweden is one of those countries that I think is more advanced in this, in terms of just my perspective. That's a personal opinion, looking at the nations throughout Europe, in -- in terms of their willingness to take it on.
SCAPARROTTI: One of their techniques is very -- they're very open about an attack. They publicize it. They push back against it. They're, I think, very forward-leaning with respect to their population and the education and how to question information that they get, broadly, and ensure they know the source, et cetera. With respect to Sweden, they're a very close partner, a great partner within Europe, both as a partner to NATO, but also with the United States. We work with them and several of the other Nordic countries together in a routine conference in order to look at ways that we can strengthen our defense and also conduct training that's helpful to all of us.
WARREN: I think that's really helpful. You know, whether it's Sweden or the United States or a whole lot of other countries, Russia is hell-bent on undermining democracy. Putin and his online trolls are not going away, and we face a choice. We can sit on our hands and let the Russians interfere in our elections, or we can be proactive and work with our allies to deter Russia and Russia's information warfare. Now, there's one other topic I want to ask you about, and that is, last year, I asked you about your support for the State Department. And you told me that you believe our military and diplomatic agencies need to work together to confront threats to our security and threats to our allies. And I understand from your comments to Senator Hirono that it's safe to assume you haven't changed your position on that. Is that fair?
SCAPARROTTI: That's correct.
WARREN: Good. I thought so. So I want to explore one aspect of how this works in practice. In order to have robust diplomacy, we need to have the personnel to carry it out. Out of the countries in your area of responsibility as the head of European Command, the United States currently does not have a confirmed ambassador or even an official nominee for six of them: Belarus, Belgium, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and Turkey. So, General, as an operational commander, do these diplomatic vacancies concern you as you carry out your mission? And, if so, why?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, Senator, it does -- it does concern me. There's other organizations that have an ambassador that don't have them, as well, yet, beyond the number you've given. The country teams, for instance, in the -- in the embassies are -- have great staffs, and we work very closely with them. But the ambassador is a key individual appointed by the government, recognized by their government as the ambassador. And so we need to fill those in each one of these countries, particularly in a country -- for instance, for Turkey, today, where we don't have an ambassador now and we are in very sensitive discussions in order to continue to reinforce and strengthen, you know, our relationship with a key NATO ally.
SCAPARROTTI: The ambassador's position's key.
WARREN: Thank you. Thank you very much, General. You know, we need to have both a strong military and a fully staffed State Department to best defend America and its allies. And we can't do that with empty ambassadorial posts and vacant positions throughout the State Department and around the world. The Trump administration's failure to fill major diplomatic posts has damaged our diplomatic readiness, and that makes our military's job harder. Thank you. Thank you, General.
INHOFE: Senator Sasse.
SASSE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, thank you for being here. Thanks for your generosity with your time for the last few weeks as you've been back in the U.S. A bunch of us have a lot of respect for you and appreciate the tutorials you've given us. I think you said earlier -- you said it in your written statement and I think you also said earlier, in response to a question, that Russia is now employing a broad menu of tactics and tools to manipulate and destabilize lots of nations and to manipulate and distort public information in a lot of the nations in your areas of responsibility. I think, at one point, you also said that a lot of their tactics are just short of war. Could you unpack what the line is in information warfare between "just short of war" and being at actual cyber war?
SCAPARROTTI: I think that's the key question, and it's something we've got to explore (ph). And it's particularly important in cyber, as well. And there are discussions being had here in NATO, et cetera, to determine what the definition of that is. But it would have to do with, you know, an attack that damages the vital interest of the United States, I think is the first place I would start to, you know, define that -- and particularly true within cyber, as well. That's probably, at this point, what I would say. I would start at the vital interest, and go from there. But a better definition of that within our government, within NATO, then helps us when we are in a situation where we see a crisis or an attack that's approaching that. And we can have greater agility, greater flexibility in determining how to respond.
SASSE: Public trust is at an all-time low. We've had decent polling in this country since the 1930s. Public trust is at an all-time low in most of our institutions right now. And, when you look at every major culture war dispute that happens amongst us -- I think about when the president decided to pick the scab at -- the Kaepernick and NFL kneeling before the flag issue, in the -- it's public information now -- I think it's been in the press enough times that, in the two or three days after the president decided to reignite that fight, two of the fastest trending hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, were "#TakeAKneeNFL" and "#StandForTheAnthem." I think those of us who have spent a lot of time on this issue are well aware -- you know, I think the percentage is probably still classified, but the -- a huge share of that culture warring in the U.S. was actually of Russian origin -- both sides of our culture wars. "Take a knee," "stand for the anthem" -- Putin loves it. When Americans hate Americans and we fight with each other, Russia wins. And I know that you've seen lots and lots of similar things happening in European nations. I don't know how that is really different, in terms of the ultimate, public negative consequences than if this were done to a specific U.S. corporation, who then saw its market cap and its economic value collapse. And we're nuts if we don't understand that the next round of this is going to include lots of specific economic warfare. So, when we see attacks on public trust, we're not sure that it's warfare. If it were an economic action and you saw specific U.S. company devalued because of fake information that was out there from the Russians, would that be war?
SCAPARROTTI: (OFF-MIKE) I don't know. I don't -- I -- you know, this is a policy question, actually, when you get to it. But I think what you're driving at is what I said earlier, and that is that we live in a different world today. The change in what is considered, you know, part of our environment -- particularly having to do with information, the speed of it, the connectivity of it, the ability to -- what I call, you know develop volume -- the impact of (ph) cyber activity -- are all things that we're wrestling with. But we need to wrestle with it, because we've got -- we've got to get a better definition of our activity within those and what's acceptable.
SCAPARROTTI: You know, in the international community, when it comes to conflict, what we've done since the end of the Second World War was help to establish institutions that established the international rule of order that nations are expected to follow. And I think, in these new dynamics here, the new strategic environment we're in, we've really (ph) not done that yet. And we have to begin to move forward in some means to determine how we discipline particularly the cyber and the information domains, et cetera, to a certain extent.
SASSE: You know, one of the things that's unfortunate about the ways that we're deliberating about where we are in the evolution of warfare and the emergence of cyber warfare is that it's people in the uniform who are doing the hardest work, and then come and stand before committees like this. And you end up -- you and your colleagues end up taking a lot of the beating for what is really a failure of political leadership in both the legislative and executive branches and both parties. Right? After the Chinese attack on OPM three years ago, the last administration had no real response. In the current moment with Russian attacks, the current administration has no real response. The legislature is not nearly serious as -- serious enough about this issue. And so, regularly, we take people who are in your position, who are trying to help develop a menu of options for us to understand the problem -- we're not active in response, and you're the one who ends up having to -- to take some of the brunt of the heat. I would love to follow up with you. You and I have discussed this in -- in private and -- and in the SCIF in the past. I'd like to follow up with you in a formal letter and ask a question about this policymaking issue in the definition of war and in the cyber rules of engagement, because we'd like to help push forward, at the more senior levels of the Pentagon, and then ultimately at the handoff at (ph) the White House, where those discussions are, because I've been here for only three years. I'm one of five people in this body who's never been a politician before. I've been here for three years, and I've asked these questions every two, three months for 36 months straight. And, frankly, it doesn't seem like we're any closer now than we were 36 months ago to having answers to these questions. And that's ultimately -- chiefly the responsibility of the Congress, the Article 1 branch. But we need the help of people like you to tee up those questions, so I'll -- I'll follow up in letter to you (ph).
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you, Senator.
SASSE: Thank you, General.
INHOFE: Thank you. Senator Kaine.
KAINE: Thank you, Mr. Chair. General Scaparrotti, thank you for your service and your testimony today. You've been asked a couple of questions about the RAND study, the unclassified version of which was entered into the record. And I want to ask you a question about that, too. We've been briefed about it, and one of the things I'd noticed that was interesting about that study is it -- it analyzed the state sort of power competitors we have, in terms of their capacities. But it didn't really look at, well, what if a couple of them combined capacities. That really was not covered in this part that I read. We always talk about our combined capacity with NATO, for example. But, if you look at the RAND report, you would assume that we would face, potentially, a set of discrete competitors, but there's little thought in the sections I've read about what their relationships are with one another. We're not the only country that has allies, even military alliances. The area that I would probably have the most concern would be a Russia-China relationship that would seek to exert more influence to our detriment, although you've seen Russia and Turkey start to have some cooperation in areas that are -- that maybe is a little bit unusual, given the history between those two countries. I'm wondering if you could first maybe address this issue from your standpoint. Are you seeing anything in the Russia-China relationship that would signify that they are growing closer together in terms of mil-to-mil activity or other activities, where the combined effect of their capacity should pose us concern?
SCAPARROTTI: I would -- I would still start by saying I think that there's not a -- I think they still have issues that wouldn't make them natural partners. But what we have seen, I think, in the last -- I'll just go for this past year, for instance -- we've seen Russian and -- and Chinese naval operations training together in the European theater, and (ph) on a couple of occasions, now.
KAINE: In the European theater?
SCAPARROTTI: In the European theater -- maritime operations. You know, we know that that there has been some work together, at least we think, in -- in the port in Djibouti -- a little bit of subsistence (ph) for each other there. So we've seen other areas, mil to mil, where they've come together for specific training purposes, et cetera. So there's a little more collaboration there than we'd seen in the past. and of course, that is -- that is somewhat worrisome.
KAINE: How about Russia and Turkey?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes. But there, again, I think they've -- they've always had an economic relationship. It was disturbed with the shoot-down of the -- of the Russian aircraft. I think part of what the government has tried to do is reestablish the economic relationship. There has been, obviously, with respect to Syria and their operations there, at a minimum, deconfliction, if not support, between Russia and Turkey.
KAINE: And then how about Russia and Iran? Obviously, we know they are both backers of the Assad regime in Syria. But are you seeing Russia and Iran engaging in mil-to-mil activities, training, other things that would make you worry about their combined capacities?
SCAPARROTTI: There are activities where they work together. I think it's one of convenience. But, obviously, any of these -- any of these nations that might be able to come together, particularly with respect to areas we're operating in, would be of concern, mil-to-mil.
KAINE: Let me switch quickly to one last Turkey question. The Turkey issue's very vexing -- a NATO ally. We use the base at Incirlik for important tasks in the fight against ISIS. Turkey has been very discouraged at the U.S. alliance with the Kurds in Northern Syria in the ISIS battle, and -- and that is a very serious point of contention, now, between the Turkish government and the United States. Just give us a little bit of a future look at the U.S.-Kurd (ph) relationship in Northern Syria. The Kurds have been great fighting partners for the U.S. in defeating ISIS in Northern Syria, but the U.S. has also been a great partner to the Kurds in enabling them to take back land that is theirs from ISIS. Having -- are we at a state now in Northern Syria where we are now sort of reducing the work we do together with Syrian Kurds because of the diminished threat of ISIS in a way that should cool the temperature of this challenge between Turkey and the United States?
SCAPARROTTI: In -- in this process, I work closely with Turkey. That's within EUCOM. The -- the Kurds and -- and those operations in Syria are with -- with CENTCOM. So we -- I and Joe Votel, as you can imagine, talk frequently on this, as well of (ph) our staffs working together. My approach to this is that we work not only at -- look at the immediate interests of both nations, but we look at the longer-term interests. Where do we want to be in a year, two years and five years? And, with that perspective, with a close NATO ally like Turkey, we know that we want to maintain and strengthen our relationship. So that's -- that's the long-term objective. And I think, if we look at that long-term objective, it can begin to inform what we're doing today with respect to NATO as an ally and the Kurds, who are our partner in defeating ISIS. And, although it's a very difficult and complex situation, I'm hopeful that we can -- that we can walk this path and -- and attain both interests. KAINE: Mr. Chair, thank you.
INHOFE: Thank you. Senator Sullivan.
SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chair. And I want to thank my friend from Georgia here for letting me cut in line on the questioning. General, good to see you again and thanks for all you're doing. I think there's -- safe to say there's a lot of us who are glad you're in the position you're in. And I know it's a difficult challenge, so thanks for your service. A lot of -- a lot of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle here have been talking about the importance of allies. I know you get it. I think we all get it, whether it's China or Russia -- having our allies on board and expanding that network is really important. So you have our full support on that. I do want to respond to Senator Warren's comment -- you know, the second time in the last two days we've heard colleagues -- and I have the utmost respect for my colleagues on the other side, particularly on this committee, about how the president needs to get his people out, to get people in positions -- ambassadors, assistant secretaries. I agree. And I think we could have, maybe, a little deal here among Democrats and Republicans. We'll encourage the White House to get more nominees out. But my colleagues on the other side can't complain about it, like Senator Warren was just doing, and then go to the unprecedented lengths that they have been doing to block and delay and make sure President Trump doesn't get his nominees confirmed. So -- can't have it both ways, Senator Warren and others. So we'll work with the president, and when they come to the floor, let's move them, not unprecedented blocking, which has been happening, which doesn't help the country, doesn't help our national security. And it's a little hypocritical to be complaining. When -- when they get to the floor, they never get moved. But that's not your problem. That's our problem. I'd actually like to talk about the Arctic, and I know it's an area that you've been focused on, and we appreciate that. There's a number of us beyond just me, being from Alaska, who are concerned about it. How many bases in Russia -- are the Russians building or refurbishing in the Arctic? Do you have a sense of that -- which would include their new Arctic military command. Can you talk a little bit about that?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes. They're -- they're -- essentially, the majority of this is refurbishing old bases, probably seven to nine, in particular, those that are at the beginning and the end of what is the Northern Sea route across there. And those are the key places. So we're watch that closely in terms of militarization of the Arctic.
SULLIVAN: And what do you think their intentions are? And let me ask -- are they installing any systems, including the fielding of major icebreakers that would give them de facto control of the Northern Sea route? Is that what -- is that what they're trying to do, you think? What are -- what are their intentions up (ph)...
SCAPARROTTI: Well, they're...
SULLIVAN: ... they're clearly militarizing that part of the world. And what do you think they're trying to achieve?
SCAPARROTTI: Their stated intent is to provide safeguards, security for the economic wellbeing of the Arctic. It's a very -- you know, their statement is along those lines. But, if you look at what they're putting into place, they would have the capability, I think, in some time -- you know, perhaps two or three years -- to control the Northern Sea route, if they chose to do so.
SULLIVAN: And do you think that's in the interest of the United States, that a country like Russia would have a de facto control over a new and potentially incredibly important line of communication through the world?
SCAPARROTTI: No, I don't.
SULLIVAN: So, in our Arctic policy that this committee recommended or actually (ph) requested that the secretary of defense promulgate, two years ago, we talked about the ability to control that sea route, to run FONOPs there. Are we falling behind in terms of the capabilities that we have vis-a-vis the Russians to do that?
SCAPARROTTI: We're not keeping pace.
SULLIVAN: Thank you, General. I wanted to ask -- another issue, with regard to shortfalls that you may or may not have in -- in the EUCOM AOR to counter and deter increasing Russian aggression. What's your thought of our shortfalls with regard to missile defense? And how do we need to address that?
SCAPARROTTI: We have capable missile defense systems. When you look at missile defense, though, I think the things that we need to focus on are, first of all, we -- we need to focus again on short-range and medium-range missile technology. You know, we've -- we have been operating in environments where we weren't -- it wasn't a (ph) contested environment, et cetera. That's not the case any longer. So we need to look at those systems. We need to look at the interoperability with our allies, because we can't do this in Europe without doing it correctly together. And then we need to look at other parts of this, passive parts of our integrated air missile defense, as well. So I -- that's how I would answer that. I think it's a -- it's a holistic system that we've got to put together. And it's the systems within the mid-range that I'm -- and, probably, short range -- that I'm most concerned about today.
SULLIVAN: OK. Thank you very much, General.
INHOFE: (OFF-MIKE) KING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, welcome to the committee. First, I want to associate myself with the comments of -- of Senator Sasse. I -- we've talked about this a great deal. We really need to develop a cyber doctrine and a strategy in order to have a -- a credible deterrent. And -- and I think that's one of the things that's -- that's lacking -- prior administration, current administration. Let's just get it done. And I hope you will take that message back, because, if all we do is try to defend, ultimately, as you know, the whole idea of your forces and the whole idea of our nuclear forces is deterrence. We don't want to have to use them. And we don't have a deterrent force in terms of cyber, and I think it's something that we -- we -- we certainly need to develop. Do you agree, General?
SCAPARROTTI: (OFF-MIKE) KING: Thank you. It seems to me that what's going on -- and we've had a series of questions about what the Russians are doing in Europe, and I think it would be interesting to learn whether they were involved in the recent Italian elections over the weekend. What we're seeing before our eyes is a kind of de-unification of Europe. We've had Brexit. We've had a populist election in -- in Italy. We've had a -- a very difficult election in Germany, then we know they attempted to interfere in the election in France. So we're trying to -- they're trying to split the countries. And it strikes me that what they're doing is a kind of geopolitical jujitsu. My memory of judo and jujitsu was you use your opponent's strength against him. And our strength is our freedom and our First Amendment and our free press and our open society. And that's exactly what they're using in order to turn it back on us and to divide us, not only within countries, but also within the alliance. And I presume you see this Russian activity all the time, from your position in -- in EUCOM.
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir, I do. And I -- I agree with your thoughts. I mean, a democratic government, the values we profess, the freedom of the press -- those kinds of things -- those are the things that are vulnerabilities with -- with respect to Russia's attack.
KING: That's exactly what they're exploiting.
SCAPARROTTI: That's what they're exploiting. That's what they're leveraging. So I said earlier, in my comments, that it's important today that we not take for granted the importance of these values, our active -- individuals' active participation as a member of democracy, to protect all of those things. And there's a certain -- certain sense that I have, both here and in Europe, that -- that we've kind of begun to take that for granted, and now it's being attacked. We -- we have to -- we have to think about it that way and begin to come together to protect the values and our way of life, because that's essentially what's going to happen (ph).
KING: And it -- and it leads us back to the issue of -- of some kind of strategy and doctrine that we can develop, not unlike NATO at the end of World War I, not unlike the strategy of deterrence that underlay our nuclear policy for 70 years, which has -- which has worked. Let me change the subject for a moment. Javelins to Ukraine -- any concern about that leading to an escalation on the other side, particularly given the fact that Russia is so much more proximate to the battlefield? Give me your thoughts about that.
SCAPARROTTI: I wouldn't say I have zero concern. But it's not a lot of concern, particularly because, if you look at the Russian proxies and the force structures, the kinds of equipment provided by Russia, the presence of Russian leadership and the proximity of Russian units on the border to eastern Ukraine, I can't see -- I mean, they would obviously take advantage of this in information warfare, to say that it's of concern to them. But it should not be. KING: In the few seconds that I have left, your thoughts about the status of that conflict? It seems to be, at least from the point of view of our attention, in a kind of limbo, in a kind of standoff. Is that the -- is that the situation?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, you know, sometimes, there will be those that add this to kind of the frozen conflicts that we see in Europe, particularly in the east. But I would say it's not that. It's a hot war yet. They take casualties on both sides, but particularly in Ukraine, you know, every week, to this date. We have seen the violence level go down of late. But I would tell you, what you don't see is -- within that lower violence level, it's less heavy artillery, and more things like snipers, et cetera. So the casualties haven't gone down. In fact, they've gone up a bit.
KING: But it's still a hot war?
SCAPARROTTI: It's still a hot war. And my personal opinion is that, although Russia states that it's Ukraine's problem, that we're not moving forward with the Minsk agreement, et cetera, I think it's actually Russia who doesn't want it to move forward. They could certainly do more than they're doing today, with respect of (ph) helping us move in the right direction -- protection of the mission monitors, for instance, in the Donbass, which they don't -- they don't help with at all, et cetera.
KING: Final question on a different subject. It could be a yes or no answer. You note in your testimony, on page four, Russia is revitalizing its northern fleet, as you just discussed with Senator Sullivan, in anticipation of increased military, commercial activity. They intend to assert sovereignty over the northern sea route, in violation of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Would be advantageous to our country for us to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea so that we can be a participant in those proceedings?
KING: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Senator Perdue.
PERDUE: General, thank you for being here and for your decades of service. I want to talk about Russia just a minute, but particularly about Georgia and their intent there and our strategy there. It seems to me, when you look at their facilities in Murmansk; Kaliningrad; Sevastopol, now, in the Crimea region; what they've done in Georgia; and now what they look at (ph) -- like they've done in Latakia and Tartus in Syria. I'm concerned about these frozen conflicts. I'd like to get your update on the Georgian frozen conflict. I guess we'd still call that a frozen conflict. What is -- what's our posture there and what's the long-term strategy regarding, specifically, Georgia? But, also, you talked about the current situation in Ukraine. I'd love for you to also update us on your current thinking -- the U.S.' current posture with regard to Ukraine and Georgia, relative to what looks to be a solidification of Russia's positioning in a crescent around Eastern Europe.
SCAPARROTTI: First, Senator, with respect to Georgia, one, I would state that, as a partner -- Georgia, as a partner, is a strong one. You know, they provide forces in Afghanistan and others. Not a large country, but a -- but a good fighting force and a good partner. What we see there today, when you look into the two areas that Russians have presence, those breakaway portions of Georgia -- Ossetia, et cetera -- they are now working to bring them into, I think, you know, almost the Russian Federation, in the sense that you -- what you begin to see is the use of Russian administration within those.
PERDUE: Putin calls them independent states now, those two (ph).
SCAPARROTTI: He does, but it's not recognized internationally as independent states -- neither one of them. They call it that. I don't -- I don't think there's more than maybe three nations or four in the world that accept his definition. But my point is what he's doing is he's drawing them into their administration. In some of these countries -- and I can't recall if Georgia is one of them, but in some of those countries, for those areas that they have presence, they have declared those soldiers' either ability to become a part of the Russian Federation military forces, or they have agreements that they would become a part of that, if there were a conflict. So my point is you can just see them drawing them into their orbit. Now, you asked about others. I think, if you go to Moldova or other areas where we have frozen conflicts, this is to their advantage, because they -- they use that in order to help secure what they see as part of their strategic depth on the periphery...
PERDUE: So, I apologize... (CROSSTALK)
SCAPARROTTI: ... area of influence.
PERDUE: ... so what is our strategy in those frozen conflicts? And I'd like a brief answer on that, because I want to ask a quick question on Israel as I -- as you finish up. SCAPARROTTI: The -- well, our strategy is, diplomatically, to stay very involved in different areas, whether it's OSCE, Minsk, which is what it is for a couple of those -- diplomatically, in order to resolve the conflicts and, at the same time, respect the sovereignty of the nations and the determination of the people involved, like in Nagorno-Karabakh, for instance -- their desire to determine their own government. So we generally follow that track, but a better question for the diplomats who are working that. In our regard, we have a relationship with each of these countries where we help them with security reform and also capacity-building, because, in each case, they're looking to the West and they would prefer to come to the West. Russia's continuation of this frozen conflict is one way that they freeze that ability of a nation to, then, look to the West for either NATO or E.U.
PERDUE: Thank you. In the remaining time I've got, just a quick question about Iran and their increased activity in Syria. It seems that they've built a permanent base, now, outside Damascus, that has a warehouse that's capable of storing missiles that could hit Israel. We know that they talk openly about a land bridge from Tehran to Beirut. The changing situation in Syria certainly raises questions, and particularly with the latest aggression, with the drone incident in Israel. How does that situation in Syria -- Israel's part of your area of responsibility, if I understand correct. Correct?
SCAPARROTTI: That's correct, it is.
PERDUE: And so what -- what is the current situation? How do you assess that? And what -- what is your command's posture relative to the security of our ally, Israel?
SCAPARROTTI: My mission in EUCOM, with respect to Israel, is to support the defense of Israel. In fact, we have a large contingent there today, doing an infant (ph) defense and rehearsing, basically, you know, those operations that we planned in defense of Israel, should it be needed. I'm going there tonight, in fact. And so we continue to work closely with them in a defensive means, but also to stay very close to them with intelligence. And, as you know, they see Iran as an existential threat. They're concerned about the -- about the posture of Iranian forces or Iranian-supported forces in Syria, and perhaps that they might be intending to remain in Syria as this is resolved. They're concerned about the missile technology they believe may be transferred from Iran to any of these extremist organizations, or to Lebanese Hezbollah, to their north. And so we're watching this very closely with them. I agree that a land bridge, you know, between Iran -- through into Syria would not -- not be a good outcome.
PERDUE: Thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Thank you. Senator Gillibrand.
GILLIBRAND: Thank you so much, General. I want to continue the conversation you were having with my colleague. This week, more than 2,500 U.S. personnel are taking part in EUCOM's Juniper Cobra missile defense exercise with the Israel Defense Forces. According to Israeli media, this year's exercise will simulate a large-scale ballistic missile attack against Israel. Will the Arrow, Iron Dome, and David's Sling missile defense system be involved in this exercise? And am I correct that this is the first such exercise since David's Sling system went operational in April of last week (sic)? SCAPARROTTI: The -- this will involve their systems, as well as ours, and in particular, the interoperability of those systems and the interoperability and the connection of our command and control systems. In terms of their systems, specifically, if it's a new system, this is the first exercise that we've done, but I couldn't comment. I can come back for the record after I look at it. I'm going there this evening to spend a few days as we conduct this exercise.
GILLIBRAND: And do you think this exercise can effectively counter some of the threats to Israel?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, I think it does. It's a matter of deterrence. It is making sure that those who may think about doing them harm -- knows that we have a credible and a -- expert defense that we can establish rather rapidly.
GILLIBRAND: And have you discussed with Israel our commitment to maintaining their qualitative military edge?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes. And I support that, and we work very closely -- it's -- in terms of our daily activity, it's one of the closest nations with EUCOM. GILLIBRAND: Thank you. Switching gears, media reported that, on Feb (ph) 7, 8, hundreds of Russian military contractors were killed when U.S. forces and Kurdish allies repelled an attack against a base in Eastern Syria. Based on what you have seen in Europe, how does Russia tend to use military contractors? And what is your assessment of the goal of this attack? From your viewpoint in EUCOM, what do you believe Russia is trying to accomplish in Syria?
SCAPARROTTI: I won't comment specifically on Syria that you noted. That's -- that's in CENTCOM's AOR. I would just say, generally, that Russia is known, through their oligarchs or some businesses, to establish and use private military forces, which is what I'd call them -- private military forces. GILLIBRAND: I was very interested in your exchange earlier about a Russian cyber attack. And I understand from many of your colleagues that this is something that the president has not asked you to do. What recommendations would you make to the president to protect our country from a cyber attack that could harm America's vital infrastructure?
SCAPARROTTI: First of all, I -- you know, the president wouldn't -- it wouldn't be normal that he'd provide direction directly to me at EUCOM, at my level, with respect to this topic. It would be CYBERCOM's area. And CYBERCOM's commander would be the -- the best to give him best military advice. So, to that expect (ph), I'd probably go to Admiral Rogers. Mine would be -- if asked for best military advice -- is that we continue to develop the capabilities we have. I think we have excellent capabilities, and we need to consider what -- a deterrent effect we want and need to have. But I would leave it very generally at that and go to the specifics to the person he turns to normally, being the secretary and, within COCOMs, the CYBERCOM commander. GILLIBRAND: The NATO secretary general has said that alliance members agreed that a serious cyber attack threatening critical military and civilian infrastructure could trigger Article 5 of the NATO treaty in the same way that a conventional military assault would. Is that -- is this a possibility that your forces are training for, in cooperation with our allies? And what can you tell us about any collaboration on this front?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes. We train -- we're a member of NATO. So, within NATO, for example, you know, we are defining the domain with U.S. as a part of that. And we've actually conducted exercises, one this past year, that involved ambiguous cyber activity or attacks that involved attacks on infrastructure, et cetera, in order to get right at your point, and that is to get better clarity on attacks on infrastructure. One is that of, you know, an attack on a vital national interest, and then how do we respond to that. So there is -- there is, both in the United States and within NATO at large, work on this very question.
GILLIBRAND: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. INHOFE: Senator Scott.
SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And good morning, General. Good to see you again. My concern -- we've had a lot of conversation over the last several weeks about the state of (ph) Turkey in the region, and especially as NATO partner of ours. Much of my concern has been focused on the fact that what used to be a very secular Turkey is -- moved in the direction of becoming a more religious Turkey. And the cultural shift seems to have had a significant impact on the behavior of Turkey. Can you walk me through your assessment?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think that, in Turkey, overall, there is -- there is a shift of some note, specifically within the government, perhaps to be a government that's more Islamist, based on its religion, than in the past. And perhaps you might say it's less secular. But I think the outcome of this remains to be seen. Most of this has happened just as a result of an attempted coup.
SCAPARROTTI: And President Erdogan has taken steps to, in his mind, secure his country and secure his form of government. So I think we have to -- we have to watch this and look a little deeper. Having said all of that, I have routine conversations with my counterpart in Turkey and their security officials. We have a close mil-to-mil relationship. They're a valued member as an ally and as a NATO ally. And we're going to continue to develop that relationship and strengthen it. And I think that, too, can have an influence on the -- on the government as a whole. And -- because they intend -- I'm sure they intend to remain a member of NATO that is based on the Washington Treaty and the values that -- that all of us profess.
SCOTT: Thank you, General. Russia's violated the Open Skies Treaty, refused to implement the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty and the Vienna Document, suspended the PMDA while placing outrageous and unreasonable conditions on resuming, and undermined the Chemical Weapons Convention through its support to Syria and its chemical weapons program. What conclusions do you draw from this record about the reliability of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government as negotiating partners? And I would just point out that the PMDA, from my research, suggests that the 34 metric tons that we had agreed to dispose of would lead (ph) each side having about 17,000 metric tons, which could create multiple -- thousands and thousands of weapons out of that weapons-grade plutonium.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, the -- the short answer is I think, with the Russians, just based on what you walked through -- and it's obvious to us (ph) in terms of the treaties -- is that -- that we -- I believe in the treaty system. I believe in nonproliferation and to continue our weapons control treaties that we have in place. But we have to verify what they say they're doing. And that's what it's based on. It's not a trust. It's a verification. And then, secondly, while they've stepped away from the CFE and others, and -- violation of INF, I think we take steps, as this administration is doing, as the Secretary of Defense has laid out -- that is, using the different levers of power in order to bring them back into compliance with the INF Treaty, in -- in particular. And I think that's the right way to go. I think we had spent some time where we weren't confronting them with either their violations of that treaty, or some others. And -- and we need to take a strong stand.
SCOTT: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. INHOFE: Thank you. Senator Blumenthal.
BLUMENTHAL: Thanks, Mr. Chairman. I have advocated, for some time, strong measures to deter and counter the blatant Russian aggression in Ukraine and around the globe, the assault on democracies through cyber and disinformation. But Ukraine is a blatant, ongoing instance of physical force that violates standards of common decency and norms of international law. The obligation of the United States to provide lethal military assistance, I think, is clear. I have advocated for some time, and we've included in the National Defense Authorization Act. The Department of State has cleared the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, which is a long-overdue move to increase Ukraine's defense capabilities. Although lethal, these arms are essentially defensive in nature. Would you agree with me that more of these type of weapons are necessary to deter and counter Russian aggression against Ukraine?
SCAPARROTTI: I think, for where (ph) -- what we're providing of those types of weapons right now, I would personally -- my best military device would (ph) say let's put this into play. We've got training, et cetera, that we need to do, and then take -- take a look at the situation from that point. There are more -- there are -- there is more, and there is equipment that they can use effectively that -- that -- we in EUCOM will continue to advise Congress and -- and provide our best advice for what will help them most.
BLUMENTHAL: Let -- let me ask a very simple question, which may be overly simplistic. But are we winning in Ukraine? Aren't the Russians effectively winning in accomplishing their objective? (CROSSTALK)
SCAPARROTTI: Yeah, that's -- I mean, it depends on your definition of "win." I would say that we're not progressing, because our interest there is to resolve this conflict.
BLUMENTHAL: And, if we're not progressing, we -- meaning we and Ukraine -- are losing.
SCAPARROTTI: I don't know that I would say we're losing. I would say, again, we're not progressing. We're -- we're more or less at a stalemate in where we're at. If you look at Ukraine, the reason I would say we're not losing is Ukraine's forces, for instance, are steadily getting stronger and much more confident. The nation itself is...
INHOFE: Excuse me, General. Let me interrupt for just a moment. Forgive me for this, but Senator Scott presiding. Go ahead. Thank you.
SCAPARROTTI: ... and the government itself, in terms of the reforms that they want and we expect, as well, is moving forward -- not at the pace we want, but it is moving forward. So I said -- so, even within that -- that conflict still residing, I think we're making progress in important ways, and we should continue to -- to press in that direction.
BLUMENTHAL: We're making progress, do you think, in countering the endemic corruption that has existed? Is that what you meant by reforms?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, that's part of it, yes. You know, they just voted for their anticorruption law, the first vote of three they think they have to take. That law is not everything we wanted in it, but it's a step in the right direction, as well.
BLUMENTHAL: Because, two years ago, at this hearing -- exactly this kind of hearing, I asked your predecessor, General Breedlove, about the issue of corruption, and he acknowledged that there was a lot to be done. It was a very unfortunate problem, and I wonder whether there's more that can be done by your command to counter it.
SCAPARROTTI: It is still a problem, as I just noted, in the law (ph). Between us and our interagency -- particularly State -- we continue to press. We've got -- you know, we have personnel both in the mission there with -- with the embassy, but also a multinational joint committee that meets regularly, works with State and with the other nations that are involved, as well, in progressing both capability-building and the reform of their security institution. We need to continue to press in that regard. I think that there is more that can be done in terms of other assets that we can bring to bear.
BLUMENTHAL: I -- I just want to note, finally, the -- because I'm almost out of time -- the F.Y. '19 budget request includes increases for the European Deterrence Initiative and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. There is $200 million for the Ukraine Security Initiative, $50 million above the president's request from the previous year. In addition, the president's asked for $6.5 billion for EDI, $1.7 billion more than last year.
BLUMENTHAL: I assume -- I hope that you would agree these investments in our defensive capability are important in Ukraine, because they demonstrate resolve against Russian aggression there, but also in Europe generally and around the world.
SCAPARROTTI: I agree. They're foundational, in Ukraine, to the -- to the activity we have there and the progress that both we and their nation, and particularly their forces, are making.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you. Thank you, General, and thank you for your service.
SCAPARROTTI: You're welcome.
SCOTT: Thank you, Senator. Just a couple more questions for you, General. Angus, do you have any questions?
KING: I just want to compliment the chairman on his meteoric rise. (LAUGHTER)
SCOTT: As fast as you go up, you typically go back down, by the way. So you may see me in a corner. Yes, yes, yes, realize that. General, in -- in my office, you and I had a robust conversation about the -- the resources that you might need to make sure that we have the quickest response -- rapid response is what I called it, not what you called it -- in your command and your responsibilities. Can you perhaps remind me of the issues or the items that you would want to see included in the F.Y. '19 budget, so as to make sure that you have all the resources necessary to meet what we expect you to accomplish? And, second, the problem of the anti-access area denial, or the A2/AD, is a big one. But, if you can overcome it, it may help us avoid the "escalate to dominate" (ph) scenario. Which items in the budget request specifically help you become -- deal with the A2/AD problem?
SCAPARROTTI: Yeah, and thank you. I'll give you a general answer... SCOTT: Yes. SCAPARROTTI: ... Senator, here. And, if you want more detail, I'd be happy to do this in a classified means, as well. First of all in terms of resources, generally, if you -- you look at -- at our budget proposal and the way it's being used, I'd start by saying that -- that, of those requirements that I've had, the -- this budget in the FYDP gets after virtually every one of those areas in some means. So I'm very appreciative to Congress of that. If I were to categorize them, I would start, as I said before, with command-control computers; information, surveillance and reconnaissance, C4ISR; areas that have to do with the integrated air and missile defense; there are, across each of the services, specific areas that I could give you in a -- in a classified vein; and then, lastly, munitions. So, as you look at a A2/AD or the anti-access area denial problem set with respect to Russia, the combination of the -- of the services' requirements that I've laid out, as well as precision munitions, helps me with that second threat that you noticed of -- that you noted of A2/AD. The combination of those together -- I can -- I can underline those systems. SCOTT: Thank you, General -- better? Thank you, General, for your time. Hope you have a great day. SCAPARROTTI: Thank you. END