HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE HEARING ON SECURITY CHALLENGES IN EUROPE MARCH 15, 2018
SPEAKERS: REP. MAC THORNBERRY, R-TEXAS, CHAIRMAN REP. WALTER B. JONES, R-N.C. REP. JOE WILSON, R-S.C. REP. FRANK A. LOBIONDO, R-N.J. REP. MICHAEL R. TURNER, R-OHIO REP. MIKE D. ROGERS, R-ALA. REP. BILL SHUSTER, R-PA. REP. K. MICHAEL CONAWAY, R-TEXAS REP. DOUG LAMBORN, R-COLO REP. ROB WITTMAN, R-VA. REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, R-CALIF. REP. MIKE COFFMAN, R-COLO. REP. VICKY HARTZLER, R-MO. REP. AUSTIN SCOTT, R-GA. REP. MO BROOKS, R-ALA. REP. ROB BISHOP, R-UTAH REP. JIM BRIDENSTINE, R-OKLA. REP. BRAD WENSTRUP, R-OHIO REP. BRADLEY BYRNE, R-ALA. REP. SAM GRAVES, R-MO. REP. MARTHA MCSALLY, R-ARIZ. REP. ELISE STEFANIK, R-N.Y. REP. STEVE KNIGHT, R-CALIF. REP. STEVEN RUSSELL, R-OKLA. REP. SCOTT DESJARLAIS, R-TENN. REP. RALPH ABRAHAM, R-LA. REP. TRENT KELLY, R-MISS. REP. MATT GAETZ, R-FLA. REP. MIKE GALLAGHER, R-WIS. REP. DON BACON, R-NEB. REP. JIM BANKS, R-IND. REP. LIZ CHENEY, R-WYO. REP. PAUL COOK, R-CALIF. REP. JODY B. HICE, R-GA. REP. ADAM SMITH, D-WASH., RANKING MEMBER REP. ROBERT A. BRADY, D-PA. REP. SUSAN A. DAVIS, D-CALIF. REP. JIM LANGEVIN, D-R.I. REP. RICK LARSEN, D-WASH. REP. JIM COOPER, D-TENN. DEL. MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, D-GUAM REP. JOE COURTNEY, D-CONN. REP. NIKI TSONGAS, D-MASS. REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, D-CALIF. REP. JACKIE SPEIER, D-CALIF. REP. MARC VEASEY, D-TEXAS REP. TULSI GABBARD, D-HAWAII REP. BETO O'ROURKE, D-TEXAS REP. DONALD NORCROSS, D-N.J. REP. RUBEN GALLEGO, D-ARIZ. REP. SETH MOULTON, D-MASS. REP. COLLEEN HANABUSA, D-HAWAII REP. CAROL SHEA-PORTER, D-N.H. REP. JACKY ROSEN, D-NEV. REP. RO KHANNA, D-CALIF. REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY, D-FLA. REP. A. DONALD MCEACHIN, D-VA. REP. SALUD CARBAJAL, D-CALIF. REP. ANTHONY G. BROWN, D-MD. REP. TOM O'HALLERAN, D-ARIZ. REP. TOM SUOZZI, D-N.Y. REP. TIM WALZ, D-MINN. REP. JIMMY PANETTA, D-CALIF. WITNESSES: GEN. CURTIS M. SCAPARROTTI, COMMANDER OF THE U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND, TESTIFIES [*]
THORNBERRY: The committee will come to order. The committee welcomes General Scaparrotti back today to testify on the threats and posture in the European Command's area of responsibility. There he faces the full range of security challenges, from Russia's constant modernization of its nuclear weapons and delivery systems, to the hybrid and political warfare it wages against the U.S. and others. Its tactics extend, as we've been reminded this week, to targeted assassinations as well. THORNBERRY: I think that -- that it is clear that the U.S. has neglected both ends of the warfare spectrum in recent years, and much in between. But the recent budget agreement and the new National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review give us the chance to begin to do better. We must do better across the board. It's not enough to advocate for a more robust cyber response to Russia's attempts to meddle in our elections, but waver on our response to their renewed nuclear or territorial ambitions. Likewise, we cannot build up our missile defenses and nuclear deterrent, but leave significant cyber intrusions unanswered. It's essential, in my view, that we face all of these challenges with clear-eyed objectivity and not allow domestic politics to color our view or affect our actions. The United States and our allies and our interests are threatened by the full range of Russian capability and by its increasing belligerence. Our job is to address them in the military sphere in order to protect our nation's security. Nothing more and nothing less. I yield to the ranking member.
SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, General Scaparrotti. It's good to see you again. I always appreciate your time out at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and your leadership out there, and certainly your leadership now for us in Europe. And I certainly agree with the chairman, Russia is the big issue -- not the only, but the big issue in the European Command and how we counter their increasingly aggressive behavior. I would disagree slightly. I don't think the chairman meant it quite this way. It's -- it's not just a military challenge. Obviously we -- we are here in the Armed Services Committee or the EUCOM commander, that's your primary focus, But it is a broader challenge to confront Russia, and we had the opportunity to have a conversation with you yesterday a little bit about that. In addition to being a military commander, you're also occasionally a diplomat ,in terms of being able to stay in touch with your Russian counterparts, trying to make sure there are no misunderstandings, and we don't stumble into a conflict. And I would also be remiss again if I didn't point out that in confronting this, diplomacy is -- is enormously important, which means that the State Department is enormously important. They are an indispensable partner for what you and the rest of the Department of Defense are trying to do. And right now the State Department is not in a good place. Certainly they're transitioning from one leader to the next. We're not sure, you know, how the confirmation process is going to go. But it is been a tumultuous year at the State Department. That needs to get figured out, because diplomacy is going to be a big part of this. I agree with those folks, including many on this -- this panel, who have identified the fact that we have moved back into an era of great power conflict. I don't agree that that conflict necessarily has to be military. You have to handle it in a variety of different ways in order to try to move it in a different direction. The one big thing on Russia, yes, they are moving forward in terms of increasing their capabilities in a variety of areas, but the one big area where they're actually acting on a consistent basis is in their disinformation cyber campaign. And there's an area where I think we are behind. And some of these other areas that the chairman mentioned, we are worried because the Russians are catching up and potentially getting to the point where they can surpass us in capability. But when it comes to cyber, when it comes to disinformation campaign, we are barely on the playing field at this point. We've all, you know, read about Russia's efforts to influence our election here in the U.S. They're doing it across Western Europe. And it's not just elections. They are spreading a message, and that message is that authoritarian regimes are better than democracy, backing Assad in Syria, the things that they're doing down in Libya. SMITH: They are undermining the basic tenets of what we stand for, which is political freedom and economic freedom. And we have to counter that. In fact, General, you said something very interesting yesterday, during our classified -- this wasn't classified, I don't think -- but that a poll of people in western Europe, asking them how important democracy was -- a poll of the younger generation -- it was shocking to see that it wasn't a very high percentage that said it was important. The basic notion that political freedom is the way to govern a country and to govern the world is being eroded. Now, there's a lot of reasons for that, but I would submit that one of the biggest ones is a concentrated campaign by Vladimir Putin to undermine it. We need to counter that. So I'm very interested to hear today what we're doing on that information campaign. And obviously, as the chairman mentioned, there are military challenges, as well. But I'll just close by saying I think the ideal outcome here is that we figure out a way to work with Russia. I will oddly agree with the president, at least in that sentence, not necessarily in the way he's chosen to go about doing it. But the world is a better place if the great powers of the world -- the United States, Russia, China, the European Union -- get along and confront global challenges, you know, whether it's terrorism, global warming -- if we work together to confront the things that challenge us all, we're better off than if we get involved in conflicts with one another. And I'm still optimistic that there are paths to get to that place. So I -- I look forward to your testimony. I thank you for your leadership and thank you for being here. I yield back.
THORNBERRY: Again, we welcome back General Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command and supreme allied commander of NATO. General, without objection, your full written statement will be made part of the record, and you're recognized now for any oral comments you'd like to give.
SCAPARROTTI: Chairman Thornberry, Ranking Member Smith, distinguished members of the House Armed Services Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you 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. mission in Europe. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, 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 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 the Euro-Atlantic defense in a generation. In augmenting our defense, the U.S. has been joined by the NATO alliance, which remains critical to our national security and to the rules-based international order. Every challenge we face as a nation is best addressed with our allies. And I'm proud to report that NATO alliance is strong, it is united and it's committed to being fit for purpose. Our European allies and Canada have turned a corner on defense spending, with increases in each of the past three years. During this time, they've added $46 billion to our collective defense, including a $5 billion increase from 2016 to 2017. In 2018, eight countries will meet NATO's 2 percent spending target, and by 2024, at least 15 nations are on pace to reach or exceed the 2 percent mark. As these commitments demonstrate, NATO is adapting to ensure it is vigilant in peace, responsive in crisis and 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. At sea, on land and in the air, Russia increasingly -- Russia's increasingly modernized military is operating at levels not seen since the Cold War. At the same time, Russia is using indirect activities to advance its strategic objectives. Throughout Europe, along its periphery, in the Middle East and beyond, Russia has demonstrated a willingness and capability to use political provocation, spread disinformation and undermine democratic institutions. 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 and a combat aviation brigade. Additionally, we've implemented the framework battalion task force for NATO's enhanced forward presence in Poland. We've pre-positioned equipment for additional ABCT. We've doubled our maritime deployments to the Black Sea. We've exercised theater antisubmarine warfare operations. We've executed bomber assurance and deterrence missions in Europe. And, for the first time, we've deployed fifth-generation fighters to Europe. The U.S. has taken these actions in coordination with NATO. Since the 2016 Warsaw Summit, NATO 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 has also established a tailored forward presence in the Black Sea region. Additionally, the U.S. and NATO are putting a spotlight on Russian meddling and interference, countering Russian misinformation with truthful and transparent information and reinforcing our winning narrative of sovereignty, freedom, the dignity of the individual and the rule of law. The second major threat we face throughout the European area of operations is violent extremist terrorist groups. Since 2014, Europe has endured 18 major terrorist attacks. While the Defeat ISIS Coalition, which includes NATO now, recovers territory that was seized 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 and intelligence sharing among U.S. agencies, international partners and the private sector. With the E.U. and NATO, EUCOM supports a trinodal 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 fight alongside us, deploying forces worldwide to support U.S.-led counterterrorism operations, including OIR and Operation Freedom Sentinel, and to conduct national counterterrorism missions. The allies remain committed to defeating violent extremists, and their support is essential to our ongoing counterterrorism efforts. Thanks to the resources provided by Congress, particularly through European Deterrence Initiative, EUCOM has made significant headway in establishing a defensive posture that is credible, capable and relevant to our strategic objectives. As our national defense states -- 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 are making this strategy a reality. We stand ready to protect the homeland, strengthen the alliance and ensure that Europe remains whole, free and at peace. And, Chairman, thank you, and I look forward to the committee's questions.
THORNBERRY: Thank you, General. I want to ask a question about this chemical weapon assassination attempt in -- in Britain -- as, at least as far as I know, this particular weapon that was used has only been made by the Russians. And, this morning, in the Washington Post, the British foreign secretary writes that it's part of a pattern of reckless behavior. The common thread that joins the poisonings in Salisbury with the annexation of Crimea, the cyber attacks in Ukraine, the hacking of Germans' (sic) parliament and Russian interference in foreign elections is the Kremlin's reckless defiance of essential international rules. I get -- my question is, do you agree with that statement, that this is a pattern of behavior that has in common the reckless defiance, or maybe even the attempt to undermine, international rules? Do you agree with that and do our NATO allies agree with that?
SCAPARROTTI: Chairman, I agree that it represents Russia's consistent disregard for international rules and norms -- each of those incidents that you talked about. You'll note, in this specific incident with the nerve agent, that NATO has said that they stand by their ally, U.K., and believe it's highly likely that Russia was complicit in this attack. And that was a statement that they made as a -- as a -- an alliance of 29, to my understanding. We also believe that it's highly likely that they're complicit with the chemical weapons use, and we stand by our ally and we support their efforts to fully determine who the responsible parties were and hold them accountable.
THORNBERRY: Well, I'd just say, as I mentioned at the beginning, whether it's this incident, or cyber attacks, or Putin's boasting about new nuclear weapons, I think it's really critical for the alliance to stand together and push back against this whole range of activity. That's -- that's the only way for us -- for us to counter it. I'm going to yield to the ranking member.
SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Along those lines, in terms of -- because I think the chairman's right. I think a huge part of this is holding Russia accountable -- Russia is not, altogether, that powerful. They have all kinds of internal problems and economic weakness. And even their military is still nowhere near a match for ours. But they will push as far as they can push if they think there's not a cost to it. So, one specific question about that. The administration has delayed implementation of sanctions against Russia. As I understand it, the loose justification was the -- waiting for Putin's election, like he might lose or something. I don't know. Doesn't it make sense, at this point, to be as aggressive as possible in implementing the sanctions that Congress has made available to the president precisely to try to impose a cost upon Russia in much the same way that we are doing with Iran and China -- sorry, Iran and North Korea?
SCAPARROTTI: Sir, I would -- I can't comment on the -- on the speed of the sanctions. I know that they're working. I would say, as you said earlier, that we have to address their activity with a whole-of-government response. And sanctions would be an appropriate part of that.
SMITH: Understood. And, just in something we haven't talked about yet, Turkey is perhaps the other, you know, largest issue -- well, that and the whole issue of trying to make sure we keep NATO together and coordinated. But, you know, the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds, while we -- Turkey is a valuable ally, without question. So are the Kurds. They were indispensable in terms of what we did in Syria and Iraq in dealing with ISIS. What's your latest on how we might get to a better place between our two allies there, Turkey and the Kurds?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. As you stated, Turkey is a valued ally in EUCOM, a member of the countries in EUCOM. I work closely with them to continue our close relationship and actually restore the relationship, to an extent, because of the differences here with respect to the YPG and their alliance with us in our -- in our D-ISIS campaign. Presently, as you know, the State Department is working closely with them. We've been involved in this. And we're, presently, I think, working on a way to attempt to meet their legitimate concerns -- their security concerns along the border, the terrorist attacks that they had inherent to their country and have had for some time -- as well as, meet our interests to ensure that we can complete the D-ISIS campaign, which has presented a direct threat to the security of our country, as well. So, that discussion is ongoing. I'd prefer not to go into more depth, given...
SCAPARROTTI: ... that we're right in the midst of them now.
SMITH: But I think -- I think that's the -- crucially important, that we find some way to make that work (ph). And I understand there are legitimate concerns on both sides. I mean, the Kurds, you know, have long wanted, you know, as great a degree of independence as they can get. At the same time, you can hardly blame Turkey for being upset that they routinely have terrorist attacks committed in their country. I'll just close -- and I don't have any more questions for you, but -- just with an editorial comment about Russia. I think we need an administration that sends a much clearer signal on Russia. The president's reluctance in instance after instance -- most recently, even, the one that the chairman just raised -- while, you know, our -- you know, a number of other government officials -- I forget if it was the secretary of state or the CIA director -- I think it was the CIA director, who soon will be the secretary of state -- who said there's no question that Russia committed the attack that happened in England against the spies. Our own president was like, "Could've been, we don't know. It might have been somebody else" -- sort of the same thing that he said about the interference in the elections that Russia has done. The longer the leader of our country gives Russia a pass and keeps saying, "Well, maybe they're doing bad stuff; maybe they're not," the tougher your job's going to be, the tougher it's going to be to truly hold them accountable. So, whatever the reason for that is -- I don't even know, wouldn't even begin to guess -- the president needs to speak clearly and forcefully against these Russian actions and stop acting like maybe they didn't happen. I think it really undermines our ability to confront what Russia is doing on all fronts that have been discussed, both by the chairman and me. And, with that, I'll yield back.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Wilson is recognized for five minutes.
WILSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, General Scaparrotti, thank you for your successful service, where your mission is absolutely critical, with little room for error. One of my primary concerns with EUCOM's ability to successfully defend its area of responsibility surrounds its ability to transport troops and/or equipment expeditiously across Europe. Antiquated infrastructure and inconsistent border crossing standards delay and disrupt our freedom of movement throughout the region while training and exercising in the theater. Could you please describe what role the U.S. is taking in leading the effort to resolve these issues and what other organizations -- NATO, E.U. -- are doing to address the challenge?
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you. I would agree that mobility, as I will call it, broadly, within the Euro-Atlantic theaters is very important to our deterrence and defensive capabilities. And it was not invested in through the years that -- the past decade or more that we believed that Russia was a partner. I think we've turned the corner on that in this past year, in the sense that we have focus and energy among our European partners, as you said, to -- to get a focus on improving our infrastructure, our rail and road, our ports and our capability to handle the movement of military forces throughout Europe. We've done that in EUCOM through the work of, first, our logistics capacity in an assessment early of our ability to move and the infrastructure that supports it. We've worked closely with both NATO, the J4 and my SHAPE headquarters and NATO headquarters, as well as with the E.U. So NATO and E.U. is -- one of their primary cooperative efforts is, in fact, mobility. That's important, because it brings to bear the other elements of national power, outside of the military, that the E.U. can bring -- an economic, diplomatic, et cetera. So I think we have a -- I think we have a good start, and we have a broad alliance of nations that are -- that are looking at this now.
WILSON: And I was grateful to be with you in Munich, and also in Brussels, where I saw the high regard of our allies for your efforts to address this issue. In December 2017, the president courageously changed the U.S. policy to provide defensive lethal assistance to Ukraine, and the State Department has subsequently approved the sale of Javelins to Ukraine. It is sad that nearly 10,000 Ukrainians have been killed as Putin has illegally invaded and occupied Crimea and the eastern portion of Ukraine. High hopes for a democratic and prosperous Russia have been crushed by Putin. What is your assessment of the impact of the new aid on the fight on the ground in Ukraine? What -- how do you assess Russia's long-term strategy in Ukraine? And has it changed since the new policy?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, thank you. I'll first start by saying that -- that Ukraine is in a -- what I would consider a hot -- a hot fight right now. It's not a frozen conflict. Daily, there's activity along the front, and, unfortunately for Ukraine, a loss of life every week. And I fully support what we're doing to help build their capability to defend her own country and reform their security institutions, as well, which they're working closely. The assets that we've provided, funded by Congress, to support them and support their development has provided them with defensive capabilities. And, with the the Javelin that you specifically noted -- and it -- those assets go directly to their -- to their improved capability to establish the defense in the east and become more and more competent and confident of their ability to secure, you know, their nation. What I've seen in Russia is Russia has continued to support what I call a proxy force, to include providing regular military commanders in charge at company and above level of the separatists, or the proxy forces, on the other side. I think it's too early to say whether or not we've seen a change as a direct result of the decisions that we're just taking, but we'll watch that closely. I'll find (ph) -- I'll close by saying it -- it's not my -- it's not my belief that Russia wants to resolve this conflict at this point. They certainly could do much more to move along -- to move the Minsk agreement forward: things like offering protection and allowing mobility of the mission that oversees this, which they're not doing. So I think they -- they actually are -- are attempting to just freeze this a bit, and to their advantage.
WILSON: Thank you very much, again, for your leadership and the persons (ph) serving with you. God bless you.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Larsen.
LARSEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd yield my time to Mr. Brown of Maryland.
BROWN: Thank you, Mr. Larsen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General, for your service and your testimony here today. I appreciated the opportunity to ask questions in a classified setting yesterday. I recently returned from a codel in eastern Europe with Representative Stefanik, where we saw how partners such as Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine are working with your command to deter and counter the threat of an actual Russian aggression and expansionism. A critical component of that is forward deployment of our troops and equipment in the region. In your written testimony and at the Senate hearing last week, you highlighted NATO's increased presence in the Baltic region and in Poland through the European Deterrence Initiative, which includes pre-positioning equipment and deploying enhanced forward presence battalions, along with armored brigade combat teams and combat aviation brigade, on heel-to-toe nine-month rotation. My question: Given Russia's high tempo of exercises and troop placement on its borders, I'd like to hear a little bit more about, you know, your thoughts on our forward force deployment. Is a heel-to-toe nine-month rotation the proper force posture for our forward-deployed units? Or would a one or two-year rotation be better? Or what about permanent presence of units?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, thank you, sir, and I appreciate your visit to those nations, as well. They're strong allies, and, as you know -- one of the smaller nations -- through the Baltics, but they're strong and active. First of all, I would -- I would say that I think our rotational period of about nine months is the right one. We've had experience in -- in our forces, and particularly in the Army, of rotating for a year or a year and an additional three months or less, and we found that nine months is -- is about right for a number of reasons. And so I would -- in terms of rotation, I would stay with nine months. With a rotational force, I get someone specifically trained for that mission, ready to come in. And, actually, because of the ranges, et cetera, we have available, I think I return a force that's just as well-trained when it returns to the states. So we at least maintain the readiness, if not build some readiness, through that experience. In terms of rotational versus permanent, I do believe we need more forces in Europe. I don't think we're at the posture that I believe is appropriate or required yet. And, because of that, I think that there are some permanent forces I would like to have. The first ones I would like to have would be some of our enabling elements -- for example, a fires brigade, et cetera -- as a permanent force, and then continue the rotation of the -- the mech brigade until we reach a point that we might consider that, as well. The last thing I will say is that I lay a requirement out, and the service determines how best to fill that. But I think some of these, again, are best -- are best provided in a permanent fashion.
BROWN: Would you include an aviation brigade as a -- one of those permanent forces that you'd like to see?
SCAPARROTTI: I would, yes.
BROWN: Could you discuss some of the logistics and infrastructure challenges facing our forward deployed troops, such as issues with freedom of movement and military construction in theater? And what steps are you taking under your command to address them?
SCAPARROTTI: As I said, our forward (ph) has done in assessment in the past year -- a little over a year ago, we started it -- in terms of the infrastructure status across Europe and what was required. With that, we're (ph) now working with the nations involved so that they understand their responsibilities, as well, as a -- as an ally or as a partner. And there's examples throughout Europe of them taking this on in terms of their investment in ports infrastructure, roads, change in (ph) rail. For instance, in NATO, at 29, they agreed to begin working the diplomatic and customs rules that allow the military to move expeditiously -- with less than five days' notice, for instance. Those are steps that are significant and making forward progress. We have already, through the -- through Congress' support in EDI, along with our partners -- are investing in critical infrastructure, ports, things of that nature that we -- we identified we need to improve in order to help with our mobility. And, in just about all of those cases, our ally in that place also invests in that, alongside of us, and invests more than we do, obviously. It's in their country. So I think we're making very good progress. We've got good examples of that. But there's a lot of work to do.
BROWN: Red, yellow or green?
SCAPARROTTI: I'd say yellow.
BROWN: Thank you. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Turner.
TURNER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Scaparrotti, good to see you again. I want to echo Joe Wilson's comments, having been with you in Munich at the Munich Security Conference and then your presentation, also, to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. I think, in -- in all -- both of those, we're -- we are very proud of both your representative -- representation of the United States, but also to our allies. You have continued to make clear the threat that Russia poses in all of your presentations, including their meddling in elections, meddling in democracies, the threat that's posed to -- to you and your ability to -- to execute your job and task, and even the forward deployed troops -- what they're experiencing. On the mobility issue, I'd like to expand a little bit on the questions that have been asked. You've done a great job in -- in, I think, informing Congress that there are mobility issues. As we've expanded NATO, we did not undertake plans for how would we defend the space and make sure that the infrastructure was there. But I think people would also be surprised at -- when we approved the European Reassurance Initiative, that there were funds -- there were U.S. funds that were necessary in order to be able to get our troops from point A to point B that went to infrastructure. You mentioned that briefly -- that we were working with our NATO partners and allies as to what they need to invest in. Could you give us some examples of the types of things that you had to fund with the European Reassurance Initiative that you shouldn't be funding and that we need to work with our allies to make certain that the infrastructure supports, so that you don't have to in the future?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. An example might be in M.K., which is a base in Romania -- a very good base that they have. We're laying a concrete pad off the runway and investing in a little bit of the infrastructure that helps with the -- with the movement and mobility of troops through that -- through that port. And what they're doing is they agreed, as we improved that tarmac, improved their reception point off the runway -- they agreed to include a fuel line and improve the rail line into there, all helpful to make this a good hub for movement of -- of troops and equipment. They also are investing in the base itself and accommodations for our troops that we rotate through there. So that's a -- that's a really good example of where we've worked with another country in a place that we needed some mobility and a site to come into. And there's others like that, that are just improvements to aerial ports or seaports that help our mobility and help us get the capacity in that port. The other thing I'd just like to mention -- I intended to mention earlier -- was that the other thing we're doing that's important is we're -- as we rotate our forces and the allies do, we're trying to bring them through different ports and move them by different means. And, in doing that, we learn where we have issues, we develop that capability in our -- in those countries and their civilian infrastructure that supports that, and build muscle memory. So that's been an important part of this over the past year, as well.
TURNER: Well, that goes to my next question. Shortly after seeing you, I went to -- I was in Germany and saw the Toledo Air Guard, which had just left Estonia. And they reported that, you know, there was a number of their missions that they were unable to accomplish because of some of the issues that you just described. And the questions that they had, obviously, was, how was that captured? How do -- can we be assured that, as we do the forward deployment of troops and they run into these impediments to be able to execute their missions, that it's captured, that it's worked and that it's resolved so we do have that future capability?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. We -- we capture that in a very deliberate after-action review, and all of those exercises -- again, purposeful movement by certain ways, operations out of certain places -- capture the issues we have, bring it back up through the EUCOM J4, out to NATO J4 and the countries that it's involved to capture that. That -- that's exactly how we do it. We have examples, for instance, in movement of troops here, this last summer, for exercises, where, you know, they were -- they were stopped at a border, put on a side track for, like, two days, three days. We had to work through customs. First, we had to discover we had -- we had troops sitting on a rail alongside -- you know, alongside a border. But those things occur. We capture that back up, and then we drill back down into it, whether it's a customs issue, a coordination issue or it's an infrastructure issue.
TURNER: Thank you, General. Thank you, Chairman.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Courtney?
COURTNEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General, for your testimony yesterday and today. The Office of Naval Intelligence issued a report in 2015 called "The Russian Navy: A Historic Transition," and -- again, a public document. And it states here that "Submarines are the capital ships of the Russian Navy. This is dictated by Russia's geography. "Constrained (ph) direct access to major ocean areas everywhere but in the Pacific makes surface ship operations vulnerable to potential enemy action. The inherent covert nature of submarines enhances their survivability, whether operating locally, or when transiting into more open sea areas." And then it goes on to quote Admiral Chirkov of the navy, stating that "The nuclear submarine fleet is the priority of the navy's shipbuilding program." Again, one of your predecessors, Admiral Stavridis, testified here a couple years ago and kind of caught people's attention by stating that the submarine activity is roughly about 70 percent of what it was during the Cold War era. And he knows what he's talking about, because he sort of was there during a lot of that. And you mentioned in your -- your opening remarks about the fact that anti-submarine activities is now, you know, kind of a restart in terms of our forces, as well as the region. I realize some of this is classified, and you talked about it a little bit yesterday. But I think it's important, still, to talk -- create at least some picture in terms of what you're dealing with and what you're seeing, and I was wondering if you could comment a little more.
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, thank you. Well, Admiral Stavridis has noted that -- he gave an estimate of what it was in just this last year, since the last time I testified here. We've seen activity in the Russian Navy, and particularly undersea in their submarine activity, that -- that we haven't seen since the '80s. So the level of activity is -- is up yet again. And, as you know, they're producing maritime enhancements to existing ships and a new submarine that is -- that is definitely more modern and more challenging. While we remain dominant undersea, we've got to continue our investment, as the Navy has laid out, in order to maintain that dominance, just given their modernization and their increased activity with their forces.
COURTNEY: And, as far as, you know, working with, again, some of our allies in the region -- again, this is something that, again, is sort of a restart, as I mentioned.
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. It's important. You know, most of the allies -- and the United States doesn't have the same capacity that it had during the Cold War, when we were used to doing this together, particularly anti-submarine warfare, maritime operations. So we're all rebuilding our capacities. We're improving our capacities to meet the -- you know, the challenges we have in this new environment and Russia's modernization. Together, we can handle this. We've proven that in this past year. But it does take all of us working together. And, the other thing I would mention -- it takes a mix of the forces, particularly anti-submarine warfare. You're talking air, surface, subsurface, sensors. It's a mix that allows us, along with our allies and their capabilities, to be successful.
COURTNEY: Thank you. Last year's NDAA -- we included some language that allowed it -- wounded Ukrainian soldiers to be treated in U.S. medical facilities, in accordance with DOD rules. And, again, I know that was just signed a couple months ago. But I know -- I wonder if you had any sort of comment in terms of just, A, how that was received, you know, by our friends in the Ukraine, and, you know, whether or not you see that as a process that's actually going to happen.
SCAPARROTTI: I would say I'm sure it is received very well. It's a -- it's a very deliberate demonstration of our support for them and our close partnership, to care for one of their wounded.
SCAPARROTTI: And so, without a doubt -- and I, you know, I know their CHOD well. He's a -- their Chief of Defense truly cares about his forces and their care, as well as their training, so that they can -- they can fight and protect that country.
COURTNEY: Great. Thank you. I yield back.
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Coffman.
COFFMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, thank you so much for your -- for your service. My concern is we're at an intenable (ph) -- untenable position with Russia right now. And I want to get clarification of Article 5 -- your interpretation of it, because they've developed a hybrid system or sort of a -- I guess you could call it hybrid tactics that involve information operations -- I guess you could say it's an element of psychological warfare -- as well as using covert forces as proxies. And so, when we look at something like the Baltic states that, I think, have Russian minorities in them, much like the Ukraine, that -- they could do the same pattern there. And I'm concerned that -- would -- that NATO would acquiesce to that, because they might not consider it a conventional attack under Article 5. What's your -- what's your interpretation of that?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, first of all, NATO recognizes the difficulty in indirect or asymmetric activity that Russia is practicing, activities below the level of conflict. And, in fact, we've inserted that, for the first time, into our NATO exercise that we did this past year, with some ambiguous activities that are consistent with what they would typically do, in order to -- in order to bring this about and have that discussion at 29. And so they're actually dealing with the issue around this and in cyber and working to define an understanding of what would be a trigger for Article 5. So they're working that and they recognize it. I would just share with you, that's the most difficult scenario I see, potentially -- is, because of the way that they typically work in a fashion that would be ambiguous, it would be most difficult to come to a -- you know, to come to a decision. But I would share that NATO's aware of this and they're actually working on it.
COFFMAN: But don't you think that -- you said that that's the most difficult scenario. Don't you think that's the most probable scenario right now? And don't you think one of the objections -- objectives of Russia is -- clearly is to break NATO and to test this, for instance, in one of the Baltic states?
SCAPARROTTI: I think that, absolutely, they're trying to undermine and splinter NATO. It is a difficult situation when they operate that way, but I'm -- I'm confident of NATO. I've seen the discussions, and I think, in something that -- that they agree is an attack warranting Article 5, that they can come together. I've seen them come together in other things less than this that was, perhaps, divisive at the time. But they can reach a conclusion.
COFFMAN: Well, let me -- let me express to you that I don't necessarily share the confidence in our -- in our allies, because of the -- that there's a -- was an agreed-upon 2 percent of GDP to be spent on defense, and the majority of our NATO allies are nowhere near that 2 percent requirement. And so it's -- it's, you know, is it -- is it that -- well, obviously, they have other priorities within their budget, but that's a real concern, when they're not doing that and there's an overreliance upon the United States. Could you comment on that?
SCAPARROTTI: I share your concern, and I press that, as well, as the secretary general. I press it as the SACEUR and as the EUCOM commander, every place I go. They have to demonstrate a change. They have, as I stated in my opening statement. There's -- there will be eight that have made that 2 percent and 15 that plan to make it. And we'll continue to press that, as being a part of the alliance is also contributing as a part of the alliance, both in cash and contributions and capability. So that's what we're watching, and I agree that we need to press that. I would -- I would add that, if you -- if you look at NATO and -- say, since Warsaw, for instance, and the adaptation -- the recognition is Russia as a -- as a threat here, a competitive nation, all of those things that I noted about the forward posture of troops in the east; our air policing activity; a much more increased maritime activity, particularly in the Black Sea and the Baltics. Everything that I do there as the SACEUR was agreed at 29. That's why I have confidence in the -- in NATO. These are tough decisions for them and within their countries, and they've been able to act over the past year.
COFFMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Veasey.
VEASEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to specifically talk with your about Russia and the Balkans. I know that there have been several investments that Russians have wanted to make in the Balkans. There was -- there was a pipeline project, I believe, about a year or so ago, that didn't quite work out the way they anticipated. There have also been some credit and remittance issues, some other foreign trade things that didn't quite go the Russians' way. But it's definitely -- it's clear that they want to continue to have influence there. In your opinion, how far are they willing to go to make sure that they can continue to have a certain amount of influence there, in that region, even though some of the things that they're working on economically just haven't beared (ph) any fruit?
SCAPARROTTI: Well what I see is offers, for instance, of military equipment and military assistance. And sometimes military equipment is surely below the cost to them. But, as you watch them work in Europe and on the periphery, in countries that they work with, they'll offer that equipment at a very low cost in order to ensure that they -- you know, that they will take it. They'll offer, then, support and bring in troops, and then they'll decide that the troops need to stay as a matter of influence and -- and some leverage, I would say, over time. Those are the things that I see them doing on -- on the military side. Beyond that, very common -- disinformation campaigns in the nations, you know, within the Balkans; stirring political debate; support for fringe political parties in order to stir that debate in a very consistent message that's -- that is anti-West, anti-NATO, anti-U.S.
VEASEY: If -- if their demographic crisis is real, and it's been reported that they're losing population and these investments that they're -- that -- that they're offering to people aren't going through and, again, they're just -- they're not, you know, yielding anything, how long can they continue to keep up that sort of disinformation and continue to be a powerful player there, if they're suffering in all these areas economically?
SCAPARROTTI: You know, there are some that look at their demographics, they look at their economy -- health issues, et cetera -- and -- and would say that, while they're in a great power competition, as you look long-range, they just can't sustain this. My view would be that -- that the -- you know, the Russian people are used to adversity -- they almost, as a culture, embrace that -- and that, even with a difficult economy, President Putin has been able to reverse the trend, and it's, I think, approaching 2 percent growth. I think they have great resilience, and -- and that's not what we should count on. We should count on our ensuring that we are strong and we deter their activities.
VEASEY: How -- how do you think that we should continue to try to influence the countries there, in the Balkans, to make positive steps towards NATO?
SCAPARROTTI: I think it's important that we have a whole-of-government approach, diplomatic -- diplomatic engagement there, which we do, but also encouragement from our allies there. We need to work with them to build Western democratic institutions. There is clearly a desire among the population in the Balkans to come West, and -- but we've got to show them that we're just as interested in that as they are.
VEASEY: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Scott.
SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, it's nice to see -- see you again. I want to follow up on a little bit of the line of questions that my colleague, Mr. Veasey, was asking. Russia is a huge country -- landmass; largest country, my understanding is, on the Earth. They border, depending on how you count them, over 12 countries, including North Korea and China on the eastern side. But then, when you come back to -- to the part of the world that -- that you're in charge of, they -- they border a number of countries in the European theater. My -- my question is, are they engaging in malign activities against all of them? And -- and, if not, which countries are they not engaging in these activities against?
SCAPARROTTI: I -- I think -- you know, I've probably seen some activity in most countries. And, you know, those that -- that they don't have a certain focus on -- you still see that activity in their media, because their media is laced with, you know, an anti-Western, anti-international-order kind of message, undercutting democratic countries, undercutting governments that they're in. And that's kind of where they're light, and then focused more particularly in the east, the countries that were once a part of the Soviet Union. You know, they see that as their strategic space, and they think they should have some preferential influence in those nations. So it's much heavier there. But, even in the other countries of Europe, if you go to the west -- Italy, France, Germany, et cetera -- there's examples there of same, you know, use of disinformation, social media and those kinds of activities, as well.
SCOTT: That's -- I've only been over there a few weeks in the last couple of years, but the perception that I had was that they are engaged in -- in all of those, and basically they're going to stir chaos wherever they can, and then, when they see a weakness, they -- they would take advantage of it. And -- and you answered this question earlier, when Mr. Veasey asked it, but the question I had is, how long can they sustain that against all of the countries? And how long do all of the other countries go without, at some point, taking an action against Russia to actually stop -- stop this? I mean...
SCAPARROTTI: Yeah, I can't answer how long they could go. I would say they're a resilient nation and a culture. And so I think we have to take action to -- in order to establish a deterrent effect, and that is to respond, to demonstrate capability and demonstrate the will to use it, if necessary.
SCOTT: I worry -- and I'm -- I'm just making this as a statement, with regard to Turkey being on their border -- I -- I worry about them using their activities to -- to create a disturbance in Turkey, potentially a coup there, where somebody friendly to them took over. Even if they took over for only a day or two, with our assets in that -- in that country -- the potential damage that they could do simply by -- by seizing some of our assets -- are you comfortable that that relationship with Turkey is strong enough and -- and we have enough insight into that that, if that began to happen -- that we would have the ability to protect all of our assets in that country?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir, I'm comfortable with that. We have a very good mil-to-mil relationship with Turkey. I speak to their chief of defense often. Our staffs have -- have interchange. They've been very responsive to us in terms of force protection, as well. So any concern that -- either through their intelligence or ours -- about a threat to our forces that are stationed there, et cetera, they've taken immediate action. So I -- in terms of their demonstration and the relationship we have, I -- I'm confident of that and the protection of our force there.
SCAPARROTTI: If I could follow up on the other one I talk about, we have to demonstrate -- I want to emphasize, the "we" is the alliance and our partners, because our strength, with -- you know, versus Russia, strategically, really is the fact that we such a great alliance and such great partners. That's -- that's important, and they recognize that.
SCOTT: Absolutely. And they don't seem to be -- they don't seem to have many, which is good. Well, I want to just thank you for service and for being here, and I look forward to making it back to that part of the world to -- to see it.
THORNBERRY: Mr. O'Rourke.
O'ROURKE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, could you briefly give us an idea of what the capacity is on the Russian side to continue or accelerate this level of military spending?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think that, you know, just from what I understand of their budget and what they're doing, they -- their budget is improving. But they -- they do have a difficult hand to play here. So -- and what we've seen is they've -- they've slowed down their modernization. I think you'll continue to see decisions in that regard, but not enough to make a huge difference. In other words, it will draw it out by maybe two to five years, but I think they know what they want to -- they know what they want to establish, the capabilities they need, and they've been very focused on that over a number of years. So I think you may see it drawn out, but I don't think you'll see them stop in terms of what they believe they need as a part of their military capabilities.
O'ROURKE: Thank you. In -- in February, Admiral Rogers, head of Cyber Command and NSA, said, and I'm quoting him, "President Putin has come, clearly, to the conclusion that there's little price to pay, and therefore," and then he's quoting Putin, "'I can continue this activity.'" Clearly, what we have done has not been enough in regards to what action we've taken to deter Russian election meddling. And perhaps we could extend that to Syria, to Crimea, to Ukraine, to involvement in European elections, to the involvement in the 2018 elections in the United States, to the involvement in the 2020 elections. You said to the Senate Armed Services Committee, last week, "I don't believe there is an effective unification across the interagency with the energy and focus that we could attain." How can you assure us that -- that we are going to achieve that and, to follow up on the ranking member's question, that there is a price to pay for Russia that will deter this kind of activity, going forward?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I can tell you that, within Department of Defense, and as far as I'm concerned, we're working closely within the interagency to develop both the structure and -- and enhance the energy that I talked about. I think that's the issue. We've got to -- we have a lot of capacity. We have a lot of talent. Particularly -- that was directly from a question about activity below the level of conflict. And so, when it comes to information operations, our capacity in cyber, our ability in diplomacy and truthful media, we have great capacity. We've got to focus that capacity, as a whole of government, on this -- on this problem set, so that they know there is a response and -- and we can overcome that. And, you know, I've -- we've seen instances in Europe, now, where we've developed the structure and the volume at specific times, within the media, to influence their disinformation, to influence their actions as a result. This can be done. We've got to -- we've got to pull this together and get after it.
O'ROURKE: Yeah. I am convinced of your intent and the will and the dedication, excellence of those who serve under you. I'm not convinced of the strategy or the efficacy, at this point. I don't understand -- I wouldn't expect you to tell me that everything's OK, because it's definitely not. And you yourself have said that it's not. You said, "We are getting a better understanding of it. I would not characterize it as a good picture at this point -- not satisfactory to me." You've talked about Russian activity related, in the United States, to infrastructure reconnaissance, et cetera. You said, "I'll leave it at that." What -- what I would like, though, is not be assured that it's OK, but to have some assurance in a strategy that we can all understand and articulate and a commitment to this threat, articulated by the president, on down. And I'm not -- I'm not seeing that. My constituents are not seeing that. I'm getting asked those questions. That's why I'm asking them of you, today, so that I can go back to them and have an understanding of what that is. It does not sound -- does not look like -- if we just connect the dots from Russia's activity, from Georgia, to today, that anything we've done has deterred (ph) them. Convince me to the contrary.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I can't, you know, broadly. They've not been deterred. They act today in the information realm. They continue to take activity below the level of conflict.
O'ROURKE: Is there anything you're doing now or plan to do in the near future that will deter them?
SCAPARROTTI: We're taking actions that do deter them. As I said, in specific -- in specific areas, we have the capacity to do this. We're taking all kinds of activities -- and I think it's -- it's across the whole government, as well. We have a deterrent effect in the east, no doubt about it, with respect to -- and it's not just the military component that does that. You know, we have a deterrent effect conventionally. Within information cycle -- it's a new domain. It's in a -- it's a domain, today, that is connected. It's fast. So this isn't easy, and it's new. And that's the area that we -- and probably one of the toughest areas to deter an act.
O'ROURKE: Thank you for your answers and for your service.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Byrne.
BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, I'm over here. First of all, thank you for service to our country. We genuinely appreciate what you continue to do for us every day. All of us have watched with dismay what's happened in eastern Ukraine. Over 10,000 people are dead, and I'm glad to see that we're now beginning to give them the help that they've been asking for for some time. But, as you know, Ukraine is not a member of NATO, whereas there are other countries in that region -- and I'm thinking specifically of the Baltics -- that are members of NATO and to which, by virtue of the fact that we're members of NATO -- we owe them a substantial obligation if somebody does something to them, somebody invades them. So, two questions: Do you think something like what has happened in eastern Ukraine could happen in the Baltics? And, if so, what would U.S. involvement look like to honor our obligations to those countries?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, in answer to that, I don't want to speculate about, you know, what we would do, et cetera. I would just say this: We have an agreement at -- with members of NATO that, in Article 5, attack on one is an attack on all. And we would honor that. There's no doubt in my mind about it. We'd come to their assistance. I -- I think Russia is deterred from taking an action like that, like trying to seize a portion of one of the countries on the border, because they know NATO is 29 nations, it's much stronger and that we would win that conflict. They don't want a conflict in that regard. So I personally don't believe they'd take that step.
BYRNE: Well, I would hope they would not, as well.
SCAPARROTTI: I would hope not, too. BYRNE: But hoping is not a plan, as you know. I assume, whether you can tell us about the details of it or not -- I assume that there is a plan, if they try to do something.
SCAPARROTTI: There is a plan.
BYRNE: Good. Are we providing you -- is Congress providing you with the authorization and resources you need to implement that plan?
SCAPARROTTI: Sir, the budget that's presented here -- and, when I talk about the budget, I'm also looking at the FYDP -- you know, the out years. Since I've been in this job, this is the first time in the budget that I've said, "Here are my requirements," and they're be addressed in -- they're being addressed in some way throughout the FYDP. So I'm very pleased with this, and I think, with that regard, it's sufficient. But, listen, it will take us those years to really put us in a posture that I believe that we should be in and we're best in to assure deterrence of Russia and any idea that they might have to take an act to ensure that we deter any thoughts or opportunities they might think they have. BYRNE: Well, I want to make sure that I -- I believe with all my heart you're doing and the people under you are doing what they're supposed to be doing. But sometimes you have to tell us what we need to do to provide you with both the authorization, and the resources to do what you need to do. And I hope you will not be reticent about telling us what you need, because, until we know that, it's hard for us to do what we've got to do. There was -- as you probably know, we had quite an effort to get the level of spending up for the Department of Defense for both this fiscal year and next fiscal year. That didn't come about by happenstance, and it took an enormous amount of effort. We need the information and the push, sometimes, from you and people that are working with you so that we get what we need to get done here in Congress for you.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, sir, first of all, thank you. I understand this -- this has not been easy. My message to you is -- is you'll know clearly what my assessments are. And, in a number of these things, in a classified document, I'll tell you exactly what my requirements are. And, to the extent that you can look at it across the FYDP and see actually whether they're being addressed and how quickly they're being addressed -- but I'll be very clear about that, and I appreciate, you know, Congress and the committee's diligence in this. Thank you.
BYRNE: Well, I think everybody on the committee appreciates your directness with us. Sometimes, the more direct you are, more likely we are to be responsive to you. And I just want to encourage you to do that, because I believe you do have a plan. We probably will learn about it another time, when it's appropriate. But always worry that you've got a great plan and we have not always give you the authorization and appropriations you need. Tell us what you need, and I think you'll find this committee ready to work with you. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Gallego.
GALLEGO: Thank you, Mr. Chair. General, one of the things that I've been advocating for since getting here is moving the EDI from being based on OCO funds, to the base budget. I certainly think that, if we want to talk about a commitment and a show of force -- at least, to Russia -- that we're committed to Europe, that would be the route to do it -- and, of course, also to assure our NATO allies that we're there with them in the fight, and not just in one of your processes (ph). What would change, from your perspective, in terms of planning, if we moved EDI out of OCO and into the base budget?
SCAPARROTTI: First of all, I -- I would support going to a base budget, out of OCO. What would change in that is that, at some point, it would be under the services to -- to then prioritize and fund and deliver the assets within their service. And that's my -- my one concern -- is that the way that we develop EDI today, between I and the apartment -- the department -- is that we lay out the priorities from a commander's perspective, EUCOM. And that's a bit different than a service perspective, because I'm looking at the synchronization and the combination of all the services and resources to get the best benefit in terms of deterrence and defense. And so, as we move to the budget, I would like some means within the planning to protect that prioritization by the combatant commander.
GALLEGO: And in terms of the message it would send to our allies if they -- if we actually went that route, in your opinion?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I -- you know, I think that the -- the message would be that we're committed to funding our needs, and particularly those needs that have to do with the Euro-Atlantic, where we are a member of NATO and we have partners in Europe, as a part of the base budget. But, again, the key there would be that -- that they see the investment that's also inherent in our alliance activity and capabilities.
GALLEGO: Makes sense (ph). I'd like to talk, moving on into -- especially decide -- what we recently just saw in -- occur in England -- Russia will likely never, in my opinion, present a clear violation of NATO's Article 5, but they'll always, you know, try to be like the petulant teenager that they are and -- just kind of testing and probing, below -- below actually crossing the line. So what are we doing with our NATO members and with our non-NATO partners, like Finland and Sweden, to kind of build up the resilience with -- of the alliance -- of their capabilities, of their -- of their domestic capabilities, and to prevent Russian incursion that -- the pre-Russian (ph) incursion that happens when there is such -- such activities around hybrid warfare, things like that? So the overall steps -- I would say, I guess, the inoculation that we should be doing to -- to stop Russia -- incursion or influence on our allies and -- and near-allies.
SCAPARROTTI: So there's -- there's a number of activities ongoing in Europe right now that are U.S. to partners and U.S. within the alliance. I would first point out, within the alliance, that, you know, we've -- we've noted that -- that cyber is a domain, and we're now working as a domain, both at a diplomatic level, as well as the military aspects of that. And we've established cyber centers. We're beginning to take -- we're beginning to conduct activities in that regard, and that touches all 29 nations, but it also touches the partners of NATO, which -- there are about 40. Within NATO, you've got a hybrid center of excellence. We have a cyber center of excellence among different nations. Those also are in place to help assess the environment, determine best responses, educate the other nations' capabilities in this and then help them in applying it. And, within NATO, all of our actions are to help us do this in a synchronized pattern. So, while there is much work to do, there's a lot of good work going on right now in each of these areas that shares information, shares best practices, shares information so that we're fully aware of -- of what's going on in our environment. And so, you know, I'm positive about this. But there's a lot of work that needs to be done.
GALLEGO: I yield back.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Lamborn.
LAMBORN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General, for the great work that you're doing. I had to be in another committee, so please excuse me if you already addressed this question, but feel free to amplify. I'd like to ask you about Iran. As North Korea continues to expand its ballistic missile and nuclear capabilities, it's also been testing newly-developed systems, and -- which, I think, is a real problem. While the U.S. has arguably shifted focus in the last two to five years to address the threats from North Korea, how would you assess our ability to counter an Iranian threat to U.S. interests in EUCOM, including the ability to protect our deployed forces in your area of responsibility?
SCAPARROTTI: Sir, I'd assess, you know, our capabilities as good. As you know, our -- our defense system, particularly our -- our air and missile defense system, has as a focus Iran, as well. We do, in EUCOM, watch closely Iranian activity, and particularly their malign influence, as Israel is a party of EUCOM, and Iran is -- they consider Iran an existential threat to them. And I -- one of my responsibilities is to support the defense of Israel. So we work closely with Israel and we keep a very close eye on Iran's capabilities and activities in close coordination with CENTCOM.
LAMBORN: Thank you. And, as a kind of follow-on to that, we have Aegis Ashore sites at Romania and Poland. What are we doing to protect them from cruise missile or other kinds of attacks?
SCAPARROTTI: Sir, that's -- that's addressed among a layered defensive system. I'll leave it at that. And steps that we're taking in that regard -- and I'd -- I'd prefer to give you that response more fully than that, you know, in a classified document, if I could.
LAMBORN: OK. That would certainly work. And, lastly, on Asian modernizations, give us an update on the Russian military modernization programs. And, you know, General -- or, excuse me -- President Putin talked about these, I think, kind of far-fetched nuclear-tipped torpedoes, nuclear-powered cruise missiles, things like that. But what -- what are they realistically doing that you're concerned about?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, they -- you know, they are modernizing their force. So let's go to the -- you know, the conventional and nuclear force first. And, just generally, in this -- in this environment, I can talk to you -- I can provide you a more in-depth response in a classified document -- but, you know, it's -- it's well-known that they're -- they are modernizing their conventional force. They're primarily doing that through a respect -- with the weapons systems that they put on them, as well as the missiles that -- that they develop to give them greater range, greater precision. And, in most of these systems that they employ, they can be either conventional or nuclear. So, in many ways, they're -- they're improving the ships that they have in the maritime, they're improving the planes they have, their bombers and -- and their submarines with advanced systems that -- that we need to -- you know, we need to pace and be able to deal with. They're improving their nuclear capability across all their systems and modernizing those. That's why NPR is so important for us, to maintain our nuclear determine (ph) -- deterrent across the range of scenarios that they might present. And the last thing I would note is that, you know, they're working hard to modernize both their C4 systems -- you know, their command, control, communications -- and also capabilities in space, and then hypersonics, as well.
LAMBORN: When it comes to the Nuclear Posture Review, I believe that it is a good thing that it's being proposed that we have more options, like low-yield weapons or sea-launched intermediate cruise missiles. Some people think that we should have fewer options, just as a philosophical matter. Where do you come down on the number of options that we should or shouldn't have?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I -- I support the Nuclear Posture Review -- that we should close any gaps, that we should have a deterrent that can respond across the spectrum of scenarios that they might present us or an adversary might present us. I think this designs a tailorable force that does just that, and it doesn't lower the -- the threshold. Actually, by closing those gaps and -- and ensuring that they understand that we have a deterrent -- a capable posture, that it raises that -- it raises that threshold, in my -- in my view.
LAMBORN: Thank you so much. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Panetta?
PANETTA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, good morning. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your testimony. As you can tell by most of the questioning, hybrid warfare is a concern as to what's going on, obviously, with Russia and what they're doing. When you look at Article 5, though, and I -- you know, I just looked it up, to be frank -- you know, it says armed attack. Armed attack -- each (ph) goes through that. In your opinion, do you think Article 5 needs to be updated in order to deal with this hybrid warfare so that there can be more of a joint response?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, you know, I -- I would -- I'm not going to try and get into -- that's really the North Atlantic Council's job there. But, you know, I talk to them. I think they're actually working on the structures and the definitions that inform that treaty. And I'm confident that they're wrestling with the hard question that you're talking about. Whether or not it's a change to the -- literally to the wording of Article 5, or whether it's the -- you know, the process and the understandings that they develop short of that -- I'll let them be the determinant of that.
PANETTA: Do you feel it limits you now in its current state, in regards to your response to this hybrid warfare?
SCAPARROTTI: No, I don't think it limits me. I think -- I think there's a -- there's an understanding of the basis -- the spirit of Article 5, and an understanding that the character of warfare is changing.
PANETTA: Fair enough, fair enough. Great, thank you. Pivoting, moving up north, in regard to the Arctic, can you speak to the Russian build-up up there and our response?
SCAPARROTTI: Clearly, they're -- they're modernizing some of their older bases there. They're building some new ones. They are placing radar systems, et cetera, in place. And they have moved air defense systems back and forth as a part of their exercises, as well. They're developing capabilities in terms of ships capable to operate in that environment in numbers that -- that will outpace us, if -- if we're not diligent here. And so, in the end state, you know, in several years, they probably would be in a position, given their modernization, that they could, if they chose to, control the northern sea route. They -- they state their intent is for safety, security, economy, rescue of those at sea, et cetera, but I think we have to pay attention to what we're seeing there.
PANETTA: And our -- and we are paying attention, clearly?
SCAPARROTTI: We are, but we need to -- we also need to look with our allies and across our government at what -- what assets and capabilities we should -- we should have in place, given their modernization.
PANETTA: And, beyond looking, are we actually doing something?
SCAPARROTTI: We are.
PANETTA: OK. All right. Thank you. Appreciate it. I yield back.
THORNBERRY: Yes. Ms. Stefanik.
STEFANIK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Great to see you again, General Scaparrotti. You stated recently that you do not believe that the U.S. has an effective and unified approach to dealing with Russia's cyber threat. Specifically, quote, "I don't believe there is an effective unification across the interagency with the energy and the focus that we could attain." What are we doing to address this, and what specifically do we need to do?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I -- I'll speak, you know, from -- from my point of view, here, as a EUCOM commander. What we're doing is we're -- we're working with the Russian Information Group, which is the RIG -- commonly called. It's an interagency board. I co-chair that with the undersecretary of state. That gives us a platform to bring together the interagency in a whole-of-government approach in response to activity below the level of -- of warfare, for instance. The GEC is under State, which is the -- the Global...
STEFANIK: Engagement Center.
SCAPARROTTI: ... Engagement Center -- I think is probably, at least in my view, the central point, now, within the government, State being responsible for particularly information, countering disinformation. So that's what we're doing. And -- and the GEC has been -- received additional funding and guidance. My point that -- that you quoted is, I think we have the structure that we could expand on, but we're not -- we just don't have the focus and the energy that I -- I think that we're capable of, or we should put into this in order to deter this disinformation campaign that's going on.
STEFANIK: So I -- I agree with you, but I want to hear specifically what steps we need to take to ensure that we have the focus and the energy. And I know I have concerns with the lack of an implementation of the appropriations, when it comes to the GEC. But I want to hear from you specifically what steps we need to take so, a year from now, the answer to this question isn't the same.
SCAPARROTTI: OK. I'm going to give you my response. I'm not in State. This is really a question that -- you know, frankly, I will admit here publicly that this is their -- their business. But, from someone that takes part in this as a part of DOD, you know, I -- I personally believe that, you know, greater clarity in role, greater direction across the interagency with respect to how this will work as a -- as a -- you know, as the central agency for information, and perhaps resources, in order to develop the energy and the focus that I talked about. I'd prefer not to go beyond that, because, again, I'm -- you know, this is really a question for State. But I think, you know, from my point of view, and working with them, they're good people. We're making good headway, but we could do more.
STEFANIK: You and I have discussed -- and I think it will be worthy for the committee to hear your assessment -- are we seeing new trends? And -- and the context of this question comes from -- we're heading into the midterm elections. Are we seeing new trends when it comes to Russia's use of disinformation among our allies? Obviously, we saw that leading up to the French elections and the German elections. And I think both countries were pretty capable in terms of how they ensured that this disinformation campaign from Russia didn't meddle with their electoral process. What can we learn from that? What trends do we need to look for as we head to the midterms?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think the one that's apparent is just use of social media and -- and using factories in order to get out a lot of volume with disruptive messaging. And -- and that was seen here. It was seen in Europe, in the elections there, as well. But that's one of the trends that has been identified, and as other nations -- as we progressed through some of the elections in Europe, they were better able to handle, because they -- they recognized this may be coming about, and they'd learned how to begin to counter that, how to be prepared to counter it, et cetera. So there -- there is progress being made. But that's one of those that I would note, and I think, as a -- as an alliance, you know, we've -- we've assisted with their elections, et cetera, and they've exchanged information, as well, from what they learned. And my general view is that we have been better able, at least in (ph) Europe, to -- to deal with this as this has progressed.
STEFANIK: And my last question, if I have time, is, who, from your perspective, has the central responsibility when it comes to countering propaganda, whether it is from Russia or, frankly, other adversaries?
SCAPARROTTI: My understanding: It's State.
STEFANIK: OK. And are there country-specific strategies that are being developed that work effectively with DOD counterparts?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes. What we've done within the information group and with the GEC and across (ph) the interagency is we've developed nations that are -- that are vulnerable or under a threat, ones that we thought we could have the -- the -- the best benefit. And, from a U.S. perspective, now, we've -- we've gone to the ambassador and our country team and said, "What are your objectives and how do we support those?"
STEFANIK: My time has expired.
SCAPARROTTI: So we're focusing on that.
STEFANIK: Thank you.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Langevin.
LANGEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, good to see you again and thank you for your service. So I know that my colleague just talked about the Global Engagement Center, but I want to address it, as well, because I think it's -- it's an important topic. From its inception, I have certainly believed that it has a critical role to play when it comes to countering the -- the messages perpetuated by our adversaries, both terrorist organizations and -- and nation-states. I'm certainly glad that the State Department has finally accepted the allocated transfer of funds from the Department of Defense to assist in the effort. And -- but I find it somewhat problematic that there still exists a lack of leadership within the State Department, from the bottom, all the way to the top, as we've seen within the past few days, to leverage its capabilities to disrupt destabilization campaigns aimed at the United States and our allies. So can you answer for me and touch on the topic a little more, how are you working with the Global Engagement Center and how could we better use its capabilities?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I can -- I can comment on our relationship. It's a very good one, and we -- we work with them consistently. They're a member of the RIG, which I talked about. And, through that -- that's the -- that is the direct connection with the work that the RIG does. But, even on a -- on a daily basis, we know who to go to with respect to the information operations we in EUCOM are doing or the things that we see. So it's a -- you know, it's a very good relationship. My -- my comments have been directed on I -- I think we need a more robust effort within the GEC. And -- and, in terms of how to do that, that's really State's -- that's really State's portfolio.
LANGEVIN: OK. So you noted in your testimony that Russia is advancing its indirect and asymmetric capabilities in accordance with this (ph) concept of warfare commonly referred to as the Gerasimov Doctrine. The concept here states that the -- that nonmilitary means have grown or surpassed the use of force to achieve political or strategic goals. Nonmilitary factors outweigh military factors in that doctrine by a ratio of four to one. Do you feel comfortable that the nonmilitary assets of U.S. national power are being utilized effectively to adequately counter the threats posed by Russia? And can you describe the extent of your relationship with those in the U.S. responsible for the -- coordinating the nonmilitary elements with you and your staff?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, first of all, that -- you know, I'll underscore that Russia has a -- a doctrine that, in my view, sees these activities below the level of conflict as a part of the full spectrum, with an intent that, if they could undermine a target country through these types of means -- political destabilization, et cetera -- never having to use military force, that's their objective. We -- we work every day across the interagency. I have interagency representatives that are talented and capable and working hard with us to ensure that what we do is an interagency effort, a whole-of-government effort. And so I don't mean to imply that we don't work that way. We do. But that's -- you know, that's hard government work, because most of our agencies, to include DOD, are formed and focused on doing what we do best -- and DOD's the same way. So you've got to break some cultural barriers here and -- and work on crossed interests. We can do this. We've done it in the past. So I -- I would say we continue to do what we've set out to do as a -- as a government, we continue to reinforce the capabilities that allow us to approach these things as an interagency.
LANGEVIN: So, let me follow up with this: The recently published National Defense Strategy states that we are competing with Russia. And I have a feeling that Russia may think it's already in a type of informational or political war with the United States. As a part of the Gerasimov Doctrine, information operations are presented as integral to all six main phases of Russian conflict development, the only non-military measure spanning the entire spectrum. But, as Europe is -- is absent active, armed conflict (ph), we lack certain authorities to conduct our own information operations. So how are you countering Russian disinformation in Europe without the broad authorities granted in larger operations or execute orders, understanding you likely cannot get into details about how you feel we are adequately challenging Russia in this space?
SCAPARROTTI: I'll briefly answer that just by saying that we in EUCOM engage through NATO and E.U., as well as our partners in individual countries, in countering the Russian message. All of this is truthful print. Much of it can be done through public affairs. And then, in other ways, we have military information support teams that we provide to specific countries. And all of this is in support of the embassy and their message, as well, as well as foreign countries. So we work directly with some of these foreign countries in what they see and how best to -- how best to counter this disinformation. So I would -- I would leave it at that. And -- well, the last thing is you mentioned authorities. I -- I've asked for authorities with respect to information operations, et cetera, and those that I've requested, I've been granted. And, in this forum, I'll just leave it at that. But -- but I do want you to know that, where I've asked for specific authorities, to this point, I've received what I've asked for.
LANGEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for the latitude, Mr. Chairman.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Hice.
HICE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Is EUCOM prepared for the U.S. to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem?
SCAPARROTTI: Say it again, sir, I'm sorry. Is EUCOM...
HICE: Are we prepared, do you believe, to move our embassy to Jerusalem?
SCAPARROTTI: Today, we're preparing to do that. And, again, faithfully, this should be a question that goes to State first, as the lead in that. I was -- I was just there, so I'm aware of the planning that's going on, and I would -- I would, respectfully, go to them for the -- for the question of the preparation.
HICE: OK. Fair enough with that. Going back, then, to Russia, in your understanding, what are Russia's goals in the Baltic states?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think it's consistent with other -- with other places, and that is that they establish themselves as a respected global power. They undermine the democratic values and the values of the West. They obtain, to the extent that they can, some privileged influence over the nations that border them, and particularly the ones who are in the former Soviet Union. And even in the Baltics, I think, they have that similar objective.
HICE: OK. Of those type of things, what would you consider in -- as far as their influence in that region, what troubles you most?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think there is, you know, the presence of their, again, disinformation campaign, some political provocation. You know, we see where they purchase social media or TV stations, et cetera. And, in a couple of the Baltic countries, you have a Russian population that, obviously, they target their message to and can share through language. It's a -- it's a -- you know, that population's harder to penetrate by the government itself, in some cases. So it's a -- you know, it's a -- it's a population that's easier for Russia to influence. And, of course, they target that and take advantage of it.
HICE: What tools can we utilize to help aid our allies over there against Russian operations and cyber operations -- that type of thing.
SCAPARROTTI: A very close working relationship across our government, not simply in the military realm, but through the other forms of government, in order to help them assess, respond to and understand the environment, and also learn from them. Estonia's Cyber Center is an excellent center. The Baltic nations, since we're talking about them in particular -- you know, they have an understanding of Russia and that threat in ways that we don't. So we rely on them. So it's a team effort here, and I think it works both ways. And that's the way we approach it.
HICE: Do you believe it's working well, those communication lines? Are you pleased?
SCAPARROTTI: I am, yes.
HICE: OK. How, then, along those lines -- how does EUCOM work with other U.S. agencies to utilize a whole-of-government approach against Russia...
SCAPARROTTI: Well -- yes, sir. Well, through a -- in all of our challenges in EUCOM, we first approach it from a whole-of-government approach. And, just to set the stage, my civilian deputy is an experienced, you know, foreign diplomat. He just -- was just, last, the U.S. ambassador to Italy -- Phil Reeker.
SCAPARROTTI: Ambassador Phil Reeker. So that -- that tells you something right there. And he gives us a direct connection into the interagencies, and particularly State. And then we have a number of interagency -- Treasury, USAID, FBI -- we have a number of interagency persons that are a part of my staff that work day to day. So, our counter-transnational-threats cell (ph), for instance -- it's a lot more civilian work force than it is anybody in a uniform, as an example. That's how we pull them in and we make sure they have their expertise in this.
HICE: Very good. Well, thank you for all you do. We appreciate it very much. And, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
THORNBERRY: Mr. O'Halleran.
O'HALLERAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, thank you for being here today. Thank you for your service to our country. I -- I want to go back a little bit to the 2 percent issue in Europe. I guess what I heard you say is that it's going to be -- Russia, over the next 5 years, is going to, eventually, have some issues with continuing to fund their military. You had mentioned it's going to take us about 30 years to get where the plan wants to be.
O'HALLERAN: And I was wondering, does 2 percent get our European allies to where they need to be? And what is the real number to get them to where they need to be?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, sir, I haven't -- I haven't looked at it in -- you know, in that depth, in terms of a real number. It would take an assessment of each and every country to do that. I would say that, you know, an investment at 2 percent will make a significant difference in these other -- in the other nations. And the way that we make sure that we have what we need is, within NATO, we do a capabilities assessment. We just completed this cycle. And then we determine what the requirements are in NATO to have an effective deterrence and defense in the Euro-Atlantic, and we assign each of the nations capability targets that they have to meet as a part of that 2 percent and 20 percent. And, through that, we can -- we can provide the force in NATO that we need. We know that now. We just have to ensure that they make those investments in the capabilities that have been outlined. If they want to -- if they want to invest in other areas in their military, that's fine, but they need to meet those capabilities first, so that we have a synchronized and coherent force for the deterrence and defense of the Euro-Atlantic.
O'HALLERAN: Thank you, General. The sustainability of that effort, though, as we saw in the last economic downturn here in the United States and around the world, plays a big role in that, I would imagine. I don't know if you've assessed to that level yet. But these economic cycles are something that's part of our history. It -- they will occur again. And a lot of these countries were hit pretty hard during the last downturn. So how -- how much time is it going to take some of these countries to get up to speed at the 2 percent? I meant (ph) -- I think you mentioned 15 are not there yet. How are we going to get -- how are they going to get there?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I think, if you, you know -- and this -- I could respond to this in a -- in a written form in more detail, but generally, you know, we've -- we've taken a look at the -- NATO's taken a look at the countries. And, you know, there's a -- there's a grouping of, say, five to seven that, given their financial plan at -- at present and the, in some cases -- if they're in E.U. -- the standards that they have to meet with respect to debt, et cetera, they will have a very difficult time meeting the 20 -- 24 -- 2 percent, if they adhere to both E.U. and NATO requirements. So there is a group of countries that, with analysis, you know will have a more difficult time.
O'HALLERAN: The -- one of the issues that came up was how we can address some of our issues with them, with -- and with their ability to impact citizens in other countries -- how we can do it (ph) to them. And you mentioned something about that we have an advantage because our -- of people's representation of us as having a truthful media. And, here internally, in the United States, we have this ongoing division over the media here. How is that -- how do we let people know over there that we are truthful within our own country? We are having this struggle on the truthfulness of the media.
SCAPARROTTI: That's a difficult question to answer. I would -- I would say that this -- the issue of truth in media is not just the United States. It's a -- it's a global issue now. With the development of our social media and the -- and the internet, et cetera, we've lost what we once had when we had print media, largely, that had editors, that had editorial standards, et cetera. There's much of this that has no discipline within it. I think that's something that, internationally, we need to come to grips with and determine how we're going to begin to discipline that. And it's particularly important for democracies because of the role that, you know, truthful media and journalism plays in a -- in a vibrant democracy.
O'HALLERAN: Thank you, General, and I yield.
THORNBERRY: Dr. Wenstrup?
WENSTRUP: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General, for being here. I have kind of a general question concerning eastern Europe, if you will. And I don't expect a deep-dive answer. But you mentioned a team approach to the nations in Europe. And, from your perspective, what are the eastern European nations, for example, wanting and needing from -- say, if we go down the list of the DIME, right -- what do they want diplomatically, militarily, information sharing, economically? What kind of things are they wanting? What can we provide? And I -- I know that's a pretty broad question.
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, and (ph) -- and, frankly, I -- I need to probably focus most on the -- on the military aspect of that.
SCAPARROTTI: You know, the first thing is that they want a close partnership. I'm speaking as a EUCOM commander now. They want a close partnership with the United States because they recognize our leadership, they recognize our capabilities. They want to have a close partnership so they can also develop their capabilities.
WENSTRUP: Militarily and otherwise, or?
SCAPARROTTI: Militarily (ph), diplomatically, et cetera. I mean, they -- they're -- those nations are -- are great allies. They're small, but they're working very hard. And you'll note that they're the ones that are above 2 percent very quickly. So they're also investing in the capabilities that they believe they need to nest with ours. That's what we need to continue to do. We need to continue to help them in that -- in that regard. And I think, also, our presence there reinforces their population's confidence in the West and -- and their decision to be NATO members, in some cases, or to align with the West generally.
WENSTRUP: Obviously, all those things intertwine with our success there, and -- when I talk about economics and things like that. And I've always had a concern of the dependency upon Russia for, say, natural gas, et cetera. And the stronger their economy is, the better our military relationship can be, et cetera, et cetera. Are there things, from where you sit, that you feel like you're hampered if -- if we only did more economically, like tried to alleviate some of that dependency on Russia in some way?
SCAPARROTTI: Yeah. I think we are working toward relieving some of the dependency on Russia, and I know those countries are, as well. So, particularly in liquefied natural gas, there's facilities being built that will allow us to transport that. And, frankly, I think we should continue to do that, because, as you know, Russia uses energy to coerce and compel, at times.
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you.
WENSTRUP: Thank you. I appreciate it, General. And I yield back.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Khanna? KHANNA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, thank you for your service. In discussing Ukraine, I think it's important to look at some of the historical context. When Secretary Baker met with Shevardnadze and Gorbachev, there was a discussion about the expansion of NATO. Our country made no formal commitments to Gorbachev, as Putin claims, but Gorbachev recently did say that the spirit of the conversations very much suggested that we wouldn't expand NATO. And, when Yanukovych came to power in Ukraine and wanted to do business with the European Union, the Russians asked the United States whether we would be OK with a tripartite (ph) economic agreement where Europe would do business with Yanukovych and with Russia. The European Union rejected that.
KHANNA: Now, when Yanukovych was ousted, Yanukovych came to the United States and said, "Why don't we call early elections and have a coalition?" It's unclear whether we worked diplomatically for that. We then supported the regime change against Yanukovych. So I guess my first question, in sort of three parts, is do you think we made a strategic mistake by insisting that Ukraine join NATO? Do you believe we made a mistake by recognizing the coup against Yanukovych? And do you think we made a mistake by not having a tripartite (ph) agreement with Russia and Yanukovych on the economic agreement?
SCAPARROTTI: Yeah, I'll be honest, I haven't looked at that in enough detail and the specific instances that you've pointed out to give you an answer here. If you'd like, I'll give you one in -- as a written statement after the -- after the hearing here.
KHANNA: I'd appreciate that. More broadly, and this goes to your expertise, I mean, one of the things that has served us really well in this nation is the Monroe Doctrine, made by John Quincy Adams. And we believed that no one should interfere in our region. Assume for a second that Russia is acting in a similar strategic interest. Do you really believe, even if we have arms going to Ukraine of $50 million -- $200 million, like the president wants, that we could ever out-compete the Russians in Ukraine? Won't they just increase their arms? Don't they have far more of a strategic interest to fight us than we do in Ukraine?
SCAPARROTTI: If one looks at proximity, et cetera, that's an advantage for Russia, and it's an advantage militarily, as you suggest. But what I go back to is that what we believe, as a fundamental principle, is that people have a right to determine their own government and how that government is led, whether it's a democracy or what type of democracy it might be. And I think that's the principle that we fundamentally support here.
KHANNA: General, I agree with you, and John Quincy Adams had a very famous passage, saying the United States supports the self-determination of people around the world, and we should extend our prayers and our hopes, but we shouldn't be going out for monsters to destroy, because that's not in the United States' strategic interest. What do you think is our national security strategic interest? What is being served by putting more weapons in Ukraine? I mean, how does that make the United States more secure? How does it make constituents in my district more secure?
SCAPARROTTI: The United States is -- has come to the assistance of a people and a nation that seeks to reestablish (ph) themselves with the West in a democratic way and make reforms to do that. And we've committed to that. I think it's important the United Sates be seen as a -- as a good ally in that. And, of course, where that takes us here in the future will be -- will be set against, you know, our vital -- our vital interests in this country as we move (ph) forward. But I think it's important we support those who seek democratic values and ways in -- in the world, as well. Otherwise, we -- we forfeit that -- that movement to others, like Russia, who would like to undermine and establish a world order that is counter to our interests and, as we've seen in past history, typically leads to conflict.
KHANNA: I respect your perspective. I would just say that no one disagrees we should recognize self-determination and human rights. The question is just, strategically, militarily, whether that's the most in our national interest. My final question is, do you really think being bogged down there -- is Russia really our most strategic competitor, or is it China? And does putting resources here hurt our ability against China or against fighting the war on terrorism?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, sir, I'd just say I don't -- I don't know that we're bogged down there. And I would remind you that we're also not fighting. They're fighting for their own sovereignty. We're providing capability, capacity-building and reform to their government. Russia and China are both competitors. I particularly believe that -- that, you know, in the shorter term, here, Russia is -- is an immediate threat at this point. They're a more consistent threat. Maybe, in the longer term, China, but that's a debate that many will have. But I think we need to pay attention to both.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Banks.
BANKS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General, for being here. I wonder if -- first of all, if you have any thoughts or -- or if you could explain at all why Macedonia is having such a hard time in their hopes of being admitted into NATO. And would you agree that, if they are admitted into NATO, they could be a somewhat important ally to the United States and our efforts?
SCAPARROTTI: Yeah, I -- I would probably refer you to State on that, in terms of the detail of this. They are -- they would like to seek a means to enter NATO. I've talked to their minister of defense about that. And I think it's a -- you know, it's a matter, foremost, of being able to establish the ability to meet the map or the accession principles that you have within NATO to do that and -- and, you know, being confident and showing that there's a confident means to do that.
BANKS: I appreciate that. My next question: As you know, the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program has been a key nonproliferation enabler of EUCOM and the world for over 25 years. As part of your overall security cooperation efforts, CTR has been fundamental to greatly reducing the threat of WMD proliferation. However, we continue -- continue to see WMD proliferation threat grow through terrorist networks and state sponsors. Recent efforts in Moldova and Ukraine highlight the security challenges that European gray-zone nations face. So, with that, can you comment at all on the success of CTR and maybe any CTR efforts that have been effective in your AOR or ways that we, as Congress, might change a program that's now 25 years old to confront the threats that we'll face in the future?
SCAPARROTTI: Yeah, I'd like to take that for a response, as well, to you -- to get into the detail of how we might change it. You know, we -- we address this and we work within NATO -- or within EUCOM, with NATO, with our partners to counter proliferation and transnational threats. That cell that I noted before, the transnational threats cell, has that as one of its fundamental tasks. I think we are having effect. I think it is positive. But I think, today more so than ever, we probably need to be more focused on this because, you know, we have non-state actors today that now have the funding and the capability to attain some of these weapon systems, whereas, before, it was fundamentally a nation-state capability that was passing those -- so terrorists, violent extremist organizations. So I think it's important that we -- that we maintain this focus and that we work, again, you know, with our partners and as an alliance, to do this.
BANKS: And my last question: Your -- in your written testimony, you talked about the growing maritime threat in your AOR. And I wonder if you could maybe comment more -- more extensively about that, with a resurgent Russia -- maybe comment specifically related to the anti-submarine capabilities under your review (ph).
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. If you wanted detail on that, I'd prefer to do that in a classified document, as well. Just generally, the activity level of their maritime forces is up in Europe. They're active now, coming out of the high north and their northern fleet into the Mediterranean, for instance. That's -- that has not been -- while not alarming -- it's not necessarily something they couldn't do -- it's just not something they've normally done in, you know, say, recent history. So they're deploying more and they're deploying at a higher rate.
SCAPARROTTI: The forces that they're deploying are being modernized, primarily with weapon systems. So, you know, most of their ships now, you know, have a Kalibr system on them. It is both conventional and can be nuclear, if they choose to do so. It's a very good system. It provides reach and precision. And, of course, wherever they have a ship, whether it's undersea or on the surface, many of their ships now have the Kalibr system on them.
BANKS: Appreciate that. Thanks for your leadership. I yield back.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Moulton.
MOULTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, thank you very much for holding the line for us in Europe. I appreciate your service. I served under General Jim Mattis, the current secretary of defense, and our division motto at the time was "No better friend, no worse enemy." And I often found that it was the first half of that that was, sometimes, harder to maintain. People understood the Marines were a tough enemy, but they weren't always sure if they could trust us. How do you make our eastern Europe -- European allies trust us in the fight against Russia when we're not really willing to stand up to Russia right here at home? This is a consistent theme that I've heard as I've traveled around the globe -- is that a lot of our allies, right now, are just not sure whether they can trust America. So give us a window into how you -- how you fight this fight on the -- on the day to day, in Europe.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, first of all, I'll tell you I don't see that issue, particularly in the east, within NATO, in terms of their -- any distrust. The first way that I do it is look at what we're doing. We have -- we're rotating an armored brigade...
MOULTON: So you don't think that, when the president comes out against NATO and says that we might not even be a part of NATO -- maybe we shouldn't even be a part of NATO, that doesn't -- it could be taken (ph)...
SCAPARROTTI: The president has stated support for Article 5 and full support for NATO. And, in this time, we've deployed a lot of force in this past year, to Europe, on behalf of NATO. So, you know, I -- what I'm trying to say is that -- you know, what I point to is, what are we doing? EDI, which Congress has -- has budgeted, for instance, is a substantial investment, and...
MOULTON: Well, let's...
SCAPARROTTI: ... our allies recognize that.
MOULTON: ... General, let's talk about that for a second. The EDI -- and we've -- I've witnessed this in eastern Europe, myself -- seems to be very heavily focused on conventional forces, which is not the way that Russia's attacking us. I mean, Russia is attacking our eastern European allies through the internet, through partisans, by undermining their political process, by sowing disinformation, as you earlier described. It doesn't like our effort is calibrated to really meet that threat at all. It certainly wasn't when I visited there in 2015, and I know that we on the committee have tried to make some modifications. I'm not sure that we've gone far enough. What could we do to improve our ability to stand up to the type of warfare that Russia is actually exercising today?
SCAPARROTTI: First of all, sir, I'd say that, you know, we need to have all of that. So we do need that conventional capability in place as a deterrent, and it's an absolute signal to them of our commitment to Article 5 and our -- our commitment to NATO and them as partners. Well, many of the things that we are doing is what we need to continue to do. We're providing those nations, particularly in the east, with direct military information support, coupled with our embassies -- working with them, as well. The nations themselves work with us closely in terms of their public affairs, messaging, et cetera. That's -- that's all a part of this. And EDI does fund some of the information operations that I do in EUCOM, as well.
MOULTON: What percentage of the budget for EDI goes to those types of activities?
SCAPARROTTI: A very small part of that. I can give it to you, if I sit down and figure it out, but it's a small part of that. I would first say, though, that, you know, information operations is not that expensive.
MOULTON: What percentage of -- of the attacks that you see, whether they be hybrid-type attacks, the disinformation campaigns, the attacks from Russia -- what percentage are these hybrid-types -- attacks, versus conventional attacks?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, we don't -- you know, in terms of attacks within NATO, I mean, most of this activity is below the level of conflict. There -- there are attacks (ph)...
MOULTON: Right, well, pretty much all, right? I mean, they're not rolling any tanks into eastern Europe.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, no, and -- but they did annex, you know, portions of the Ukraine, for instance, and Georgia, in 2008. But you're correct. I mean, today's activity is purposely below the level of conflict on the Russians' part.
MOULTON: Are there other things that we should be doing on the committee to better meet this threat? It sounds to me like we could better apportion the budget. Are there other things that we should reinforce or ways that we could give more confidence to our allies that we will help them stand up to this -- to this serious threat?
SCAPARROTTI: Yeah, well, you know, I would -- I would applaud the members of Congress for their trips to Europe, for instance, and to see our allies, like the one you took in 2015. Those visits and open discussion with them is very important. It's a direct demonstration of the United States' interest in -- you know, in their security. So I -- I would encourage those, as well. Secondly, continue to do what you're doing today, and that is to have a good assessment of our security needs and what should be funded and how you fund them. This budget has been very important to enabling me to do what I do with our allies and the security of the Euro-Atlantic. You need to continue that. Towards the budgeting, I would say this, again: Information operations is not overly expensive when compared to, for instance, conventional force structure, rotational forces, et cetera. And, from my part, my request through EDI is structured on what I believe we most need for deterrence today. And so I take into account -- is -- at least my portion of this as I put it forward to DOD -- the percentages of what's required and best used for a coherent defense. And I -- I take that deliberately as I -- as I present this -- my portion of that budget to the Department of Defense.
MOULTON: Thank you, General. And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you.
THORNBERRY: Mr. Garamendi.
GARAMENDI: General, thank you very much for yesterday's discussion, as well as today's. My apologies for (ph) not being here. There's another general at the Army Corps of Engineers that -- to whom I had to give some attention this morning. The EDI fund -- should that be part of the base, or should it continue to be an OCO?
SCAPARROTTI: I've said, I think, eventually, it should go to the base, in order to get us into the base as a fundamental part of our security. And, I'd say -- stated earlier -- I would just like to ensure that it's protected. You know, Congress has set this aside as EDI, you know, specifically for specific objectives to be obtained and, as we go into the budget, to protect that clarity.
GARAMENDI: So, either way, you need EDI specifically for the work you're doing in eastern Europe?
SCAPARROTTI: We do, absolutely. I need it because I don't have the force posture I need -- that I believe I need, and it's going to take EDI to build that, or that funding within the budget to do so.
GARAMENDI: I just want to make it clear: We're going to be dealing with this in the next couple of months, and we talked about it a little yesterday. It seems to me that we want to keep it separate, at least -- that word you used, "eventually" -- and I'll just let that hang out there.
GARAMENDI: At least for the near term, I would think we need EDI and the OCO separate and available to you to carry out, which -- incidentally, in a tour of the eastern European countries in the summer -- you and your troops are doing an extraordinary job, and the heel-to-toe...
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you.
GARAMENDI: ... makes a lot of sense, I think, in the -- in the near term, as you've said in your testimony. A couple of other things: LNG, which was mentioned -- it is a tool -- well, gas is a tool used by Russia for economic, political purposes. We are exporting gas here in the United States. It seems to me that's something we ought to consider as the (ph) strategic tool to deter Russia, and it would be in our interest to subsidize natural gas, LNG, to Europe as a way of deterring Russia and pushing back in the most meaningful of ways -- that is, their economy. I suspect we ought to do a little economic equation here and see what it would cost to provide LNG to Europe at a cost similar to what Russia is providing gas. It could give us significant leverage. With one final question and -- do you need a new low-yield nuclear weapon to deter Russia?
SCAPARROTTI: Sir, in -- in regards to the Nuclear Posture Review, the supplemental weapon systems that are a part of that are required. What it does is it ensures that we can be confident in a response across any scenario that that might be -- that might be projected. So I do believe we -- we need those systems.
GARAMENDI: Thank you. I'll yield back. Thank you very much.
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you.
THORNBERRY: General, you've answered lots of questions about hybrid, information, political warfare. Part of the reason is, I think, we all are challenged by thinking of warfare in nontraditional ways and the role of the military in -- in doing that. You've answered a number of questions about EDI, and I think that conversation is very interesting. I just want to ask, to Mr. Garamendi's last question on -- on nuclear deterrent, can you step back from particular weapon systems and -- and talk more generally about the value of having a credible nuclear deterrent with an adversary who openly talks about using nuclear to counter conventional, about escalating to de-escalate, a -- in a region where a lot of allies depend on our nuclear deterrent for their security? And one of my concerns is most -- many of us thought that we didn't have to worry about that stuff anymore. And a lot of the -- not only the weapons and the delivery systems, but the thinking had atrophied after the fall of the Soviet Union. We have to pay more attention to it now. And so can you just, in a -- in a broader sense, talk about the role that a credible nuclear deterrent plays in what you're having -- what you're trying to do every day?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, if I could, I'll just focus on -- as you -- you know, as you step back and look at a credible deterrent and the importance of having one that -- a credible deterrent that they understand is responsive across the spectrum, when you look at escalation management -- you talked about, you know, the Russian comment that they'll escalate to de-escalate, or escalate to dominate. This is a -- you know, it's a cognitive exercise. It's -- it's an influence on the decision-maker -- on Putin, on the other side. A credible nuclear capacity -- a credible one and our will to use it, if necessary for the extreme case, known by the adversary, is paramount here and -- and then across the spectrum. You know, the -- I think their "escalate to de-escalate" comments were centered on a capability at a low end to, perhaps, gain leverage. And what were saying through the NPR is "You won't have that leverage. We're going to drive this back to a higher threshold." And he can be confident in that, as we enter, if we were to enter any -- enter any (ph) kind of an escalation at all. So that's why it's important -- because it's the mental approach to this, to begin with.
THORNBERRY: Well, I'd just say, from my standpoint, we -- we talked yesterday, I guess, about deterrence when it comes to space. We talk about deterrence when it comes to cyber. One of the challenges, I think, for all of us, is to reinvigorate our deterrence thinking and intellectual purpose (ph), because, as you said, deterrence is in the mind of the adversary and -- what -- whatever domain were talking about. And I think we've got some making up to do, maybe, there. Unless you have something else...
SCAPARROTTI: I'm good.
THORNBERRY: ... thank you, sir, for answering our questions, and the hearing stands adjourned.
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you, Chairman.