Editor's Note: For the 2019 EUCOM Full Transcript, click Here
SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE HEARING ON USEUCOM AND
USTRANSCOM IN REVIEW OF THE DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION REQUEST FOR
FY2020 AND THE FUTURE YEARS DEFENSE PROGRAM
MARCH 5, 2019
SEN. JAMES M. INHOFE, R-OKLA., CHAIRMAN
SEN. ROGER WICKER, R-MISS.
SEN. DEB FISCHER, R-NEB.
SEN. TOM COTTON, R-ARK.
SEN. MIKE ROUNDS, R-S.D.
SEN. JONI ERNST, R-IOWA
SEN. THOM TILLIS, R-N.C.
SEN. DAN SULLIVAN, R-ALASKA
SEN. DAVID PERDUE, R-GA.
SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TENN.
SEN. KEVIN CRAMER, R-N.D.
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY, R-MO.
SEN. MARTHA MCSALLY, R-ARIZ.
SEN. RICK SCOTT, R-FLA.
SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I., RANKING MEMBER
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN, D-N.H.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.
SEN. MAZIE K. HIRONO, D-HAWAII
SEN. TIM KAINE, D-VA.
SEN. MARTIN HEINRICH, D-N.M.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS.
SEN. GARY PETERS, D-MICH.
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, D-ILL.
SEN. DOUG JONES, D-ALA.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN III, D-W.VA.
SEN. ANGUS KING, I-MAINE
GEN. CURTIS M. SCAPARROTTI, COMMANDER OF THE U.S. EUROPEAN
COMMAND AND NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE
AND GEN. STEPHEN R. LYONS, COMMANDER OF THE U.S. TRANSPORTATION
INHOFE: Yeah. Meeting will come to order. The Senate Armed Services committee meets to continue receiving the posture statements from our combatant commands. Testifying today are General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the United States European Command; and General Stephen Lyons, commander of United States Transportation Command. Welcome both of you here and thank you for your service.
The Senate Armed Services Committee's top priority is to ensure the effective implementation of the National Defense Strategy. That's our blueprint and that's - we pretty much agree to that. It means that we need urgent change at significant scale to address the challenges -- strategic (ph) competition with Russia and China.
Just got back from Munich, Kosovo, Djibouti, Algeria, in these areas and that's all - that's where Russia and China is and we need to be aware of the strength and what the competition has - Putin has demonstrated both in capability and intent to use force to achieve his objective, most notably the - in Georgia, Ukraine, in Syria. Putin won't hesitate to use other tools in his arsenal as well, whether it's cyber-attacks, election meddling, or assassinations with chemical weapons.
Perceived weakness will only provoke further aggression from Putin. That's why efforts such as full support for the European Deterrence Initiative, that's made up of primarily the old Soviet Union countries, provides the defensive lethal assistance to Ukraine and why they're so important. Likewise, we need a defense budget that is of sufficient size and invests in key capabilities we need in Europe, areas like long-range fires, cruise missile defense, anti-submarine warfare, and the supporting infrastructure.
I was in Munich two weeks ago and it was clear that we can't be successful in the strategic competition with Russia without a strong, unified NATO alliance. America is safer and stronger because of our NATO alliance. And General Scaparrotti, I look forward to your thoughts along these issues. General Lyons, you have a long history with TRANSCOM, serving as its deputy commander for two years before assuming your current role.
I look forward to hearing your assessment of the services and the resources that you have there because I know that - that there's some discussion even of some privatization in that area. So we'll be anxious to hear your statement.
Before I turn it to Senator Reed, I'd like to remind all of our members that we will have a classified, closed briefing - informal briefing at 2:30 in the Visitor's Center with both of our witnesses.
REED: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me join in welcoming our witnesses this morning. General Scaparrotti is returning to testify before the committee for the third time on the U.S. military posture and programs in Europe.
He's dual hat as commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, SACEUR, and welcome General Scaparrotti. General Lyons, I want to welcome you to your first posture hearing before this committee, now let me thank both of you for your many dedicated military service and please extend our appreciation to the dedicated men and women serving under your commands, thank them very much for us.
Over the last several years, the security challenges in the U.S. European Command have grown increasingly complex. Russia has reemerged as an aggressive opponent of the rules based international order, which Russia views as a counter to its strategic interest in reclaiming great power status.
The National Defense Strategy issued last year highlights the need to counter a (inaudible) Russia with a credible military deterrent that demonstrates that any military aggression against the sovereignty and integrity of NATO members or a threat of such aggression will not succeed.
General Scaparrotti, I am interested in your assessment of the progress of our force posture Europe in meeting NDS requirements. In addition to its military modernization and aggressive military posturing, Russia is conducting a campaign of hybrid warfare below the level of military conflict using all tools of national power to advance its strategic interest.
Our democracy was attacked in 2016 and we have been persistently under attack ever since, including during last year's midterm elections. I will be interested in hearing from General Scaparrotti whether EUCOM is getting the cyber resources and personnel it needs and whether we are investing in the right non-military tools of national power to counter this hybrid warfare.
An additional challenge is the unprecedented strain on alliance cohesion within NATO. Former Secretary of Defense Mattis stressed that the United States' strength is inextricably linked to our system of alliance and partnerships.
Yet a recent report from the Harvard Belfer Center by Ambassador Doug Lute and Ambassador Nicholas Burns describes a crisis within NATO, which they attribute in large part to the acts of strong U.S. leadership.
The Senate and Congress as a whole have repeatedly gone on record to reaffirm our strong commitment to NATO and the transatlantic relationship as a core element of U.S. national security.
There should be no doubt among our allies or our adversaries regarding the United States resolve to meet its NATO commitments to collective defense.
Turning to TRANSCOM, the men and women of TRANSCOM perform duties that sustain the whole Department of Defense effort in protecting our nation's security. But the competitive edge and its ability to deploy and sustain America's armed forces, TRANSCOM provides DOD with unique capabilities that we have come to expect and perhaps too frequently take for granted.
TRANSCOM forces are busy supporting all of the combatant commanders every day, and without them the United States would be at a significant disadvantage almost everywhere in the world.
The Ready Reserve Force, or RRF, is a group of cargo ships held in readiness by the Maritime Administration, but it is aging and will need to be modernized over the next decade.
Two years ago the committee authorized the department to start a program to recapitalize the Ready Reserve Force by authorizing DOD to purchase up to two foreign built vessels, while the Navy designed a family of auxiliary vessels for a number of uses, including recapitalizing the Ready Reserve Force.
Then last year, Congress authorized the department to buy five more foreign built vessels as soon as the department put forward a funded plan to build new ships for the RRF in U.S. shipyard.
General Lyons, I'm interested in the status and the next steps for RRF recapitalization in F.Y. 2020
The Defense Department also needs to ensure that the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, or CRAF program, which provides as much as 40 percent of wartime airlift needs, remains viable after operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will be able to provide needed surge capacity in the future.
General Lyons, I'm interested in your view on the state of this fleet, and if anything needs to be done to ensure these capabilities, and their readiness. Our global transportation capability, owned and managed by TRANSCOM, is one - one of our asymmetric advantages for many years now.
However, we cannot assume that potential adversaries will allow us free rein in this area in the future. Last year, General McDew told the committee that TRANSCOM has been conducting analyses to assess requirements for an environment where our mobility forces will be challenges. And his assessment was that additional investment in lift would be needed.
However, when we received the report of that analysis in the mobility requirement study earlier this year, the study's conclusions differed from General McDew's assessment. General Lyons, perhaps you could give us an update on why there was a change?
Finally, TRANSCOM also faces a unique set of cyber threats because of the command's extensive network with private sector entities in the transportation and shipping industries. General Lyons, I would like to get an update from you on progress in the cyber-security efforts you have made since last year. And once again, let me thank the witnesses for their service, and for their testimony.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Reed. You guys know the drill. First you're going to have five minutes. Try not to exceed five minutes. But your entire statement will be made a part of the record. We'll start with you, General Scaparrotti.
SCAPARROTTI: Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, distinguished members of the committee, good morning, and thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today as the commander of the United States European Command. I'm honored to be here today - or this morning, with General Stephen Lyons as well.
First and foremost, I want to thank you for Congress's support of the service members, civilians, and families in Europe. These warriors demonstrate selfless service and dedication to the Euro-Atlantic defense, a mission that is essential to our national security, and to maintaining global peace and prosperity.
We as a nation are blessed by their voluntary and exceptional service. Thank you, again, for your steadfast support of these patriots and their mission. The threats facing U.S. interests in the EUCOM area of responsibility, which includes Israel, are real and growing. They are complex, trans-regional, all-domain and multifunctional. This remains one of the most dynamic periods in recent history, in my view.
Russia has continued its reemergence as a strategic competitor, and remains the primary threat to a stable Euro-Atlantic security environment. While the United States maintains a global military superiority over Russia, evolving Russian capabilities threaten to erode our competitive military advantage, challenge our ability to operate uncontested in all domains, and diminish or ability to deter Russian aggression.
In light of Russia's modernizing increasingly aggressive force posture, EUCOM recommends augmenting our assigned and rotational forces to enhance our deterrent's posture. EUCOM also recommends further investments that enhance European logistical infrastructure and capacity to support rapid deployment of multi-domain U.S. forces in Europe.
In addition to the threat from Russia, the risk of terrorism in Europe remains high despite a decline in fatalities from terrorist attacks in 2018. Violent extremists present a clear and present threat to Europe's people and their infrastructure.
Thankfully, the United States is not alone in facing these other challenges across the Euro-Atlantic theater. As our National Defense Strategy states, a NATO alliance deters Russian adventurism, contributes to the defeat of terrorism, and addresses instability along NATO's periphery.
Our allies and partners play vital role in our collective security and they have made significant progress in increasing cash contributions and capabilities and provide our common defense.
For almost 70 years, NATO has been a cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security. As NATO adapts to remain relevant and fit for purpose, we will find, as we always have, that every challenge is best addressed as an alliance.
Let me close by again, thanking Congress and this committee for your continued support, especially sustained funding of the European deterrence initiative, EDI. EUCOM's future success in implementing our National Defense Strategy in fulfilling our mission is only possible with Congress' support. Thank you and I look forward to your questions.
INHOFE: Thank you, General Scaparrotti. General Lyons?
LYONS: Chairman Inhofe, Ranking member Reed, distinguished members, it is an honor to testify before you today and represent the men and women of United States Transportation Command. I'm please to join General Scaparrotti. He's one of several but very important supported command to the United States Transportation Command and his more than 40 years of exceptional leadership remains a stellar example for all of us.
I could not be more proud of the more than 120,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast guardsmen and civil service that are signed to United States Transportation Command. They project and sustain the joint force every day.
The department's global deployment networks, transportation capacity in air on land and over the sea, and our global command and control capabilities combine to provide the United States with a strategic competitive advantage, unmatched around the world.
Somewhere on the globe, a TRANSCOM aircraft is touching down every three minutes. TRANSCOM ships are underway, aerial refueling missions are orbiting overhead and planes converted to intensive care units are moving the our nation's ill and injured. I should remind everybody tough, that the key to our success is global access, and I would like to highlight that our allies and like-minded partners that provide access to key regions, support substantial basing and reinforce DOD's global reach, are critical to our mission.
We know we must never take our success for granted. For decades we could generally deploy our forces when we wanted, assemble them where we wanted and operate how we wanted. With the rise of great power competition, we can no longer assume that we can operate with impunity.
Before closing, I would like to acknowledge the letters that I received from more than a dozen members of Congress concerning the Defense Personal Property Program which relocates the household goods for our service members, civilians and their families.
Simply put, I agree, we lack the capacity during peak season and we lack measures to hold industry accountable. Our most important resources are people and we owe them better. So, in consultation with the service secretaries and service chiefs, and on behalf of the department, TRANSCOM is leading an initiative to restructure our relationship with industry in an effort to improve quality capacity and accountability.
In closing am proud to support DOD's enduring mission of providing a combat credible military force to deter war and protect the security of our nation. Our nation relies on United States transportation command to respond with immediate force on short notice and seamlessly transition to project a decisive force when needed.
I'm fully committed to retaining this strategic competitive advantage. Thank you for your support to the department and your support to United States Transportation Command.
INHOFE: Thank you, General...
LYONS: And I look forward to your questions.
INHOFE: Thank you, General Lyons. Senator Reed brought it up in his opening statement, the question as to whether or not, General Scaparrotti, that we have the right posture and capabilities in EUCOM to handle the - the credible deterrence against Russian aggression in Europe.
What's your opinion about that?
SCAPARROTTI: Mr. Chairman, thank you, we've clearly made progress in - in European Command thanks to the support of Congress. We've added forces and capabilities, we've improved the readiness.
But I would tell you in response to your question that I'm not comfortable yet with the deterrent posture that we have in Europe in support of the National Defense Strategy.
INHOFE: Where are the shortfalls as you see them?
SCAPARROTTI: Sir, I have shortfalls in our land component and the depth of forces there. I'd like to get into more detail on that in the closed hearing. And in our maritime component as well, both of those in particular when you look at the - both the building capability and the modernization of the Russian forces that we face there.
And then finally of concern is my intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capacity, given that increasing and growing threat of Russia. I need - I need more ISR, and again in a closed hearing, I can go into detail.
INHOFE: OK, you'll have that opportunity at 2:30 today. General Scaparrotti, the - we keep hearing from sources that maybe we have a - some redundancy in our nuclear program.
Now we've been guilty I think for a long period of time in not addressing nuclear modernization. We now are faced with a situation where we have both Russia and China with a what we call a triad system.
And I think that people with your background need to respond as to why a triad system is not redundant and is necessary.
SCAPARROTTI: Well sir, first of all, it - our strategic nuclear force is critical to our - to our deterrence and our security. And a triad as part of that force is important as well. The triad gives each one of those legs of the component give us specific qualities that are somewhat different.
And we need those differing qualities just for a safeguard within the components itself, but also to kind of make it complex for our adversaries to determine or believe that they have the opportunity to strike and - and gain dominance.
And I think with a triad, I'm certain that they can't. I would note that they also have a triad as well.
INHOFE: Yes, it needs to be repeated, because the suggestions keep coming on. This - in Ukraine, Russia is now on their 6th year at war there. We've talked about and we've actually had language in our defense authorization bills to send lethal help to Ukraine and to my knowledge there's only been one case for it, where we actually were using lethal assistance that was in the javelin. Can you tell us why we have not been able to successfully do that since the authorization is there?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I think, you know, as it - as it works - as recommendations for Ukraine particularly on the lethal side work its way, it has to go through the policy deliberations that - that provide authority to deploy those kinds of weapons systems.
And as you stated, we got the authority with Javelin, the Ukrainians in my view have trained very well for the use of that. They've been responsible in the security and the deployment of it and we watch that closely.
So they've handled that well. There are other systems, sniper systems, ammunition and perhaps looking at the Kerch Strait's perhaps consideration for naval systems as well here in the future as we move forward.
INHOFE: Well we have the authorization bill coming up. Is it something you think that we might need some more language on?
SCAPARROTTI: Well I - as you will see, I'll have recommendations for that, and - and I would like consideration of those recommendations.
INHOFE: OK, appreciate that. General Lyons, the - I know there's a problem in trying to get all the service and materials transported out where they are needed, and recently there's been some suggestion that maybe some of that should be - it should be contracted out.
And now we have gone through some problems with the housing program recently on contracting it out, do you have any comments to make about that as being one of the solutions to the problem that we face getting this material out?
LYONS: Chairman, if you're referring to the Joint Deployment Enterprise, we're inextricably linked to industry at multiple levels -- if we're referring specifically about the household good (ph) program, I think that's what you're referring to, sir?
INHOFE: That's what I'm referring to and that's where the suggestion has come out.
LYONS: Yes, sir. And what I would say on that is that's 100 percent commercial industry. It's not an effort to privatize whatsoever, but it is an effort to restructure our relationship with industry in a way that delivers higher quality capacity and holds carriers and the government accountable.
INHOFE: Good. Senator Reed.
REED: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and again gentlemen, thank you for your service and for your testimony. Last March, General Scaparrotti, you testified before the committee: I don't believe there is an effective unification across the interagency, but the energy and the focus that we could attain. Is that still your view?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, Senator. It's still my view. We've improved and Congress, as you know, has committed funding to some of the entities in the interagency to help us with this, but it's still my view.
REED: And we - I presume, based on your response, that we need a synchronized campaign prosecutor in a unified manner across the interagency, which is multiple institutions to counter Russian hybrid warfare and to deter anything greater than that.
Is that accurate?
SCAPARROTTI: That's correct, Senator. We need a whole of government approach to this.
REED: Where are the gaps right now? Where are the - we're not making the investments in your view?
SCAPARROTTI: Well I think - I think actually we need to probably get greater focus and energy into actually a strategy, multi faceted strategy to counter Russia. As you know, General Gerasimov just made another speech that underscored their view of indirect activity, the use of whole of government activities as a part of their spectrum of warfare.
We have to approach this in a way that we can counter that. And I think specifically within information operations, challenging their disinformation in cyber areas that we need to continue to press.
REED: And that would presumably require State Department activity. Again, I'm old enough to recall the voice of America, which is something that was very pronounced in the '50s and the '60s.
Some - those types of very proactive information campaigns, they're not being conducted at this point, are they?
SCAPARROTTI: Not - not in a way that you recall and I recall when I think we had the talent to pursue, particularly when it goes to underscoring our values, which I think is important.
REED: And all of this is designed, obviously, to deter and to disrupt Putin's plans or aspirations. And without it, he has more open field. Is that correct?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, they have a good deal of agility and they seem to have no constraints on what they're willing to say publicly.
REED: Thank you. General Lyons, thank you for mentioning in your comments the Defense Personal Property Program, DP3. As the Chairman indicated, we're receiving some comments and I'm going to follow up with some specific questions for the record because I think this is an important issue. There is a proposal to move to single move - or manager. Again, this has some echoes of some of the discussions we're having currently about housing issues in the military.
So we want to be ahead of the game. So we'll send those questions to you for your response.
LYONS: Sure thing.
REED: Even before you took charge at TRANSCOM, the command has - was concerned about war planning. For many years, we assumed that we'd be operating in a benign atmosphere. We could fly civilian aircraft in unprotected, we could move ships in unprotected, et cetera. Last year, General McDew, your predecessor, hinted that - for example, the KC-46 tanker that we're buying might be too expensive to purchase because the number we would need in a challenge situation to replace and to overmatch the adversary would be significantly more than is projected.
As a result, we asked TRANSCOM to produce a mobility requirement study. And the report essentially came back and said there's no problem with our ability to support contingencies, we've got the right mix. It essentially was disconnected with the comments that I heard, at least my perception of what General McDew was talking about.
What's changed? I mean, we all make the - we all recognize this is going to be a much more hostile environment to move equipment in and we don't seem to be responding in an appropriate way. Your comments, sir?
LYONS: Sir, thanks for the question. I think you're referring to the mobility capabilities requirement study that this - that the NDAA directed in '18. And that study was directed between the department and TRANSCOM to look at force sizing and sufficiency of the mobility force against the program, essentially out to 2023.
We did that and we did that based on a demand signal from the existing plans that exist on the books today. But I would acknowledge to you today, and I think General McDew is alluding to this. As we emerge our defense planning scenarios to be more reflective of the defense strategy as we emerge and develop globally-integrated plans which are happening right now in the joint staff, we do see the potential to - for increased mobility requirement, particularly in the area of aerial refuel, which is the lifeblood of the joint force.
REED: So that we are - what you sent up to us is - been overtaken by events, more or less?
LYONS: Sir, I would say we still have work to do on the plans on which it's based. So the demand signal is emerging right in front of us and we'll adapt a study to the plans as they evolve, yes sir.
REED: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Reed. Senator Wicker.
WICKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, General Scaparrotti, and General Lyons. Thank you very much for your - your work. And I think it's clear that we have great leadership in your area of responsibility. General Scaparrotti, about three weeks ago, this Congress sent five delegations, House and Senate, to the Munich Security Conference. That show of force was followed on then by a delegation going to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and another delegation going on a week later to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
Does - does that volume of participation by House and Senate members send a positive statement? Is it helpful to you in dealing with your friends in Europe - with our friends in Europe?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, sir. It's - first, it's very helpful and it's helpful to us as a nation. You know in Munich, that was the largest congressional delegation that they've ever had there. That was noted by everyone, that in and of itself is a strong message of commitment to our allies in Europe. And then I would say the congressional delegations that travel during the year to different spots within European Command have a very positive influence -- again, another sign of commitment and actual discussion about the issues of the day.
I routinely get feedback from the chiefs of defense, minister of defense and others when our congressional delegations visit. So I know that it has an impact.
WICKER: OK, well, I guess we could have a debate about whether there's a crisis in NATO. I hope there isn't but I do hope that the strong statement of wanting to be involved was heard and I appreciate your comments in that regard.
General Scaparrotti, you are recommending augmenting our forces in Europe, specifically with regard to sea power. What are your suggestions? For example, there are four destroyers in Rota, Spain now. Do we need six?
And what else needs to be done? What - what specifically can you tell us in an open hearing that would help with regard to our sea power aspect of helping you?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, as you know, specifically for the maritime component, what we're looking at is we're looking at an evolving and modernizing Russian fleet. And in a closed hearing, I plan to go through just the changes I've seen in the three years that I've been in European Command. If we - if we want to remain dominant in the maritime domain and particularly undersea, which we are today, we've got to continue to modernize and I think we need to build our capacity.
So specifically for destroyers, yes, I've asked for two more destroyers within EUCOM. I'd like to go into a little more detail on that in the closed hearing rather than here. But again, we do need greater capacity, particularly given the modernization and the growth of the fleets - the Russian fleets in Europe.
WICKER: In addition to the two destroyers, can you tell us publicly what else you're asking for in terms of ships?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, this primarily has to do with capabilities that deal with the numbers of Russian ships that we see within our theater today. And also for anti-submarine warfare and I'd like to go into the more detailed piece in a closed hearing.
WICKER: Are we going to need more ships or fewer ships?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I - that's a service question as to how they ...
WICKER: In your area?
SCAPARROTTI: In my area, more. And I would like to see at least a rotation of naval component, carrier strike groups, amphibious strike groups, at a little better pace than I've seen in the three years that I've been in command.
WICKER: General, at the Halifax Security Conference and at the Munich Security Conference, a number of us met individually with the defense minister from Turkey. At the military level, are we doing better with Turkey than it would appear on the front pages of the newspapers? Is - what's the news out of Turkey recently? And is there any good news?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I would say, first of all, that we have a good - very strong mil-to-mil relationship with our counterparts in Turkey. I know, very well, their chief of defense and their minister of defense who was the chief prior to this - prior to him becoming the minister.
We do have some differences, as you know, and you can see in the paper. But we have very candid and frank conversations. And we've been very successful at working through mutual interests, to this point.
Our mil-to-mil relationship, as it reflects in the deployment of our forces, in my view has improved over the past year. And so, that's what I would hope that our work together will continue to do here as we look at the tough issues we've got to face within the European Command.
WICKER: So in terms of military-to-military, things are a little better than they were a year ago?
SCAPARROTTI: They are. They've improved. And I think we have a good candid relationship.
WICKER: Thank you, sir.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Wicker. Senator King.
KING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First, General Lyons, I noted your concern about the movement of - of personnel items, and want to volunteer as a consultant. Fifty years ago I worked for Allied Van Lines, in this area, moving military families. So if you need technical assistance, it's a lot better, for example, to move a carton - to pick up a carton of lampshades than it is books. I've - I learned that the hard way. Anyway ...
LYONS: Sir, good for you (ph).
KING: ... I - I - I couldn't resist. You brought back a lot of memories when you talked about moving furniture for military families.
General Scaparrotti, I know you touched on this, but game out, for me, what happens if little green men appear in Lithuania, or Latvia. How do we - have we - have we war-gamed what happened in the Ukraine and Crimea to how - how do we respond? It seems to me, this is a real challenge for our whole deterrent posture.
SCAPARROTTI: We - yes, we've taken a - you know, we've taken a close look at - at both, what's happened in the past, and what we think could potentially happen here in the future. The - the first thing I would say is is that the - as a result of that, we've worked with our allies in the Baltics, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and along the eastern border on what we've learned, and also on the capabilities that we think we need as an alliance, both, them, and us in order to - to deter this. And our first perspective is what do we do today to ensure that Russia fully understands the commitment of Article V for an alliance?
KING: But the question is how - how - what's - what's the definition of attack? It seems to me that's the - that's the gray area that we're in, to - to know when and how to respond when it's not clear that it's a - tanks aren't rolling across the border.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, that's - you - you hit it on - I mean, the thing that I worry about most (inaudible)...
KING: You can continue that, you hit it on the head, Senator. I like that in the record.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, you did. The - the thing that's difficult is not necessarily an actual attack that you can see coming. It's actually ...
SCAPARROTTI: ... the kind of subversive undermining of - of both, the nation's authority - the nation - one of the nations that they're undermining, which is what they do. And the other elements of power that aren't necessarily.
SCAPARROTTI: The military would be one of the last that they want to use. So that's the most difficult. But - but we also work with our interagency. To the point that Senator Reed made, that's the importance of all of our elements of power here.
When you - when you can combine 29 nations with their elements of power in response to Russia's, it's - there's no - it's a slam dunk. There's no doubt that we can handle this, and they'll be deterred. But we've got to work together.
KING: A question about funding and budgets. We haven't seen a budget yet, but there's talk that there will be a significant increase in the military budget, but primarily in OCO, as opposed to line items. Give me your thoughts about having money in OCO, rather than allocations and authorizations that you can put to work in your - in your A.R.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, primarily, those budgets that come in within the base budgets itself, laid out in a FYDP, give me greater stability and - and knowledge of what's coming in the future. So, really, what we need is predictability. OCO tends to - tends to fluctuate each year. And so, you know, I would - I - I, personally, underscore the - the greater predictability we have, and stability in our budget as we look forward.
Obviously, the more efficient we can be with our funding, and then we're sure that what we need, in terms of force capability, readiness, et cetera, can be planned, and we can deliver it.
KING: Thank you. I appreciate that. General Lyons, you - you mentioned in your testimony, and it's clear, that a large part of your responsibility is met through civilian enterprises; shipping, air - air - air planes. Are you - and I know you talked about this, but please outline for us, your level of satisfaction and confidence in the cyber-security of the private sector partners.
LYONS: Sure. We acknowledge this as a significant challenge. We work very closely with our industry partners. As a matter of fact, we've introduced language into our contracts. We require self assessments. We do a level of analysis on that. And we work more closely to ensure that their - their resiliency is improving.
However, I would admit to you that if an advanced and persistent threat actor were on their systems today it would be problematic. There's no question about that. And fortunately, we have (inaudible)...
KING: Do you - do you red team their systems? Self-analysis doesn't make me sleep a lot better at night. Do you - do you have a red team capacity where you can mock attack them to show them their vulnerabilities?
LYONS: No, Senator. We do not.
KING: I would urge you to consider that as an option. In other areas of the government that's been very effective. It has a way of waking people up when a skull and crossbones appears on the CEO's computer.
LYONS: Sir, I - I agree with that.
KING: Thank you, General.
LYONS: Yes sir.
KING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: OK (ph). Senator Fischer.
FISCHER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Lyons, as you know, Nebraska's the home of the 155th Air Refueling Wing, and that plays an important role, especially during deployment with your command.
I'm proud of those airmen. I just met with them a couple of weeks ago back in Nebraska. But my question to you is, what is - when we're looking at the challenges and the risks that we're facing in order to meet the future demands, you kind of touched on that earlier, what is the biggest issue you see contributing to the limiting capacity of the fleet?
LYONS: Ma'am, specifically in the area of aerial refueling?
LYONS: I - I think you alluded to this - I mean, aerial refueling is the lifeblood of the joint force's ability to project power immediately. There's nothing in the joint force we can do without that capability.
And so, I was very pleased to see the Air Force accept the KC-46 and begin that modernization process. I think that's a very important first step. The other initiatives that the services are working - service in this case - the Air Force, is improved readiness against the KC-135 fleet, and the potential deferment and divestiture of some of those weapon systems so that we don't have a dip in capability overtime.
FISCHER: I'm happy to hear you say that. As you know, the KC-46 is online, but it's going to take quite a while to make it an important part of the fleet. And as we look at the 135 there's maintenance issues, and we're seeing delays in that. Are you confident that there's a good balance between active, reserve, and Guard when it comes to refueling?
LYONS: Ma'am, I am. I'll defer the service on the force mix specifically, but I think you know very well, we have guardsmen on alert - two hour strip (ph) alert today. It is a total force effort in everything we're doing, and you know over 60 percent of our capability does exist in the guard and reserve.
FISCHER: What would you offer as suggestions so that we can mitigate some of the obstacles we're facing with that limited refueling fleet that have with our capacity? Do you have any suggestions for us?
LYONS: Well ma'am, in the near-term, it's really about generating higher levels of readiness. So in the KC-135 fleet for example, we're able to meet that 85 percent goal. The Air Force is working very, very hard to improve that radius in the near-term that would generate more tails (ph) available per mission.
FISCHER: Thank you. General Scaparrotti, I'd like to ask you about some logistic challenges that I think you face in EUCOM. There's been quotes in the past from -- in fact, from you when you said the expansion of the alliance to include former Eastern Bloc countries as exasperated --has exacerbated the lack of common transportation networks between the newer NATO members in the East and more established allies in the west.
For example, Germany just allows trucks loaded with tanks to be on their highways at night on weekdays the rails on the Baltic railroads, the gauge is set wider apart than we have in the Western standard. So trains -- it's my understanding trains have to be unloaded and then reload it near Poland's border with Lithuania. As we're -- as we're looking at movement of troops and to be able to respond to quickly to some of the possible challenges that we're looking at in that area. How serious is this issue today and what steps have you taken in order to address that?
SCAPARROTTI: Thank you. It is true what you stated in terms of the status today in Europe. It's a serious issue because we need to be able to move the 360 within Europe with our forces and the allies as well. If there is good news, the good news is that we, as you know, you -- Congress has supported, particularly through EDI, some of the key infrastructure improvements that we need, particularly in the East to support our movements, the reception of our troops, support of the troops that we put in place there, but also it helps the allies. And the allies as well are financing, along with many of those projects, things that they should do with regard to airfields, fuel lines, rail, et cetera...
FISHER: Are we trying -- are we trying -- I apologize for interrupting you, but are we trying to facilitate some changes so that our allies, our NATO allies can make those changes? And are they working together as well?
SCAPARROTTI: They are, so within NATO and E.U. both, NATO had a study with -- you know, the infrastructure and logistic support that needed to happen. EUCOM was very involved in that. We provided help with them and we also provided through the E.U. who did a mobilization study. That's resulted in about $7 billion the E.U. is going to invest in logistics and infrastructure over the next five or six years.
Much of what we recommended was in fact accepted. So we have -- we now have a study, we know what our issues are. We've got insight within both E.U. and NATO on that and we've got to follow-up and make sure that that investment goes to the right places and actually makes a difference in -- in military mobility.
FISCHER: And to be able to have a rapid response.
SCAPARROTTI: That's correct.
FISCHER: Thank you, sir.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Fischer. Senator Peters.
PETERS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and to our witness, thank you for your testimony and you -- and your service over many years. General Scaparrotti, you -- you're well aware that if there is ever a major conflict in Europe, the first shots are likely to be a cyber. They're not going to be kinetic, and we have to be prepared for that. And I know since the -- the Russian attack against Estonia in 2007, the Baltic countries have been really leading into this -- in a -- in a pretty major way.
Estonia created the Cyber Defense League, established NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, and as you know, Latvia is home to NATO's Strategic Communication Center of Excellence. But I'd like to give us a -- an update and share some of your thoughts on what you're seeing in the Baltic countries, lessons learned, things that we may want to be replicating other places around the world.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, you noted the changes that have taken place. I would add as well that after NATO determined that cyber was in fact the domain, which needed to happen to get me, as SACEUR, authorities, we now have a cyber center that operates within NATO, it's connected with each of our nations. Most of them are building a cyber capability.
You noted the Cyber Center of Excellence, for instance, that I think is a very good one. It's important because. It's through that process -- that's one of those nodes that we're able to advance lessons learned, do training, ensure that we can help with -- with defense within NATO, but also the specific nations.
So, like anything in cyber though, it's a very dynamic world. We've got -- you know we're -- we're facing Russia who is very agile in this and good at it. And so we really can't rest, we've got a lot to do yet in cyber, particularly capacity. We have to build the skills that we need to man these centers.
PETER: You know, one idea that has come to me, and I'd love to have your comments on it as we try to provide more resources into that, and really leverage some of the state partnerships we have with the National Guard. So for example in Michigan, we have Cyber Unit Michigan, but those are around the country as well, and I know our partners in the Baltics would love to have more presence of U.S. forces in country there as well.
Talk to me a little bit about whether or not it makes sense to have rotations of -- or particularly cyber National Guard units. This would be good for morale, it would be great for retention, it would be great for recruiting and allow them to be at the tip of the spear while exchanging great ideas. Is that something that makes sense to you?
SCAPARROTTI: It absolutely makes sense and it's something were already -- already doing.
SCAPARROTTI: Particularly we have state partnership programs because they have a level of trust that's been built, some over 25 years and they have that expertise, and it helps me in Yukon because otherwise I pull from my cyber center expertise and I send that team out to a nation. Here, we can rotate forces through from a state with the same expertise and ability to -- to build that capacity. So we're actually beginning to do more of that in Europe today.
PETERS: I understand there might be some need for additional funding through the National Guard to do that, or is -- or are there adequate resources for you to conduct that program or will you need more?
SCAPARROTTI: You would have to ask the National Guard for the specific answer to that, but my general response is, is when you pick up an OPTEMPO like that and you bring them in, and generally for the guard, there is a funding issue and one of us has to pick that up.
PETER: OK, so we can explore that further, because I think that's necessary for us to do that.
General Lyons, I am a former supply corps officer in the -- in the U.S. Navy reserve and so there I think there's a lot of truth in General Omar Bradley's maximum that amateurs talk tactics and professionals study logistics, and so it's good to have you here.
And wanted you to comment a little bit about a recent Defense Science Board Task Force Survivability logistics publication that came out that talked about the decay in logistic readiness was -- was perhaps a result of insufficient war gaming that incorporated a logistics that are in a lot of war games, they're typically just wished away. We know professionals can't with away a logistics, or you're in a world of hurt pretty quickly.
Could you comment on that report and give us an update on how you're integrating combatant commanders with exercises so the logistics is an integral part of war gaming and a real part of war gaming, not just wished away?
LYONS: Senator, thanks for the question. I am familiar with the report. There are efforts actually ongoing now, given the defense strategy and the security environment that we'll operate in the future to better connect logistics outcomes, for example, in TRANSCOM's case, mobility outputs and our ability to generate the force with campaign analysis, which is currently disconnected.
So we're working with the department to move in that direction in the future.
PETERS: General Scaparrotti, briefly, I know we're running out of time. But how is that being incorporated in your war gaming?
SCAPARROTTI: We work very closely here in terms of our war gaming and do transportation feasibility in each one of those. So our planners in fact work with his (ph) -- are coming back or they come when we do our war planning. And that's - that's just a standard part of what we do.
PETERS: And you don't think it's just being wished away, the logistics challenges in a war game?
SCAPARROTTI: No, I don't. In fact, if anything, we've leaned into this in trying to be very factual about - about what our problems will, in particularly with respect to those in Europe as we mentioned earlier.
PETERS: Great, thank you, gentlemen.
INHOFE: (OFF MIKE)
COTTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, thank you gentlemen, General Scaparrotti welcome to your last hearing and General Lyons to your first hearing. I'm sure there were no jokes made at General Lyons' expense before this hearing began by General Scaparrotti.
General Lyons, with a smile on your face, I'd like to address some issues I've heard from logistics companies, including some in Arkansas, about dealing not just with your command, but with the federal government as a whole, but obviously your command is one of the largest if not the largest in the entire government when it comes to moving things, equipment.
They expressed frustrations with the kind of inscrutability or perplexed at the bureaucratic challenges of dealing with the government. A lot of these companies are either run by veterans or they're - they have a large veteran work force given the training that the military gives its personnel in logistics.
They would like to work more with the government and with TRANSCOM in particular. They just sometimes find it to be a challenge. What kind of working groups, if any, does TRANSCOM have with private industry to try to make what you do more transparent to them so they can better serve our personnel through your command?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, it's a great question, we are inextricably linked in our relationship with industry, they're ability to generate the force. We have a relationship with our industry partners at multiple echelons all the way from action officer to executive working groups that my deputy - my three star deputy leads.
I also meet at least two times a year with the senior executives who are industry partners. And I acknowledge your point that from time to time based under federal acquisition regulations, it can be a bit of an obstacle to work with the government.
And so we try to minimize that as much as possible, and in fact that's really, Senator, what's driving some of our restructuring issues in the household goods side of the house to open up the market to more capacity.
COTTON: Good. I'd just like to encourage that kind of linkage to continue, especially - I mean the logistics industry changes so rapidly through the use of information technology, the more connections you can have to private sector leaders and to the people who are out doing these on the front lines that I think will just be beneficial to the personnel that you're serving, you know, on the front lines, whether it's moving this household goods in summer months or getting material down range as well.
And I'd like to, you know, have my office continue to work with your command to try to facilitate some of those conversations.
SCAPARROTTI: Sure, that'd be great. Thank you.
COTTON: General Scaparrotti, I noted with great interest that Vladimir Putin yesterday directed Russia to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which I find somewhat ironic since they have been violating their commitments under the INF Treaty for the last 10 years. Do you have any thoughts on that news?
SCAPARROTTI: It would only be to underscore what you just suggested, and that was the fact that they left the INF Treaty some time ago, years ago, by -- by, you know, very deliberately producing a weapon in violation and even deploying that weapon.
COTTON: And the United States Government has publicly recognized the violations under both the Obama administration, the Trump administration. We recently announced our intent to withdraw from the INF Treaty. Was there any public opposition from a NATO partner or was it uniform NATO support for the United States' decision to withdraw from that treaty?
SCAPARROTTI: NATO, both in December and February, produced a very strong statement in support of each step that we took in terms of our withdrawal from the INF Treaty. I would say that our NATO allies understand that the INF is a very important component to European security from their view.
They would -- they will emphasize, as I'm sure you've heard them with each step, that they would -- they would hope that we would continue to work to bring Russia back into compliance before we're fully out, the six-month period, or that we would look forward from that, then, to perhaps a new treaty that would encompass the new weapons systems, et cetera. So they -- they very much understand the importance of this but they did support us to strongly, 29 nations strongly in our decision.
COTTON: Thank you. Obviously, one reason why it's in our national security interests to withdraw from the INF Treaty, besides Russia's noncompliance with the treaty, is that China has been free to build intermediate-range missiles at unlimited rates for decades now. And as you know from your time at U.S. Forces Korea, that has a significant impact on our security interests in the Pacific region. But China is not just limited there; it wants to be a global player.
I noted with interest last year that the government of Denmark agreed to airports at Greenland, which it controls. Not exactly considered a traditional EUCOM area, but it is within your area of operations. What are the implications of Chinese presence if they were to get a foothold, which they were largely denied that airport construction project last year, in the High North?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, it could have an absolute impact. I mean, I'm concerned personally about the -- the strategic investments that we see by China in -- throughout Europe in air and seaports or vicinities of that, in critical -- critical technologies and companies that hold that. Particularly in the high north, where you note, Greenland and Iceland both are important -- important bodies in that -- in that line of communication. So I think we need watch carefully China's investment in these ports. And as you know, many of their commercial companies are actually state-owned.
COTTON: Thank you.
General Scaparrotti, I want to thank you for your service to our nation for over 40 years. I know you've been wearing that fourth star on your shoulder for longer than anyone else in the Armed Forces right now. You've well-earned the retirement that you have ahead of you, but I think I speak for most members of this committee when we say that we would like to see you back in the employ of Uncle Sam sometime in the future.
INHOFE: (OFF MIKE)
SHAHEEN: Well, thank you both for being here and for your service to the country.
General Lyons, I'm going to follow-up on some of the concerns that have been raised by Senator Reed and Fischer about the phasing out of our KC-135s and when the KC46s are going to arrive. It's my understanding that in New Hampshire, where we have the 157th Air Refueling Wing, that there will be a period of months between the time the 135 is phased out and the 46 is delivered given that it is already behind schedule.
Can you comment on what we should assume will happen during those months when there's no refueling capacity, and whether that intent will be to try and keep the 135s around longer until the delivery of the 46s?
LYONS: Ma'am, from -- from my perspective that's the key issue is to maintain operational capability throughout conversion. And the Air Force is working that very issue. In fact, they're working currently to delay the divestiture of a select number of KC-135 so that we don't have this exorbitant dip in capability over time. And so the -- the service is working that, ma'am.
SHAHEEN: And should we assume that that's going to happen? I mean, I appreciate that the service is working it, but does that mean that...
SHAHEEN: ... we are going to see that extension happen?
LYONS: ... Senator, it's been -- it's been my request. It's been well-received by both the air component and the chief. Obviously it's going to cost some money and the -- when the money is put into the program that's when we'll know. But the -- the intent is to retain 28 weapons systems beyond their currently scheduled retirement.
SHAHEEN: Thank you. And in terms of Boeing's delivery of the 46s, I know that they have accepted the -- or made a commitment to address some of the concerns that have been expressed about the tankers. Do we -- do we know whether that's going to speed up the further delivery or should we assume that we're going to see further delays?
LYONS: Ma'am, the decision to deliver, I think, was a good one. Right now, we're on a pause you -- as you may know, based on some Boeing issues with -- with foreign object. So I don't have a sense until that's cleared up for the impact on the program. But I'll talk to the Air Force about that.
SHAHEEN: Thank you. I appreciate that. And I'm sure that all of us hope that Boeing will do everything they can to make sure that those deliveries are done to address the concerns that have been raised.
General Scaparrotti, you mentioned in your testimony, the concern about Turkey acquiring the S-400 at the same time they're supposed to take delivery of the F-35s. And I know that there has been an effort underway to try and encourage Turkey to look at other alternatives, and that there was an offer made early in January for the sale of the Patriot system. They have until the end of March, it's my understanding, to decide whether they are going to take delivery of that or not.
But the question I have is, if Turkey moves forward with the agreement with Russia on the S-400, do we assume that they should receive delivery of the F-35s? And what does that do to -- to their accessing that technology?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I would say first of all, if they accept the S-400 and -- to establish it within Turkey, I -- there's first of all an issue of -- that it's not interoperable with NATO systems, nor is it interoperable inside of our integrated air missile defense systems, so that presents one problem.
The second has to do with the F-35; it presents a problem to all of our aircraft, but specifically the F-35 I believe. And I would -- my best military advice would be that we don't -- we don't then follow through with the F-35, buying it or working with an ally that's -- that's working with Russian systems, particularly air defense systems with -- with one of our, what I would say is probably one of our most advanced technological capabilities.
SHAHEEN: I'm - I'm pleased to hear you say that. The question, I guess, I have is I understand that some of the parts for the F-35 are being made in Turkey, and what happens to that assembly, and who picks up that slack if Turkey can't receive the F-35?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, that's - that's one of the issues that being considered, and will be considered, I'm sure, as you know. But for them, I would just underscore the fact that this is a - this is a huge decision for Turkey. And we've - we've continuously - I've talked to them personally, as many of - all of our leadership has.
It connects, in many different ways, to that, to the - to the employment, and the integration that they have within the system itself, the F-35. But also, the FMS and other systems that - that we - we sell to Turkey as well.
And so, I - I would hope that they would reconsider this one decision on S-400, one system, but potentially forfeit many of the other systems and the most - one of the most important systems that we can provide them.
SHAHEEN: Well, thank you. I share that view. I think Turkey is an important ally. But it's one that we hope to be able to depend on. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Shaheen. Let me inform you that some of the KC-46s have been delivered. In fact, I flew in the right seat of a KC-46 from Seattle, Washington to - to Altus, running fine. Senator Sullivan.
SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And gentlemen, thank you for being here, and your service. General Scaparrotti, I want to talk about a few things. First, there's a narrative that I think is played out a lot in the media that the administration, or what you're doing in your capacity as somehow being weak, on Russia, and Putin.
So let me - I just want to talk about a few actions that, under your leadership, we've been taking because isn't it true that the one thing that Putin understands more than anything is power, right? Would you agree with that?
SCAPARROTTI: I would agree. They (inaudible).
SULLIVAN: Our military forces, energy production, not words but actual power.
SULLIVAN: So does it help that we have now forces - our forces deployed in countries like Poland, and the Baltics, and the European Reassurance Initiative, which this committee's supported in a bipartisan fashion?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes sir, very important.
SULLIVAN: How about - it doesn't get a lot of press, but my colleague, Senator Ernst, was recently in Ukraine. And as you know, the previous administration was reluctant and never helped the Ukrainians with defensive weapon systems that they could use to protect themselves. Under Secretary Mattis' leadership, when he got involved we did provide the Ukrainians Javelin anti-tank missile system. How is that working out?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, first of all, as I said earlier in testimony, they've received the system. I've been impressed with their training and their preparation to utilize it...
SULLIVAN: You think that makes Russian T-72 tank drivers in eastern Ukraine a little more nervous?
SCAPARROTTI: I think it does. I think the fact that they have a Javelin, that they could employ and they know how to employ it as a deterrent.
SULLIVAN: Are we seeing any force posture indications that they're taking that into consideration when they're moving those kinds of forces? I'm talking about the Russian forces.
SCAPARROTTI: Not directly because we - you know, we've not employed them right on the line - the Ukrainians haven't. But I am sure that they're aware of them, and they take that in consideration in the employment of their forces, or where they put them. They know that it would be - it's a lethal weapon system.
SULLIVAN: OK. Thank you. I don't know if you mentioned, and I'm sorry, I had to step out prior to your testimony. But can you talk a little bit about the Vostok-2018 exercise? My understanding was it involved 300,000 Russian troops, 80 ships, notably 3,200 Chinese troops, including up to as many as 900 Chinese tanks. Is that - are those reports accurate, and should we be concerned about that?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, first of all, their - the numbers that they publicized are higher than - than what was factually present. I can talk in more detail on this in the classified - in the classified hearing this afternoon. It wasn't that large. But it was large.
And yes, we should take notice, primarily because it was designed for them, at a very strategic operational level, to command and control large forces in a force-on-force type of exercise scenario. It connected them with many of their - multiple of their regional commands, specifically in order to practice that.
It covered both conventional long-range precision munitions training as well as nuclear training offset toward the end, and it included China, as you noted, which is the first time I can recall them providing forces in a partner training scenario, which is quite unusual. So the size of it, the complexity of it, the communications that they demonstrated, the fact that it was a hybrid conventional and nuclear exercise I think is all important.
SULLIVAN: Let me ask - thank you for that. General Lyons, you and I had a discussion, and the chairman, he was just talking about the KC-46 and the deployment of that. I know that it's not, ultimately, your call. But it's certainly, you're an advocate. And you have a lot of knowledge. I'm going to ask just a couple of quick questions that I would just appreciate quick answers to.
But when you look at the places where you would want to deploy that, either CONUS or OCONUS decisions, you know, the National Defense Strategy prioritizes great power competition with China and Russia, decisive action against North Korea. Would it make sense to place KC-46s in a part of American territory state or otherwise that's closely proximate to those places?
LYONS: Senator, just to - just to be clear, Alaska is clearly a strategic location...
SULLIVAN: So you're getting to my punchline already. I haven't even - I haven't even gone through the list. Let me go through the list.
LYONS: Go ahead.
SULLIVAN: So we're close to all of those places. We're the only state where you're actually right at the seams of EUCOM, PACOM, NORTHCOM, STRATCOM; the state of Alaska's in the seams of every one of those. The old plans that support contingencies all focus on Alaska. It has the fourth largest fuel storage area of the Air Force of any place in the world.
It's going to have over 100 fifth generation fighters in the next two years - 100. No other place on the planet Earth will have a hundred combat-coded fifth gen fighters. It has the existing infrastructure to support aerial refueling operations. And J-PARC will be the best training place for fifth gen aircraft anywhere in the world.
So as you're advocating for the KC-46 - I mean, of course I'm advocating for the state I represent, but I wouldn't do it unless I thought it made 100 percent strategic sense. So just give me your thoughts on that, very quickly.
LYONS: Sir, I know the Air Force is still developing the - the basing plan. It's not complete yet, particularly in the - in the future years. I do have confidence that they'll look completely at the operational range and capability to be able to swing and give us the flexibility at TRANSCOM to employ that important weapon system. And I'm sure that Alaska's part of that discussion. I just don't know the details, sir.
SULLIVAN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: (OFF MIKE)
DUCKWORTH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope on that right-seat ride you didn't try to get them to do a hammerhead or anything, did you? Any aerobatic maneuvers?
INHOFE: (OFF MIKE)
DUCKWORTH: Stay within the restrictions. Gentlemen, thank you so much for your participation today. General Scaparrotti, I want to return to the discussion about logistics challenges, especially in the Eastern European area. I - Illinois National Guard has been the sponsor in the state partnership for peace program for - with the nation of Poland for 28 years now, I believe - 27-plus years. So through my service, I'm somewhat familiar with the challenges that we face there.
Could you update us on how the establishment of the NATO Joint Support and Enabling Command is going? And let's - remind us of why it was created and what it will better enable you to do, in theory, to respond to Russian aggression. And when will this command be fully operational?
SCAPARROTTI: The establishment of JSEC, as you called it, is moving, I think, on-timeline. It's actually ahead of pace in my view. The Germans who are the framework nation for this headquarters, and only Germany, have - in my view, they've really leaned into this. So they've already got their commander designated. They have a portion of the staff there. They've been present in my headquarters in shape to do the further planning that needs to take place to ensure that it's right-sized, to make sure that the planning, the understanding roles and responsibilities, are correct.
So that's really the piece that we're doing right now but it's going - it's moving along very well. This fall is IOC and it's another year before it'll be fully operational. So we've got some time here before it'll be fully operational but I would say to you that I think they'll be ahead of that in terms of real output. They're already making a difference in terms of our logistics planning with - with other logistics commands within the - within the headquarters and throughout the component. So I think they'll actually be leaning into that before they're actually fully established, so to speak.
Why did we set that up? Primarily because, in a - you know, in a European environment where we've got to be able to support and move 360, not just to the eastern border, but north - to the high north, south, and west, with a threat that's actually 360. And we need it to protect the central lines of communication, critical ports, seaports and infrastructure in doing that. Because, as has been testified to here and by General Lyons, this is - we're now in a contested environment.
We needed a headquarters that both looked logistically as well as protection of those key assets. And that's really why we stood up that command and it's well-placed being in kind of the central - the heartland of Europe, so to speak, in sense (ph) of Germany. So it's a very important step for NATO to take and I think it demonstrates NATO's focus on being - making sure that it will be relevant to the environment that we're in today.
DUCKWORTH: Thank you. General Lyons, how would TRANSCOM plug into the JSEC, and has this been tested yet? How would you plug it in times - during conflict, for example? And have we tested it?
LYONS: Senator, first let me say thank you for your understanding of logistics and the importance of logistics to warfighting. Greatly appreciate that. I've actually been to Europe several times and I've met with the leadership that were developing the JSEC and I understand the concept very well. I think it's a great initiative that General Scaparrotti and his team are moving out on.
I don't know that we plug in directly. We plug in directly to his EUCOM headquarters through a European Deployment and Distribution Operation Center. And then across, you know, that echelon to include his headquarters. And we would take the signals that he would be sending on his priorities for mobility and then meter (ph) them accordingly. And he would have the role then to integrate that from a coalition perspective.
DUCKWORTH: Thank you. I'd like to - with that, I'd like to return, General Scaparrotti, to an understanding of sealift. We had a discussion earlier today and I understand that recently NATO reactivated its Atlantic Command to guard the sea lanes of approach into Europe in the event of war. Can you describe for me, in general terms, the amount of sealift that would be required to move significant U.S. forces in the event of conflict? And are you comfortable with the amount of sealift at your disposal right now in the event of a conflict?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, Senator, I - when we go to the closed session, I can probably get into more detail on that but I would say it's significant. And because of the types of forces I move - and Steve would agree that we rely on sealift largely for a lot of that - that bulk and heavy movement. You know, I'm aware of the challenges to our - particularly our reserve force for naval forces and our commercial support. That's all important if we had a full conflict in Europe.
And so I would just underscore the importance of funding that, making sure that - and making sure that we have the readiness in the right place because we'll rely on it heavily for any crisis in Europe.
DUCKWORTH: Thank you. I'll probably try to follow up in the session later today. Thank you, gentlemen.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Duckworth. Let me just - since you brought up the KC-46, remind all of us here that that's replacing, eventually, the KC-135. The first KC-135 that was delivered to Altus Air Force Base was in 1959, so it's been operating for 60 years. It gives you an idea of the significance of the KC-46 to the distant future of the - of that capability. Senator Hawley.
HAWLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Scaparrotti, General Lyons, thank you both for being here, thank you for your exemplary service, and thank you to the men and women under your command. General Scaparrotti, if I could just start with you, I want to talk a little bit about the NDS strategy commission. The NDS commission, various Rand studies and others have clearly indicated that we are not optimally postured to deal with a Russian assault into the Baltics in particular.
And the NDS clearly states that the joint force has got to be prepared to blunt this assault and to prevent a Russian fait accompli. My question is, building on the work - the positive work in the previous years, European Defense Initiatives, and other activities, can you give us a progress report? And I understand you may want to save some of this for the closed session but can you give us a progress report on our force posturing developments to prevent that fait accompli? Where are we on this from your - in your judgment?
SCASPARROTTI: We've made clear progress, as I stated up front in this regard. And largely thankful to the support of Congress, particularly EDI and funding the changes that we need to make. So we've made progress, I would tell you, in every domain that's important to that, including cyber in that, for instance. But we're not postured yet where we need to be. And as you cited, the studies have come out recently have underscored that.
So in a closed session, I would like the opportunity to talk to you more specifically about where we're at and what we're short. But for instance, you know, we now have rotational brigades; an armored brigade, a CAB in the east, a battalion task force as a part of NATO. We have rotational air forces, we have rotational bomber forces. We have had twice now - well, three times, actually, a carrier strike group, and once already in the high north for the first time in 20 years.
We've started at -- at the beginning of my time here three years ago, we were moving one brigade at a time and challenged. A month ago I moved for brigades, two armored, two CAB simultaneously in Europe. That's progress. And thanks to TRANSCOM and others that help us, you know, do the work, provide the assets, increase the infrastructure to make that happen. So clearly progress, but we're not there yet.
HAWLEY: And again with the reservation, I realized you want the specifics in a closed session, I think it's important to get some of this all the record as we're about to -- as you now go into the authorization season here, and then the appropriations season we're willing to be making the case for -- for authorizing and then spending what -- what is necessary in order to get you what you need. So can you give us an overview at least, about what more you think we need, generally speaking, to get you to the posture that the NDS recommends?
SCAPARROTTI: Well first of all, we'll start with the cyber domain. There is -- there is a plan and an increase in my cyber capability, and I have been increased by CYBERCOM as a priority. So that's happened. But I still have personnel and skills in -- in -- in the numbers of around 50 personnel yet that would be very happy -- helpful to have them in place. So that's -- that's one of those. If you go to the land component, I need greater land component capability, not only in armored elements, but with -- with my enablers, and I'll go into more detail in that and the other. I've mentioned maritime, greater capacity there as well as specific capabilities to stay ahead of, frankly, the modernization that we see in Russia's maritime forces.
The Air Force is presently in a rotational basis, providing fifth gen aircraft to me, bomber aircraft, et cetera, which we need to deploy for deterrent factor and also to ensure our readiness and capability. I'm looking forward to those being stationed permanently in some numbers within Europe as well.
HAWLEY: OK, thank you, let me ask you about our European allies. Can you give us a report -- you mentioned some of this in your written testimony -- can you give us a report on the work with our European allies, especially Germany, to ensure that they are meeting their NATO commitments and have a plan to do so going forward?
SCAPARROTTI: Well as you know, we've been working with all of our allies, and I mentioned upfront the cash contribution. So since 2016, that -- our allies have put another $41 billion into defense. By 2020, it will be 100 billion based on the plans that they had to provide here in December. Their contributions have stepped up. We asked for a greater force structure to assist in Afghanistan. Our allies responded. So I think when you look at that, you know they're clearly responding, but we have a ways to go yet. Germany in particular has responded as well. They plan to bring their -- their defense investment of 1.5 percent. That's not 2 percent yet, that's where it needs to be. But they're -- they're clearly, refocused on their contribution as well as their readiness.
As you know, they've got some readiness issues. That's been in the paper, I believe that's true from what I have seen, but they are providing the very high joint task force, for instance for NATO, and they made sure that they produce a force that was ready and credible and I've seen it. We operated with that force and -- in Trident Juncture, for instance. So they understand the issue and they're working hard to get their readiness up to where it's going to be. But they -- they spent a good deal of time, in particular, as many as the other -- we did, as well, but European nations, where they rested and they didn't invest in their defense, and now they're having to invest heavily to get back up on step.
HAWLEY: Great, thank you general, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Hawley. Senator Warren.
WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. So I want to discuss the national security threat that can't be addressed by traditional military power at all, and that is climate change. The unclassified worldwide threat assessment by the director of national intelligence said, and I'm going to quote here, "global environmental and ecological degradation as well as climate change are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress and social discontent through 2019 and beyond," end quot.
That assessment also said, quote, "Damage to communication, energy and transportation infrastructure could affect low-lying military bases, inflict economic costs and cause human displacement and loss of life." I've asked this question to other combatant commanders, so I want to make sure that I get this on the record. General Scaparrotti and General Lyons, do you agree with the intelligence community's assessment of the climate change threat?
SCAPARROTTI: I do and I believe, as you noted, much of this will be drivers for potential conflict or at least very difficult situations that -- that nations have to deal with. But second, I would point you to the High North and that's the increasing opening -- opening of the Northern Sea Route and the challenges that presents from a security perspective.
WARREN: OK, thank you. Thank you. General Lyons, do you also agree?
LYONS: Ma'am, I agree. These are sources of conflict and we certainly have to be prepared to respond to them.
WARREN: Good. Could I then ask each of you, very briefly because we have very limited time, just to describe how climate change impacts your operations in your commands and what you're doing to adapt to these changes? General Scaparrotti, would you like to start?
SCAPARROTTI: Well I think most apparent to me is one I noted, and that's -- that's in the Arctic. We're going -- we're going -- we are seeing on longer periods of time that the -- that the Northern Sea Route is open and so as a part of that, there is a -- there is an increased interest in commercial and resource capabilities there. China for instance is -- is pressing to get in the high North and have some presence there, and so that creates competition.
Russia, because that Northern Sea Route is the one that follows most closely to their -- to their borders -- has increased -- reopen 10 of their airports there. They now have the radar systems up. They've begun to move on periodic times, so different weapon systems up there control of the area. So those are all things...
WARREN: That's serious.
SCAPARROTTI: ... that I have to bring in my planning.
WARREN: So -- and -- and what has been your response to that? Just briefly.
SCAPARROTTI: While I -- briefly, we've changed -- we've updated our plans as a response -- as a result of that. We've had to change the posture of some of our forces. We've changed our operational -- our operational patterns so that we in fact deter and we send the signal of the importance of the Arctic to us. Those are just some of the ways on day to day that we've made the changes in our normal routine in order to demonstrate significance and capability in the Arctic.
WARREN: I see. General Lyons?
LYONS: Ma'am, everything that degrades our ability to project and sustain power globally at our time and place of choosing is a concern. We know that we have to operate in any conditions whatsoever.
WARREN: So what are you doing by way of response?
LYONS: Ma'am -- in other words, in our planning and so forth, we consider all environments, but more specific to General Scap's point about the more scientific piece of it is a little out my area of expertise.
WARREN: Fair enough. I -- I really wasn't looking for so much a scientific answer, but as General Scaparrotti said the -- how you have to kind of readjust where you are and what you're doing. If I can, I just want to say, adapting to climate change impacts our military readiness and I'm glad you both take this threat seriously, I appreciate that.
In my remaining time, I just want to ask very briefly, if I can, about the INF Treaty. We all know this is a landmark treaty -- arms control treaty with Russia, negotiated in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan.
The treaty prohibits both of our countries from testing and deploying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Yes, we know that violation of the treaty since 2014. But rather than use the mechanisms within the treaty or other tools available to us to try to get Russia back into compliance, the administration is abandoning the treaty entirely.
So I just want to ask, what is our plan to prevent Russia from building more INF Treaty-prohibited missiles in the absence of the treaty? Do we have a plan here, General Lyons?
LYONS: Ma'am, I'd have to defer on that. That's a little bit out of my area of expertise (inaudible)...
WARREN: OK. General Scaparrotti?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, Senator, I -- I think that, you know, we're still a -- in a six-month period here where we're looking at what our options are. We -- we, in fact, have told our allies in NATO that we will that planning in collaboration with them. We've begun that. So I don't know that we have a plan today. I know that we're working on what we think that plan might be.
I personally think that it has to be multi-dimensional, it has to be across all of our domains and it has to be whole-of-government in order to respond to that. I would finally say that, you know, from my point of view that when you when you have a peer competitor and particularly a modernizing one that -- that will be challenging us, such as Russia, that we should look toward treaty capabilities in order to provide, you know, some stability, to provide signals, and communications, and limits that we understand and then we can work from.
WARREN: Well, I -- I'm glad to hear that you are trying to work with our allies. I think the Polish, for example, have said that they don't -- they're concerned about missiles on their land.
I just urge you think about, instead of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, whether or not we should be redoubling our efforts to bring Russia back into compliance with the treaty. We know that Putin can't be trusted but we have a responsibility to prevent a dangerous and expensive arms race in Europe. And without the treaty I'm worried, that's what we're doing...
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Warren.
WARREN: ... I apologize, for running...
INHOFE: Senator Tillis.
TILLIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you both, gentlemen, for being here. General Lyons, I was down at Fort Bragg this past Friday with Secretary Esper. And we were talking with folks there who are in unacceptable housing conditions.
We also talked a little bit -- and I've had a number of discussions in the past with families about some of their household belongings being moved, some of the bottlenecks and unsatisfactory service. So I like the idea of taking the Personal Property Program into a, what I would consider to be, one throat to choke sort of model.
But I'd really like to, maybe, if you could briefly describe where you think this is going to end up. I really want to make sure that we get this right in terms of accountability, predictability and customer satisfaction, and so that any relationship we create with this confederation of movers -- I get that you're going to have a consolidator but you're still going to have a number of individual providers.
We've got to get the compensation and accountability models right so that we don't end up here, honestly, trying to do a good thing and ending up where we are with the housing situation. Can you give me some assurances or briefly describe how that's going to work?
LYONS: Senator, I can. This is definitely not a privatization effort by any stretch of the imagination. Is -- in fact, what I've offered to the service secretaries and service chiefs is instead of this completely de-aggregated, diffused value chain of very little centralized responsibility even inside the government, I -- I would look and them and I'd say hold me accountable. Allow me to develop an acquisition tool to hold industry accountable.
We have a track record of being able to do that. Matter of fact, in other parts of the Defense Personal Property Program, like personal home vehicles, we do this today. I know -- I do know, senator, that there's some concern in industry.
We get a lot of feedback from industry. Some are very, very supportive of where we're headed. They see opportunities to enter the market. We want to grow the market. Others are concerned about potential change. What I tell them, and -- and what I've seen in our past acquisitions that have been similar is that below the level we still need the same or greater number of movers out there. We just need a level of quality and accountability in the system
TILLIS: And some peaking capability.
LYONS: Yes, sir.
TILLIS: I -- I think I'd be very interested in maybe having the right people in your organization meet with my staff to describe what that really looks like operationally. You know, in a -- in a simplistic way, it would almost be this -- this baseline guarantee of capacity with some peaking capability that's almost Uber-like in terms of having the household know that they're going to get their things moved at the appropriate time, hopefully to a house that is in much better condition than the ones that I saw down in Fort Bragg on Friday -- separate issue and -- and not your problem.
General Scaparrotti, I appreciated the time you spent in the office yesterday. I appreciate your years -- decades of service. And I associate myself with Senator Cotton's comments that we hope we -- if -- if you take your uniform off, we hope that doesn't mean that we won't see you back here serving in some other capacity.
I'm going to save a lot of my questions for the classified briefing but I do want to highlight my concern with the -- the Turkey situation, particularly with the S-400s. I know and you gave a great briefing on where we're working together on a legitimate homeland security threat that they're dealing with, with the PKK. So on the one hand, we're trying to partner and continue to build on that relationship.
Turkey is a vitally important NATO partner in the most complicated part of the world. So I understand some of their behaviors.
But I do not understand under any circumstances why on earth they would be considering purchasing a missile defense system that would not be operable, that would require the deployment of -- of capabilities on the ground in Turkey that would threaten the presence of our Joint Strike Fighter, why on earth they would be considering a decision that would make us have to rethink whether or not they can actually even be in the supply chain for the Joint Strike Fighter, so let alone deploying assets that are scheduled to be there in 2020, but even raising doubts about whether or not we can legitimately manufacture and distribute parts in the supply chain for the production of Joint Strike Fighters.
And the message that I want to send to the Turkish leadership is this an area -- Congress got educated quite a bit on the Joint Strike Fighter and on Turkey last year when we were dealing with a matter involving a pastor from my state. I think we're -- we're very well briefed on it now and some of the risks there.
So I would just encourage the Turkish government and the leadership to recognize that they should not have this one decision put all the other great things that we're doing, that we will do in the future, in the balance and have Congress potentially in a position where we'd have to act.
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, thank you. As you know, we have - we, the United States, have a team there today talking to the Turks. And I'm sure that a very candid conversation about the S-400 and the potential consequences are a part of that conversation.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Tillis. Senator Blumenthal.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Lyons, let me first ask you a question about privatization. As you are familiar, as you know, Army veteran and military spouse Megan Harless recently wrote an op-ed that criticized TRANSCOM's plan to privatize the military move program. She stated that the military move advisory panel convened by TRANSCOM has not been consulted regarding privatization and TRANSCOM also has not solicited feedback from military families or from the moving industry.
Do military families support privatization? Does industry support it?
LYONS: Senator, there's no initiative whatsoever to privatize the household good industry. This is a 100 percent - every task inside that value chain is conducted by commercial industry today. What we are proposing, however, is a restructure of how the government approaches this with industry. And I think, to be honest with you, Senator, I've received more letters on this particular issue since - in the six months I've been commander, than any other issue that TRANSCOM deals with.
And in fact, I agree with the criticisms of the program and I think we need to take action to remedy the program as it exists today. We've been studying this since 1996.
BLUMENTHAL: Will you commit to prioritizing the needs of those military families in any kinds of reforms that you may consider?
LYONS: Sir, there's no question about it. This is all about improving curbside services for military families. That is our north star, that is the only reason that we're doing this, sir.
BLUMENTHAL: And will you commit to consulting with the TRANCOM advisory panel?
LYONS: Yes, sir. We consult regularly with industry. Some very much support where we're headed and some are very, very concerned. I do know, Senator, that the moving associations, for example, are drafting language concerning the NDAA that would delay any kind of progress in this area, perhaps to study it for two more years. I can just say I really think that would be a gut-punch for military families.
BLUMENTHAL: General Scaparrotti, talk about the Ukraine. Is there evidence of the Russians meddling in the - the Ukrainian elections that are planned?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, in terms of their influence, they certainly are supporting the parties where they believe they can have the most influence and those individuals. There is certainly disinformation as a part of that. They're playing in that - in that - in that way. You know, I think, for instance, Russia's seizure of their ships and their 24 sailors and the fact that they've not been released is likely also another way that they have some leverage and influence on the outcome of that election.
BLUMENTHAL: Has there been an increase in disinformation or other Russian interference?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, just generally, it's been - it's been targeted at undermining the present government and - and the president.
BLUMENTHAL: What is your command or other American resources doing to counter it?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, both - not only my command, I deal with the military aspects of this. There's others, diplomatically, for instance, in the state that we're working with in this regard. But we do have personnel there that support in military means their defense of disinformation, appropriate information, and cyber defense as well. In the closed hearing, I can be more specific about precisely what we're doing.
BLUMENTHAL: Just to reassure the American people, and that's the purpose of an open hearing, really, to inform the American people, can you provide some description of what is being done in the cyber domain by your command to bolster the Ukrainian defenses?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I guess I would underscore, first of all, what we do with the other levels (ph) just to make sure that this is a free and fair election. And within the cyber domain, mine is to help them with their defense of their systems. So it's not - you know, it's not - it's not selective by any means at all. It's primarily defense and help them understand how they ensure that they do in fact have a free and fair election.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Blumenthal. Senator Blackburn.
BLACKBURN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I will tell you, it has been such a pleasure for me to go through this series of hearings with our different commands in your area of responsibility and hear repeatedly from you all some of the needs and stepping up our game, if you will, dealing with Russia and China, and especially with cyber. And General Scaparrotti, I - I'm from Tennessee. And I've got some national guardsmen that are under your command at this point, folks in the Ukraine, in Poland.
And we appreciate their service and we appreciate you and the leadership that you've shown throughout your career to our men and women in uniform and to those that are currently under your command. Let me stay with this, looking at our enemies, Russia, China, the cyber component. And we'll come back to that this afternoon in the briefing.
But what I'd like to know, General, as you look at Europe, and as we talk about the rollout of 5G and you're looking at that European deterrence initiative, do you have what you need? Where do we need to be planning forward on that? And how are you approaching the integration and the utilization for really - some of our troops at Fort Campbell, when I talked to some of our special ops guys, Fifth Division 160th, this is very important to them, 5G and the utilization of that, knowing that's going to help fuel artificial intelligence, et cetera, knowing they're going to use that with some of the ISR capabilities.
So if you'll just touch on that briefly and then we'll explore it a little more this afternoon.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, first of all, I'll just start with the 5G part of this, is that this is a considerably different capability than what we have today. It's not just a modernization or an upgrade.
BLACKBURN: It's a whole new world. It's like going from analogue to digital.
SCAPARROTTI: That's right, it's a different world, and what we have to know is that we have a secure 5G capability. That's one of the reasons that when you now go to our allies, that we said they need to be very careful about Chinese investment...
BLACKBURN: Yes, no Huawei and no ZTE.
SCAPARROTTI: ...and their - and their telecommunications capabilities, because we also want to know that we're secure with our allies that we connect with. And there may be an outcome where we can't connect with our allies unless they change, you know, the composition of their system (ph).
So we're trying to get ahead of that.
BLACKBURN: So is this an open discussion that you are having issues (ph) - OK.
SCAPARROTTI: Yes, open discussion, I would say to you that, you know, just as an idea - or give you an idea how this has come along, two years ago this wouldn't have been a topic, a year ago it was starting to come in, and now - and that's...
BLACKBURN: It's front and center.
SCAPARROTTI: Now it's front and center and we're beginning to have the right conversations as a security issue.
BLACKBURN: That's great. General Lyons, TRANSCOM's had some problems with some breaches. And I think it was a couple of years ago, hackers, Chinese hackers got into the network like 20 times.
What you do and with logistics and we've talked about different points, I think Chairman Wicker brought up Rota, Spain. And as you look at the integration in all that comes under you, give me an update on the security of your systems and then how are you dealing with contractors that are a part of your system?
LYONS: Yes, ma'am. As you indicated, this is an area of concern and it's a high priority for the command. You know, I tell folks this is a warfighting domain, so there's no one thing that's going to solve this.
And so we've got multiple things going on, everything from just operator discipline through cyber hygiene, through defense, through infrastructure and a high level of collaboration with Cyber Command to create conditions potentially cost imposition to allow us to operate.
As for our industry partners, we're also upping our game there through our contractual language and their compliance with NIST standards, basically their assessments and collaboration and information sharing.
But that is a much more complex area outside of the (inaudible) where the level of protection is lower, and that does become a vulnerability in the enterprise.
BLACKBURN: We'll talk a little more about that in this afternoon's hearing. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
INHOFE: (OFF MIKE)
KAINE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, thanks to the witnesses for your service and your testimony. A House bill to overturn President Trump's emergency declaration is pending before this committee and will likely be voted on in the floor of the Senate within the next 10 days or so.
There's at least two issues that senators are grappling with about the bill. One, the fact of - or the question of whether there is an emergency, General O'Shaughnessy of NORTHCOM testified before us last week and said in a very straightforward way there is no military emergency at the border.
But a second issue we're grappling with is where will the money come from. The president has proposed to use $6 billion from the Pentagon to direct toward this non-military emergency $3.5 billion of MILCON funding and $2.5 billion of drug interdiction monies within the DOD budget.
I want to ask you about these proposals, because we are trying to get information about exactly how the moving of the $6 billion could affect military operations. Have either of you in your commands been asked to provide lists of MILCON projects that should be either delayed or reduced or eliminated, with respect to this particular $3.5 billion proposal.
SCAPARROTTI: It's not with respect to this proposal, no sir.
KAINE: General Lyons.
LYONS: No sir, but it probably wouldn't be appropriate, TRANSCOM relies on their services for their MILCON.
KAINE: Right. So then you don't have the big MILCON back lets (ph) that the others do, I understand.
LYONS: That's right.
KAINE: And General Scaparrotti, when you say not with respect to this proposal, so I gather what you mean by that is, you are often putting together MILCON lists, that would be one of the things you do in and EUCOM is looking at MILCON needs within that command. And so, you've -- you've been doing that, but you haven't been asked with respect to this proposal, what MILCON projects could be reduced then later eliminated.
SCAPARROTTI: With respect to the budget as a whole, well prior to this question, we went through the normal process of -- of you know, our discussion within DOD as to how -- what the priorities were across the department with respect to my MILCON.
SCAPARROTTI: And we had to prioritize. We did delay some, but that was well before this conversation.
KAINE: Do you know if and when a decision is made about where the $3.5 billion dollars of MILCON projects will -- which will be affected. Do you know whether you'll be in that decision loop or whether it will be made by others?
SCAPARROTTI: I expect I'll be in decision loop. Within the department to know, we have a close relationship with them, we generally would have -- no one has discussed it with me and I am confident they would when...
KAINE: And that they would probably be the service secretaries and the SecDef?
SCAPARROTTI: It would be the service secretaries or the SecDef -- probably the SecDef as well. I mean, I -- I actually talk to the SecDef personally about the -- about the potential delay, et cetera, that I just told you about, as we are going through the budget.
KAINE: Let me ask the second half of the question. The -- the other funding that is suggested could be used as a $2.5 billion drug interdiction account at the Pentagon. Reporting suggests that there's not to 2.5 billion dollars in that account, there is about 750 million, of which only 85 million is available for use right now and there is a suggestion of what the Pentagon would do -- would be to take monies out of other accounts to fill up the drug interdiction account to $2.5 billion dollars prior to using it for the emergency proposal that the president has suggested. Have either of you been involved in any discussions about funds within your bailiwick that might be used to pull into the drug interdiction account?
SCAPARROTTI: No sir, I haven't.
KAINE: General Lyons?
LYONS: No, sir.
KAINE: General Scaparrotti, let me ask you about this, 70 anniversary of NATO is in April, really important one. NATO has a headquarters both in Brussels and also in Virginia -- in the Hampton Roads area. I have a proposal, a bill that is a bipartisan bill ,that would stipulate that NATO, a treaty that the Senate ratified, the U.S. should not unilaterally withdraw from that without either a Senate vote were an act of Congress. The bill is a bipartisan one and it's meant to send a strong signal of congressional support for the NATO alliance at the 70th anniversary. Would that be -- would that message be positively received by our NATO allies?
SCAPARROTTI: Senator, I believe it would and the votes by Congress that they've taken in the past to reinforce our commitment to our allies have been helpful as well.
KAINE: Great, thank you no further questions. Thanks, Mr. Chair.
INHOFE: Senator Ernst.
ERNST: Thank you, gentleman, very much for being here today and -- and willing to answer questions. Like so many of my colleagues, I do want to make sure that you have the tools and resources necessary to enable you in -- in your missions and -- and make you successful. As Senator Sullivan mentioned just a little bit earlier, I did recently returned from a trip to Ukraine, and during that trip, I was able to see firsthand the Russian aggression that is being exhibited in that region against what is a very important strategic partner to us.
So not only do we want to push back against Russia because of -- of Ukraine and Europe, but of course for many of our other allies around the world as well. And -- and General Scaparrotti, I'd like to start ith you, sir. Of course while I was in -- in Ukraine, the Ukrainians expressed a very strong desire for military assistance, defensive assistant and lethal assistance and Senator Sullivan mentioned that we have provided javelins add to the Ukrainian Army.
So, I met with members of the defense establishment there as well as members of the parliament -- Ukrainian parliament and those that I had opportunity to meet with in Kyiv and the -- and the also the joint forces headquarters near the eastern front, they really appreciated that assistance. What more can we do for the Ukrainians in that regard, for lethal assistance? Is it just simply more javelins or is there additional assistance we can provide?
SCAPARROTTI: Well there is -- I -- I think personally -- and -- and you'll see soon here -- I wish -- I think it's already been provided to Congress, but as you know, we provide that prior to it being authorized, the actual purchase from the funding that you've given. But from my point of view, the things we need to continue, is to continue their support for counter battery, Q3637 (ph), that they have the assets and the -- and the systems that they need to do that well.
They've asked for help and communication at an operational level, and they do have a -- a distinct need for that because while we focus on the line to contact their chief of defense is also focused on other areas of the country that -- that are a threat that Russia could present a threat as well. So he's trying to determine -- he's trying to establish a good communication system for his entire force as well as just the front.
They've asked us specifically for some systems to help with sniper proficiency, the right kind of ammo and weapons, grenade launchers. and then finally the area that I would say is that, we need -- we need to study how we help their Maritime component, their Navy, which as you know is not large to begin with, given the portion of the fleet that Russia took when it annexed Crimea, and they just lost a couple of ships as well in the Kerch Strait. So I think there are some areas there that we can -- we can help them get this Navy back up and begin to supply it with what they believe they need to defend themselves and deter Russia's aggressive actions.
ERNST: I appreciate that very much, sir, and thank you for bringing up at the Kerch Strait incident because they are still holding those 24 sailors as you referenced earlier, and using those sailors as leverage with the elections coming up. So I do appreciate that you think we need to do more in the maritime front, not only in -- in assisting them with their Navy, but is it possible that we as an American force need to have more of our naval forces in the Black Sea region?
SCAPARROTTI: Both the United States and -- and NATO has stepped up its presence in the Black Sea. As you know, we just had -- the Donald Cook just departed yesterday or the day before and it's the second time that -- that we've had you know, a destroyer in the Black Sea here in the past two months. So we -- we have -- we believe there is a need for that. We've stepped up her allies have as well, and NATO has a fleet right now in the Black Sea.
ERNST: Do you think its sending a clear message to President Vladimir?
SCAPARROTTI: I think it is. I mean, they - they, frankly, don't like us in the Black Sea. And it's international waters. And we should sail and fly there.
ERNST: And that's a great thing. And I love it. So thank you, sir. The presidential elections are coming up. And I'll - I'll just close with this. I think it was very important that I take this trip to Ukraine and spend time with the folks within their - their defense sector, and also spent time with some of their - their brand new special operations forces that had just graduated from their - their Ukrainian Q Course, which is run by our American special operations forces.
I appreciate what we're doing in that region, sir. I appreciate your leadership in that region. And gentlemen, thank you very much for being here today.
INHOFE: (OFF MIKE)
JONES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you both for being here today, and for you service. General Scaparrotti, I appreciate you coming by the office the other day. I enjoyed that very much. I also appreciated your candid answers concerning climate change. I think we sometimes get caught up in the political discussions about climate, and not really focus on the real world consequences that are affecting - affecting us today.
Earlier today you spoke with Senator Cotton about China's investments in your AOR. And if you can, I'd like to have you discuss what, if any, actions EUCOM may be taking to counter China's activities in Europe today.
SCAPARROTTI: Well, most of all - you know, in terms of EUCOM, it's discussions with our - our counterparts and leaders about the concerns of China's, what I would say is, strategic investments. Most of this is diplomatic at this point.
But we do try to ensure that we can point out to them, not only economic benefits, which - which China demonstrates and makes sure they're aware of, but also the security aspects of their control of seaports, airports, critical - key terrain, investment in infrastructure, particularly with technology. That's critical to security. So we try to emphasize the security aspects of their investments.
JONES: Has - has the administration's tactics, with regard to the tariffs - European tariffs, is that - have you seen any effect on - on that with any of our allies - the economic impact?
SCAPARROTTI: Well, I - you know, there - there's certainly a point of discussion among the allies, and one of concern because our country and - and Europe has a - a very significant, you know, trade and economic linkage there. But in terms of the direct impact, for me, it's mil-to-mil. The mil-to-mil relationships are strong. We've - that essentially is dealt with in the diplomatic side.
JONES: Awesome. Thank you, sir. General Lyons, I'd - I'd, kind of, like to go back to a conversation you had with Senator King on cyber-security. If you - if you - if - if you can in this hearing as opposed to this closed hearing, could you please, maybe, describe the impact on operations of a nation-state cyber attack on TRANSCOM's networks, and how this could impact your discussions, and your ability, and interaction with COCOM's?
LYONS: Senator, anything that would degrade our ability to project power is a concern. Cyber, as a war-fighting domain, does create an area of vulnerability across what's largely an unclassified surface of - of employment.
And so, we're working very - very hard to prioritize, and to ensure that we have the appropriate level of resiliency, and to move to a infrastructure that's more secure. And we're moving very - very rapidly in that area.
JONES: Great. Well, just staying with you, General Lyons. You mentioned earlier that there was a - there was a plan to improve the household goods shipment process using a single contractor to manage transportation service providers. How will that - how will that change improve the process? What will it cost? And will it increase accountability?
LYONS: Senator, it will definitely increase accountability. And I believe it will also increase capacity. And that's - those are the two major issues; those are the two major complaints.
And the way that enhances capacity is it's a longer-term investment with our industry partners. And so, they're willing to invest in capacity overtime, as well as reducing barriers and (ph) entry into the market that we, unfortunately, create for ourselves.
There's no question it'll improve accountability. Today there are 950 various transportation service providers that compete for work on a transactional basis. It's very - very difficult, across the services and TRANSCOM, to maintain accountability of all of that (ph). But the business folks know the business. And that's the right relationship to have with a single move (ph) manager.
JONES: All right. Well, great. Thank you - thank you both for being here. Mr. Chairman, I'll yield back the remainder of my time. Thank you.
INHOFE: Thank you, Senator Jones. Well, it looks like we've run out of members here.
So we'll call this - close it. Let me - several people have, during the course of this hearing, General Scaparrotti, have speculated this may be your last time that you attend this hearing. And I know (inaudible) -- it's also your birthday today. Is this a birthday present to you?
SCAPARROTTI: Yes sir. It's Congress's birthday present I assume and I enjoyed it.
INHOFE: Well, we thank you so much for all the service - both of you, but particularly you because you've appeared so many times. And has - has been pointed out by Senator Reed, you've held the fourth star longer than anybody else in existence here. And so, you've served your country in a way that many others have not. And thank you so much for that service - anything else?
REED: No, Mr. Chairman, just let me join in thanking both, General Scaparrotti and General Lyons, particularly General Scaparrotti, thank you.
INHOFE: We're adjourned. Thank you.