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Chairman LEVIN. There's understandable skepticism coming from you, and I think that's, again, understandable. But what there isn't is the support for what I thought the President asked at the U.N., which was, “We want robust inspections. We want disarmament.” The message I'm getting from you today is, “It ain't possible without regime change.” That's the message I'm getting.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, I hope you'll find that my testimony today is very much supportive of the President's speech in the U.N. I think if you reread it, you'll find that he was exactly where I am on what I've said today. He did not rule out inspections. He didn't even mention the word “inspections,” to my knowledge. So I can't see any inconsistency with it.
I think that it's important to recognize that it's the Department of State that works with the U.N. on inspections and not the Department of Defense and that I am certainly not the world's leading expert. All I do is look at facts. When I get asked a question by a member of the Senate, I answer it to the best of my ability. If I get asked what's the pattern over the last 11 years, the pattern is that the U.N. has been jerked around consistently for 11 years. That's just the fact pattern.
Chairman LEVIN. I couldn't agree with you more. It's about time the U.N. ends it. We support that effort in the U.N.
Senator WARNER. Let me see if I can clarify this line of questioning, Secretary Rumsfeld. I think it's been a valuable hearing, I'll state that here and now, by both the Secretary and our Chairman, a very valuable hearing. You have indicated, and I agree with you, that the inspection regime that is now written up for Hans Blix and the one which Iraq has called upon to be used is not likely to produce anything of value, and it would be ineffective.
But I think where we need clarity is that Secretary of State Colin Powell, very courageously, is trying to negotiate with the Perm 5 and others, a blueprint of a regime for inspections with specific timetables, specific missions, specific dates, and an assumption of cooperation that could be effective. If that were devised, voted on affirmatively by the permanent members and others in the Security Council, it could possibly bring about a beginning toward disarmament. Am I correct in that?
Secretary RUMSFELD. I do not know. The last time I talked to Colin on this I was aware that others were proposing a variety of resolutions for the United Nations, but it's not clear to me that you're correct by suggesting that the United States has that type.
Senator WARNER. I've followed this as closely as I could.
Senator WARNER. But I thought we were engaging the Security Council in an effort to try and fashion a regime that the Security Council, of which we are a permanent member, would consider, "All right, this should be given a try.” Otherwise, what is it we're negotiating up there right now?
Secretary RUMSFELD. The President's speech set out a position that he believed was the correct one.
Senator WARNER. I agree with our President.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Colin Powell's task is to then work with the other members and try to achieve something that's as close as possible to what the President set forth in his remarks.
My understanding and again, the Secretary of State is the one dealing with this, not me—is that the last visibility I had into this—and you were there—there were others proposing a variety of resolutions or ideas, and it was in the discussion stage. Some included inspection regimes, some did not. So I think I answered you correctly when I said that, the last I knew, they may very well be being discussed, but it is not clear to me that it has been proposed by Secretary Powell. I just do not know.
Senator WARNER. All right. I don't have any information above yours except that I listened to him, and I made a joint appearance with him on Sunday. The Chairman and I appeared on “Late Edition” with him. I listened very carefully. Somehow I got the impression we were seeking to explore the option by which there could be a regime fashioned with very specific things and the clause in it in a resolution would be that if Iraq failed to meet all specifics in that resolution, then member nations, understandably, could resort to such use of force as they deem necessary to protect their security interests.
Secretary RUMSFELD. I think you're exactly right, that some countries have proposed that and that that is part of the discussion. It is just not clear to me that Colin did.
Senator WARNER. Well, we'll put that to one side.
Then I ask this question as a follow-up. In the event that a draft resolution is put forth at the Security Council, if any member of the Perm 5 were to cast a veto-not abstain, but cast a vetowouldn't that have the effect of forcing the hand of those member nations which feel that their security interests are at risk? Given the current conditions of Saddam Hussein and his mass destruction weapon inventory, wouldn't that force their hand to have no other option but to use force, and that would, in all likelihood, be the United States and hopefully Great Britain?
Secretary RUMSFELD. That would be a judgment for the President, not me.
Senator WARNER. Thank you.
Senator DAYTON. Mr. Secretary, in your view, what must be done by Iraq that would give us the necessary assurance that our national security is not going to be a threatened by his military capability? The inspections? I totally concur with your concerns about them, along with his dodging and weaving and delaying and the like. He has been duplicitous throughout all these years, as you've said, so is there anything that could be done that would give us the assurance necessary that that threat had been removed or brought within the constraints of the U.N. resolutions?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Senator, there's no question but that if Iraq were to comply with the U.N. resolutions, that they would have disarmed. They would not have any of those programs. They would also not be threatening their neighbors, they would not be doing a host of other things that they do that are represented in those resolutions. That is what this is about. There's no question but that if, for whatever reason by whatever mechanism, it was clear that they had disarmed, that that would, I am confident, reassure the international community and the United States.
Senator DAYTON. Thank you.
Our witnesses, we want to thank you. We promised that you would be out of here by 6 o'clock. I believe we have kept that promise. We have kept you and us sort of on schedule. We are very much appreciative of your presence. It's been a very helpful hearing to us, and we stand adjourned. [Questions for the record with answers supplied follow:]
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY SENATOR CARL LEVIN
DEPLOYMENTS AND READINESS 1. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, when you took office almost 2 years ago, you asserted that U.S. Armed Forces were overstretched, negatively impacting readiness and morale. Your objective was to reduce the number of deployments. A year and a half later, you still find this problem. In June, you told this committee:
"Because we have underfunded and overused our forces, we find we are short a division, we are short airlift, we have been underfunding aging infrastructure and facilities, we are short on high-demand low density assets, the aircraft fleet is aging at considerable and growing cost to maintain, the Navy is declining in
numbers, and we are steadily falling below acceptable readiness standards." According to Newsweek and The New York Times, you issued a memo in March to the service chiefs asserting:
“... “The entire force is facing the adverse results of the high-paced optempo and perstempo' . . . We are past the point where the Department can, without an unbelievably compelling reason, make any additional commitments . . . It is time [to] begin to aggressively reduce our current commitments.' “(May 6,
2002, reported by Newsweek) What steps have you taken since March to remedy the operational tempo and readiness problem?
Secretary RUMSFELD. This issue is one of the most pressing challenges facing the Department, and is receiving our close attention. I have challenged everyone in the Department to examine every detail, task, fellowship, and assignment that diverts military personnel from performing their operational military duties. We are analyzing the nature and extent of the additional requirements, and the Department's ability to accommodate them by reprioritizing functions, using civilian personnel, the Reserve components, or commercial enterprises to perform other less critical duties. We are examining how to meet these requirements from both near term and longer-range perspectives, such as using technology to reduce the need for manpower in certain functions, and reviewing our current missions and overseas presence.
We are challenging each arrangement in which a military individual is working outside the Department of Defense. At the same time, we are aggressively pursuing the congressionally-directed reductions of the management headquarters activities in order to return military personnel to operational duties. We are also examining current missions and our overseas presence to determine whether there are areas in which we can reduce the deployment burden on the force.
One of our recent initiatives is to relieve the stress on those critical, specialized assets such as our Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). We are working ways to use similar assets to meet mission needs. For the AWACS, these include the Navy E-2C, the U.S. Customs Service P-3, and the ground based Sentinel radar. We are also working on ensuring we deploy these assets effectively. For example, if we combine forward operating locations, we realize good savings in the overhead requirements-logistics, staffing, force protection, spare assets, etc. Obviously, this is dependent on the specific mission need, but we've already identified a few places where we think this approach will help.
We are robustly funding those critical readiness enablers, such as spare parts and training, which underpin our combat power. We have also invested in new technologies and systems to transform our forces to meet future challenges. In summary, readiness remains a top priority of the Department, and we will do whatever it takes to keep our military forces the best in the world.
2. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, a war with Iraq would certainly further exacerbate existing strains on the military. How will you manage this additional commitment so it does not negatively affect our ability to fight the al Qaeda network of terrorists, defend our homeland, and conduct other overseas missions?
Secretary RUMSFELD. A conflict with Iraq would be part of the global war on terrorism. Stopping regimes that support terror from acquiring weapons of mass destruction is a key objective of that war, and we can fight the various elements of the global war on terror simultaneously, including a conflict with Iraq if that should occur.
IMPACT OF OPERATIONAL TEMPO 3. Senator LEVIN. General Myers, in February you warned this committee about the impact the war on terrorism was having on operational tempo and readiness. You said:
“The war on terrorism had provided fresh validation of previous readiness assessments. Our forward deployed and first-to-fight forces remain capable of achieving the objectives of our defense strategy. However, we remain concerned about the effects of a sustained high operations tempo on the force, strategic lift and sustainment shortfalls, and shortages of ISR assets, as well as the challenges associated with WMD, antiterrorism, and force protection. Additionally, in some locations, we face operational limitations that may affect mission suc
cess." Two months later, in a "NewsHour" interview you said:
“We came out of the starting blocks, if you will, for Afghanistan at a full sprint. We're very concerned about operational tempo and the impact it has on families and for the Reserve component, for their employers. We're concerned about the impact it has on equipment. That's sort of normal but we're in increased oper
ational tempo right now. So the services have some concerns.” What are the operational limitations on mission success in the global war on terrorism that you were referring to in February?
General MYERS. The global war on terrorism, especially operations in Afghanistan and Homeland Defense, continue to expose operational limitations. There are several assets and capabilities we have kept a close eye on for some time now. Our low-density/high-demand assets, including Airborne Warning and Control System and special-purpose C-130s and helicopters, have been through a long period of surge operations. Additionally, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, communications pipelines, strategic lift assets, and air refueling capability (especially the KC-135s) have been stretched during the current campaign. I am continually impressed at how our military forces overcome such limitations with ingenuity and hard work.
4. Senator LEVIN. General Myers, do any of these limitations apply to a potential war with Iraq, and, given these limitations, how would an operation in Iraq affect our ability to fight the war on terrorism?
General MYERS. The United States military is fully capable of fighting the war on terrorism and addressing the threat from Iraq. Certainly the shortfalls that affect operational readiness and sustainability to this point will make a conflict in Iraq that much more challenging. However, these limitations do not impact our expectations for success in a potential Iraqi conflict. Contingency planning staffs at United States Central Command and in the Pentagon have been working tirelessly to maximize our military effectiveness, with the assets and capabilities available.
As for operations in Iraq affecting the global war on terrorism, I find it difficult to separate the two. Removing the Iraqi regime contributes to the war on terrorism and contributes significantly to the near- and long-term security of the Nation and the world.
5. Senator LEVIN. General Myers, you mention in your testimony that “if our operations on the war on terrorism are expanded, we will be required to prioritize the employment of . . . enabling units.” How would you do this? Which is a higher priority-fighting a war against Iraq or fighting the war on terrorism?
General MYERS. The United States military is fully capable of fighting the war on terrorism and addressing the threat from Iraq.
If the question is, “How does Iraq fit into the war on terrorism?” The answer is, removing the Iraqi regime contributes to the war on terrorism. Iraq has been named by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. In fact, Iraq is a “Charter Member” of the State Department's sist, having been on that list since 1984. Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and a proven willingness to use them. They are also aggressively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. If Iraq were to give such weapons to terrorists, the attacks we suffered on September 11 might be as President Bush said, “merely a prelude to far greater horrors."
"Enabling Units” consist of low-density/high-demand assets such as special operations forces, some intelligence collection platforms, and other unique capabilities. Prioritizing enabling units is a task performed on a daily basis, in peacetime or times of conflict. If we were to conduct military operations against Iraq, enabling units would be employed based on priorities established by the Secretary of Defense, just as they are now.
IMPACT OF ATTACK ON IRAQ ON THE WAR ON TERRORISM 6. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, you pose a question in your testimony about whether an attack on Iraq will disrupt and distract the U.S. from the war on terrorism. You answer your own question by stating that Iraq is a part of the global war on terror. Even if this is the case, what impact would fighting in Iraq have on our ability to keep fighting al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, Yemen, Southeast Asia, and other countries and regions?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Today, we have sufficient forces to continue our ongoing operations, meet our international commitments, and continue to protect the American homeland. At the same time, some key units are in high demand. The mobilization of the Guard and Reserve has helped to reduce the stress on some of the key units. Any major combat operation will of course require us to prioritize the tasks given to units. The foundation of our success remains our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen. Included in these forces are our civilians and the Reserve component. Superior training, leadership and discipline are the core of our effectiveness.
U.S. MILITARY STRATEGY (QUADRENNIAL DEFENSE REVIEW) 7. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, your testimony points out that last year you introduced a new defense strategy that has four main components: defending the homeland, winning decisively in a major regional conflict, swiftly defeating an aggressor in another theater, and simultaneously conducting lesser contingencies.
It seems to me much of the strategy is being currently performed-homeland defense, lesser contingencies, and the global war on terrorism, which I would call a major contingency. Would you characterize the global war on terrorism as a major contingency?
Secretary RUMSFELD. First let me be clear by saying that our defense strategy has four defense policy goals: assuring allies and friends, dissuading future military competition, deterring threats and coercion against U.S. interests, and, if necessary, decisively defeating any adversary. The four components that you mention reflect the new force-sizing construct that supports these four defense policy goals.
Winning the war on terrorism is the top priority of our Armed Forces. It is the first war of a new era and our Armed Forces are engaged to accomplish this mission. Because this war takes many forms, and is being fought in many places and using different means, it is unlike any other challenge we have faced. Some phases of our military operations in this war could be considered lesser contingencies (e.g., our current operations in the Philippines), while others might take on more significant dimensions.
8. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, we are here today to discuss engaging in another major contingency, one in which we would presumably aim to “swiftly defeat” our adversaries. Meanwhile, our ongoing war-level effort, occurring in multiple regions, is not ending quickly-indeed, you and others in the administration have speculated that it might last 5 years or longer.
Are you planning any revisions to your strategy to reconcile it with what we are currently doing-fighting a long war against an amorphous foe and the possibility of another major contingency?
Secretary RUMSFELD. We are not planning revisions to the U.S. defense strategy. We are changing-indeed transforming-practically everything else we do to support the new strategy.