SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10931]
CURRENT OPERATIONS AND THE POLITICAL TRANSITION IN IRAQ
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
MARCH 17, 2005
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
One Hundred Ninth Congress
DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JEFF MILLER, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
THELMA DRAKE, Virginia
JOE SCHWARZ, Michigan
CATHY McMORRIS, Washington
MICHAEL CONAWAY, Texas
GEOFF DAVIS, Kentucky
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
ROBERT ANDREWS, New Jersey
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
KENDRICK B. MEEK, Florida
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
TIM RYAN, Ohio
MARK UDALL, Colorado
G.K. BUTTERFIELD, North Carolina
CYNTHIA McKINNEY, Georgia
DAN BOREN, Oklahoma
Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
Eric R. Sterner, Professional Staff Member
Jeffery A. Green, Counsel
Erin C. Conaton, Professional Staff Member
Heather Messera, Staff Assistant
Jordan Redmond, Intern
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
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Thursday, March 17, 2005, Current Operations and the Political Transition in Iraq
Thursday, March 17, 2005
THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2005
CURRENT OPERATIONS AND THE POLITICAL TRANSITION IN IRAQ
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Ortiz, Hon. Solomon P., a Representative from Texas
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
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Krepinevich, Dr. Andrew F., Executive Director, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
Metz, Dr. Steven, Chairman: Regional Strategy and Planning, Research Professor of National Security Affairs, U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute
Slocombe, Hon. Walter B., Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Former Senior Advisor for Defense and Security Sector Affairs to the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Krepinevich, Dr. Andrew F.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents can be viewed in the hard copy.]
IG Article by Chris Gosier
Iraq's National Security Strategy dated February 9, 2004, submitted by Walter B. Slocombe
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNew Navy Ship Fast, Lean and Mean by Bob Keefe
Special Series: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in the 21st Century: Reconceptualizing Threat and Response submitted by Steven Metz and Raymond Millen
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Questions submitted.]
CURRENT OPERATIONS AND THE POLITICAL TRANSITION IN IRAQ
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Thursday, March 17, 2005.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 9:05 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY
Mr. SAXTON. Good morning.
This morning the committee will continue its oversight of operations in Iraq by receiving testimony from three outstanding experts regarding both military operations and the ongoing political transition.
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Our witnesses today are the Honorable Walter B. Slocombe, former Secretary of Defense for Policy, and former Senior Adviser for Defense and Security Sector Affairs to the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq; Dr. Steven Metz, Chairman of Regional Strategy and Planning, Research Professor of National Security Affairs; Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, Executive Director, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
Welcome to the committee, gentlemen. We appreciate very much that you have agreed to be with us this morning.
As we enter the fourth year of the continuing Global War on Terrorism, it is appropriate to reflect on valuable lessons as well as to address current challenges.
Our witnesses can add to our understanding of these lessons and challenges by discussing in some depth the major issues identified by the military and its operations in Iraq, in particular multinational forces.
Iraq has identified five pillars for not only completing our mission in Iraq but for winning the overall campaign against extremism.
Generally stated, these pillars include: combat operations as an effective counterinsurgency campaign, the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces, restoration and improvement of essential services, promotion of governance and the establishment of the legitimate national government.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, the strategy seeks to promote economic pluralism.
The panel we have before us today has a wide variety of professional academic and political experience. We hope that their experience helps us better understand the challenges we face and how the Department of Defense (DOD), five-pillared approach is or is not effective in rebuilding a country devastated by 30 years of tyranny.
We have seen some recent improvements in Iraq, including yesterday's inaugural meeting of the Transitional National Assembly, as well as steady improvement from the Iraq security forces.
Today over 2,000 reconstruction projects are under way with nearly 1,000 more in the final stages of planning.
Today's infrastructure in Iraq is improving, but we still have a long way to go. The progress is being made despite a persistent insurgency and is evidence of our military efforts having a major impact.
I hope that your testimony today, gentlemen, helps us better understand what things we have done right in Iraq, and what we can more effectively address as the challenges go forward.
Gentlemen, we are pleased that you have chosen to join us here today on such short notice and look forward to your testimony.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now let me recognize Mr. Ortiz for whatever opening statement he may wish to make.
STATEMENT OF HON. SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My dear leader is not here with me this morning, but I am going to read the statement that he worked on last night.
''I want to thank you for holding this hearing. I want to say a few words about why today's hearing is important and how we got to where we are today.
''The ongoing conflict in Iraq is the most consuming national security issue we currently face as a Nation. Regardless of whether we agree with the decision to invade Iraq or not, our national prestige is now on the line and we must win.
''The outcome of the effort to rebuild Iraq into a viable national but pluralistic government has implications beyond Iraq itself. What happens in Iraq also affects our relations with our allies, regional stability, the broader war against terrorism and the future of democracy in the Middle East.
''On a different scale, the conflict in Iraq has profound implications for the future well-being and capability of our military forces.
''It is incumbent upon us, as a committee, to explore the various facets of this situation, not only because our success or failure in Iraq affects our national standing, but also because we, on this committee, have a constitutional duty to provide our militaryand we need to understand how things in Iraq stand today. Can we win in Iraq?
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''We need to know what our strategy for success is. We have been asking this of our senior defense officials and military officers for several weeks. We have yet to get an answer that satisfies me.
''We should understand how to measure our own progress in Iraq as well as that of the Iraqi security forces. We need to have a realistic sense of whether integrating the Shiite, Sunni and Kurd ethnic factions into Iraq's security forces and into the government has some reasonable prospect of success.
''We need to understand the nature of the insurgency and its capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. We need to understand the progress in rebuilding Iraq's economy and infrastructure.
''While it is not the subject of today's hearing, we must also fully understand how the pace of operations in Iraq is affecting our own force. How is the continued high pace of operations going to affect our ability to train, equip and man the force?
''How significant an issue is detainee abuse, both within our own forces and creating ill will among the Iraqi people toward Americans?
''What does the prospect of an extended military presence in Iraq mean for our future defense budgets? What steps should we be taking now in order to avoid breaking the force and in order to ensure that our military remains prepared to meet contingencies in other regions of the world?
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''To do our job right, we need answers to these questions from experts within the Administration and without.
''Mr. Chairman, fortunately, we have a distinguished panel of outside experts before us today, who I know we are going to be able to shed some light on these important matters.
''Mr. Chairman, I do now want to note that the original scope of this hearing has been to explore just the progress in training Iraqi security forces. This is a critical issue in achieving success in Iraq and eventually drawing down the American presence there.
''It is even more important in light of the testimony given earlier this week by the Government Accountability Office. This testimony highlighted problems with the reporting of the numbers of Iraqi security forces on the rolls and problems in measuring their readiness.
''I had hoped that we would be able to hear two experts, Generals Luck and Petraeus. In my opinion, the Administration should want to have these witnesses appear before us, because I believe much of what they would like would be good news. Sadly, this is not the case.
''I again want to thank our three witnesses for being here today on a short time notice.''
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And now I turn to my chairman, who just walked in, and to my dear leader, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Ortiz.
And welcome, Mr. Skelton, this morning. And we are glad you are here with us and I think you might want to say a few
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. I just want to thank the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Ortiz, for the opening statement, and I am sorry I am a few moments late. I was unavoidably detained and I look forward to the very distinguished witnesses today.
And again, Mr. Ortiz, thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Skelton. Gentlemen, the floor is yours. Proceed as you see fit.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Mr. Chairman, do you have a preference as to the order, or we sort of thought we would start at this side and go along, if that is okay.
Mr. SAXTON. We will start with you, Mr. Secretary.
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STATEMENT OF HON. WALTER B. SLOCOMBE, FORMER UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR POLICY, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR FOR DEFENSE AND SECURITY SECTOR AFFAIRS TO THE COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY FOR IRAQ
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is an honor to be here.
I regret that the short notice made it impossible to prepare a written statement, but I have a few notes to talk about the issues that you have asked us to address.
And I should make clear that I am speaking as an individual and certainly not for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), or Ambassador Bremer.
I was in Iraq for six months in 2003 working for Ambassador Bremer on the CPA staff, with a principal responsibility for the Iraq military, including things ranging as far as from paying the old military to the much more important task of setting up the training and equipment program for the new army and starting working with the Iraqis on the new Ministry of Defense and national security system.
I want to begin by saying what a privilege it was to work with the dedicated and brave team of civilians and military, Americans and coalition countries and Iraqis, and especially the Iraqis who bear the principal risk in this whole effort.
Since then I have tried to follow events and talk to people and read carefully and critically, but obviously I have no special access to internal information. And I recognize, in part, because of my experience out there, the limits of what you can know in detail about a process that is as complicated and as far away as the efforts in Iraq.
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As Mr. Ortiz said in his opening statement, the war will remain controversial for a long time. But the issue is not its rightness or its wrongness or even the correctness of the decisions that were made in the aftermath of the major combat operations. The issue is the future and the stakes are huge. They are huge for Iraqis, but they are also huge for the Americans.
As was said in the opening statements by both you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Ortiz, the United States, not just our prestige but our security interests are vitally at stake.
And moreover, the possibility of real change in the Middle East is in some sense a function of our success or failure in Iraq.
Much has gone more difficult, much has gone badly. And the losses both in terms of killed and wounded are a terrible loss for the people involved and they are a tribute. We owe it to their sacrifice to follow through and make this a success. And that also includes being clear-eyed about what has gone right and what has gone wrong.
There has been good news in the election and in the political process that is starting. But it is far from clear that the trend line is yet steadily and irrevocably off. And there is certainly no magic fix and there is absolutely no quick fix.
The goal is still the right one. In Iraq, it is decent for its own people, governmentally, economically and in security terms, and it is a constructive force in the region.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, you outlined, Mr. Chairman, the five pillars. For some reason they have grownlike, I guess, all government programsthey have grown from four to five, since I was there. We combined security into both the efforts of the multinational force and the Iraqi security forces. But those are the basic elements of a successful strategy.
And I want to make the point that they are interrelated. Services, economic recovery and a representative and legitimate government are important in themselves but they also contribute to security, and security is necessary for them to be successful.
I want to focus on two points: One is, what is the nature of the problem we face in the insurrection? And second, what is a workable approach to the security situation?
I think the election has made it obvious that insurrectionwhich is a term that I have never liked particularlyis not simply or even primarily a fight against the U.S.-led occupation. No, it is probably true that most Iraqis, like most people, do not like having a foreign army around.
The core of the problem is it is a fight about the future of Iraq. The great majority of the Iraqi people want to seize the opportunity of the ouster of Saddam to build a new country. This is certainly the view of almost all Kurds and Shia and other minorities. And many Sunnis as well want to see success and want a new system.
The real issue is that this effort is being resisted by people who do not want a success. Certainly the core of the insurrection remains the old Baathist thuggery, and they are supported by much of the old Sunni elite.
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The Sunnis are in an interesting and difficult position. They have two sets of concerns, one legitimate and one illegitimate.
The illegitimate sets of concerns are that the old system was dominated by Sunnis, dominated by a relatively small group of Sunni elite who did very well out of the old regime. At the core of it was the Baath Party, which I think is better thought of as like the Mafia than like a political party.
But it also included a whole structure dependent on Saddam's handouts and his power. That is the illegitimate part, with which there can be fundamentally no compromise.
The legitimate part of their concerns is that they realize that they are now a minority in a country, in which for both good and bad reasons the majority may be tempted to oppress them, in some sense to treat them more or less the way they treated the majority when they were in power.
And that is a concern that it is essential that the Iraqi political system address.
So far, the political leadership in both the Shia and Kurdish communities has recognized that obligation and is trying to reach out to the Sunni leadership. But that is essentially what the fight is about.
The insurrection itself is composed of a lot of different groups. As I said, I believe the core of it remains the old structure of Saddam's Baath Party. But it is also supported by Sunni nationalists, some of whom are primarily Sunni nationalists, some of who are Sunni-Islamic radicals with more of a religious fanaticism and bigotry than an ethnic nationality as their organizing principle.
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There are some foreign terrorists. That cannot be ignored. And it is certainly the case that even many of the indigenous terrorists take advantage of external refuges, money, places to organize and so on.
And then, something I think Americans do not focus on, but for many ordinary Iraqis, the central security issue has nothing to do with politics; it has to do with ordinary crime, particularly kidnapping, theft and a general rise in organized crime attendant on the general weakness on the security system and the police.
There are also potential security problems including the possibility of Shia extremism and the militias, which are a potential for a kind of warlordism in Iraq.
At the moment, those are not the central problems, but they are long-term problems.
In the long run the solution to these security problems has to be Iraqi, but it certainly is the case that in the short run, that is going to require a lot of support from outside, both in dealing with the immediate security problems and in training and equipping the Iraqi security forces.
Programs are now under way, both in the military, under the ministry of defense for the army and what used to be called the ICDC, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, and then the national guard, which has now been folded into the military.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At least as important are the police and the criminal justice system and the Iraqi-based intelligence system.
In all of these elementsGeneral Eaton, who was in charge of the coalition military assistance training system when I was out there, he was my deputy for the actual military training. He used to like to say that everybody wants things good, fast and cheap. And he said, ''I can almost always do one of the three. I can sometimes, by great effort, do two of the three, but you would never do all three.'' And we have to recognize that the solution is not going to be all three.
There have been problems with getting equipment. And there are problems in some sense about the nature of the equipment which is required for the Iraqi forces.
We have paid, rightly, a great deal of attention in this countryand the committee has been a leader on the issuefor example, of body armor for American troops. That certainly has to be the American priority.
But the Iraqis, not surprisingly, say if they are supposed to go out on patrols with Americans troops with body armor and they do not have any body armor, they are not very happy about that arrangement. We have to address that kind of issue.
The fundamental problem with both the police and the army and the military units is leadership.
We learned very early on in the training efforts that the ordinary Iraqi GI, if you will, the enlisted personand they are all men, the enlisted manis pretty good.
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Iraq is the permanent refutation of the National Rifle Association (NRA) argument that no country with widespread private ownership of firearms was ever a dictatorship, because as far as I can see, every Iraqi family has several AK47s.
When we tried to limit them to one, it was regarded as extremely unreasonable. And then the prohibition on machine guns was also regarded as an interference with their cultural practices.
The troops are pretty good. The problem is leadership, which is the problem in any military or police organization.
It is very hard to change a whole culture of leadership in a short time, and yet, in a sense, it absolutely has to be done.
Let me just identity a few of what I think are some of the lessons that we have learned in trying to train the Iraqi security forces.
The first is that effectiveness is key. I really do not like this numbers game. It would be much betterquite literallyit will be much better to have 2,000 competently trained police and 2,000 competently trained sort of special forces, counterintelligence people, in units than to have 10 times that many who are incapable of doing much more than guarding buildings.
And it is also important to remember that we and the Iraqis are building an Iraqi security force for the long haul. So it is essential that the Iraqi security forces be respectful of civil authority. Iraq is, after all, the country that invented the Middle Eastern military coup in the 1930's.
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And it is important and part of the effort to build up a civilian Ministry of Defense, to build up a structure of oversight of national security and coordination of national security that really works.
The second lesson I draw is, you cannot rely on the old structures. Every effort to try to pull together the old structures has been a failure. And it is harsh to say it, but the system has got to be built up from the ground up and build it new.
The third is that quality counts. If you want it bad, you get it bad.
As I said, I think the biggest success in training the security forces has been the relatively small elite units and that things should be accelerated as much as they can be without losing quality, but you have to be very conscious of the fact that if you accelerate very much, you will lose quality.
It is also important that national unity be reflected in the composition of the security forces. The security forces cannot be the preserve of any political party or any ethnic group. And that requires real effort.
One of the principles that we tried to establish was that the army, at least the actual regular army, would be integrated, in ethnic terms. So there would be Kurds, Shia and Sunni in every unit, literally in every squad.
That is very hard to do, but it is very important if the national army is to be perceived as a national army and not a political instrument.
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As I said, the process has real enemies. There are efforts to infiltrate the units. This is a real danger. On the other hand, national reconciliation is also very important.
It is important that people understand that the exclusion of so-called Baathists never applied to most people who were in the Baath Party. It only applied to about 40,000 out of a party membership of well over a million.
In officer corps, the commissioned officer corps, more than 80,000 officerswe have the personnel records so we knowonly about 8,000 were at senior levels in the Baath Party, and that included a lot of people who were actually in the intelligence services.
Corruption is a major problem. It is endemic in the region and it is endemic in Iraq, and it makes it very difficult if you do not get good people.
Basically, this is up to the Iraqis. There are many difficulties. It has turned out to be harder than people expected. There were plenty of mistakes.
But there are some reasons to hope. There are a lot of resources. The fact that the United States, with the support of Congress, is prepared to continue to put money into the effort is extremely important.
It is also important to have some sense of perspective. It is still true that Iraq is not a country that is in total chaos. No part of the country is entirely safe.
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The insurgents can and do put off bombs in Erbil, which in other respects is as safe as Baltimore, but most of the incidents are concentrated in the relatively small part of the country.
And there are a lot of Iraqis who want this process to work.
The general public does not like the occupation, but they remain remarkably hopeful about the future of Iraq. Paradoxically enough, at least if you believe the polls, more Iraqis think Iraq is on the right track than Americans think the United States is on the right track.
I do not believe that is true, but that is what the polls say.
So there is a real prospect of this working.
Iraq is a country that has gone through hell for really the last 50 years, and they see an opportunity. And the question is: Can we work with them to build up their security forces and on the other fronts so that it is a success?
It is important for America as well as for Iraq that that succeeds.
Thank you very much.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Slocombe, thank you very much, sir. Dr. Metz.
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STATEMENT OF DR. STEVEN METZ, CHAIRMAN: REGIONAL STRATEGY AND PLANNING, RESEARCH PROFESSOR OF NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS, U.S. ARMY WAR COLLEGE STRATEGIC STUDIES INSTITUTE
Dr. METZ. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, it is an honor and a privilege to be able to speak today on what I really believe is the preeminent security issue of our time.
I do need to note that I am here as an analyst and a scholar who has spent a lifetime trying to understand insurgencythe past two years, the Iraq conflict. But all of my comments today are strictly my own and do not reflect official Army or DOD positions.
As suggested in the opening statements of this hearing, the Iraq conflict is of great importance, not only because its outcome will shape the Middle East and affect U.S. interests there for years to come, but also because of the broader thing it tells us about the nature of armed conflict and American strategy in today's global security environment.
What we learn or do not learn in Iraq will determine how secure the United States is in the coming decades in many other parts of the world as well.
So this truly is, I believe, the preeminent security issue of our time.
And from that perspective, what I would like to do, in a very brief statement, is to try to place the Iraq conflict and the insurgency there in a broader strategic context. And I will do this by addressing four questions.
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One question I am going to talk briefly about is: How did we get there? Second, what is the nature of this conflict? Third, what has gone well and what has gone badly? And fourth, what is the way ahead?
Let me start with the question of how we got there.
I certainly do not intend to provide a history lesson on the events that led us to involvement in counterinsurgency in Iraq. But I do want to address what I think are two common misperceptions about the emergence of the insurgency and U.S. involvement in the counterinsurgency there.
One is that the United States somehow caused this insurgency through misguided policy or strategy.
As a long-time student of insurgency, I believe that there were two contradictory dynamics in place in Iraq that meant that some sort of armed resistance was inevitable.
One of these dynamics was the fact that Iraq was coming out of decades of pathological repression. So what that meant was the Iraqis were not prepared in 2003 to operate a stable, developing and open political system without some tutelage.
The other dynamic was the fact that they were not willing to accept this fact.
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These two thingsneither of which the U.S. createdwere in opposition to each other. And I believe that the opposition between them, the conflict between them, made some sort of armed struggle inevitable.
It is certainly true that the insurgency might have occurred earlier or later than it did. It might have been more or less widespread if we had done different things.
But I believe that the history of insurgency suggests that the factors that were in place there meant that some sort of armed conflict was inevitable.
The second misperception in terms of how we got there is one that really has almost become standard in the thinking about insurgencyin fact, this is a Scali article I was reading just a couple of days agoand that is the idea that the United States was slow in recognizing the insurgency and responding to it.
And you know, I think the idea that people even say, that people put this idea forward, shows what extraordinarily high standards we hold our defense policy-makers and our military leaders to.
Because if you look at the history of insurgency, going back 100 years or more, around the world, the norm for a government or regime to recognize that an organized insurgency is under way and then began to respond to it is years.
I would suspect that if someone actually did empirical research and looked at all of the insurgencies that had never existed, you would find that generally the insurgencies had been in place and doing things, including armed attacks, for one year or two years before the government finally said, ''Yes, we have a problem,'' and dealt with it.
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This pattern has really been repeated over and over again around the world.
It took the United States about 10 weeks to recognize this insurgency and at least begin to deal with it.
So I am absolutely convinced that this is by far the fastest reaction to an insurgency that has ever existed in history.
So when I see these criticisms in the literature talking about the slowness of the American reaction, it really seems to me that this is like a coach blaming a football team that has just won 35 to nothing for the one or two times that it did not score during the game. I mean, I really think that we reacted in a historically extraordinary way there.
Second question: What is the nature of the conflict?
I am absolutely convinced that the single most important characteristic in an insurgency, and one that we all need to continually remind ourselves, is that the military dimension of it is only one part and usually not the most important one.
Insurgents might sometimes defeat governments in the military realm, but it is almost always true that insurgents themselves cannot be defeated by military force alone.
In fact, insurgents intentionally shape their strategy and intentionally shape a conflict so that the military realm is not decisive.
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They recognize that governments almost invariably have a significant military advantage. So what they do is they shift the conflict into other what might be called battle spaces.
The most important battle space, the essence of an insurgency, is the psychological. Insurgency is often called armed theater. And I think that is a very apt metaphor, because what we have, as in the theater, is we have two antagonists who are interacting with each other, insurgents and counterinsurgents, but they are also playing to a wider audience at the same time that they interact with each other.
Now, what all of this means is that the only successful response to insurgency is a unified, holistic counterinsurgency strategy that blends the military with law enforcement, effective intelligence, psychological operations and broad-based efforts to address the grievances that led to the conflict in the first place.
So the military is an important player in counterinsurgency, but certainly not the only one and, in most cases, not the most important. The military dimension is not the decisive one in a counterinsurgency.
The third question I would like to briefly touch on is: What has gone well and what has gone badly?
Again, what I will do here is just give a very broad strategic overview and explore this in any way you would like later on.
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To some extent, I am a biased observer here. But based on my background of examining insurgencies around the world for a number of years, I am convinced that in general the reaction of the Department of Defense and the military and their adaptation has gone fairly well in this conflict, considering that counterinsurgency preparation was not a top priority of DOD and the military for a number of years, and considering that this may be the most complex insurgency in all of history.
As we know it is almost as if there are multiple insurgencies, multiple conflicts with different strategies, different tactics, different organizations taking place in the same time and space.
Insurgencies, in general, are often what might be called adaptation contests between insurgents and counterinsurgents. Each tries to learn, adapt, change what they are doing more quickly than the other.
And this has certainly characterized the Iraq insurgency. It has been a constant learning contest. And, in fact, our military has done extraordinarily well, I believe, at this learning.
If you track the adaptations that have taken place, from the broad strategic level to the squad level, you look at all of the communications between sergeants and captains and lieutenants, the things that worked that were immediately communicated through blogs and chat rooms and things like that to other units, we have really done a very, very good job of adapting and learning on the fly.
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What has not gone well in this particular conflict are those vital and even decisive components of the conflict that should not have been the responsibility of the military: some types of intelligence, economic and political development, strategic and political shaping of the environment and so forth.
You know, I think what has happened in Iraq is the military has undertaken a number of the tasks like this for which it was not perfectly suited simply because there was no other organization in the U.S. Government that was suited to do it, was effective and was there to do it.
The military took on a lot of jobs because no other agency existed which could.
To again kind of explain this point by a metaphor, what happened in Iraq is as if we entered a large-scale conventional war with a tremendously adept Air Force but no Army or Navy at all. I mean, any student of military history would say, ''That is no way to fight a war.''
What we did in Iraq is, we entered a counterinsurgency with an effective, talented military but without the other components of this unified governmental team that could do the other tasks.
As a nation, to phrase it differently, we were not organized and prepared for counterinsurgency across the government.
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And this leads directly to the final question that I would like to address: What is the way ahead? And let me suggest two broad issues that I think are very important for us to consider under this topic.
First, we need to decide, through rigorous study, through open debate, through hearings like this, whether we believe the conflict in Iraq is a model for the future or a unique case that will not be repeated.
And I mean, I will tell you this literally keeps me awake at night thinking about this. Because we all know the old saying that militaries often prepare to fight the last war.
And, you know, it is often said that the military, to some extent, spent a lot of the 1990's preparing to fight Desert Storm over. And there have been hundreds, thousands of cases throughout history of militaries that did a lot of changing, reorganization, training, but they were preparing to fight the last war.
There is a chance that we might repeat that with Iraq. We might transform the military to be more effective at Iraq-style conflicts. We might even reorganize other parts of the government only to find that we will not do another Iraq in the future.
But if you think of what Iraq was like, the idea that we were forced to transform a restive nation with limited United Nations (U.N.) and international support, the question we need to ask ourselves is: Is that going to be the normal pattern for the future uses of American force, or what is a unique, a sui generis case that will not be repeated again?
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If the later is right, then we would probably be best not transforming the military and the government to deal with this type of situation.
Second and finally, if we do decide that Iraq-style operations are the way of the future, that this is what the future conflict environment will bring us and we need to transform to reorganize to deal with them, I am absolutely convinced that the key to success is developing capability outside the military for those other decisive tasks that are best suited for other agencies.
And I do not believe this is simply a matter of assigning a greater role to the State Department. I know there is been movement in that direction saying, ''Well, you know, it should be the State Department in charge of counterinsurgency rather than the Department of Defense.''
I think that the State Department is as ill-equipped to focus on counterinsurgency as the Department of Defense and the military are. I mean, both have absolutely vital roles, but neither is primarily focused on this type of task.
Today, the military is undertaking a number of steps to be more effective at stability and counterinsurgency operations, to confront irregular challenges. And the State Department has moved in this direction as well.
But if Iraq is a model of the future, what we need is a serious and fundamental reorganization of the government so that we have some sort of agency, some organization that really focuses on not only responding to these type of situations when we face them in the future, but more importantly, deterring and preventing them.
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If we do not create an organization like this, I am afraid that what we might do is simply rearrange the existing deck chairs rather than create a really effective mechanism.
Clearly, what I am proposing here would be an immense task. And that is why I think it is a very important force to decide if Iraq conflicts are the model of the future, are we going to be serious about it.
Thank you very much.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Dr. Metz. Dr. Krepinevich.
STATEMENT OF DR. ANDREW F. KREPINEVICH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND BUDGETARY ASSESSMENTS
Dr. KREPINEVICH. Mr. Chairman, it is an honor to appear before this committee today and to offer my views on this important issue.
I come at the issue from a bit of a different perspective than either of my colleagues.
The focus of my testimony is how can we tell whether or not we are winning this war. And to do that, I will speak briefly on what kind of a war is this; what is this war's center of gravity; what is our strategy for securing that center of gravity; and then how do we measure or determine or assess whether or not we are making progress and executing our strategy.
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My colleagues have spoken to the issue of what kind of war is this. Obviously, we are fighting an insurgent movement.
And fighting insurgencies, as we have seen and heard, is a difficult business. It is a business we got out of, right after Vietnam, and you can see, in particular, our Army struggling to get back into that business.
Insurgencies do not play to our strong suits.
They devalue technological and logistical advantages, advantages that are among the strongest of our military, while they emphasize what some people would call the social or perhaps, Dr. Metz, the psychological element of warfare which is arguably a weakness of ours, especially given the lack of cultural expertise we have on the area.
Now, in an insurgency what would be the center of gravity?
Well, I would define the center of gravity as that asset or set of assets the loss of which will an enemy's ability or his will to continue resisting.
In a conventional war we often think of the opposing army. Destroy the opposing military, they can no longer resist, or key industrial infrastructure, or key geographic locationshow close are we to Baghdad, in the second Gulf War.
But insurgents have no field army. They have no infrastructure to defend. They occupy no territory that we can seize that will assure us a victory.
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It turns out that, in my estimation, there are three centers of gravity in this war. And they all reside, in a sense, in the social dimension.
The first is the Iraqi people, the second is the American people and the third is the American soldier. Do these three groups want us to win this war? Do they want to see us achieve our objectives? Do they think this is a worthy cause?
In other words, do we have their hearts, to use the phrase?
And second, do they think we can win? Do they think we are going to win? Is the sacrifice that we are talking about actually going to end in victory as opposed a noble sacrifice that ends in defeat?
We have to have all three centers of gravity to win this war, which is a critical asymmetric disadvantage on our part. For us to win we need to maintain or secure all three centers of gravity. For the enemy to win they just need to pry loose one.
If American soldiers, young American men and women, stop enlisting in our Army in sufficient numbers, or if they stop reenlisting, we cannot sustain this war.
If the American people decide that this war is not a worthy cause, or that our military is being poorly led and we are not on the path to victory, but this is just sort of a protracted war with no light at the end of the tunnel, they may decide to cut our losses.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If the Iraqi people do not share their government's vision of the future, the government that we are cooperating with, or if they think that they like the vision, but, you know, you cannot trust those Americans, they may not stay the course, they may conclude that we will not win this war.
So we need to capture, we need to secure all three centers of gravity. And as I said, the insurgents only need to secure one.
Further complicating the issue for us is that there are discontinuities between the various centers of gravity. The American people would like to hear, for example, that the troops are going to come home on this date or that date, but a date that is fairly soon.
The Iraqi people probably, at least the Iraqi government, may need to hear ''The American troops will be here as long as it takes to win this war.''
There is an inconsistency there. Whatever strategy we develop has got to account for those inconsistencies, has got to balance among them.
What is our strategy for securing these centers of gravity? Traditionally, there is a real menu of strategies for dealing with insurgencies and insurrections. The oil spot strategy: clear and hold, enclaves, search and destroy.
Imperial strategies like divide and conquer, and going all the way back to the Romans, their strategy was to create a desert and call it peace. We would refer to it as perhaps scorched earth. That does not seem to be an option for us, thankfully, in this war.
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It is not clear to me that we are, at this point, based on my study of the conflict, pursuing any one of the strategies in particular. Perhaps that is a measure of the complexity of the war, as Dr. Metz was saying, but at some point you do need to agree on a strategy and pursue it.
And that is a concern I have, because if you do not have a clear strategy, then what is the linkage between what you are trying to do and the centers of gravity, and how do you measure whether or not you are making progress in the war?
This brings me to my central point which is: How do we measure progress?
In the October 2003 memo written by Secretary Rumsfeld that was leaked to the press, the Secretary said, ''Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the Global War on Terrorism.'' And as Iraq has been described as the central front of that war, one would suspect that the Secretary was concerned that we lacked metrics for knowing how well we were doing in Iraq.
What are these metrics? How do we know whether or not we are winning or not?
With respect to metrics, they must be chosen with fear and they must be frequently revisited.
As I mentioned, metrics must be linked to strategy and the strategy must be linked to the centers of gravity.
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Some of the metrics that you have heard, that I have heard, are often cited as measures of progress, such as: What is the strength of the insurgent forces? What are the number of Iraqi troops that have been trained? What are the level of U.S. casualties? What are the number of insurgent attacks?seem to me to be either problematic metrics or perhaps, in some cases, even counterproductive.
I think in choosing metrics we have to understand some fundamental points.
The first, getting back to the social dimension of strategy, is if we know who the insurgents are and we know where they are, we win this war. Nobody is worried about whether we have enough combat power. We just need to know who these people are and where they are and we win.
The key in knowing who they are and where they are is intelligence. But it is not the intelligence of spy satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); it is human intelligence.
It is people being able to look at this group of people sitting up here, who all look pretty much alike, and be able to say, ''Well, that is an insurgent and he is an insurgent and she is an insurgent.'' That kind of intelligence comes from the local population. It does not come from technology. It comes from the Iraqi people. Now, when will the Iraqi people provide us with that kind of intelligence?
They will do it when we have won their hearts and minds, when they finally come to the conclusion that they want us to win this war, they think we are going to win it, and when we provide them with enough security that they feel comfortable enough risking sharing that information and being safe from insurgent retribution.
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So the key, in my mind, in many ways, is winning the intelligence war.
Now, as I mentioned before, the choice of metrics should quite properly take some time and considerable effort. I will offer up a few here as a way of perhaps demonstrating the link between winning the information war, the centers of gravity strategy and winning the conflict.
One metric, for example, it would be interesting to know the percentage of contacts with the enemy that are initiated by U.S. and coalition forces. That is to say, over time, when we engaged with the enemy, are we initiating the contact or are they?
Because over time, if that percentage is growing, it means we know more and more who the insurgents are and where they are, that we have the initiative. It means we are winning that intelligence war, and we are winning it because we are winning over one of the key centers of gravity, the Iraqi people.
Better still, if you are thinking about training indigenous Iraqi forces to take over this war, not how many are there, but what percentage of contacts with the enemy are initiated by Iraqi security forces.
We would expect to see over time, if this Iraqification initiative is a success, that not only will Iraqi forces have progressively more contact with the enemy proportionately than we will, but if they are winning the cooperation of the Iraqi people, those contacts will be increasingly initiated by them and not by the enemy.
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Another metric that was suggested by Major General Pete Chiarelli, who commanded the 1st Cav Division over in Baghdad until recently: What is the percentage of IEDs, improvised explosive devices, that we are either intercepting or destroying versus those that are detonated against our troops?
Again, it gets back to: Are you winning the information war? Because if we are locating them before they go off, if we find out about them before the enemy initiates an attack, again, we are winning that information war, that intelligence war, and we are winning the support of the people.
Another metric: Can we trace the market for IED emplacements? Let me give you an example.
If we could identify, for example, that last November, the going rate for getting someone to put an IED in place was $200 and now it is $600, well, that is good news for us, because it means, all other things being equal, there are fewer and fewer people who are willing to do that sort of thing.
And so the supply of would-be recruits, would-be insurgents for that particular person is drying up. To get people to do these things, you are going to have to pay them a higher premium to do itagain, an indication of how the trends are in this conflict.
What are the trends in terms of assassinations and police casualties?
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If I am an Iraqi citizen and I see judges being assassinated, I see members of the new legislature being assassinated, even police, my thinking is, ''If you cannot protect your own, how are you going to protect me? And in the end, how are you going to win that intelligence war, because I am not going to risk my life, if you cannot protect yourself, to give you information against the insurgents?''
Similarly, what are trends in terms of the defections among insurgents, particularly in the leadership?
Think about it. Just as we are trying to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, we are also trying to convince the insurgents, as many of them that we can, that their cause is a hallow one, their hearts, but also that they cannot win, that their cause is hopeless.
And especially if leadership starts coming over, what does that tell insurgents down in the ranks? If we start eliminating these people, not having them defect, but eliminating them, what does that tell the people in the lower ranks in terms of the insurgents' ability to shield their own?
Again, I think that would be an interesting metric to measure.
Another metricand this is the final one I will mentionhas to do with reconstruction.
It has been in the press recently that the premium, the security premium for reconstruction projects, which was down around 5 percent, I guess, when we began, in some cases, it is up around 20 or 25 percent.
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So we are digging a well, and we have 3 guys there digging a well and 30 guys there making sure that they do not get shot while they are digging it.
Over time, you would like to know what that premium is. If we are winning, that premium should be going down because more and more areas of the country should be secure.
Those people that were supposedly training by the tens of thousands should be providing security. After all, it is not the numbers that we train, as Mr. Slocombe has said; it is what they are capable of doing, what they are capable of providing.
So again, I think there are ways to measure progress in this war. It would be interesting to know what the data are. I do not think a lot of the traditional metrics that are associated with conventional war really apply here.
And as I said, I think we need to get about this business and to make sure that whatever metrics we choose, there is a clear linkage to strategy and there is a clear linkage to the three centers of gravity.
To sum up then, we are engaged in a protracted conflict against irregular forces. There are three centers of gravity. The enemy only needs to secure one. We need to secure all three.
From my perspective, at least, it is difficult to discern, at present, a clear strategy that links the winning of the intelligence war with the centers of gravity.
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I think that assuming an effective strategy exists or can be instituted, it will have to focus on these centers and in particular on winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, which I think, again, is key to winning that intelligence war to defeat the insurgents.
As Mr. Slocomobe said, ''You cannot get good, fast and cheap all a once.'' This will take time and persistence, if you want good results. I do not think we will see them fast. And I certainly do not think we will see them cheap.
Mr. Chairman, this completes my remarks.
And I would be happy to respond to any questions.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Krepinevich can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Dr. Krepinevich. I am going to yield my time to Mr. Conaway, for starters here.
Mr. CONAWAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well, you guys have certainly given us plenty to think about this morning. One of the things that occurs to me, in terms of are we winning or not, where does the economy, the quality of lifeall we hear about are the things being blown up and our young men being killed and their young men and women being killed.
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And what role do we see in terms of, is the economy getting better; are people having jobs; is there commerce going on, separate and apart from this, that might also factor into some indication that if life is getting better, then you would think that the normal citizen would look on that very favorably with respect to the insurgency.
Any sense on the economy?
Dr. KREPINEVICH. I would say that that is a key aspect. If you are talking about the Iraqi people being the center of gravity, an improved economy, an improved way of lifethe prospect that you will have a better life and your children will have a better lifehas got to be, I think, a key part of any strategy for winning the war.
With respect to that, again, what you want to try to do is provide security. You do not want to end up with a reconstruction program that ends up looking like ''Groundhog Day,'' where you go in and you create infrastructure, but you do not provide the security that goes along with it, which leaves it open to sabotage by the insurgents.
So it has to go hand-in-hand with that. And again, that security is also integral to winning the minds of the Iraqi people and convincing them that it is safe to cooperate with the government.
Another factor that you have with a growing economy should be a decline in unemployment. And in fact, I think our reconstruction strategy should be as human-capital intensive as possible, sort of going back to Franklin Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corpsput as many Iraqis to work as possible.
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And so it is not a matter of how efficiently we can dig a ditch or how cheaply we can do it, but I think a key metric there has to be how many Iraqis we can involve. We want these people going home at night with a little bit of money in their pockets and too tired to do anything.
And what you also do in terms of the insurgents, I think, is to dry up that pool of Iraqis that can be co-opted.
There are some true believers among the insurgents. But it seems to me that there are also some who do not have money, have too much time on their hands, maybe their risk tolerance is a little bit higher than mine, and for a few hundred dollars, well, why not go out and plant an IED.
So again, I think reconstruction also plays into the market for IED fees as well.
Dr. METZ. Could I comment briefly on that?
My impressioncertainly when I was there, and I think it is still trueis that there is a burgeoning retail sector. You go out on the streets, they are full of people, tshops are full of goods.
Every Iraqi seems to have bought a satellite dish and an air conditioner, which is one of the reasons why the electricity is a problem. And that is very important.
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The problem is, is it beginning to be converted into real employment? Unemployment figures in countries like Iraq are extremely unreliable, inherently, but all of the evidence is that it is huge.
Most Iraqis, a high percentage of the population, still basically depend on government-provided food.
We have essentially taken overI hope, without some of the problemswe and the Iraqi government have essentially taken over the oil-for-food program.
Electricity is essentially free. There is not very much of it, but it is free. Gasoline is for all practical purposes free, which is one reason there are such long gas lines.
One of the long-term problems that Iraq has is that it has inherited a Stalinist-style economy with very inefficient state-owned enterprises that nominally employed a lot of people to make goods that are not sellable outside the country.
Investment would be important, and as Dr. Krepinevich says, in order to get investment, you are going to have to have security. You are also going to have to have infrastructure.
One of the real disappointments is that it has been so slow gettingwe are about back to where the pre-war was in terms of electricity and local production of fuel products and so on, but it is been very hard to get above that.
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Partly, it is because of security. It is a lot harder to build a better electrical system if people bomb the pylons, but part of it is not just security.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. Can I add a comment, sir?
I think there is a lot of good news going on in terms of the economic reconstruction. But I would just have to warn you that when we try to understand this conflict, we need to be very careful to understand that the phrase, ''quality-of-life'' is to some degree cultural in its definition.
I mean, Americans tend to define it by cars, houses, kind of physical things. And what we are dealing with here is a culture where quality of life is probably defined as much by concepts like justice and pride, defined by family as it is by how much stuff you own.
So when we look at whether the quality-of-life is improving, it is not just schools, electricity, cars and things like that, but there are these other elements that are a lot harder to get your arms around.
I have had this debate with people for the past couple of years, and they go, ''You know, but we have built X number of schools and the roads and things like that.''
And I say, ''Let's just kind of play a mind game. Let's imagine in some nightmare future, al Qaeda has taken over the United States. And they are implementing Sharia and they are reorganizing the government the way they want it. But at the same time they are fixing the roads and building schools and making the escalators and the Metro work and stuff like that. Would that be okay with you?'' And of course any American says, ''No, absolutely not.''
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So we need to understand that to some degree that is the way a lot of Iraqis see the world as well. They like the schools, they like the roads, but I do not think that is really the essence of what this is all about.
Mr. CONAWAY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. I am going yield to Mr. Udall. But first I must say, Mr. Chairman, that this is an excellent group of witnesses. We really appreciate this. I will ask questions later. Mr. Udall.
Mr. UDALL. I want to thank my Ranking Member for yielding and acknowledge this is one of the best panels that we have had since I joined this committee. Thank you for helping shed some light on what is unfolding.
I wanted to direct a question to Dr. Krepinevich.
We traveled to Munich together recently for the security conference there. In the conversations there was a lot of talk about our European allies, how we bring them to our side in Iraq. Do you think that is an approach that would bear any fruit?
And given what you have had to say today, what would we say to our European allies about the insurgency, about how they might be helpful to us?
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Dr. KREPINEVICH. Well, at its fundamental level, strategies about connecting ends and means, and we have, what I would say, ambitious objectives for Iraq, creating a democracy where really democracy has not existed.
The means are what has become in question, in particular.
We have an Army that is built for sprints, not marathons. We have a world-class sprinter as an Army. They are great fighting short wars. They do phenomenal. But we did not structure the Army to sustain it over a long period.
I think there is a concern about that particular center of gravity, that we may not be able to sustain the quality and the level of forces in the field.
One of the reasons I think we turn to coaching up the Iraqis, if you will, is the lack of allied participation.
I had a chance to have lunch with the French equivalent of the Vice Chairman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff, last year. And we were talking about the question that you raised.
And he said to me, ''Do not you Americans understand?'' He said, ''Europe really has no troops to send.'' He said, ''If you look at our military,'' being the French military, ''We have troops in Haiti. We have troops in West Africa. We have troops in the Balkans, troops in Afghanistan. If our policy changed to conform to yours overnight, the number of troops we could send would be abysmally small.''
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He said, ''The other great country in Europe that has not sent troops are the Germans, but a significant part of the German military is still conscript. And by German policy, you cannot send conscripts overseas.'' They really have more of a territorial army.
Other countries that have large armies would be countries like Turkey and India, which for obvious reasons, you would not want to involve their armies in Iraq.
And I think as a consequence of this, whether it is because they do not have the forces to send or they disagree with our policies or would not be wise to send a Hindu army, for example, into a Muslim country, what we have gravitated toward is the Iraqis. The Iraqis become the solution.
But I think it is correct, because I think in the final analysis, they have to win their own freedom.
But that is where we are. I do not see any silver bullet, if you will, in terms of a change either in the disposition of the policy of many of our allies or their capacity to really provide large numbers of troops.
Mr. UDALL. Doctor, if I could follow on, I have had conversations with some of the senior members on the committee on our side of the aisleRepresentative Taylor, Representative Abercrombie, Representative Snyderand we have discussed whether removing American troops sooner rather than later would take the American face off of the occupation and make it easier for the Iraqis to stand on their own.
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There is another point of view that in fact the problem is not the American presence; it is the presence of the insurgency.
Would you comment on the utility of that?
And perhaps if there is time, the other two panelists might share their opinions as well.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. I think right now the American forces probably serve two very useful purposes.
It used to be said that American forces in Europe kept the Soviets out and the Germans down, meaning keeping the Germans and the French from going back at one another.
I think, right now, if you look at where Iraq is, our forces serve to keep some of the wolves at bay. I think, certainly, if our forces were pulled out, you would see even greater efforts by the Iranians, the Syrians, the Turks to jigger and arrive at a more proper outcome.
I think our forces are a moderating influence that keeps the various major groups within Iraq from going at one another.
Remember, the path to power in Iraq has traditionally been a scrum, in which force determines who comes out on top, and then the other groups are repressed.
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For the time being, I think that has been moderated by the presence of U.S. forces.
But I also think one indication of the fact that they are concerned about a precipitous U.S. withdrawal is the fact that they are maintaining their own militias. They all have their own private armies. They have a hedge against our pulling out too quickly.
So the final thing I will say is, I think over time, we may be more concerned about the American soldier or the American people, in terms of those centers of gravity with respect to long-term U.S. presence in Iraq.
And here I mean it will be interesting to give you a metric. Over time, are Iraqi forces, for example, suffering a higher percentage of casualties relative to American forces?
Because at some point, if they are not, either the American people or American soldiers will say, ''Well, wait a minute. Why are we fighting this fight? It has been three years since we have started training up these forces. When are they going to start taking some of the risks for their own security?''
And I think what you can see over time perhaps is a bit of a backlash that sees the Iraqi security forces as free riders in this conflict. And so that, I think, is something that would concern me just as much as our pulling out precipitously.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UDALL. I see my time is expired.
I would just note that the British drew the lines of modern-day Iraq in 1922, and I think I have my facts right, the last British soldier left Iraq in 1955. We should be mindful of that.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. Well, it has been 60 years since the end of World War II. We are still there.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. Mr. Joe Schwarz.
Dr. SCHWARZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I find your testimony so compelling and so interesting. My questions are going to be brief, because I want you to use as much of my time as you possibly can.
Do the insurgents, in your opinion, actually believe that they can win and that they can supplant the Iraqi government being established right now and that they can drive the Americans and the British and the other coalition forces out?
Is that their goal? Do they think really that they can win, these disaffected Baathists and old Sunni elite, the outsiders, whatever their motive is for being there?
I am going to throw in a request for your opinion as to how much effect you think Iran might be having on this conflict as well, on the insurgency, either with the insurgentswhich seems to me to be a little oddor just affecting the polices of their Shiite brethren in Iraq.
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So I would ask any of you to just kind of tackle this and just free associate, because this has been a great free association of strategic thinking so far this morning.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Can I have a try at that? The Baaththe people who are leading this insurgency are, I believe, the core of it remains mostly the old Baath leadership. A big part of their ideology is that they are survivors.
Remember, Saddam spent, what, four years in jail after one of the coups and came back?
So I think it may not be rational, but I think their maximum objective is that they will come back and take over.
I think their minimum and unfortunately substantially more realistic objective is that they will be able to create a situation in which the rest of the country will have to cut a deal with them, and they will, at a minimum, have power in the Sunni areas and in much of Baghdad and power over the security forces.
Again, I do not think those are the realistic objectives, but I think that is probably what they think.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With respect to Iran, whoever else is behind this insurrection, it is not the Iranians. They are, bizarrely enough, on our side on this particular issue. They want the Sunni insurrection suppressed, and they want to establish a viable and respected government in Iraq that will be majority Shia, because the country is a majority Shia.
I think they are playing for the long run. They want to have influence. They want to have continued impact.
They certainly want to impact the religious community. In some sense, we have talked about the political fight. In some sense it is also a fight over the leadership of the Shia sect of Islam.
I worked a lot with the people in SCIRI, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. And while they are a tough bunch of people, they are also very strongly nationalists and Iraqi.
Somebody said one of the reasons not to worry too much about the attitudes of the Iraqis who were in Iran during long periods of exiles is that they have lived there. The dislike by most Iraqiswho are almost all Arabs, except for the Kurdsfor Persians knows no limits. One of the real occasional insults that they throw at politicians is that they are really Persians.
I think, in the long run, Iran has ambitions in the region, but they are long-run problems rather than short-run problems.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. KREPINEVICH. Can I comment on that, sir?
Dr. SCHWARZ. Please. There are a few seconds left. The yellow light is on, so fire away.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. I spent a lot of time in the last year and a half trying to figure out what these guys want, what their objectives are, and it is almost impossible to discern, because it is such a multiparty insurgency, and because unlike most historic insurgenices, they do not have a political wing that says what they want.
You know, I do think Secretary Slocombe was right in that I suspect that those of the insurgents that think strategically, what they want is to, at some point in time in the future, be taken seriously, to be integrated into a government of national unity.
So maybe these guys are like the insurgents in South Africa that never thought they were going to march victoriously into the capital the way Castro did or the Vietnamese did, but simply to be integrated.
But I also think that there is a large what might be called astrategic component of this insurgency: people fighting for their manhood, for their pride. And they have not really, I do not think, kind of worked out a linear logic where they say, ''If we do this, it is ultimately going to have that political effect.''
And that is what makes this so hard, is this is not a purely rational, political, strategic insurgency the way a lot of them in the past have been.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Slocombe, I think you mentioned the three centers of gravity.
And recently I have been reading the news media about what the new Iraqi government wants to do, and that is to remove the military personnel that were under Saddam Hussein. And I think if they were to do that, 50 percent of the troops would be taken out of the military, and about 75 percent of the officers would be removed.
At one time, the American governmentor our troops brought them in. Now the Iraqi government is going to push them out.
What kind of impact is this going to have on the three centers of gravity that you mentioned, you know, the Iraqi people, the American people and the military? What kind of impact if they were to follow with what they want to dowhat kind of impact is that going to have?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I am not an expert on the ethnic composition of the force and what they are calling for specifically.
But it seems to me, of course, the key issue here is how it affects the ability of Iraqi security forces to begin to, in a sense, win over the hearts and minds and provide for the security of the Iraqi people; their capacity to begin to deal with the insurgency.
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And so I think within the first center of gravity, the Iraqi people, it is: Does this delay reconstruction because security cannot be provided? Does this delay local elections because security cannot be provided? Does this limit my freedom? Do I incur personal risk because security is not provided?
With respect to the American populationagain, the longer it takes for the Iraqis to begin to assume a greater burden for their security, one question is, of course, is this war being well-directed and well-managed, because we have been at this process now since at least 2003.
And, of course, the second is the issue of why should youngat what pointwhy are young American women still risking their lives on behalf of the Iraqis when the Iraqisand this would, perhaps, be their vieware so finicky about who is going to be in, who is going to be out? And why is it taking so long for them to do what they ought to be doing?
And, of course, the people on the tip end of the spear, the young American women who are over there, who are risking their lives and making these sacrificesI think at some point, if you are on your second tour in Iraq or your third tour in Iraq and you are waiting for these people, again, to take on a greater role, I think at that point you begin to influence that center of gravity in a negative way.
So I think it cuts across all three centers of gravity and it has a lot to do with not only security but the ability to do reconstruction and make it stick.
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This is an important issue.
Dr. METZ. I think you have to distinguish, Mr. Ortiz, between the desire to make sure that the senior leadership, the general staff, the Chief of Staff, the commander level, are really supportive of the political process and any effort to purge the officer corps as a whole.
The problem of finding competency in your leadership for the Iraqi army when you are drawing largely, although not exclusively, from the old army is a very tough one.
And we have had some good successes; we have had some bad experiences. So I think you have to distinguish between what level.
I cannot believe that they areand I do not think, in fact, they are proposing to say that nobody who was in the old army can be in the new army.
Mr. ORTIZ. See, because we have seen a pattern that those that enter the militaryIraqiswhen they are in formation, here comes a suicide bomber and they are gone. Then for their graduating, those that make it through the training, the same thing happens.
Which means that when are we going to have an adequate Iraqi force so that we can withdrawing our troops? If this continues on, I do not think it will ever happen.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. METZ. And that is the central problem.
Interestingly enough, in spite of the attacks on recruiting stations and graduation ceremonies and Iraqi forces moving around, recruiting is holding up. Certainly, my impression isfurther, in General Petraeus, we have the very best trying to work this problem. He is in charge of the training for both the police and the army.
And I think that is the issue. My guessand Dr. Krepinevich raised the question of relative casualtiesI would guess that Iraqi police and military casualties are running substantially ahead of American. That is not a good thing, but if that is a metric it is a metric.
But the question is getting these units with proper leadership. And the leadership is really the key element.
There are some elite units in both the police and the army which have taken on some very tough tasks and are very good.
Personallyand I think this is part of the strategythis is an effort to develop some of these specialized forces with very demanding training, a good add mixture of American ''advisers'' in the units. That is part of General Luck's recommendation, I believe.
We will have to see whether that strategy works.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you so much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Hefley.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. We talked about the Iraq people and we talked somewhat about the factions, but would you speak to that?
You know, my impression is that this is a tribal society. It is kind of an artificial country in some ways. You have the Sunnis and the Shiites and the Kurds and so forth.
How difficult is it going to be to ever get them to really work together as they a melting pot nation, so to speak?
Would you speak to that?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. It is going to be difficult, there is no question.
It is a little less artificial than some of the particulars of the border. There is one place you will notice where the border with Jordan way out in the desert makes a funny twist, a sort of dog leg, because the British did not want a particular road junction to be inside Iraq.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I think you have to distinguish between the Kurds who definitely want independence. If the Kurds had their way, they would be an independent country straddling four existing countries.
I think most of the Kurdish leadership understands that is not going to happen, and their objective is to cut a deal with a very high degree of autonomy within the country.
But they also recognize there are some advantages to being in a stable political situation from which they have to stay in the country to get it.
The fundamental political issue in Iraq is the relative power of the central government in the regions.
The only way this is going to work is if there is sufficient devolution of power to the regions, to the provinces, which essentially means to ethnic areas, for people to accept it.
Although, one of the things that it is important to understandyou look at these maps in the newspapers or even the ones that the intelligence people produce, and it is neatly divided. These are the Kurds in the North and the Shia in the South and the Sunnis in the middle.
Then there certainly are heavily homogeneous areas, but a lot of them are very mixed up.
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There are a million people in Baghdad who can speak Kurdish. Basra has a big Sunni population. Samarra, which is a city whose population is almost entirely Sunni, has one of the major Shia religious shrines, and you see lines of buses of Shia who have come to worship at the shrine.
So there are some things which hold the country together as well, and I think there is a certain sense of Iraqi nationalism.
It is not Afghanistan. It is not by any means as divided and so on.
It certainly is a tribal society, it is a clan society, it is a provincial society and so on.
It is not hopeless, but it is very hard.
Dr. METZ. Traditionally, an attractive strategy for Iraq would be divide and conquer, especially if you wanted to get out sooner rather than later.
You would do something along the lines of what the British did, which would be to pick a group, back that group against the others, tell them that you will back them unless they threaten your interest in the region, and enable them to suppress the others.
What we are trying to do is much more noble in terms of creating a democracy. But the order of magnitude in terms of the degree of difficulty is also greater.
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Democracies find their security in institutions, just as we do in our country. It is our institutions, not a power grab that we have in terms of who governs in this country. They have no experience in that.
And it seems to me that their fear of each other and the fear of lapsing back into the old ways or the traditional ways of securing power means that some way, somehow at the end of the day, if they want to make this work, they are going to have to request a long-term presence of U.S. forces.
There was a Shiite leader recently who said, ''Well, of course we do not want the Americans as occupiers, but we might accept them as guests.''
And, again, I think down the road if they become seriously interested in democracy, it is going to require a protracted U.S. presence before they are comfortable trusting one another because right now there is no trust or very little.
Mr. HEFLEY. And history tells us that tribal, clan-based nations have some particular political problems, that they cannot transcend themIreland, Scotland, perhaps the Republic of South Africa, where societies in some way similar to Iraq and even societies divided along religious, sectarian lines, like Switzerland and Belgium were able to work through that. It is not easy, but it can be done.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Mr. Reyes.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, gentlemen, than you for your testimony this morning.
Mr. Chairman, in celebration of our respective Irish roots, I am going to yield my time to Mr. Ryan down in the
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. I thank Mr. Reyes. I owe you a green beer.
Just a couple of questionsthank you, this has been very informative as well.
I have had the opportunity over the past few weeks to have some pretty good conversations with young men who have returned back who have been in the field and who have went on these missions in Iraq.
And from what they have told me, it seems like there is differing opinions from those folks who are going out and those soldiers who are out on these missions who are very, very frustrated, not only because they are losing their friends, but because they built a city hall and the city hall gets blown up or they build a clinic and the clinic gets blown up.
And what I am noticing is and what they have noticedand I think what is frustrating them because they are going backis there is a real disconnect between those soldiers that are out on the front lines and those people who are behind the barricades in Iraq.
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And I just wondered if you could just explain or give me your thoughts on, is there a disconnect? And are we not hearing a lot of the things that maybe we should be hearing, or is that just soldiers who are in the battle for a while and just frustrated?
Dr. KREPINEVICH. Well, again, from my perspective, that gets back to this issue of what is your strategy.
And my argument has been a key element of your strategy has got to be to win that intelligence war. To do that you have to win the hearts and minds.
If you are thinking about metrics, for example, you just pointed out, Congressman, what good does it do us to build a town hall and see it blown up a week later? That does not improve the lives of the Iraqi people.
In that respect, the amount of projects that we have ongoing or the amount of money we have spent is not really a good metric. It is the amount of projects that, actually, over the long term improve the lives of Iraqi citizens.
To do that, you have to provide security. It has got to be an enduring security. It cannot be episodic, just while the construction is taking place and then everyone is on their own.
And I do not see, again, that kind of strategy.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A traditional counterinsurgency strategy would say you have to start out where you are strong, you would have to provide security, you would have to train local indigenous forces. When they were sufficiently well trained, you could move on and expand your efforts.
There is an old military axiom, ''He who seeks to be strong everywhere ends up being strong nowhere.''
And I do not think we have set those kinds of priorities and I do not think we have pursued a strategy that enables that and reinforces it.
And so my fear is that, in terms of reconstruction, we could be stuck in sort of a ''Groundhog Day.'' You know, you go in, you build it, they blow it up; you come back, you have to build it again.
We have to find a way of doing a better job of integrating reconstruction security and the military operation.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. If I may, I think first of all, the sense of frustration that a lot of the soldiers feel is very genuine.
If I can make a small movie recommendation, I think everybody on this committee, and in fact all Americans, should see this movie ''Gunner Palace,'' which is a magnificent portrayal of what it is like to be a soldier in Iraq.
And I am sure that at the squad level, going out on raids, it is extremely frustrating to see projects that you worked on or people you have worked with get killed.
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One of the things that makes insurgencies hardand Dr. Metz talked about itit takes very few people.
Probably the Irish Republican Army (IRA) never had more than 300 or 400 fighters. They had a lot of supporters and a lot of hangers-on and so on. But of the people that who were actually going out and putting bombs and shooting people, only a few hundred.
And so it is an extremely difficult target.
I think the thing on the projects that is important and my metric would be: When do we get to the point where when a school is built and gets bombed, the reaction of the crowds is anger against the people who did the bombing and determination not to let it happen again as opposed to blaming the Americans for not stopping it?
One of the problems about 50 years of dictatorship is that a lot of Iraqis had become very passive and they expect other people, preferably the governmentand in some sense, we are the government; for a long time we werethey blame us for things.
And I think when you begin to get that change that will be an important metric.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. The idea of winning the hearts and minds, I think we all agree on.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the concern I have is the amount of, not only Iraqi police force and the people we are trying to recruit who are getting killed and the innocent civilians who are also getting killed, but when you actually think about how many people show up to a funeral of someone they lovelet alone a young soldier or a family member, just in America, there is a hundred people who walk through the wake.
And it occurred to me that with all these innocent Iraqis being killed and all these Iraqi soldier being killed, amplified by the amount of family members and friends who are touched and hurt by that, it seems very difficult for us to win the hearts and minds when it seems like, whether it is true or not, that the Americans are responsible for our family members and our friends getting killed.
How do we overcome that?
Mr. SAXTON. Maybe one of you could just take a quick shot at this and then we will move on to the next person.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Congressman, one thing I continue to remind myself is that for any nation, any culture any where, the transition to democracy is a really, really difficult thing. I mean, it took us a revolution and a civil war to get where we are.
And I think we are seeing the same thing in Iraq today. Turning into a democracy is a really hard thing.
But specifically on your question there, at least from what I am seeing, is I am not seeing that frustration, the anger at losing loved ones turn into either a willingness to accept the insurgents or a civil war-type situation.
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So there is a huge amount of natural anger and frustration, but in some ways, it is not being channeled in a way that I think is going to derail the transition that is underway.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. We are going to move now to Ms. Drake.
Mrs. DRAKE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. It has been very interesting to hear your perspective.
Recently, though, we heard from General Chiarelli. He provided a lessons brief for us, and it was really astounding.
This is a little different than the question just asked, because he talked about the progress that our forces are making and the impact they are having on the Iraqi people and kind of winning the hearts and minds are terms that he used. And he felt the elections are really the turning point in this war, and talked about even how the Iraqi press has published the FBI most wanted list in their papers.
So I wondered, from your perspective, if you truly think those elections were the turning point, and if there is been any real impact either on the recruitment over there or the insurgent activity.
And then the last questionbecause Mr. Slocombe just referenced the anger of the Iraqi people toward the insurgentswhether you have seen other things the Iraqi people do that you would have thought just a short time ago would be unimaginable.
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Dr. KREPINEVICH. I am basically an optimist about the war and about the prospects, for all the facts that they are real difficulties.
And I think there is no question theI would not say the election was a turning point in the sense that it means everything is now certain to go fine, but it was a very important step.
I think it was a very important step partly because for at least the Shiite and Kurds and a large chunk of the sort of secular Sunnis. It means there is now a government that has a much greater degree of legitimacy than either the interim government or the Iraqi governing council.
And they are now going into a political process that will address some of these issues.
I do not think there is muchthe insurgency is down from the peak late in the winter, but it is about the level pretty muchin terms of numbers of attacks and casualties and so on, it is about at the level it has been.
I think there has been real progress.
Again, it is important to understand that most of the attacks are in a limited part of the country. I mean, it is a big part of the country. It has a lot of the population, probably a quarter to a third of the population, but it has never been a nationit is the reason I do not like the term insurgency. It is never been a nationwide movement.
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You can drive from one end of Iraq to the other practically in a day so anybody can get anywhere they want to, to plant a bomb if they can get through the checkpoints.
But I am fundamentally hopeful that if we and the Iraqis make the right decisions this will come out a success.
Dr. METZ. General Chiarelli and I, 20 years ago anyway, taught together at West Point, and Pete is a remarkable officer.
Just four quick points: One is, a critical disadvantage of this insurgent movement is its lack of a popular cause. Insurgencies are made successful either because the government cannot provide security within the country or there is a popular movement. And right now what the insurgents lack, whether it is the Sunnis and the Baathists or the radical Islamist, is a cause that has really captured the imagination of the Iraqi people.
And that is an enormous advantage that we have in this war, and I think that is one of the reasons certainly for optimism.
Second, in terms of making progress, General Chiarelli did some remarkable things in Sadr City. I would like to know if those remarkable things are built upon the next six months or if you have a regression. I mean, to me, that would be a key indicator of whether he is correct or not.
Third, how would you measure whether the elections have had an impact? Again, I would go back to the issue of hearts and minds. It seems as though we have won more of the Iraqi hearts.
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People see perhaps a brighter future. They have more of a stake in what is going on now than they did before they cast their vote. They have representatives.
On the other hand, at the end of the day, it is the hearts and the minds.
Getting back to Congressman Ryan's question, at some point Iraqis may get angry at the insurgents for blowing up that city hall again. In their own calculations, in terms of where their minds lie in this conflict, they may also conclude, ''I do not like the insurgents, but you know, I do not blame the Americans; I am mad at the insurgents. But you know, there is nothing the Americans can do about stopping these people from coming in here any time they want and doing anything they want, and I am staying out of it. I am not going to cooperate. I am not going to risk my skin trying to help the government because I do not think the government can protect me.''
So I think there are some encouraging trends, but, again, I would like to see what are some of those metrics that I talked about before: Do we see a greater level of cooperation on the part of the Iraqi people for government forces, for the coalition forces, in terms of doing what they need to do to win this war?
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. Can I suggest it is
Mr. SAXTON. If you could make this real quick. We are out of time here.
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Dr. KREPINEVICH. I find more optimism at higher ranks, battalion brigade commander, than I do at lower ranks. Two ways of explaining thatone is, the brass is out of touch, which I do not buy; the other is they have a better overall picture of the way things are going and, therefore, tend to have a somewhat more positive perspective.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, sir. Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you gentlemen being here, particularly on such short notice.
Would you, for the recordand we are leaving town tomorrow I believe, and it will behave a spring, Easter recess for two weeks, so if you could get that back to us in a timely manner.
But for the record, would each of you put together, like, five questions or five things that we should be asking the Administration, the Department of Defense, about what is going on to help us?
We have difficulty getting information. I think it might be helpful.
Maybe we are asking the wrong questions. Maybe you could provide us with the kinds of questions you think would be helpful for us to ask
Dr. METZ. A good start would be to ask the same questions you have asked us.
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Dr. SNYDER [continuing]. On an ongoing basis so that we mightwell, then maybe it is not the questions; maybe it is the answers that we get from the Administration.
Dr. Krepinevich, we have used the phrase ''hearts and minds'' quite a bit this morning. But I assume that when we use the word ''hearts'' we are not talking aboutour goal is not to get the Iraqi people to love Americans or America. When we are saying hearts, we want them to love what they see in a future Iraq. Is that a fair statement?
Dr. KREPINEVICH. Yes, Congressman. Americans typically want everyone to love them. I think that is one of our national characteristics.
But here it is: Do they have a stake in the future of Iraq? Do they want to see the outcome that we are talking about, which for this Administration is a free and democratic Iraq, a growing economy and the withdrawal of U.S. forces or certainly the minimization of U.S. military presence in Iraq?
Dr. SNYDER. Right. And then my last questionyou said one other question.
Over the last couple of years, last year and a half, there were a lot of public discussions about the level of troop strength in Iraq. We have an adequate number of troops. I think people like Senator McCain was talking about it very aggressively. That discussion has died down now to some extent.
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My question is thisyour opinion about that whole issue: during the most recent elections we had several of the folks from Iraq and from the Administration justifiably feel very good about what occurred during the election in terms of the security that went on, that apparently not one polling place had any kind of significant kind of threat to it.
And that came about for a variety of reasons. But one of them was, we have been told multiple times, is because leading up to it, more troops were kept in the country. There was, I think, essentially a lot of overtime going on. There was just a lot of American troop activity to where our troop strength was substantially higher, plus the amount of activity out in the streets was substantially higher.
My question is: Was that not a case study for the fact that more troops could have meant, over the last 18 months, better security, perhaps less attacks on electricity in the schools and the city halls that Congressman Ryan was talking about and all?
And then it is almost accepted as a given now that while our troop strength is at the peak, and we are gradually at some point going to start reducing them as Iraqi troops come on board, but that does not necessarily have to be a given if we had maintained that same level of troop strength and activity we had during the election period, maybe it means more electricity gets out there, more investors come in, more Iraqis feel comfortable participating in the government.
Would you comment on this whole area of American troop strength in view of what happened during the election with the security that was provided with expanded troops?
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Secretary SLOCOMBE. I suppose more is always better, in some sense. I have never been entirely convinced the absolute number of American or coalition, or for that matter, Iraqi troops or security forces is the key.
I think the reason it worked so well for the election was you were able to surge. You had a large but defined number of places you had to protect.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. It turned out that the Iraqi population, or at least most of it, really wanted to vote. You have to remember that in the areas where there is a big insurgency problem, the turnout was terrible, almost nobody voted.
I think another infantry division would certainly have a positive effect, but I am not sure it would have a positive effect equivalent to the cost in terms of impact on the force and so on.
I think we need to focus much more on intelligence, on specialized capability, on getting the Iraqis into the fight.
I think it is important for other reasons to increase the size of the Army modestly for reasons which are in some ways independent of the absolute troop level in Iraq.
It is really very hard for us to sustain anything like 100,000 troops in Iraq for a long time. It is doable, but it is going to take a bigger base to do it.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. METZ. To reinforce my point that the psychological is what really matters, I think more American troops there might be militarily good, but it would be psychologically very bad in terms of sending the message of, ''This is your country. We are turning it over to you,'' or whatever.
So I think it would be a matter of the adverse psychological, and political costs would probably outweigh the military utility.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. We are going to Mr. Geoff Davis, the gentleman from Kentucky.
Mr. DAVIS OF KENTUCKY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I agree with your assessment that more troops would probably be counterproductive from both the political and cultural message that would be sent. Based on my experience in the Middle East, these are not an insurgency in the classic sense at all.
Certainly from a soldier complaint standpoint, everything that I have heard at the front lines is more the typical frustration of soldiers, who were in the combat situationno different, quite frankly, than police in some difficult areas dealing with difficult situationin that when you are overcoming a threat, certainly on a vastly more destructive scale in the Middle East, that work will be undone, in light of the fact that we are in the midst of a war right now that has revolutionary impact in the region.
One thing that strikes me, that makes me very hopeful, is the Iraqi people keep coming back. They keep coming back to these places that are destroyed. Recruits keep coming back to participate in the process.
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I tend to read Osama bin Laden's message to Zarqawi in perhaps a different context than much of the press, that is, simply to attack the United States, but maybe in a clear cultural context to back off, that his efforts in Iraq are counterproductive.
I almost wonder, as enforcement continues, we draw more of the Iraqis into the process, if it is not going to be a very positive outcome.
The hearts-and-minds argument, to me, is something I remember certainly growing up, and also in the post-Vietnam time frame, when I was at the military academy. People wanted to draw the conclusion immediately about Vietnam, which I believe this is not in parallel.
And what I would like your comments on, partly for public consumption as well: Do you think that this actuallythe situation that we are facing in the Philippines, not in precise parallel but in many waystracks more closely with the Philippine insurgency of the beginning of the last century in terms of fragmented rebellionI would not even call it classic insurgents, thugs, in many cases tribal-basedand that over the long run, there is going to be a hopeful outcome to this based on the strategy that is in place right now?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I am afraid I am not enough of an expert on the Philippines insurrection.
Maybe on St. Patrick's Day, I think it is in some ways more like Northern Ireland, that is, you have a very serious ethnic conflict. Some people on one side, who have genuine grievances, other people who are prepared to use force. And the problem is both to suppress the violence and to seek a political solution.
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But I am sorry I do not know enough about the Philippinian insurrection to really make the comparison.
Dr. METZ. Just a couple of points on your comments: My own belief is that outsiders can never win hearts and minds. I mean, hearts and minds are the key, but it is got to be the Iraq security forces winning the hearts and minds.
And I think to the largest extent possible, we need to get out of the hearts and minds business because outsiders cannot do that.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what is the apt historical analogy for this one, and I am not sure that I found a good one.
One thing that concerns me, though, is that it not become like the conflict in Colombia where the insurgents kind of become an industry. They develop a vested economic stake in continuing this thing on. They get involved in, you know, drug running, trafficking, organized.
You know, if you have this marriage of the insurgents and organized crime, then I think that is where you have something that could easily percolate on for decades.
So that is just kind of the analogy that I hoped that it does not become.
Mr. DAVIS OF KENTUCKY. There are some very tenuous parallels between the Philippine insurrection and what we are seeing in Iraq.
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There was some concern that we had not properly planned for phase four operations after the Spanish-American War.
It was an issue in the 1900 election about how many forces we were going to keep there, how soon are we going to bring them home.
Arthur MacArthur, Douglas MacArthur's father, ended up commanding the U.S. forces. They were trying to suppress the insurgency.
Three things seemed to work in our favor.
One, as I recall, was the development of the Philippine scouts, the use of indigenous forces, training them up to help.
Second was the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo, who was the charismatic insurgent leader, which really took a lot of the wind out of the insurgents' sails.
And then not long afterwardit may have been years but it was not decadeswe also committed to Philippine independence, which I think also ameliorated some of the nationalistic fervor for the insurgency.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. My neighbor from New Jersey, Mr. Andrews.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ANDREWS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would observe that the quality and importance of the testimony is inversely related to the number of people sitting in the press gallery of hearings. So you should be very flattered by that.
This has been an outstanding panel and we have learned a lot by listening to you. Thank you.
I would like to suggest that the committee takes the metrics proposed by Mr. Krepinevich and ask the Department of Defense to answer to provide us data with those metrics. I think I counted seven of them.
Some of them would probably have to be reported in a classified session. But I think that they are very telling, and I would like to suggest that we make a request, as a committee, for the data. To the extent the data can be shared publicly, we should.
I read, Mr. Slocombe, your speech from February 9th of 2004 that was distributed, and I am paraphrasing the beginning, but you say, central to our success in Iraq ''is better intelligence which will rely less on technical measures, though these have potential, than on improved human intelligence and painstaking professional regional expert analysis.
''Especially since the capture of Saddam, there is been important progress, particularly in securing information from ordinary Iraqis who understand both that their interests lie with the coalition and that the Iraqis who work with it and that ours is more likely to be the winning side.''
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In February of 2004, on a grade of A to F, how would you evaluate the human intelligence-gathering operation that was in place at the time you made the speech, and what grade would you give it today, and what should we do to improve upon where it is today?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I think it is improving, but I have to say, as I said, I have no inside information as to how the intelligence system is working in Iraq.
Mr. ANDREWS. I understandbased upon your observations from the public record.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. My sense is that it is very much a question of what part of the country you are talking about.
There are large parts of the country where they do not like to have Americans around, because they do not like foreigners in general. But there is no question of what side they are on and there is a good dealI think the problem continues to be very serious, that for a variety of reasons, some of which is intimidation.
I mean, the reason you do not get support is that people who help you get found out. The enemy has a very good counterintelligence system.
I am not sure that it isI do not have any reasonlet me put it this way: I do not have any reason, from the public record, to think that the intelligence has improved anywhere near as much as it is going to need to.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ANDREWS. So what is our letter grade, A to F?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. C-plus.
Mr. ANDREWS. What was it a year ago?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. C.
Mr. ANDREWS. What do we need to do to make it an A, A-plus?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. It is a terrible chicken-and-an-egg problem. I think it is central.
But it is not just the hearts and minds. I will not say it, but you all know the version about if you grab a hold of something, the hearts and minds will follow.
Mr. ANDREWS. In New Jersey, we do know that saying.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Right.
Whether people think we are going to win makes a huge difference in how much cooperation you get out of people.
And I think in some ways that is the reason why it is rational to focus our efforts on the Sunni areas, to try to reach out to local leaders, but they have to be local leaders who are with the program.
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I am a bit of a hardliner on this. I have never been sympathetic to the idea that it is just a question of finding local Sunni chieftains who have power in the region. Yes, you have to find them and try to work with them and persuade them you are going win, persuade
Mr. ANDREWS. I saw some evidence just the other day of a dramatic example of the chicken-and-egg problem that really each of the three of you is talking about.
An officer who had been responsible for one of the most troubled areas came home and gave a speech, which I read, and he said that the number of attacks that they were experiencing had dropped from hundreds per week to the single digits, two or three per week, and it was directly proportional to their success in infrastructurewater, sewer, power, quality of life.
Now, understandably, they achieved a better quality of life because they reduced the number of attacks, in part, and then they reduced the number of attacks because they achieved the better quality of life.
And at some point we are going to get ahead of that curve. I hope it is very, very soon.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. It is absolutely the case that the sort ofthe do-good stuff, like services and the economy and education, health, that kind of stuff, is important for security reasons as well, precisely because it is what convinces people that, A, we and, more to the point, the government is right; and, B, competent and going to win.
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Mr. ANDREWS. Thank you very much to all the panel.
Mr. SAXTON. If I may just take the prerogative of the chair to pursue this point a little bit further, I guess I would just pose a question to the three of you.
Can we be accurate here in this room2118, I guess it isbased on the information that we have available to us, really grading our intelligence effort?
What makes me say this is that my last trip to the theater, I visited with some folks who were doing some fairly astonishing things in terms of being able to accomplish missions that we will not talk about here. And that had to be based on some pretty good intelligence.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. A lot of the intelligence is very good. One of the things I have learned in a lot of years testifying to the Congress is that if people ask you to give a letter grade, do not explain why you cannot give a letter grade and hope that people will believe it.
The reason is, you have to look not just at the individual successes, which are very real and very important.
Part of the reason that I wrote that in February was the capture of Saddam was an intelligence triumph, built exactly on this kind of painstaking look at lots of data gathered from local people.
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My sense is that you have to have it generally so that the number of incidents go down and you stop morewe stop a lotbut you have to be able to stop most of them.
It is a sort of analogy to the point about the centers of gravity. We can stop 95 percent of the attacks, and we still have a problem. And that is part of the difficulty with the intelligence challenge.
But I do not in any way disagree that the intelligence people do remarkable things. It is just they have got to do a lot of remarkable things and do it consistently for you to actually get to the point where you can defeat the enemy decisively.
Mr. SAXTON. I think we would all agree that whether we have good intelligence that is gathered by our soldiers and the people who are associated with our soldiers, from the agency, et cetera, the real key to success going long-term, as Mr. Andrews, I think, alluded to, is the Iraqiand as you alluded tois the Iraqi people coming on board and cooperating and providing intelligence freely to us and to their own forces.
Dr. METZ. And I was going to suggest, sir, that an A or an A-plus may even be impossible in this realm, for two reasons.
One is, at the lower level at least, so many of these insurgents bands are family organized. It does not matter how hard you try, you are not going to get somebody to turn in their cousin, even if they do not like what their cousin is doing. They are going to deal with it some other way.
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And the second problem is, you know, back to the big issue, ultimately what we need is not for the U.S. to be really, really good at human intelligence in Iraq, but for the new Iraqi security forces to be really, really good at it.
And the problem there is, as we know, they are badly penetrated, and they have got a really, really big counterintelligence problem themselves.
So we have a lot of problems with sharing and things like that because we cannot, at this point, fully trust them.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. Ms. Davis.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you to all of you for being here. I agree, it has been especially compelling in terms of your testimony.
Can you follow up? I think, Dr. Metz, you said that the State Department was no more better equipped to deal with this than the DOD.
And I know my first visit to Iraq with the coalition provisional government, I was concerned that all directions seemed to be coming from the Department of Defense, and expected a little bit more from the State Department.
Can you speak to that? Maybe can all of you speak to that?
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How should that be coordinated differently? Is it a different animal, as you suggest, in terms of building the peace?
And I would like you to comment briefly on the fact that, in the discussions and talking about the information war, you have not really mentioned the role of women.
And particularly on my last tripand I think that Ambassador Negroponte confirmed this as wella lot of the information, a lot of the intelligence is coming from women.
And yet there seems to be little coordination with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) efforts and how they are building a civil society, and the impact that that may be having on women coming forward and providing some of that information.
Dr. METZ. What I meant with State is that just as counterinsurgency is not seen by DOD as its primary focus, it becomes kind of a lesser included, we are never going to get the State Department totally focused on it because their primary job is going to continue to be diplomacy.
But I think you are exactly right, that what the solution may be is something like a permanent standing Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), CPA that can do both pre-conflict analysis, deterrence, and then be kind of the core of the effort if we get involved in one of these things as well.
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So I think that there is a lot of thinking that needs to be done there. There is a tendency to sort of brush CPA and ORHA aside because they had some problems, but I think that as a model of integrating the different agencies, that might be fruitful to look at. And ultimately, it might not matter whether this permanent CPA reports to DOD, State or the National Security Council (NSC).
On the role of women, as a political scientist I am certainly aware that women play a crucial role in conflict resolution around the world. I mean, kind of standard Conflict Resolution 101 is to politically mobilize and energize the women in the society. That tends to help for conflict resolution.
Of course, in Iraq the problem that we continue to butt up against is the fact that you have such a vehemently male-dominated society. I do not know if that takes that option off the table, but it certainly makes it more complex than it would in a society that is organized a different way.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. On the issue of women, I believe one of the maxims we ought to apply is reinforce strength and not weakness, and that part of the base that is actually interested in this working is the women in Iraq, both because they want security for their families and because they realize that a continued conflict is going to produce an Islamic reaction, which is for most of them not good.
There are things that we are doing. I mean, one of the things which is interesting is that the Iraqi political system, with pressure from us, has accepted a rule that we would never accept, which requires a certain percentage
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Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Quota.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Yes, well, when we were setting up the governing council we had a lot of arguments about how many women should be on it, and the Iraqis pointed out that they already had a higher percentage than either the American House of Representatives or the British House of Commons.
On the State-DOD issue, if I may, I think both the Defense Department and CPA have taken some unfair hits on that.
CPA was dominated by diplomats. Bremer was obviously a career diplomat. His deputy was always a British diplomat. There were a lot more ambassadors and State Department people working on the system.
Now, I think the relationship between the CPA, which was a civilian operation, and what was then General Sanchez's 5th Corps in Command Joint Task Force (CJTF), was actually a pretty good one.
The problem was that we did not have enough civilians out in the countrysideby which, basically, I just mean outside of Baghdadable to do the kinds of things that needed doing.
And sometimes it only took a couple of people. There was a remarkable British woman who was the CPA rep in Kirkuk, who basicallyI mean, it was the strangest story, because she was your kind of classic English do-gooder lady, with the sensible shoes and straight hair and spoke perfect Arabic, as she had lived in the region all of her life.
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And she fell in love with the American military; American military fell in love with her. She was in charge of the civil affairs, basically they worked for her.
If we had been able to replicate that around the country, we would have been in a lot better shape.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. I just wonder whether that was based on perhaps some false assumptions on our part, as well, though, that in fact the insurgency was not rebuilding its strength and that we did not need to have people out there in the hinterlands.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Somewhat, but I do not think that was so much
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. The gentleman from Washington, Mr. Larsen.
Mr. LARSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank the panel all for coming.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, excuse me, will we be coming back or will this be
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Mr. SAXTON. Yes. We will take a break here after Mr. Larsen, and we will come back for additional questions.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you.
Mr. LARSEN. The term ''turning point'' has come up, and I am less interested in turning points in Iraq and more in favor of what, I think, Mr. Andrews is talking about and Dr. Krepinevich is talking aboutis finding metrics that we can use to measure.
Because if we are looking for the big flash in Iraq, we will be looking for a while.
And I think this is really more of a matter of working very hard and working slowly through a problem that exist every day in Iraq for our troops and for the Iraqi people.
The second thingwe were just talking about hearts and minds. We have not talked a lot about stomachs and wallets.
And again, rather than focusing on hearts and minds, General Chiarelli's strategy in Sadr City was not really about stomachs and wallets and the sweat of the sewer water, electricity, trash. It is a really problem that we are now, in my opinion, as Mr. Slocombe just said, we are now just getting back to pre-war levels electricity production.
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That is a sign of a lot of things, a failure on our part, failure on, I think, the Iraqis' part to focus on investment, failure or success from some of the insurgencies to attack this infrastructure.
If we cannot take care of some of those basic things, it is going to be a lot longer before we can get to some of these other metrics that we need to look at.
Mr. Ryan's question, I want to build on that a little bit. I think he talked in terms of soldiers, Marines specifically.
I meet with some national guard folks in the 81st Brigade Combat team that come home nowmost of them will be home by the end of the monthand I am going to sit down with them over the next couple of times that I am back home and ask them basic questions: What did you see? What did you learn? What are you not getting?
Can the three of you in the next three minutes, maybe a minute each, give me the two things I might hear from a national guard person's perspective about what they need while they are over there, and also what I might hear about what they need now that they are home?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I certainly would not venture to speak for them. They have gone through the experience, and you are right to get it directly from them.
And undoubtedly, there are equipment things and so on that they will want to talk about.
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I think the critical thing that they need from here is support for these projects, these causes that have to get fixed.
Stomachs and wallets tend to cost money. And I think one of the problems we have had, that it is entirely self-imposed. It is got nothing to do with neo-cons or the enemy or anything like that. It is how hard it has beenit is gotten betterto get money out to the commanders.
One of our big successes was the so-called CERP program, which I think is Commander's Emergency Response Program, which put money in the hands of the local commanders and then down, at least, to brigade and I think, in some cases, below that, where the officers had the authority to go out and do local projects, hire people.
And that, I think, is one the places where you get the most leverage both in security terms and development terms.
But I am sure that the guard people will have very concrete and specific things they are concerned about.
Dr. METZ. Yes, in terms of the specific question, it is really hard to speculate because it depends on so much where they were and what they were doing and things like that.
At least from the guard and reserve people that I talked to, the preeminent issue was always just the pace of utilizationhow can we continue to have our careers and things like that if we are going to be mobilized for long periods of time on a recurring basis?
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So ultimately once the dust has settled on this, what the Congress and the Department of Defense and the President may need to do is to sit down and take a really broad look at how we use reserves in our military in general.
Might we want to consider some new model where when someone signs up you tell them, ''Okay, at one point in your career, you might be mobilized for three years, but you can only be mobilized''I do not know, pick a date''once every six years,'' or something, ''during the course of your career,'' rather than as needed.
So I think that we may have to relook that. There is a lot of relooks going on, of course, concerning the concentrating high-demand specialties in the guard and reserve, you know, the civil affairs and psychological operations (PSYOPS) and stuff like that.
And I know the Army and the other services as well are recognizing that if we are going to have this continual pace of involvement in protracted conflicts, we probably need to relook that.
So I think that is an issue that is going to be, if not totally fixed, a at least partially fixed in the coming years.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. Very quickly, two points: One is, stomachs and wallets are about hearts and minds. They are about convincing people that they have got a better life ahead of them.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If I were a troop coming back from Iraq, what I would like to know is: Is the sacrifice I made over there these last however many months, is that going to be sustained or is it going to be in vain?
And to me, that requires a coherent strategy if you are talking aboutfor example, General Chiarelli in Sadr City: Is the funding going to be there to sustain those projects that we started that started giving those people a better life? Is the security going to be provided so that they can enjoy those and they will sustain their growing support for the government?
That is what I think I would be worried about because I do not want to have sort of ''Groundhog Day'' in my life every year or two and keep going back to the same place and starting up all over again.
Mr. SAXTON. We are down to an official five minutes left in this vote. And we have two 5-minute votes after this one, so we should be back in 15 or 20 minutes.
And Dr. Metz, I understand that you have another obligation, sir. You will just have to use your best judgment as to how you want to proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
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The CHAIRMAN [presiding]. Okay, we have Mr. Taylor and then Mr. Cooper.
The gentleman from Mississippiand, gentlemen, let me apologize for not being here for most of your presentation, but I have heard great things about it.
In fact, most members have liked it a lot better since I was not in the chair. So it was really, really good.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank both you gentlemen for being here today.
I pose this question to both of you: Do you see a coherent United States policy in Iraq?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I think I see a policy that has a good prospect of winning.
And I think it is coherent in the sense that it does recognize the need to link what our military does, what we do to get the Iraqi security forces able to take over, and the political and economic aspects.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think there are a lot of moving parts that do not work together nearly as well as they should.
One of those is within the controlit is frustrating because it is entirely within our controland that is, the difficulty of getting funding out quickly to the right places to the people who are able to use it on the ground.
As I say, you know, the fact the people are shooting at you, that is a real world problem and there is a limit to what you can do about it. The fact that you have bureaucratic and accounting hang-ups in the United States that keep you from doing the job, I find very hard to deal with.
On the intelligence side I think that is the biggest operational or practical problem.
I think you were here when I said, I honestly, at this point, I do not have any special access so I cannot say what is being done. I would think that is one of the other critical factors.
But it is very much a part of a coherent policy that the non-military aspects be properly funded and properly executed with enough people out there, and enough willingness to make things happen quickly.
I hate to say this: We did not fight this war to save money, and that some of the accounting is not absolutely perfect is regrettable and should be fixed and it is right and so on, but it is not the biggest problem.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Sir.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. I would say there is an overall policy.
It seems to me that the goal here is to help lay the foundations for a democratic Iraq.
We could argue about whether it is overly ambitious or whether it is realistic or not, but I think that is the policy. We could put it down perhaps as a big bet, but perhaps a necessary bet, given some of the trends we saw in the Middle East or have seen in the Middle East.
Like Mr. Slocombe, I think politically, it is democracy; economically, it is reconstruction; in the military sense, it is to provide security.
As I said before, what I do not see is a coherent strategy that this is our policy, these are our objectives, these are the means that we have to bring to bear. How are they being applied in a coherent way, and an integrated way to do that?
And I guess one thing that does give me that kind of pause is, I have not been able, given the metrics or given the measures that Administration has provided, really been able to get a sense of how they all fit together and how we are able to use these to determine whether we are actually making progress toward achieving these policy goals and objectives.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. Last two questions if you could touch onin January, I was told by our political officer, and I believe his name is Bob Ford, that their polls showed that a majorityand a large majority, I want to say 70 to 80 percentof Iraqis had an unfavorable view of the American occupation.
My question is: can you win a counterinsurgency when that large a percentage of the population has an unfavorable view of you?
The second thing is, I have been reading parts of your book. Doctor, I have to confess, I have not read the whole book. I have read the counterinsurgency sections of it and find myself very much in agreement that it is more important to have a great deal of control over at least a part of the country rather than having a little bit of control over all of the country.
Is there any part of Iraq that either of you would feel safe walking the streets of other than the green zone?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Sure.
The CHAIRMAN. What parts, sir?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Kurdistan, for sure.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary SLOCOMBE. That is the easy answer.
There are large parts of what you might call Shia land, say, south of Hillah, where there is a risk. The enemy puts off bombs in Irbil and Sulaymaniyahwhich are the big cities in Kurdistanperiodically.
But there are large parts of the country where you would certainly feel safe even as an American, and looking like an American, walking around, you know, like the line in Casablanca there are parts of Basra I would not walk around in at night.
But there are parts of a lot of places I would not walk around in at night. But that is for ordinary crime.
And in some ways, much more relevant for an Iraqi, there are large parts of the country that are not really part of the insurgency. The insurgents come in and blow up mosque, blow up Shia shrines and so on, periodically.
But there are large parts of the country that for an Iraqiagain, with the important exception of regular crimeare not a security problem at all.
There are other parts where no oneyou cannot go as an American at all safety without full-up security operations.
Mr. TAYLOR. Is there time for a brief response, Mr. Chairman?
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Two things: One is I would agree with Mr. Slocombe. If I were in Iraq I would want to be in the parts of Iraq that he is talking about.
But second, in terms of violence, I think people can tolerate random violence much better than targeted violence. The random violence of the car bombing that happens to kill innocent bystanders as opposed to the knowledge that if I cooperate with the government, someone is going to visit me tonight and I am not going to be around tomorrow.
We can tolerate random violence. What we cannot tolerate is that targeted violence that separates the people from their own government, their own police.
Second, in terms of the popular opinion, I was struck how quickly public opinion in Indonesia has shifted since the relief operations conducted by American forces were undertaken, a radical shift in terms of their views of Americans, even their views of America's role in the Global War on Terrorism.
So one thing I would like to know is: How deep are these views held by the Iraqis?
And related to that, in the final analysis, it is not their views about us, it is not whether they like us; it is whether they like where their government is taking them. Because at the end of the day we are going home. They have to live with that government.
I think that is where we really need to focus our efforts.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And as I mentioned before, you can even see some Shia politicians now saying, ''Well, we cannot tolerate the Americans as occupiers. We might be able to tolerate them as guests.''
So I think there is some room for maneuver there.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Cooper.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the witnesses for sticking around during the votes.
Bob Andrews said earlier, ''The quality of the hearing is inversely proportional to the press gallery.'' You could also add: inversely proportional to the number of Republicans who are attending.
Perhaps they already know the answers. Maybe we should call this a classified hearing, then for sure there would be more people to show up.
I am curious about several things.
One, I read in the paper a couple of months ago that Al Jazeera was for sale. I have not heard anything more about it.
Second, can we really trust the Iraqi troops that we are training, or will it be like the mujahedeen, where we gave them Stingers and eventually many of those Stingers were used against us.
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Third, I am increasingly worried that our military is not really being allowed to be the military and give their unvarnished military advice.
We have the continuing spectacle of our top military leaders coming before us to say things that they could not possibly agree withfor example, Army generals testifying that we need to cut the Army's budget this year during a war. I am sure they make up some money in the supplemental.
But yesterday, the top Air Force general, General Jumper, was here saying his chief worry was, ''aging of the fleet, aircraft.''
I asked him what his budget does about that aging, the answer is precisely nothing, may exacerbate it. Yet he is out here telling us we need to modernize the fleet.
So you kind of wonder if we are getting good advice or straight advice. And these are fine honorable men with long careers in service, and we appreciate that. They risked their lives for the country.
But somehow when they reached the bureaucratic pinnacle, I am not sure we are hearing straight advice, for example, on things like guarding the ammunition dumps after the military portion of the war.
We read more and more in the papers about there was not just looting, but systematic looting of some of the most high-tech equipment that could make weapons of mass destruction. And we simply did not have the forces on the ground to take care of that.
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That could not be in military doctrine to allow that sort of rampage to go on.
But we sit here lulled to sleep by folks who say everything is just fine, just give us a little more money for this or that. But it does not seem to me that we are achieving what we need to when, Mr. Slocombe, you said earlierhe expects us to win.
Well, I hope so. This is a third-rate country. We have the finest military in the history of the world, and we are spending on the current path at least a half a trillion dollars, maybe a trillion dollars, to accomplish the job.
Meanwhile we are bogged down, we are handicapped in dealing with other conflicts possible.
If we do not win it iswhat?a humiliation.
We have set our expectations way too low.
And still, even though this is the fifth Muslim country we have been responsible for trying to improve in the last 10 years, our language speakers are woefully deficient and our civil affairs officers are all outsourced to the guard or the reserve.
We have not modernized to deal with this threat.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You pointed out the bureaucratic difficulty.
If we cannot even get CERP funds to our commanders in the field, what sort of operation are we running here?
It is embarrassing. We are a greater national than that. We should not accept these bureaucratic snafus.
Any response either of you gentlemen would care to make, I would appreciate.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. I really do not know anything about Al Jazeera being for sale.
Two points with respect to can we really trust the Iraqi troops, I guess in a way the Iraqi government that emerges out of this that will control those troops.
To me, the strategic metrics of this war that I did not get into: One, it seems to me that the Administration has to create something approximating a democracy in Iraq as a means of reversing some of the unfavorable trends that we have seen happen in the Arab world and the Islamic world; second, of course, to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
I think if ultimately victory is measured in this way, we certainly, as I said before, have ambitious goals, first, because this is a country that really has never enjoyed democracy, has no history of democracy, does not see its security in terms of its institutions the way we do in this countryour legislature, our courts and so on.
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Second, if the Iranians get nuclear weapons it seems to me if I were an Iraqi, I would want to find a way to get nuclear weapons, and you have that cascading effect then.
So victory or success may have to be measured in terms of delaying perhaps the date that Iraq would have nuclear weapons.
In terms of military advice, I would say certainly, as I mentioned before, we got out of this business after Vietnam. We are struggling to get back into it now in terms of counterinsurgency. The Army, just a few months ago, released a draft doctrinal manual for counterinsurgency.
I know that Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz just signed out a directive that will dramatically increase language studies, studies of particular regions and countries, which I think is a big step in the right direction.
And also, I understand from talking with Dr. Metz that the Army is also resurrecting and emphasizing its strategist program, which I think is a big move in the right direction.
So there are, I think, some positive and encouraging movements.
But as to the question of whether the testimony of our military leaders reflects what is really on their minds, I am afraid it is beyond my scope to answer.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary SLOCOMBE. On the issue of trusting the Iraqi units, I think one of the real concerns is the whole security force is naturally a target for the enemy's counterintelligence penetrations and so on.
And that is a serious problem. We have had some real difficulties.
My view is that you have to approach it from the point of view of ruthlessly weeding out people who are not with the program. If they want to put long-term agents of influence in place, there is probably not a hell of a lot you can do about it.
But if you are more serious because it is a large-scale problem, it is just people who are not adjusted to the new requirements, and you have to be ruthless in weeding them out.
And one of the real tests will be whether the leadership of the new government and the new Minister of Defensewhoever it is, has not been appointed yetwill be prepared to do that.
On the civil affairs, first of all, I have to say I was immensely impressed by the skill of the civil affairs people who were assigned to these jobs and the way in which they worked with the commanders and with the combat units and were able to leverage. It is a terrific asset.
Another part of the military that I hope the committee is familiar with is the Army's FAOs, foreign area officers, which is a program which is always under pressure, but has a huge payoff when we actually need to go into a country or an area.
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An investment in that kind of skills, it is a long-term investment, and that is why it is always tempting to cut it, but it is extremely important.
The CHAIRMAN. Could the gentleman yield?
Could you expand on that FAO a little bit? Talk about them.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. To a limited degree, with my limited knowledge, the Army has a program whereby, as I understand it, officersI think at about the rank of major, but it is people who have been in the service for some significant period of timeare able to elect to into this foreign area office or program.
They learn the relevant languageit might be Spanish, it might be Arabic, it might be Chinese, it might be Swahili, it might be Kurdish. They essentially get special training in the regional area.
A lot of them, obviously, end up as attaches. But they also end up, sometimes, as civil affairs officers, as kind of advisers for commanders who are in the area.
And it has produced a cadre of Army officers who reallyI cannot imagine it is more than maybe a few thousand. I doubt if it is that many. But you have a handful of people who really understand these countries.
I think one of the requirements is you have to learn the language. It is a terrific asset.
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Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, may I comment on that?
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly, and then we will go back and let Mr. Cooper finish his questions.
Mr. SKELTON. Excuse me for interrupting, but there are a couple of problems with the FAO, foreign area officers.
Number one is, I think they go into that specialty too late in their career. I think you ought to grow them from at least first lieutenant on up and gradually increase their responsibilities.
Second, promotions are a kiss of death. They just do not get promoted. And I have seen some very, very able FAOs, and they know full well that they are more capable than the rank that they hold, and yet, they enjoy what they do.
And you have to admire them, because to become fluent in a language, to understand a culture of a country in which they work, that is above and beyond.
And I do not know what we can do about it legislatively, but it concerns me that you do not have more people flocking to those areas that are able.
Excuse my comments, but I just got involved in this recently, and those are my quick thoughts on it.
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Secretary SLOCOMBE. Could I be indulged to peddle one of my ideas that I have tried to sell for a long time?
A lot of these people, as I say, rightly end up as attaches, with I think three exceptions: Moscow, Beijing and Paris, all of our attaches are O6s.
I think it would help the United States a lot if at least some attaches, who are actually O6s for retirement purposes and so on, were breveted as one-stars. It would make them much more effective as attaches in the country.
I also think it is notorious that being an attache is a dead-end job. To a limited extent, then, you get dead-end people in some of the attaches, which is regrettable. But more, you get a system which lets people know that if they are on this track, they are not going to make general.
I think General Eikenberry must be one of the very, very few attaches who has ever gone on in the Army after being an attache.
And if the Army or the other services picked just one or two people every year or so out of this cadre, it would have a huge impact on the system.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. It is my understanding that the directive signed by Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz will require officers who achieve flag rank to have a second language. And there are a number of other things in that directive that will attempt to really enhance those sorts of things I think that you are talking about.
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One interesting development that is ongoing in Iraq right now that I think the Army is struggling with is, in going back to the Vietnam era, they are looking at providing advisers to these Iraqi units. And again, we will not have the luxury of drawing upon a cadre of officers that have those language skills, have those cultural skills.
And at the same time, in terms of sending some of our best officers to do that, there is probably going to be reluctance, because just as in Vietnam, it will be better to serve as a battalion commander, as lieutenant colonel of a U.S. unit in Iraq, than advising the battalion commander, say, of an Iraqi unit, even though that latter mission may be a lot more important in the big scheme of things.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. Mr. Cooper, do you have any follow up? Why do not you go ahead if you have a follow-up. Then we will go to Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You gave me enough time and Mr. Skelton asked my question for me about the career-limiting nature of the FAO position.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay. Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thanks, Duncan. Mr. Slocombe, I have the advantage on you here a little bit today. I have a transcript of both your presentation and the question and answer session from your February 9th presentation last year, a year ago, Iraq's national security strategy.
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Although, I do not know where you gave that particular presentation but if you
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I cannot remember either.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. If it is okay with you I would like tonot quote anything, but make reference to a couple of things in the course of that event because I think, from all of the discussion here this morning, it leads me to where I want to go, the question that I want to ask or the perspective I would like both of you to address.
I have already had the opportunity to speak personally with Andy, so I think you both could speak to it.
Along about page 13 of your presentation, one of the points that you are addressing, in your formal remarks, about the taskI am going to quote here, ''Moreover, the task of creating a national security system has to go beyond simply creating competent forces, phasing out the militias, coping with immediate security threats or even dealing with long-term external requirements.''
And you go on to talk in some detail about the critical part of the transfer of full authority to a sovereign government and what that means in terms of civilian leadership, significant civilian staffing, clear authority over budgets, et ceterain other words, the establishment of a civil society and the institutions associated with it particularly policing and other kinds of things.
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The reason I am concentrating on that, at this juncture, is I am also making reference to what I saw taking place or what the attempt was in Kosovo and the whole Bosnian conflict and intervention with the attempt to establish civil society in terms of people being able to be certain that they would not be robbed in the street, or somebody would not knock on the door at night; if there was some kind of altercation, that there was competent authority to go to that they could have some confidence in.
And then during the question and answer session you also got intosomeone from the National War College asking you, ''In practical terms, a transfer of sovereignty, what will that mean for the remaining coalition civilians and military, i.e., the Coalition Provisional Authority. And do the Iraqis and coalition folks agree on what the situation is supposed to be like after the transfer of sovereignty?''
Then you went on to talk about the polls and some of the things you have mentioned today and, again, emphasizing that civilian side of things. And I think, for Mr. Krepinevich, your centers of gravity and all that revolve around this, too, as well.
The reason I am going through all of this prelude is that my concern is that I believe that the logic of this, militarily speaking, for us, means years and years and years, if you followed through with nothing else coming into the equationwhat happens in Palestine or with the Israelis or Iran. You know, even if you eliminate all that and you just assume that some kind of a bubble could be established.
As I see it, we are not even remotely preparedand this perhaps goes back to some of the questions earlier about the budget that we are receiving. One of the things I have been asking as we go through this budget question that the chairman has to come to grips with sooner rather than laterwe do not even have the National Military Strategy yet for this year. We cannot get that from the Department of Defense.
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Now, I am not flunking them so much as I expect they are having a hell of a hard time trying to come up with something that they can realistically present to us to be representative of what they expect to have to come to grips with; not just in Iraq and Afghanistan but just concentrating on those two areas.
If we are going to continue to have the reserve and guard do this, particularly when it comes to civil affairs and so on, I know that for a fact that virtually the entire guard and reserve in Hawaii has been called up. We do not have anybody left in Hawaii.
Per capita, I think we have probably got the most in the country. I mean, it just does not exist anymore. The guard does not exist anymore.
How is it possible for us to reconcile the configuration of today's armed services with the budget that is associated with it, and the realistic expectation that either or both of you could lay out for us now as to the time frame within which it is likely all these things will have to take place?
I cannot see the reconciliation right now.
And the reason I am asking this question is so I do not give you any false construct here.
Because I am one that thinks that we have to remove people sooner rather than later, because I think going on the idea simply that, well, we have to work this out over a period of time, is not an answer; it is a way to avoid coming to grips with the import of the question or the proposition I have put before you.
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Secretary SLOCOMBE. Well, those are certainly real concerns. I certainly cannot speakone of the luxuries of not being in the government is I do not have to defend why they have not produced things like the National Military Strategy on time.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I merely cite that in the context of what you had to deal with
Secretary SLOCOMBE. No, I understand what you are saying.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE [continuing]. In the provisional authority.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. First of all, a good deal of progress was made before June 30th to build a base for a civilian Ministry of Defense. Iraq has the only civilian Ministry of Defense in the Arab world.
And it has its problems and so on, but that is actually an area where my successor, David Gompert, with very good support both from the American military and from Ambassador Bremer, made a lot of progress, and Negroponte has carried on that. And that is something the Iraqis want to have work.
But you are right. This whole business of building a civil society is an absolutely core part of success.
In terms of the time, I cannot give an estimate as to how long we are going to need to stay there for internal security reasons.
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My own personal view is that if we put the resources into it over the next couple of years, I would be very surprised if we are not able to, by that time, to substantially pull down American forces so that most of the internal security mission is handled by Iraqis.
And that certainly would be the target and I think it is not an unrealistic one. But whether that will happen depends obviously on events on the ground.
And then there is the longer-term problem of whether the Iraqis will want us to leave. If the Iraqis tell us to leave tomorrow we should live.
I think we have no interestas important as our interests are, we have no interest in staying in this country if a freely elected government says we should leave. There is no sign that they will do that.
In terms of leaving when we have gotten the job done, I think a time frame of a couple of years is probably realistic.
I agree with you that we are straining the guard and the reserve beyond, I do not know, the breaking point, but very, very badly. And we cannot, in the future, depend as heavily on the guard and reserve for certain critical skills, like civil affairs and military policemen (MPs) and so on as we have. And that is going to require some restructuring of the forces.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. I think, for us to achieve our objectiveswhich have to involve at least, aside from sustaining democracy in Iraq, also preventing a civil war that would undermine itwe are going to have to have what one might call a security blanket military force there, more than likely, over the long haul.
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And this, in fact, may be what is happening in Afghanistan right now with what is going on with the government therewhich is to say, a small U.S. military presence that gives the indigenous factions confidence that they can proceed with developing their country, developing their democracy, developing their economy, without having to worry about things disintegrating into a civil war and sort of the traditional experience of power grabbing that we have seen in that part of the world.
But that is going to take time. And I think it would be a mistake to withdraw our forces before we have that kind of understanding, and certainly should work hard to develop it, but also before Iraqi forces are really trained, organized, equipped and capable of providing for the security of their own country.
Parenthetically, in terms of the national military strategy, this year I think, from what I have seen in the Pentagon, there is the prospect of perhaps the most fundamental defense review in my memory, given the parameters that have been set forth by Secretary Rumsfeld, in terms of moving beyond the focus on traditional kinds of challenges to our security to look at a range of these irregular challengescatastrophic attacks on our homelandand also those challenges that are on the horizon.
In a sense, since the last major defense review, we have seen our country attacked, we have fought two major military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are fighting two insurgencies, we are fighting a Global War on Terrorism.
There is an enormous opportunity. And one would expect, as I guess you do, Congressman, that there would be an enormous shift in terms of our military strategy as a consequence.
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But I suspect those things take time. And as Mr. Slocombe said, fortunately I am not in the position of having to defend how much time they are taking to do it.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Could I just add one thing on the timing issue?
I think that success in Iraq, whatever you think about the war, success in Iraq is so important that the pace at which we pull down our military presence should be driven by the results, not by a schedule, for a whole lot of reasons.
I mean, I suppose there will be political pressures to do sort of what the Italians are going to do, to announce a token withdrawal as a sign of success. And you probably could do it without too much harm.
But that is the wrong way to think about the problem, I think. It is that we ought to set ourselves the kind of metrics that Andrew Krepinevich talks about. And then as those metrics are met, we can pull down our presence.
And I think it is probably right, assuming it is acceptable for the Iraqis, that it may well be that a very small U.S. presence in the long run may make sense from everybody's point of view. But that is a complicated question, and we are, unfortunately, way, way down the road from having to answer that question.
But my point is that the pace of the pulldown ought to be geared to results, not a timetable.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I agree with that. My problem is, is every time I get to that pointI am not disagreeing with anything that is said hereall of a sudden a fuzz sets in, a kind of fog sets in.
But even you said, ''if we put the resources.'' I am trying to figure out exactly what resources do we put to try to get to some of these metrics. I am not arguing with any of that.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. No, I understand that, I understand that.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And how do we translate that?
Let me tell you why: There is a practical side of this. It is not just for academic purposes or debate scoring points, is that we have to translate that somehow into a budget, an authorization and so on.
And we are required to do this, I mean, both by inclination and constitutional duty, and I cannot see that clearly yet.
For example, let me give you example. I just fought an election in which I had come into it just a month beforethe latest filing in the country, it is July before the election in Hawaii, it is the latest filingand I spent half a million bucks, or close to it, having to raise the moneyfighting on the proposition simply because I said, if we do not discuss a draft in this country, we are not, realistically, as a country coming to grips with the sacrifice that the military is making right now, that we are not making any sacrifices in this country on behalf of that, that the only sacrifice we made, so far as I can tell, except for the military itself, including the guard and reserve, since 9/11 has been postpone the Super Bowl for a week in 2001.
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After that, it has been some inconveniencessome inconveniences. You got to take your shoes off in an airport or something of that nature. And after all, the reason you are doing that is to keep yourself from being killed. So I do not even know if you can count that as an inconvenience.
The mere fact that I raised that issue, I of course then had to defend, ''Abercrombie wants to draft your kids and get them all killed and all the rest of it.''
And this goes to the point of Andy's question about the three centers of gravity, including the people there.
If you have a nation that will not even consider whether, if we are in a war on terror and we are having to make sacrifices in order to confront and combat effectively whateverhaving been attacked on the mainlandcoming from Hawaii, I can say on the mainland of the United States and so onand we will not even take up the question of whether 98 percent of us get to watch it on television, and that our sacrifice constitutes reading in the paper or having television talk about fallen heroes, so that we get to vicariously indulge ourselves in an ongoing human interest story about separation of spouses and kids and all the rest of it for the guard.
If we are doing it at a distance, then I am very concerned that what we are going to end up doing hereand this is what I do not want to do.
I do not want to participate in what amounts to a kind of pageant of indifference or aI do not want to say a farce, because it is not a farce, but a kind of play-acting or let's pretend, where we act here in the Congress as if we are really going to do something solid about meeting our obligations in this context that you have established, but what we are really doing is letting a few people make all of the sacrifices, including getting killed and wounded, and the rest of us stand around, budget after budget, year after year, as this drifts into a kind of subdued chaos.
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Now, I am kind of revealing what is in my soul here. Believe me, I am not unusual on this committee. Everybody takes their job seriously on this committee, and we want to do the right thing.
And it is not so much I am pleading with you guys, ''Give us an answer to our problem,'' but what I am saying is, we have to have more than a phrase like, ''if we put in all the right resources,'' or, ''if we are able to do this.''
We got to figure out how exactly are we supposed to do this. Should we have a draft?
Should we draft people who can speak languages? Should we make a concerted effort?
I mean, those are the kinds of things we have to figure out.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. You might start by not firing because they are gay.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes, something as stupid as that. You know, we are still dealing with dumb stuff like that.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I mean, I have tried to outline some of the things that I think need doingand I know we are way over time.
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I think one of the
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Excuse me, I know we are over time. But believe me, the chairman has to come to grips with this and provide the leadership on this, along with Mr. Skelton, and you do not see him getting up and leaving. Because I think this is in his mind. He wants to do the right thing.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I think the issue of how a democratic society shares sacrifice for a whole lot of things, but security being one of them, is one of the toughest issues.
I happen to think a draft is not even part of the answer. But I think the problem we are going to have in getting enough people to want to serve in the military and also getting enough people, enough civilians, to want to go out and do the parts of these jobs that ought to be done by civilians, is a major problem.
I mean one of the things that I was struck by, when I was out there, was how many civilians had volunteered to go out and did not have, in hardly any case, most of the benefits that the military had.
And it is all very well to say the military should be stuck with these responsibilities. But if we do not organize the government so that the civilian agencieswhether it is in state or whether it is someplace else, including in the intelligence communitywe do not organize the system so we can get some of those burdens off the military, we are not going to achieve the job, and we are certainly not going to have shared sacrifice.
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Dr. KREPINEVICH. My only addition to what was just said is, as a American citizen I think I want an answer to the question that Congressman Taylor posed, which is: What are our goals, what is our policy? I think we have gotten that so far.
What I also would like to have is a clear understanding of what is it going to take in terms of resources. How many lives are we going to have to put at risk? How many dollars are we going to have to spend?
And then some understanding of how they are going to be applied, you know, how are these means going to be applied to achieve the ends that we seek, which is strategy. What is the strategy for how we are going to archive these ends?
And how does it integrate the kinds of things that Mr. Slocombe was talking about, the political, the economic, the social, the security?
And then finally give me some metrics. Give me some way that I can judge whether or not progress is being made.
And I think that those are basic questions when you undertake any enterprise like war and those are the ones that, I think, when you get down to the strategy and the metrics, that a number of us are struggling with, and I think that is the basis for a good exchange between the committee and the Administration.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You have been very kind, Mr. Chairman.
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And both of you have been more than kind in indulging me, and my ruminations on this.
But in the end then, what I am concluding from all of this is that we are in great danger of doing something that I think that your book made clear to me, as I reviewed it.
We are in great danger of substituting military activity for political policy, or the military activity becomes the political policy, and that we begin to set up a series of metrics in which our political decisions are based on, and made on the basis of what our military activity is.
And if that happens, I think it will have the reverse effect of what you are suggesting we need to do.
I wish I had a pat answer on all of that, but that is what I want to avoid. I do not want to have military activity itself become its own rationale for, and in fact, the basis of political decision-making.
Thank you. Thanks, Mr. Chairman. I really appreciate your indulgence.
The CHAIRMAN. I think it is important to have these extended discussions. I think it is good.
You know, the gentleman brought up the idea of disparate sacrifice.
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But that is always been the case.
I think from my reading of Teddy Roosevelt's life, one reason he wanted to become a Rough Rider and go out and lean forward in a military role was, as I recall, his dad, in the Civil War, I think, hired a surrogate to take his place in the Army.
And that was something you could do if you had enough bucks in those days. So we have always had this disparate burden-bearing, if you will.
But I am reminded also when were inand I was over in Iraq with my friend Mr. Abercrombie. We had a great trip over there. This trip after that, when we were over in Fallujah, General Kellywho now heads up liaison here on the Hill, but a great guy who was a deputy commander of the 1st Marine Division in Fallujahwhile he was deputy commander, his son, Robert, was a rifleman, I believe a PFC, in ground operations in the city.
So you had in the same family the deputy division commander and arguably one of the lowest ranking rifleman going door-to-door in these very difficult, very dangerous operations.
In fact, General Kelly, Christmas day, was at Bethesda Hospital talking to the wounded Marines. And he asked one of them where he got the bullet holes in his leg. And the guy replied, ''Well, as a matter of fact, General, I was with your son.'' And words to the effect of, ''He made it in the building and I did not.'' And that set the general back a little.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I give that illustration because there is aeven though the burden sharing is not an even thing across the boardand that is one thing the draft does. If you do not have 150 waivers and exceptions, a draft can do that.
The fact that you have the American people produce these folks that go out and go to very and very inconvenient places, and live very inconvenient lives, and put themselves in dangerous positions to serve this country is the strength of the country.
And interestingly, I would say to my colleague, they do it, even though they look next door and they see the neighbor who is not bearing the burden. And they understand that. They accept that and they go anyway.
And I do not know if there is a way that we canwe certainly cannot legislate the American spirit or the incentive or the initiative that moves people to join the military.
And that takes me to a question that you touch on, which is a question that you sayin one of your statements you say that ultimately, the American service men could vote with their feet, that is, could refuse to sign up, because this is a voluntary military we have here.
You have looked at the latest statistics, the last couple of months, for recruitment. There has been a little downswing, I think, in the Army recruitment, in the national guard, and a slight failure to meet goals, I believe, in the Marine Corps in the last couple of months.
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What do you think? Could you comment on that?
Do you think that is the fact that we have settled into this long, very violent and very difficult operation, and people are taking a look at that every day on their TV screens and deciding that there is other things they want to do?
Dr. KREPINEVICH. I do think, Mr. Chairman, as I have said in my testimony, the American soldier in this war, unlike the Vietnam War, is a center of gravity.
In the Vietnam War, if we needed more troops, we just increased the draft call. We cannot do that this time around.
So consequently, the American soldier does get a vote, and the vote is with his or her feet.
It is about the hearts and minds, I think, to a certain extent, of the American soldier. The heart in the sense of: Is this sacrifice I am making for my country a worthy sacrifice? And is that sacrifice honored by the American people?
And I think right now we are very fortunate that, not only do enough young men and women feel that sacrifice is a worthy one, but that they are honored by their countrymen for having made that.
At some point, though, you begin to look at the balance-tipping for several reasons: One is, ''Is this my second tour in Iraq? My third tour? Am I looking forward to a fourth tour in Iraq?''
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The volunteer military is a family military, not a single military. And there are enormous family considerations. I can tell you, as someone who served for 21 years, they weigh heavily on any good soldier.
And then there is winning the minds. Do soldiers feel like they are being well led? It may be a worthy cause, but are we being well led?
Is there a prospect for victory? Because, again, people who are willing to make the sacrifice for a noble cause may not be willing to make that sacrifice for what they believe to be is a hopeless cause or an ill-led cause.
And I think we have to be very much attuned to that.
And I do think that some of these factors, obviously, the hardship of the duty, as you mentioned, the frequency of the duty, the personal risk that these people undertake, and probably other things, are leading to some of these little red flags beginning to pop up.
And you see it in terms of the shrinking pool of delayed entries, in terms of service in the Army; you see it in the need for dramatically increased retention bonuses.
And General Myers, who coined the phrase, ''the hollow Army,'' once said to me that he thought that once you started down the slope, in terms of recruitment and retention problems, it had kind of a snowball effect, that it gathered momentum, and if you did not catch it early, there was doing to be hell to pay trying to push that snowball back up the hill.
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And of course we saw that in the early 1980's.
So I share your concern. And I do think that in this war one of the limits on our ability to apply force, even though we would like to have more troops in Iraq, is clearly a sense that we cannot overstress that force.
And so, in a real sense, the burden for these deployments has been shifted from the American people, who risked having their sons and daughters taken off to war, to the senior Army leadership, because they know there is no draft call to increase, that if they break that force, it is going to be their responsibility to put it back together again.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. It is obviously hard to tell why people enlist, why they do not enlist.
One of the things I was struck by in looking at this issue of the draft is that basically now the military recruits from peopleboys, menwho graduate from high school and do not go straight to college. I mean, there are obviously exceptions, but to a good first order approximation that is where the recruitment is.
And to fill the quota, we have to recruit for the military something like 20 or 25 percent of that cohort, which is a huge share.
The draft is not the answer, partly because it would become so random because you need so few people. Even if you prohibited voluntary enlistments in all the services, you would take only about 10 percent of the cohort.
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So it would become a highly random thing, which in some ways would lead to all the other problems, which would be terrible aside.
But I think somehow we have to find a way to make military service attractive outside this rather narrow band of people whomen who graduate from high school and do not go straight to college. There are a variety of ways to think about doing that.
I think, in the long run, the problem that Andrew Krepinevich identifies is much more a problem of retention, and of the guard and reserve rather than initial enlistments.
And that, I think, is a problemobviously the draft does not solve that at all. And how youhow the strain that we are putting on the military, and especially on the guard and reserve of repeated deployments, repeated separations from their family that I think isit does not seem to be showing up too badly yet, but it is one of those things that, as you say, can take a while to have an effect and then becomes very hard to reverse.
The CHAIRMAN. The Ranking Member never did get his question in, did you?
Mr. SKELTON. No, but I have about 54 of them I could ask right now.
The CHAIRMAN. And, gentlemen, thank you for taking so much time with us. We appreciate that and it is a good conversation.
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I hope we are not making it so when we call you next time, the phone is going to ring off the hook once you look at your caller ID and see it is Armed Services Committee calling.
The gentleman is recognized.
Mr. SKELTON. So while we have them, let's ask a few.
Dr. Krepinevich, you said there are three centers of gravity: the American people, the Iraqi people and the American soldier.
I am worried about the latter. And I appreciate the discussion that you had that was initiated by Neil Abercrombie with his line of questioning.
Since I have been in Congress, which is a little over 28 years, not counting the deployments in Colombia or the strikes against Sudan and Afghanistan, I have counted 11 instances when American military have been in harm's way all the way from small to major instances. And just as sure as God made little green apples, it is going to happen in the future.
And if we were guaranteed there would be no conflicts over the next 15 years, my worry would be less.
But I fear that, using your phrase, the overstress of the forcethe chairman mentioned it, I mentioned it in previous hearings about the strain that is on the military: I think it is deadly serious.
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And you have not lived until you have had a national guard spouse accost you and saying, ''I will tell you one thing, Congressman, when my husband gets home, he is getting out of the national guard. And not only that, everybody in his unit is too.''
Well, of course, that is not going to happen. But that is a mindset that is out there.
Of course, when they come home, they are honored, thank goodness. Most of them receive plaudits from the home communities. At least they are in rural Missouri.
And my guess is, very few will follow through with that prediction by that wife.
But I worry about the stretch and the strain in the third center of gravity continuing, as strong as it has been.
And it is not just the guard and reserve.
I was down in U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Mr. Chairman, the other day, and they had a briefing on a number of issues, including the recruitment and retention.
And it is interesting to hear their recruiting general tell me that the real reason that African-American recruitment has gone way down and the Hispanic recruitment has gone way down is because of mama. The mother is saying, ''Son, daughter, not a good idea.'' And those have plummeted in the last several months, which places additional strain upon other young folks, and the pool is shrinking.
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I had a conversation with Mr. Slocombe a few minutes ago. You are less worried, I understand, about the active duty. Because they know that is part of the job. When they sign up, they know they are going to be deployed, whether it is aboard a ship or an airplane or on the ground.
That is not necessarily so with the guard and reserve. And at some point there is going to be a breaking point. And this just worries me to death, come a serious confrontation, whether it be in the Taiwan Strait and all of the problems that would arise or some unforsaken place that we just cannot dream of this moment, and we do not have the forces to do it. And what forces we have are stretched and broken.
I am terribly worried about this. And I do not know where we go. I do not see a light at the end of the tunnel on this at all. Am I wrong, gentlemen?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I think the problem is that it is a long-term problem. And we need a military that is deployable and flexible and effective and big and all of that. And the questions is: How are we going to do it?
And as you know, I think all of these deployments have been justified. And you cannot operate on the principle where we cannot use the military to do things that are important for the country, because it will make retention hard. That is going to get the cart before the horse.
But I think it is a serious problem. And one of the things that I think we have, as a country, to think about is how weI mean, some of it is technical. You can reduce the burden on the guard and reserve by having more of the active force cover some of the functions that we thought we could rely on the reserves for. That is more or less mechanical.
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But in gross terms, I think it is a serious long-term problem. And one of the real questions is: Are there not ways to expand the range of kinds of people who will find a military career attractive?
The cohort is going to get smaller, just the demographics. The number of people is going to get smaller.
Presumably more people are going to go to college. God willing, the economy will continue to improve. That is one of the reasons recruitment gets hard.
And as long as we have to recruit from such a narrow range of the country, A, we do not have the shared sacrifice and, B, the numbers just begin to get very, very difficult.
That is somewhat different from the retention problem.
And by the way, I worry about the retention problem in the active force, as people have to make a decision. Are they going to stay in and make it a career, as opposed to something they do in their 20's, when they get married and they begin to have kids, and they want a more stable life. I think it is an issue there as well.
Mr. SKELTON. It is anecdotal, but based upon the statistics that we have had in the past, only 37 percent of West Pointers stick it out for 20 years. And it is anecdotal that a disproportionate number of them now, today, are getting out after their mandatory five years. Of course, I do not have any figures on that, but that comes swirling in.
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Andrew, do you have any comments?
Dr. KREPINEVICH. Yes, I think the glass may be partially full.
Obviously, we did not structure our Army to fight this kind of war. We structured our Army after Vietnam for short wars. You had the Weinberger and Powell doctrine, exit strategies, and I think it is showing up here. We have an enemy that is forcing us to run a marathon, not a 100-yard dash.
The Army is tackling that. It is going to be very interesting to see if this modularity initiative gives us more in the way of deployable combat power, re-rolling the force, standing down some artillery units, creating units that are more relevant for this kind of warfare.
There is a very interesting Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study that is coming out on that shortly, a very comprehensive look at the problem. There may be, as Mr. Slocombe says, a better way to structure the mix between and the roles and missions of the guard and reserve.
You can call the reserve up, a guard unit, for 12 months, but you do not get 12 months of service in Iraq. They have to spend a couple months training up, a couple months demobilizing at the end, so you only get a fraction of the time that you really have them called up for, in terms of their deployment.
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another thing that is going to be very interesting to see, with respect to this Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) defense review, is whether or not we begin to use Iraq as a planning template.
And I do not think we can. I do not think we can scale this force up to a much larger level, absent a national emergency, than we already have.
And yet, you look at Iran, which is not the most stable government, that has three times the population of Iraq; Pakistan, far less stable, eight times the population of Iraq.
We are not going to have a military that is eight times the size of the one we have now. We are going to have to think about different solutions, if not for those reasons, for the fact that the personnel budget is eating the procurement budget from the inside out, and we are at the point where we need to recapitalize the force.
In my mind, we are going to have to look more to rely on allies than we have in the past, but perhaps a different set of allies than we have in the past, because the problems are different and the location of the threat is different.
But alsoand this is something that seems to be a major initiative within the Army and within the Administrationis to train indigenous forces, somewhat similar to the effort that we had in the 1960's, to train indigenous forces to help provide for stability within their own country.
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Iraq is a rather unique case, because there was no government, there was no military at the beginning of this insurgency. But that is also going to be a challenge, as you have rightly noted, in terms of training these officers, that would be capable of going overseas, understanding the culture, understanding the military institutions they are asked to work with, in order to make them more capable and more professional of accomplishing that kind of mission, so we do not have to send our forces over there to do it, or at least not in the kinds of numbers that we see in Iraq.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I have 53 additional questions, but in light of the time and the fact that you have been here so longand we really appreciate not only your time, but your expert testimony and advice.
I will yield back my time.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. I think Mr. Taylor had a closing question or comment, so, Gene, why don't you wrap it up?
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, sir. I cannot pronounce your last name so I am going to call you Andrew, if you do not mind.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. That works.
Mr. TAYLOR. I read with great interest that you thought one of the measurements should be the number of times we initiate the fighting rather than the insurgents. Interestingly enoughI am drawing a blank, Colin Powell's right-hand man, bald head, Navy SEAL
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Dr. KREPINEVICH. Rich Armitage.
Mr. TAYLOR [continuing]. Rich Armitage had also made that same observation last time I spoke with him.
Do our significant activity reports record who does that or would a Member of Congress actually have to go back and look at every account and say who started what?
Dr. KREPINEVICH. There are a number of organizations that have been gathering data on what has been going on in Iraq. For example, Joint Forces Command is responsible for lessons learned and so they gather certain data on operations.
Mr. TAYLOR. The reason I ask is, I asked General Casey, in January, if we tracked thatactually, who initiates the attack? He said we did not. And I found that strange. So do you know otherwise?
Dr. KREPINEVICH. My understanding is that the State Department was tracking that in some way, shape or form. That is my understanding.
Mr. TAYLOR. Secretary Slocombe, do you recall?
Dr. KREPINEVICH. I had a conversation with Ambassador Armitage at one point and we were talking about this particular metric. And my impression was that he had data on that. I do not know that for a fact.
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Mr. TAYLOR. My impression was
Secretary SLOCOMBE. General Casey is an expert on what he does and does not have, but when I was out there that was actuallyof the metrics, that was one of the ones that was regularly briefed. There would be a chart that would show a number of incidents, number that were initiated by coalition forces
Mr. TAYLOR. Where do you think that metric is now? Do you think we initiate most of the shooting? Or do you think the insurgents do?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I have no idea.
Dr. KREPINEVICH. I do not have access to the data.
Of course, what you would be interested in, Congressman, is the trend. In other words, if it is 60 percent today, was it 20 percent 4 months ago or was it 90 percent? And that is what you would be looking at is the trend.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. All metrics also have problems. You do not want to rewardonce you begin keeping track of that, people will make sure that when they go out on a patrol they shoot at somebody, and then it is an initiated contact. But the basic point is right.
And my recollection is it was tracked. They may have stopped doing it because they decided it was not a meaningfulalthough it was in principle meaningful, actually getting the numbers in a meaningful way was not getting anywhere.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Again, thank both of you, gentlemen, for sticking around for so long.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, gentlemen, thank you and thanks for having some good endurance today.
And I think our conversation was very enlightening, very instructive, and we really appreciate you folks devoting as much time as you have to this very critical national issue.
Thanks a lot.
[Whereupon, at 12:59 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]