SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10821]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005H.R. 4200
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
FULL COMMITTEE HEARINGS
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AUTHORIZATION AND OVERSIGHT
MARCH 24, 2004
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
One Hundred Eighth Congress
DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
CURT 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
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
ED SCHROCK, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JEFF MILLER, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
ROB BISHOP, Utah
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES 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
RODNEY ALEXANDER, Louisiana
TIM RYAN, Ohio
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Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
James M. Lariviere, Professional Staff Member
Justin Bernier, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, March 24, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActRegional Combatant Commanders, U.S. European Command and U.S. Southern Command
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTREGIONAL COMBATANT COMMANDERS, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND AND U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
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Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Hill, Gen. James T., USA, Commander, US, Southern Command
Jones, Gen. James L., USMC, Commander, U.S. European Command
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Hill, Gen. James T.
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Jones, Gen. James L.
Skelton, Hon. Ike
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2005, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTREGIONAL COMBATANT COMMANDERS, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND AND U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 24, 2004.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:08 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
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The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. This morning, the committee continues its review of the posture of our unified commands for fiscal year 2005. Our guests today are General James L. Jones, United States Marine Corps, Commander, U.S. European Command (EUCOM); and General James T. Hill, U.S. Army, Commander, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). Welcome back to the committee, gentlemen. We look forward to your testimony. We appreciate your appearance. Over the last year or so, a number of critics have accused the Administration of acting unilaterally in the world. If your test for multilateralism is global consensus, it would be easy to believe that those charges were accurate. In fact, they could not be further from the truth.
Even though France, Germany and Belgium criticized the United States for Operation Iraqi Freedom, some 34 countries have contributed forces to providing security and stability in Iraq. Three fall under General Hill's area of responsibility and 22 of those countries fall under General Jones'. Collectively, they constitute a majority of our allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The United States is also working cooperatively with 34 other countries in the International Security and Assistance Force in Afghanistan, under NATO leadership.
In Haiti, the United States has deployed peacekeepers in cooperation with troops from France, Canada and Chile. And in Colombia, the United States is actively engaged in raising standards of professionalism and instilling a respect for human rights in the Colombian military, both of which are necessary if Colombia's fragile democracy is to prevail against narco-terrorists.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Africa, the Administration is launching the Pan-Sahel initiative to assist Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritanian in reducing the ungoverned spaces they share and closing down a possible refuge for terrorists and their allies. In Liberia, U.S. forces worked closely with the Economic Community of West African States, an organization of 15 countries, to bring fighting there to a halt and restore some degree of law and order.
Clearly, this is not the picture of a country unable to work and play well with others. Instead of the caricature painted by certain pundits, it is the image of an Administration moving proactively and multilaterally to change material facts on the ground and improve U.S. national security. And ultimately, that is where our security livesin proactively changing our environment by acting to remove the threats to our security, not in accepting the lowest common denominator on which the world's governments can all agree.
Being proactive means changing some of our historical national security relationships. It means that some activities and locations accustomed to being at the center of U.S. policymaking during the Cold War will become less important and that some feelings could be hurt as the United States changes its global defense posture to reflect the new strategic landscape we face. Ultimately, it means changing our global footprint and relocating many of our military forces around the world.
Generals Jones and Hill understand that, and are at the center of these shifts. Even as we meet, they have been reconfiguring their activities to better deal with the war on terror. Gentlemen, I look forward to hearing how your Commands are adapting to our new strategic circumstances.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So thank you again for being with us and taking some of your valuable time to work with the committee this morning. Before we go to General Jones, let me recognize my partner, the distinguished gentleman from Missouri, the Ranking Democrat, for any remarks he might want to make. Mr. Skelton?
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and thank you for calling and arranging this hearing.
General Hill, welcome back, and General Jones, we welcome you back to the committee. I think this is your first visit, however, as the Commander of the European Command, and a special thanks to you for visiting with our delegation in Ramstein when we were on our way back from Afghanistan and Iraq. I know many know already, but you were honored last night at the Marine Barracks with the unveiling of your portrait, so we congratulate you on that, General Jones.
Let me say, Mr. Chairman, at the outset how proud we are of the young men and young women who serve in the commands that are seated before us. We know the many forces from Europe, including now the First Infantry Division, are now in Iraq and many more have already served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They have done so with distinction.
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In the Southern Command, American Marines are trying to bring order again out of troubled Haiti, as they have so many other places and so many other times. Each time I visit with the troops, I am amazed at how accomplished they are. General Jones, our NATO partners have formed a core alliance for more than 50 years. They are with us in Afghanistan. Our collective presence there I believe is key to helping President Karzai bring stability to that nation. I also believe that our NATO allies are critical in our efforts in Iraq in assuring the Iraqis that this is not an American occupation alone, and decreasing the burden on our already-stretched troops.
Things, as we know, have a potential to go bad quickly in Iraq. Last week's bombing showed that. I hope the transition to some new government at the end of June goes smoothly and that Iraq becomes a stable country with a viable and representative form of government. I also worry that the situation there could devolve into a civil war. We need to be prepared for that possibility. Hopefully, it does not come to pass.
The NATO countries are the best friends we have, and Europe has just as great a stake in Iraq and the Middle East as we do. Stability is as important to them as it is to us. In the aftermath of the Spanish bombings, though, I worry about their significant NATO participation in Iraq and that it will become problematic. General Jones, I hope you will address us on that issue.
General Hill, it will not come as any surprise to you that I remain concerned about our troop involvement in Colombia, in particular the Department's request to increase the existing troop and contract caps that are there. This is not to say that I do not think the president there is making progress against the rebel groups. I think that he is. My concern is about the level of American military commitment. I believe doubling the number of military personnel is not a small increase. I am concerned that this increase portends a creeping involvement in the conflict that is, at its base, a civil war; that tying ourselves so closely to the success of the Colombia Plan is a worry that we are effectively committing ourselves to future requests for troop increases if things do go badly. I do not hope for that outcome, but I think the possibility argues for a strategic look at the entire policy now if we find ourselves defaulting into any significant military obligations.
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I am particularly concerned about the troop cap issue. I hope, General Hill, you will address this issue for us. I have believed for some time that we need a significant and permanent end-strength increase, especially in the Army. Even if we got that increase, I still believe we currently should examine the strategic necessity of this policy change of which you are to testify.
So we thank you both, General Jones and General Hill, for being with us. We look forward to your testimony.
Mr. Chairman, thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the distinguished gentleman.
General Jones, welcome back before the committee. We respect you greatly and the leadership that you have exercised to project American power in the form of Marine amphibious groups around the world. We know you have a tough challenge and you are kind of in a period, an interesting period. It is one marked by warfighting, but also sometimes that is the best time to move new configurations, without all the burdens and the slow-downs that are associated with a totally peacetime situation.
So thanks for all your past efforts and for what you are going to do. The floor is yours, sir.
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STATEMENT OF GEN. JAMES L. JONES, USMC, COOMANDER, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND
General JONES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a great pleasure to be back before this committee for one more time, this time in my capacity as Allied Commander in Europe and Commander of U.S. forces in Europe.
By way of just consolidating my statement, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, I will just make a few brief remarks and ask that the balance be submitted for the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly. Without objection, both statements will be taken into the record.
General JONES. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, 2003 was a dramatically exciting year for both the alliance and for the U.S. European Command, whose responsibilities span approximately 91 countries in Europe and Africa. 2003 was marked by change the likes of which we have not seen perhaps in the history of NATO. I would like to spend a few words on the NATO aspect of things because it is so important and so clearly connected to what it is we are going to be doing in the future as a nation, and more importantly, how we are going to be doing it with regard to using our military forces.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the most fundamental changes that happened to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was the Prague Summit of 2002, which gave clear guidance for the direction of the alliance. In short form, the alliance was tasked with transforming itself and becoming more relevant, abandoning the World War II structures, a 20th century mentality of linear conflict, static defense of formations based around large massed armies that could defend territory, but could not project or go anywhere else.
The Prague Summit mandated through a very ambitious list of Prague capability commitments that the alliance change itself and become more useful on a global scale. It mandated the creation of the NATO response force, which was in its most expeditionary elements to be prepared to move within 5 days of notification, sustain itself for 30 days anywhere on the face of the globe. It mandated that we close unnecessary headquarters that dotted the landscapes of NATO and streamline the command process. It mandated the creation of three operational headquarters. It mandated the disestablishment of the Supreme Headquarters Atlantic and the creation of the Allied Command for Transformation, which is up and running today in Norfolk, as you well know.
The point of all of that, Mr. Chairman, is to say that the alliance accomplished all of those things in less than one year. The NATO response force is a reality. The command structure has been reformed. The allied transformation is a reality. The three operational headquarters are a reality. Like our forces here in the United States, NATO's forces are also increasingly engaged on a global playing field.
As we speak today, NATO is conducting highly successful and challenging operations of a maritime nature in the Mediterranean on both the eastern and western ends of that important body of water. It is conducting ongoing Balkan operations in specifically Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, and is getting ready to transfer the operational control of the operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the European Union, presumably some time at the end of this year.
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Finally, in its most ambitious undertaking in perhaps the history of the alliance, NATO has signaled its intent and willingness to do much more and expand its mission in Afghanistan. Currently, there are 6,300 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan operating in and around the capital of Kabul, with one provincial reconstruction team under the German lead-nation concept in Konduz. We are in the middle of a force generation process in NATO to expand that to five provincial reconstruction teams, two more in Konduz, and three in the province around the city of Herat. NATO has said that it will continue to expand in Afghanistan and take over much more of the provincial reconstruction team effort and security stability and reconstruction operations in the country. This should be welcome news to us.
So if 2003 was a year of change, 2004 is a year of operations. The operations that I have just described represent the direction, the clear and unmistakable direction of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as it revamps itself, redefines itself and seeks to have more impact in ongoing world crises.
The biggest change, though, in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is around the concept of transformation. Nations understand that in order to be more effective and in order to be more agile, more expeditionary, more deployable, more useful, the massed armies of the past are just that. They need to be reformed. They need to be reduced and they need to maintain their budget investments at least at the current levels in order to generate economies of scale so that the transformation, which is principally a function of the land armies of Europe, can take place.
It is extremely important that certain ongoing programs in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization continue to survive. I will just mention a few: the Partnership for Peace Program, which is going to next week produce seven new full members of NATO. It is a program that is very much deserving of our support. As we speak, there are political discussions underway to determine what new countries might be good candidates to join this very important program.
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The Mediterranean Dialogue is also a program that deserves some scrutiny and rejuvenation as countries such as Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco become more aligned with our philosophies and more contributing members in the Global War on Terrorism, specifically Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. We can generate the Mediterranean Dialogue which should reflect a community of nations, in my view, from around the Mediterranean basin, so that we can make significant reductions in illegal trafficking, shipment of weapons of mass destruction, uncontrolled human migration, terrorists seeking new havens in both Northern Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, and the ungoverned spaces of that vast continent, and be able to better control the accesses through the Mediterranean and add to the security of the southern flank of NATO, but also and equally importantly, the northern flank of Africa.
The United States European Command plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of these ongoing missions within the context of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Tasked with having oversight of 91 countries, the U.S. European Command acknowledges the family of threats, the focus on the greater Middle East, and also the emerging threats to our south that I just mentioned a moment ago with regard to Northern Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
In 1993, the U.S. European Command contributed as a supporting command to Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF). On this score, I would like to emphasize that over 95 percent of the Continental United States (CONUS)-based units transited the European Commands area of responsibility (AOR) en route to Afghanistan and Iraq. Units included the 101st Airborne Division, the Third Infantry Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, the Fourth Infantry Division, the First Marine Expeditionary Force, numerous carrier battle groups, and Air Force fighter wings.
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Transiting through Europe unimpeded, they were provided the support of air space and overflight coordination and approval, transit rights through various countries within the EUCOM AOR, force protection for all vessels transiting the Mediterranean, bed-down locations for aircraft and passengers, and provided fuel, subsistence, replenishment and maintenance support for aircraft ships and vehicles en route to the CENTCOM AOR.
Some of the major seaports used included Rota, Spain; Souda Bay, Greece; Burgas, Bulgaria; Livorno, Italy; Constanza, Romania; Mersin, Turkey; and Ashod, Israel. Some of the major airports include Tazar, Hungary; Wroclaw, Poland; Constanza, Romania; Tirana, Albania; Chisinau, Moldova; Aviano, Italy; Mahon, Spain; and Frankfurt, Germany.
The reason I emphasize this list is to make the clear case that despite the appearances of political discord on the subject of the war in Iraq, at the military level we were not impeded in any airspace, sea space, land space by any of our allies with the sole exception being the parliamentary vote in Turkey, which effectively prevented the Fourth Infantry Division from transiting Turkey. But even in the aftermath of that vote, EUCOM and CENTCOM working together with our Turkish colleagues managed to get agreements to have an impressive aerial troop deployment involving the 173rd Airborne Combat Team out of Vincenza, Italy and a 26-Marine Expeditionary Unit actually flew into Northern Iraq at a key moment during the war and contributed significantly to the early resolution of the operations on the ground.
EUCOM is pivotally involved in not only a transformation process of our own forces, the plans for which have been developed and submitted last year. We have done a tooth-to-tail analysis of our forces. We have made recommendations as to how the forces of the 21st century can not only be reduced, but become more strategically effective through a combination of permanent base forces, augmented by rotational forces from the United States. It may be of interest and perhaps no surprise to the members of the committee to know that today in Bosnia, for example, all of the U.S. forces on the ground are forces belonging to National Guard units. They are not based in Germany or any other place in Europe.
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So the metric of the future is not so much are the forces there and do they live there; it is where they come from and can they get there quickly in time to make a difference. So the forward-basing concept is still very, very important. As I mentioned, having access to all of these bases during our heavy deployments was critical, but it does not have to be in the same way that it was in the 20th century. Our new footprint should be more agile, more deployable and more expeditionary, and should be designed to achieve more strategic effect, not less than we have had in the past.
Finally, I would just like to say a word about the emphasis on rotational forces. The preponderance of work on transformation in the U.S. European Command and in NATO has to do with land-based forces, specifically U.S. Army forces and NATO army forces. In that context, in partnership with the Chief of Staff of the Army and General B.B. Bell, the commander of U.S. Army Europe, they have developed a very interesting and innovative plan by which if it is approved, we can actually make economies of scale savings in terms of returning forces to the United States, but also achieving greater strategic flexibility with the forces we have remaining augmented by rotational forces.
Mr. Chairman, the privilege of being able to work both in NATO and in the U.S. forces in Europe is unparalleled in my experience. This is a pivotal time. The future destiny of the effectiveness of NATO, particularly the military arm of NATO, is at stake. I am an optimist where the future is concerned with regard to the evolution of this alliance. It will take our support. It will take our sustenance. It will take our understanding as our allies seek to shape their forces to become more strategically effective. In expanding to the east by seven nations, the U.S. European Command is also trying to make sure that we stay more relevant and equally supportive of our commitments to the alliance during this very important time.
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It is a great pleasure to be with you this morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, and I look forward to responding to your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Jones can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, General. And thank you for a great round-the-theater description of all of the things that are taking place right now and the overall blueprint. That is excellent.
Before we go to General Hill, let me just say we have had a number of hearings in which we got a lot of members in the first row who have not had a chance to get their questions in, so it is my intent to yield my time to Mr. LoBiondo when we start questioning. I will take some questions at the end of the thing, so Mr. LoBiondo, you are going to be first up.
General Hill, thank you for your great service to our country. I know you have some weighty responsibilities, as well. The floor is yours, sir.
STATEMENT OF GEN. JAMES T. HILL, USA, COMMANDER, US. SOUTHERN COMMAND
General HILL. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Representative Skelton and distinguished members of the committee, I am honored for this opportunity to appear before you today to provide my assessment of Latin America and the Caribbean and what the United States Southern Command is doing to advance the United States's interests in this very important region of the world.
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I am very appreciative for the support of the committee for the United States Southern Command, to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and civilian personnel who I am so privileged to command. They are fine men and women and they are serving out nation admirably.
The security picture in Latin America and the Caribbean has indeed grown more complex over the past year as events in Haiti, Bolivia, and Venezuela amply illustrate. Deep-seated frustrations over the failure of democratic and free-market reforms to improve the standard of living for all citizens are significantly challenging many of the region's governments.
This frustration is exacerbated by endemic corruption and by the insidious impact on society of the threats I addressed last year: narco-terrorism, urban gangs, and other illegally armed groups; arms and human trafficking; and support of international terrorism.
Unfortunately, as a consequence, some leaders in the region are tapping into this frustration to move radical agendas forward and are manipulating democratic processes to diminish, rather than to protect, individual rights. Our country's focused support is critical to ensuring that the strong democratic tides of the past 25 years to not reverse their flow, but instead are strengthened and reinforced. Haiti's breakdown of law and order and its rising violence led to the voluntary resignation and departure of former President Aristide, led to a constitutional transfer of power and the rapid deployment of the United Nations (UN)-mandated multinational interim force.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Currently in Haiti, the multinational force consists of 1,940 United States troops, 760 French, 492 Canadian and 332 Chileans deployed with the mission of setting the conditions for the follow-on deployment of U.N. force in June. We are preparing for that follow-on force by stabilizing the security environment in Haiti, containing migration and facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance.
I was in Haiti yesterday, and the multinational force is performing extremely well in a difficult and complicated environment. The troops in Haiti are progressively reestablishing the security and stability necessary for the interim government to function. I am particularly pleased by the seamless cooperation among our multinational force allies. Thanks to the quick response and meaningful contributions of our government, along with those of Chile, France and Canada, our troops are working side by side with those other nations, bringing a new spirit of cooperation to the difficult task at hand.
Despite the very complex security situation in the region, much is going well. Although there remains work to be done, our country's significant investment in Plan Colombia is showing substantial results. The Colombian economy is growing. The Colombian government has reestablished a presence in all major municipalities. Major categories of criminal activity are down. Narcotics production is down. The mobilizations by the narco-terrorist organizations are increasing, as are desertions from their ranks.
The Colombian military has grown into a professional, competent force that respects human rights and the rule of law and has gained the strategic initiative over its narco-terrorist enemy. As a result of this substantial progress, a window of opportunity has opened in which the Colombian government has the potential to deal a decisive blow to the narco-terrorists. The Colombians have developed a campaign plan which takes them into the heartland of the territory controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN) and United Self-Defense Force of Colombia (AUC).
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To provide the maximum amount of support to this effort, the Administration has recommended that the congressionally mandated cap of 400 military and 400 contractors be raised to 800 and 600 respectively. This increase will allow us to provide the Colombians the greatest possible assistance and maximize their potential for success. I have worked closely over the past year with President Uribe and the leaders of the Colombian military. I have visited all corners of Colombia and have seen first-hand the professionalism and increased capabilities of the Colombian military. I have been inspired by the dedication of the Colombian soldiers in their daily fight to defend their democracy against vicious narco-terrorists.
It is vitally important that we sustain Plan Colombia's progress. As one of the oldest democracies in the hemisphere, the key trading partner and supplier of oil, a staunch ally and only three hours from Miami, a stable secure Colombia is important to our national security interests.
In stark contrast to the situation 25 years ago, democracy is now the accepted model for government in this hemisphere. However, transnational threats, poverty and corruption and destabilizing governments are impeding the consolidation of democracy. The continued progress as a region of democracy and prosperity is fundamentally important to our national security.
With very few resources and a modest presence, the men and women of Southern Command are working to further that progress and to ensure our nation's security. We will remain steadfast in our efforts and look forward to your continued support.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you again for this opportunity to appear before you today. I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Hill can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, General Hill.
Gentlemen, thank you for giving us a bird's-eye view of two disparate regions of the world, but two regions which are similar in that they are central to America's security apparatus. Thank you.
The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. LoBiondo.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Jones, General Hill, thank you for being here. General Hill, you talked a little bit about Haiti, but can you tell us, do we have any expectation of how long our forces are going to be expected to be there?
General HILL. Congressman, the U.N. mandate that we are operating under today called for the interim force to be in Haiti for a period of 90 days. It is expected that within that 90 days, there will be a follow-on U.N. resolution calling for an additional multinational force to stay in Haiti for a longer period of time. I met yesterday with the U.N. Assessment Team Chairman who was in Haiti. We expect that that 90-day window can be met and the follow-on force, assuming that there is another resolution, hopefully can be in there in June.
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Mr. LOBIONDO. General, is it your expectation that the follow-up resolution would deal with how the peacekeepers will be involved with setting up or monitoring free elections?
General HILL. Exactly. I spoke also with Prime Minister Latortue yesterday. He is the Interim Prime Minister. He will be establishing an Election Commission and they will begin to plan for free elections, which should take place in 2005.
Mr. LOBIONDO. A last question on Haiti, general. Do you expect that the peacekeepers will continue as part of their mission to disarm the various gangs and thugs that are intimidating people there?
General HILL. Yes, sir. Under the rules of engagement that we operate under today and under my instructions, and under Haitian law, because we are in support of an existing government and an existing police force, if we see guns on the street we disarm the person who has those guns unless he has a bona fide need for them as a legitimate security force with a permit. If we develop intelligence and we are trying to develop intelligence daily of the arms caches, we go after those caches.
I do it for two reasons. First and foremost, it is a force protection issue for my soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines there. Second, because it helps to provide a secure environment for the follow-on force to come in.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, General.
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General Jones, with the up-tick in violence in Kosovo, do you see us needing to change our plans for supporting and protecting our troops in the region?
General JONES. I think the assessment will be made over the next week or so. I have asked the commanders to get back to me as soon as possible with the answer to that question. My feeling is, though, that the current manning levels in Kosovo of 18,000 international troops, of which 1,800 are U.S., that we are in a good position from the standpoint of force protection. Despite the level of violence that spontaneously erupted last week, the U.S. forces were very able and capable of taking care of themselves. In fact, there were no fatalities in the force whatsoever.
Mr. LOBIONDO. General, could you comment on at what point you believe peacekeeping in Kosovo would be handed over to the European Union (EU)?
General JONES. Sir, that is a difficult question, mostly a political question. My military judgment on it is that the military mission is going to have to continue until the political discussions come to grips with the issue of the final status of Kosovo. It is a very, very complicated issue, but I do not see Kosovo being anywhere near the progress that we are making in Bosnia, for example, by contrast. So I have been saying until the resurgence in violence that at the earliest military mission could be re-looked in 2005. I think that is probably called into question at this point. It might be even a little bit longer. It is still too early to tell on the aftermath, but I want to be very clear in saying that the military mission in Kosovo is exactly that. It is not ready to transition to a policing type of mission, which we are about to do with the EU in Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR). That is really the relationship and EU. As long as it is military, NATO will do the mission. Only when it is ready to go to more of a policing action will we transition to the EU and that is what we are doing in Bosnia.
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Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, General.
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I have a good number of questions, however I will limit myself to one question each. Then, if they have not been asked, I will come back at a later moment and ask them.
General Jones, in my opening statement I made reference to the importance of having NATO forces in Iraq. What, in your opinion, are the implications of the Prime Minister's defeat in the Spanish elections? In light of that, I see there is a news item from the International Herald Tribune that says that Zapatero, the incoming Prime Minister, is considering increasing the number of Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan. I ask you, what implication all of that election and all of the Spanish bombing has on the proposal in NATO?
General JONES. Mr. Skelton, as you know, the North Atlantic Council has not taken up officially the question of a NATO role in Iraq. That is a subject matter that is very much in the corridors of NATO, but it has certainly not reached the North Atlantic Council officially.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The impact of the Spanish elections, I think, will require that we evaluate things for a little bit longer period of time. It was an extremely emotional moment in Spain, the parallel of which would be in the aftermath of 911 in New York City in our own countryspontaneous, wide-ranging emotions. All of the political analysis that I think will come in time will only come after things settle down a little bit. There is a wide range of newspaper reporting on what Spain might do, might not do; what the new Prime Minister-designate has said, has not said.
For the moment, Spain is a very, very important member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, one of the more vibrant members, I might add; one of the more focused members. They have committed to taking over the command of the now-Polish-led multinational division in Iraq when that rotation becomes scheduled. So I think we will just have to wait and see how it plays out on an international basis and within the country itself as they absorb the information and the analysis and the post-tragedy number of arrests and come to grips with exactly how this happened, who did it, and what the implications for the future are.
With regard to Iraq and NATO, as I said, it is not an official mission. NATO was very proud to assist fellow NATO countries and non-NATO countries who requested assistance through EUCOM to assist in their deployment. We have an ongoing relationship with the command in Iraq to make sure that, to the extent we can provide some assistance by way of logistics advice, courier flights and the like, that we are doing everything we can to stay abreast. We are obviously learning a lot of things as they go through this experience, in the event that NATO politically should come to the judgment in the future that it wished to do more on the ground in Iraq.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKELTON. Thank you, sir.
General Hill, I think the United States Army has stretched and strained a great deal. Today, there are some 30,000 additional soldiers on duty by virtue of the national emergency resolution that Congress passed, and under the authority thereof. At this time, you are requesting an increase in the troop cap for Colombia. Would you address the necessity of this, in your opinion?
General HILL. Thank you, Congressman Skelton. As I said in my opening remarks, the success that the Colombian military and the Colombian government has had over the last year compels me to come in and ask for the cap increase. They have developed a national strategy and a military strategy for truly going after the illegal armed groups in ways that they have never done before.
They also have developed the capability to go after them in ways that they have not done before. We have been instrumental in helping them get to that level of competency. Today, I operate under a 400-person military troop cap. I manage that daily. I have people on my staff who watch every individual daily. We have to take people out sometimes so that I can go in, because I count under the troop cap when I go to visit.
We can add forces, planning assistance teams to assist the Colombians in ways that would greatly improve their ability to carry on the war. This window will be very fleeting and that is why I am coming to ask for the cap increase.
Mr. SKELTON. It seems that in light of the fact that they are becoming more professional, we could pass off more of our responsibility to them as they learn and become more professional. Am I not correct?
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General HILL. Sir, the war must be won by the Colombians and the Colombian military. In my view, they are doing that. What we do is offer them planning assistance. We offer them greater ability to share intelligence and to then take actionable operations on that intelligence.
But you are exactly right. They are becoming more professional. They will continue to become more professional. We need to continue to aid them in that.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Hefley.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. General Jones, the European Union is kind of pretending to be a United States of Europe, except it is not. It wants all the trappings of being a nation, which means it has a currency; it has a parliament; it has an enormous bureaucracy, and it wants a defense capability.
In light of the fact that most of these European countries are spending less on defense, not more, and we keep encouraging them to get up their defense spending. Many of these countries that are in NATO have difficulty when it comes time for your calling on them to deploy. How does the European defense capability affect NATO? How do you anticipate that that may affect NATO? I do not think any of us object to them having that capability, but I do object to it if it weakens NATO.
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General JONES. Thank you, Mr. Hefley. This is a very interesting question, very topical question today in NATO as we get ready to take on the NATO-EU relationship, having had one small one in Macedonia. The transfer to the EU in Bosnia is much more ambitious and much more challenging.
My answer to similar questions on the other side of the Atlantic is essentially as follows. There can be no NATO transformation or EU transformation unless one of two things happens. At the minimum, nations need to maintain their percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) spending on national security issues at two percent or better. Across the length and breadth of the alliance, which is going to grow to 26 members this year, most nations are doing that. Some are not. We have to ask questions of those nations as to why they are not. The only other way to achieve transformation is to raise the defense budgets, and the prospect of that is generally unlikely. So the final conclusion is that while a European security initiative and identity is certainly something that has to be respected, the primary capability that will affect the collective interests on both sides of the Atlantic from a military standpoint is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's. To the extent that nations wish to advocate a separate and distinct capability, they are probably going down the path of achieving neither a transformed NATO and certainly not a very effective European capability. I am hopeful that by the example of NATO transformation, and the really impressive improvements that have been made in the past year, that we can illustrate by action, particularly this here with the transfer from Bosnia to the EU, since most of the nations that belong in the EU are also NATO nations, the illogic of creating two separate standing organizations.
I believe that we are making some headway in that regard by making ourselves, for example, much more available to address European security defense initiatives at NATO and in the headquarters that I command at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe, where we have EU officers embedded into the headquarters to make sure that we take into account European security defense initiatives, particularly focused on Bosnia, because this is the work at hand.
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So I believe there is a way to do both, but I would strongly recommend not taking on two separate transformations and creating duplicate capabilities. The current budget caps, which are not increasing, and some in fact are decreasing, would be impossible to achieve.
Mr. HEFLEY. I think all of us believe in NATO expansion, but it seemed to me at the first of this movement for NATO expansion that we were very careful that the countries who came in brought something to the table that would help in the common defense alliance that we had. It also seems to me that we have loosened up on that requirement a good deal with these latest nations that have come in. Maybe we are bringing them in for other reasons rather than their contribution to the common defense. Could you respond to that?
General JONES. Yes, sir. It is in a somewhat evolutionary context that new member nations, regardless of size, should be expected to make a contribution and will do so. But the contribution will not be in the same way as the more traditional part of the alliance. For example, the Czech Republic committed itself to establishing a state-of-the-art chemical, radiological, biological and nuclear response battalion that, really, the supply of which is not adequate in the alliance. They are a small nation, but have brought online a very important capability that adds very importantly to a significant shortfall.
Critical shortfalls in that area; critical shortfalls in command-control communications, critical shortfalls in special forces; end-items and capabilities that can in fact be found in very small nations. So the future of NATO is not to have members each with a standing army, navy, air force and, in some cases, marine corps, but to be able to ask nations who join the alliance believing in Article V, that an attack against one is an attack against all. Right now, they are in their own stage of the transformation by, for instance, taking away the huge manpower bill that is associated with border security, because the defense of NATO is assured by the alliance.
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So in that way, small countries and large countries alike can make a proportional contribution according to the real needs of NATO, instead of NATO just sitting back and accepting whatever it is they have. I think that is a positive development.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank both of you gentlemen for being here and for what you do and for what the folks that you command do for our nation.
General Hill, I, number one, want to tell you that you have a young captain in Ecuador by the name of Snead. And you are to find that kid and clone him, because I have never been as impressed with someone's knowledge of the country that he was in. I am talking about all the way from the back roads, the local police chief's name. He is exactly the kind of people we need to represent our country, and particularly in the Southern Command. I just wanted to pass that on. I have met a lot of outstanding people over the years and he is right up there at the top of the list.
General HILL. Thank you, Congressman. He is a fine, fine soldier.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. I was also impressedand again I have followed Plan Colombia for a whileone of the things we did see was the increased governmental presence in Ecuador, right up on the Colombian border. They obviously recognized the potential there for lawlessness and the potential for the civil war to spread over. I think they are doing well.
Overall, I would agree with you. I think the Colombians are doing better. I think they are taking their own civil warparticularly the folks in the military are taking it seriously. The average foot soldier certainly takes it seriously. It continues to trouble me. I will give you the opportunity to address this. As you are asking for a further American increased role, we have already supplied them with Black Hawks. We are already giving them a lot of technology. Every time I ask a Colombian, what are you going to do, and they say, well, President Uribe is doing this; President Uribe is doing that. What are you going to do to make your draft law fairer? What are you going to do for a continued Colombian commitment to pay for this?
Our country has stepped forward with a lot of money for those folks. I could have done a lot of really nice things in the State of Mississippi for that $2 billion we spent down there. I could have Mississippi looking like a palace for that kind of money. So my question to them is, they say, well, we had the one-time tax. That is correct. So as they simultaneously talk about a bigger American commitment, they say, well, we had a one-time tax. That is just it. The war is not over.
I would hope that you are simultaneously asking the Colombians to be willing to dig into their pockets on a continual basis, not one time, to do this; and by the way, adjust their draft laws so that kids who have high school diplomas are not exempt from the draft.
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I go to the funerals. I know you go to the funerals of your troops. Quite frankly, I would have one heck of a time going to Soso, Mississippi and explaining to some mom or dad why their kid from Soso died down in Colombia, while some Colombian who had only a high school diploma did not even have to serve. And by the way, they are having a little trouble making the note on their house trailer, that their tax dollars are going to pay for a conflict in Colombia that the Colombians are not willing to pay for but one time.
I do go to Latin America a lot. I know the difference between Nicaragua, which is a poor country, and El Salvador, which is a poor country, and Colombia, which is a wealthy country. Bogota is a beautiful city. If those people care enough about the future of Bogota, they ought to be willing to dig into their pockets and they ought to be asking their kids to serve.
Everything else you said, I think you are right on-line. They are doing better. But the second point of my follow-up to Congressman Skelton is, if they are doing better under the existing plan, then at some point they ought to be able to step up and do that job themselves. If we need to tweak the troop cap a little bit, I understand, but we have put a heck of a lot of exemptions in there for transitory people and for search-and-rescue missions.
Again, I do not mind helping anybody, but I have a lot of trouble helping people who are not doing enough to help themselves. I think the Colombian government falls into that category, not the military, but their government. I will give you a chance to prove me wrong.
General HILL. Congressman, I believe that the citizens of Mississippi are in fact getting a great deal of their taxpayers's dollars for what the Congress has appropriated to Plan Colombia. You did Plan Colombia for a six-year time frame. We are four years into Plan Colombia. I believe that the investment that the Congress has put into Plan Colombia is beginning to pay huge dividends.
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What Colombia's war is about is the preservation of democracy in a region that is vitally important to the United States. If that entire regionif Colombia were to be lost and democracy not to continue to flourish in the second-oldest democracy in the hemisphere, it would destabilize the region in a way that would be profoundly important to the United States.
Mr. TAYLOR. General, if I may, you have made that point and I accept that point. What you have not addressed is, why aren't they willing to pay for it themselves? Why aren't they willing to address their draft laws to make them fairer? Congressman Skelton, who questions this policy, has two kids in uniform right now. He has sent his children to the Gulf; he has sent his children to Bosnia. I would like to see that kind of commitment on the part of the Colombians. Congressman Hunter has a son in uniform. I believe one of them is over in the desert right now.
Again, I see the Colombian military sending their kids into the military. I do not see the Colombian politicians sending their kids.
General HILL. Sir, over the two years of President Uribe, you are correct. He did raise a one-time war tax and they raised more money than he asked for. As a percentage of GDP, tax collection in 2003 rose from 16 percent to 19 percent. The Colombian administration is trying to work through their congress reforms in terms of political reforms, social reforms, tax reforms, all of those things to get Colombia to where you are saying they need to be.
Mr. TAYLOR. And they all failed, General. They all failed in the referendum.
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General HILL. They did fail in the referendum. That is exactly correct, but only because they did not get the necessary 25 percent vote out in total numbers. Each one of those referendums, by the people that voted, they would have passed had they had the full six million people cast their votes. There are a lot of complicated reasons for that, which I do not think we need to go into.
I believe that the Colombian people are committed to winning their war. I believe that the Colombian government is committed to raising the revenue to do that. They are raising 30,000 more people into the military. They arein fact, the law that you talk about with the high school graduate is effectively nonexistent in the military today. It is still on the books. I will grant you that. But in point of fact, there are very few people existing in the military under that law, not going off to combat duty.
Mr. TAYLOR. General, again for the folks who I am boring with this, the distinction is originally someone with a high school diploma was guaranteed urban duty. They were going to put on a shiny helmet; they were going to wear a pair of spats, and they were going to walk around Bogota, and the chances of them getting shot were pretty small. We tried to change that to make it fairer so there was a draft for everyone. The Colombians very cleverly said, okay, we will do away with the urban duty. They did not change the law to see to it that everyone was eligible for the draft. Again, until they do that, they are not going to prove to this Member of Congress that they are serious about this.
General HILL. We have had this discussion before. The Colombian government is attempting to work that through congress to change that law. The bottom line is, the law does not affect anybody because the military has effectively not engaged in that law. Where there used to be 10,000 or 12,000 people affected by it in the Colombian military, there are about 1,000 today affected by it. So by virtue of the Colombian military actions, that law is effectively not there today. I grant you it is on the books.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Again, I thank both of you gentleman. Our frustration is not with you
General HILL. I got it, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR [continuing]. But with the folks you are dealing with down in Bogota.
The CHAIRMAN I thank the gentleman.
The distinguished gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
General Hill, each day when we watch the news reports come in on our activities around the world, much attention is focused, and it should be, on the Middle East and Iraq and Afghanistan, et cetera. Haiti is another area where we have a major deployment. I am wondering if you can give us some idea. I know you mentioned this a little bit in your statement, but can you give us a little more idea about how our forces are doing there; how the mission is going; and how the citizens of Haiti are doing, also?
General HILL. Thank you, Mr. Saxton. I would be happy to. In the last two weeks, I have been in Haiti twice; spent two full days there. I was there all day yesterday. I went into Haiti the third day after we began the troop deployment. The Port-au-Prince that I found was very different than the one I saw in 1994 when I left the first time in Haiti. You could see the effects of the looting and the rioting that had taken place. There was not a lot of commerce on the street. There was in fact a very unstable environment.
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The Haiti I left yesterday is very similar to the Haiti I left in 1994: traffic snarls, the schools are back open. You can see all the school children in their uniforms going back and forth to schools. Commerce is up. In fact it is a much more stable environment. I believe it got that way because of the quick actions of our government and the governments of France, Canada and Chile.
We were able to put U.S. Marines into Port-au-Prince within 12 hours of the time that Mr. Aristide departed voluntarily from Haiti, very quickly followed by a French force within 24 hours. We were able to then defuse a real problem from becoming a crisis. We have been able to build upon that. We have since, and just this last week we moved French forces up to Cap Haitien, and are going to ease out of the Port-au-Prince area. I have Special Forces people making assessments of the environment throughout the southern claw of Haiti. The forces are doing quite well. The mission that we were sent in there to do, which was to provide a stable and secure environment for a follow-on U.N. force, in my view, is being met. That is also the assessment of the U.N. Assessment Team that was in there yesterday.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
General Jones, not long ago I had an opportunity to visit with military folks in the United Kingdom (UK). They were very concerned about the flow of the illegal narcotics out of Afghanistan. They suggested that we ought to do more. But then I learned that the market for illegal drugs out of Afghanistan is essentially Europe. I was just wondering about your thoughts on this issue since you are there and you deal with these folks. I know they are concerned about it, but they seem hesitant to step up to the plate.
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General JONES. Sir, you are absolutely right. Narcotics are a huge problem in Afghanistan. President Karzai recognizes that. In the two or three meetings I have had and my visits to Kabul, he has always brought that up without me having to say it. Some estimates calculate that the crop that was cultivated last year accounted for almost 50 percent of the country's GDP. It currently is being addressed by the U.S.-led coalition. I believe the U.S. and the UK are the two countries that are working on finding a resolution to this problem.
Within the NATO mission in Afghanistan, that is specifically not addressed at present, but it is something that is being discussed in the corridors of Brussels. My own personal view is that ultimately any final resolution in Afghanistan will have to address that particular problem. You are absolutely correct in that the majority of the market from which these drugs flow is headed toward Europe. To be fair, I think it probably makes it way across the Atlantic, as well. It is one of the reasons why Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean, the naval operation which has been so successful for a year, is really making life difficult for volume shipments through that body of water.
My personal view is that regardless of who does it, we have to have a comprehensive solution in Afghanistan to that very, very important problem. Not only do the drugs flow to Europe, but the money from those drugs also flows to warlords and subversive activities, insurgencies and the like, and is part and parcel of the criminality that exists in that country, that it has to be addressed.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you both for being here today. We appreciate your many years of service.
General Jones, I wanted to read part of your written statement. In fact, it is the last paragraph. ''As we undertake the necessary steps to transform the theater, we must be mindful of our leadership role in global affairs and cognizant of its responsibilities. Leadership and influence cannot be achieved from our distant shores alone. They must be forged through close and personal relationships, shared experiences, presence and tangible support to time-honored commitments. Our nation earned the respect of the entire world when we stood side by side with our friends and allies in Europe for nearly a half-century. As our interests expand, we should not abandon the character of a strategy that cultivated so much goodwill, resulting ultimately in a historic victory. Our expanding alliance openly seeks both our leadership and our commitment. EUCOM's true value to our nation is the uncompromising leadership we provide and the indispensable influence that can only be attained by our presence. This is also our best chance for success in fighting the Global War on Terrorism and in bringing about a more peaceful and more prosperous world.''
I showed that to one of my colleagues today at another meeting. I did not tell her who had written it, and she said, ''That is beautiful.'' I said it was written by one of our military officers, and of course she knew who you were. I think that any decisionmaking process that is governed by those principles is going to do well.
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Of course, we have also had some recent experience in Arkansas with retired NATO commanders being Presidential candidates. You could probably take some of these lines and make a great State of the Union address, General Jones, if you are ever looking for another job. [Laughter.]
General Hill, you mentioned the troop caps in both your comments here, but in your written statement in terms of the numbers. In your written statement, you also specifically referenced, it is not just the numbers, but it is what is counted. I have heardmaybe this is urban myth or something, that you have situations where if a plane lands, if you can keep the guys in the plane, they do not count, but if they step off the tarmac they do count. Is that accurate? Expand on that, if you would, General Hill, about the issue, not just the numbers, but what is counted in the numbers.
General HILL. I would be happy to do that. We have both on the military and the civilian side in Colombia been very careful in that we have obeyed not only the law, but the intent of the Congress in the counting of who went against that troop cap. The example is that if you fly an aircraft over Colombia, the ground crew back in another place counts against the cap, the full crew component.
Up until about a month ago, the three hostages that have been kidnapped and held by the FARC have been counting against the civilian cap, because we wanted to ensure that we never came to this committee or to the Senate committee, or into the Congress, and said that we were not absolutely 100 percent fulfilling your commitment.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A year ago when I testified, I said I could live under the 400 cap, but as we have increased our ability to support the Colombians, and they have increased their need to have that support and shown that they have the forces that can be trained and can be assisted, and to carry out and to win their war, that it has been increasingly difficult to manage my force underneath the cap.
Dr. SNYDER. General Jones, one of your predecessorsI believe it must have been 6 or 7 years ago, I had worked as a doctor in Sierra Leone for 6 months 20 years ago or so, so I have had an interest in that country. We got to talking about opportunities for port-of-calls and that kind of thing in West Africa. He really expressed frustration with resources available to do the kinds of contacts, and taking from your statement there about presence and developing relationships and friendships and keeping commitments.
Obviously, our defense budget is substantially bigger than it was some years ago. Have there been adequate resources? Do you have adequate resources, do you believe, to do the kinds of contact and relationship building with countries that are in Africa that may not be in the newspaper every day?
General JONES. Mr. Snyder, we have focused much more extensively on what is going on in this vast continent. In the year that I have been the Commander, I have asked my Deputy Commander, General Wald, to be the flashlight, if you would, on this effort. What we see going on in Africa from a security standpoint is migration of radical fundamentalism, basic banditry and terrorism, all because we are being successful, in my view, elsewhere in the globe. Africa, with its huge spaces, with many countries that really have no visible hope for much advancement in the future, crippling social and economic problems of staggering proportions, has become a very attractive safe haven for the emergence of this kind of theology and philosophy, which essentially convinces people that their problems would be resolved if they became more radical in their feelings and directed their hatred toward the countries that have free and secure societies, and exploittheir words not minebut exploit the oppressed people of the disadvantaged areas of the world.
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Africa represents to many people just such a situation. I have just recently come back from a trip to Africa. I went to nations in the north, in the central area, and in south Africa. I came back profoundly interested in continuing to study this interesting phenomenon. The first thing that struck me was the enormity of the continent. The second thing that struck me was the enormous natural resources that it has. The third thing was looking at the span from 1983 to 2003, despite all of the problems, that there are some fragile democracies that are actually taking root and in my view deserve focused attention to make sure they succeed.
It is not scripted one way or the other as to what is going to happen, but I came back with a belief that it would be a good thing for a coalition, not an alliance, but a coalition for sure of countries who are concerned about Africa to be able to help the Africans help themselves. There are certain projects that are underway that are making a big difference, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) organization, which is providing more security for Liberia, the U.N. mission there. I visited with President Mbeki in South Africa, and he is interested in exploring the possibility of four or five of the major states in Africa getting together and forming multinational brigades located in different parts of the continent that could respond to humanitarian disasters.
So I think there are a lot of things that can be done. What is lacking, I think, from a national perspective, is the presence of American industry on a scale that one would like to see, given the fact that there are struggling democracies that are worthy of our help; the proximity of Africa to our markets, the benefits that could come with more industrial, more economic investment. There is a willing labor force, for example. All of this could be certainly underwritten by a more secure environment.
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There is a sense, I think, that when something bad happens in Africa, that everybody thinks, well, all of Africa is having difficulties. That is not the case, as you know. But I think that the only way to halt the trends that we see going on with the migration of radical fundamentalism, for example, terrorism and the like, is to give people some alternative. The alternative is not just military dictatorship and oppression. The alternative is education, jobs and market developments. This is where, if we turn our focus at least in those areas that warrant it, I think we can make dramatic changes in a short period of time.
In Europe, there is currently considerable discussion going on among ten nations or so as to how best to do this, but how to do it collectively, instead of individually. Our policy is very reactive. Our international policy right now is very active. The Belgians will get focused on the Congo; the U.S. will get focused in Liberia, but it is only in reaction to something bad that has either happened or about to happen. We can do a lot better by coordinating our efforts, and maybe for instance in a region like the Pan-Sahel, going into those five or six nations and collectively raising all boats on the security level to a capability where they can actually assure the integrity of their borders.
We have had a very good success in the last few weeks against a terrorist organization called the Sabfist Group for Reaching and Combat (GSPC). The United States provided assistance to about four or five different African countries, coordinated the distribution of a site picture of what this very militant terrorist group was doing and in what countries, as it was freely going around from one country to the other without any opposition until finally two countries came together and coordinated a military strike that essentially dealt a near-death blow, if not a death-blow, to the GSPC somewhere just across the border from Niger and into Chad.
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Again, this is the kind of thing that I think we can do. The African nations that I have dealt with want to help. They want to be able to do things. They want the capability. I think we can either help them do it or we can one day have to do it ourselves, because it is not going to go away.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The distinguished gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Jones.
Mr. JONES. Mr. Chairman, that is the first mistake I have ever heard you make. It is North Carolina, thank you. [Laughter.]
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank both General Jones and General Hill for being here today. General Hill, I have Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point, the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in my district. I know that many of those fine Marines from Camp Lejeune are under your command. I am delighted to have an opportunity to ask a couple of questions of you in just a moment.
General Jones, it is always a pleasure to see you, sir, and thank you for your leadership to our great Nation, as well as General Hill. If I was not a southern gentleman, I probably would blindside you and tell you that last week we held a hearing, thanks to the Chairman. I and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle were in attendance to see if it was feasible to rename the Secretary of the Navy to be Navy and Marine Corps. If I was a real politician, I would probably for the record ask you a question, but I am not that type of person, so I am not going to ask you the question that I would like to ask you. So I hope that you would appreciate that, and maybe at a later time I could have a private conversation with you, sir.
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The CHAIRMAN. You may want to answer that non-question after a while, General. [Laughter.]
Mr. JONES. I would say that the hearing was very positive. General Mundy testified; Admiral Stansfield Turner, and Under Secretary of the Navy Dan Howard testified. I think we have some momentum building from that testimony, sir.
General Hill, I want to ask youI have not really had a chance to go through your prepared remarks, as well as General Jones's, like I would like to, but I have a real passion and concern for Central and South America. I do not have the knowledge that I hope one day to have on those issues that are facing the countries, as well as the United States. But because it is in our hemisphere, I do have a real concern.
My two or three questions areI know that you have been in this Command for about a year, maybe a little bit longer, but I am very interested in Panama, quite frankly, because of the canal and because of the location of that country in Central America. At one time, I believe from some hearings we had a year or two ago, there was a concern about the narco-terrorists going into the rural areas of Panama and having some success with influencing the rural areas of Panama. Can you speak to that, as to not two years ago, but where we are today as far as the infiltration by the narco-terrorists into those rural areas of Panama?
General HILL. Yes, sir. What you are referring to is the Darien Province up on the Colombia border. As with all other nations that surround Colombia, there is a narco-terrorist presence along those borders. They are all porous. All of the nations except one is dealing with it fairly aggressively. Mr. Taylor mentioned going to Ecuador; Ecuador and Peru, Brazil, and even Panama, with its small military land defense force, works that areas. But in point of fact, it is a fairly open border up there.
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Mr. JONES. Can you tell me the land defense force, how many people we are talking about, roughly?
General HILL. Sir, I need to give you an answer for that. I cannot give you the straight-up answer on the Panama thing. But if I could just answer a different piece on Panama?
Mr. JONES. Yes, sir.
General HILL. In terms of what the Panamanians are doing in support of the canal, the canal works just fine. It is very healthy and continuing to provide a service to the world, which brings me to my point. The canal is the world's canal. It is in Panama and clearly the Panamanians run it, but they run it for the world. There is a growing understanding that the defense of the canal is a worldwide issue. The Chileans, for examplelast year we conducted an exercise with the Chilean navy and the Panamanian naval forces in a counterterrorism exercise to defend the Pacific approaches to the canal. In that exercise, we are looking to expand this year to assist the Panamanians in defense of that canal.
Mr. JONES. Let me ask you just a couple more questions. General Hill, the size of the Panamanian navy, and you might have to get back with melet me explain. I have never taken many trips, but I did take one when Chairman Spence was the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, down to Panama. I was intrigued. In fact, I had a chance to speak to the Marines that were leaving. This is how long ago it was. My point was that they had just recently had an election. I forgot the lady's name. I do not have it written down, but she became the president at that time. I had an opportunity to meet with the leadership; not with the president or premier, whatever the title was, but with some of her staff. I found it very intriguing and very interesting because, again, I know that there are many other countries in Central and South America, but because of the Panama Canal is why I have this interest.
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Do you know if they have been, in the last couple of years, able to increase the numbers as it relates to their land security force or their navy?
General HILL. They are making an effort to improve the professionalization of their force. Their naval forces are nothing but small boats, because what they do is they can patrol the canal and the approaches into the canal. When we overthrew Mr. Noriega, they have substantially decreased their military forces because they do not want to have a dictatorship take over again. But they are in fact professionalizing their force. We have gone back into the United States and run exercises with the Panamanians. We did a New Horizons exercise there last year and we will do another one this year. We are working with them to assist them in the defense of the canal.
Mr. JONES. The last question, Mr. Chairman. Are you seeing, or can you say in this public setting, a large increase of terrorist groups from the Middle East trying to infiltrate into South and Central America?
General HILL. Sir, there has been a longstanding Middle Eastern-Islamic community throughout Latin America, particularly in the tri-border area of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil; Marguerite Island off Venezuela and a few others. They are, for the most part, honest business people, but they do in fact have today radical Islamic groups inside those communities engaged in all forms of illegal activities, funneling money back to Hamas, Hezbollah, and other radical Islamic groups. They do provide a cover under which any of those illegal groups could, in fact, come underneath it, and we are seeing that. We watch it very carefully.
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Anecdotally, I met a man in New York City last week when I was up for the Council on Foreign Relations, and he said he had had a house on Marguerite Island for years, 20 or 30 years. He was describing the Middle Eastern community. He said he was beginning to see a much younger face on those Middle Easterners. He was beginning to wonder about that. So we watch that pretty carefully.
Mr. JONES. General, thank you very much.
General Jones, I hope this will be the year that we see the Secretary of the Navy become Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps because the Marine Corps is the fourth service, which has been designated by the Congresses of the past and they need to have the coach of their team to carry the name Navy and Marine Corps.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Washington, Mr. Smith.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Generals, thank you for being here today. Just a couple of quick questions. General Jones, in Europe, and I am not sure if this is directly your area, but in the response to terrorism, certainly since 911, Europe has been in the middle of that and had a good many successes right after 911 in terms of rounding up people with al Qaeda links and thwarting terrorist attacks. I am just wondering what role your Command plays in any sort of coordinated effort in Europe? If you can give us some insight on what the level of cooperation is between the U.S. and the Europeans in trying to respond.
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Obviously, there are some differences of opinion in terms of how we approach the war on terrorism. What impact is that having on our ability to deal with it in Europe, which as Spain demonstrated, but was obvious long before, is a clear target and someplace we need a level of cooperation? If you could just give us some perspective on that.
General JONES. Sir, the role is a very important one. The U.S. has invested quite a bit of infrastructure in Europe to link up our global communications system and intelligence gathering system. We are involved in very close contact with our European allies on a bilateral basis under the auspices of the United States European Command. We have expanded that envelope, if you will, beyond the traditional allies that we routinely think about. We have expanded it, as I illustrated a few minutes ago, to include some North African countries and countries in the Pan-Sahel region.
We think that this is an important thing to do for the future, because our future successes in terms of fighting the Global War on Terrorism is going to be enhanced to the extent that we are able to fuse actionable intelligence in such a way that we have a broader group that has access to the information in real time so they can act upon it.
European nations have arrested over 9,000 people in connection with terrorism since 911. They are extremely active in the defense of their borders. There is a huge problem with regard to illegal immigration toward Western Europe. As you might imagine, the disintegration of the borders in the member states of the European Union has actually complicated the problem because people can flow rapidly across from one nation to the other. But we are involved very, very closely with our friends and allies in making sure that we have an exchange of information in a way that makes it extremely effective.
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I might go back to the example I gave of Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean and Task Force Straits of Gibraltar, which are two separate naval operations, one in the east and one in the west, and then in the Mediterranean, that have been ongoing now for almost a year. This has resulted in a very, very efficient way of sharing intelligence around the Mediterranean rim from the time a ship goes through the Suez Canal or comes through the Straits of Gibraltar. If there is any hint of suspicious cargo, those ships can be requested to be voluntarily boarded. There are even some other arrangements by which they can be involuntarily boarded to make sure about contraband and illegal shipments. For example, human trafficking as a result of this operation has gone down almost 50 percent in the Western Mediterranean in 1 year.
These are some examples of the fruits of intelligence-sharing and close cooperation with our friends and allies. I might just say that this is something we need to migrate more effectively into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. If there is one thing that is lacking, that is to fuse the NATO intelligence piece, since a lot of the intelligence activities are done by nations. This is an idea that is on the table right now.
Mr. SMITH. One specific question about thatthis may not be your area, but specifically with regard to Spain and the dangers of their response to the terrorist attack being to pull out of Iraq. Perhaps it is a more diplomatic area, but it struck me right after the attack and right after the election certainly, that it would be worthwhile for some very high-level person here in the U.S. to go to Spain and say, look, I know this was your position before any of this happened, and I understand that you are not just reacting to it, but the perception this will send is devastating. Stick it out for a little while longer; respect the impact this has; change that position.
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Do you have a feel? Does it dawn on the new Spanish government that whatever they may have been saying for the months before the election, given the terrorist attack, their position is extremely problematic for Spain's safety as well as everybody else's? Is there any possibility they might re-think that in light of that reality?
General JONES. Sir, I think that in the aftermath of the elections there is going to be a period of time where people are going to do a more detached assessment. This was a very, very emotional response, as I said, on the scales of our own devastating attack of 911. Within the European Community, there will be focused discussions with Spain as to the implications of what it is they might or might not be doing. For now, they are a very active and important contribution to NATO operations, and we certainly hope that no nation inadvertently contributes to encouraging terrorists by virtue of a political decision and will work their way through to making sure that that is not the message that is intended to be sent.
Mr. SMITH. We definitely need to get that message to Spain.
A quick question for General Hill. First of all, welcome. I really enjoyed your time as Commander at Fort Lewis in my district. You did a terrific job and I am pleased to see you are moving up in the world, as it were. I just had a quick question about Haiti and Venezuela. We are trying to promote democracy in the region. Obviously, that is one of our core principles. As you noted in your opening remarks, it has been a tremendous transformation from 25 years ago to the assumption that there will be democracy in Latin America.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We struggle with that, with President Aristide and now with President Chavez in Venezuela, in the sense that here we had two democratically elected leaders who were not behaving very democratically in their position, and certainly did not seem to have the support of their people. I think you would agree if Aristide was still in charge in Haiti, we would have a much more deadly, dangerous situation.
How do we go aboutand specifically with regard to Venezuela since that situation is still activehow do you deal with a democratic leader who has so utterly lost control of his country, the faith of his people, and in some cases is not behaving in a free and open way even as a democraticalelected leader. What is the advice as policymakers? Obviously, we cannot go out there and say, get rid of this guy, if people just elected him. On the other hand, supporting him can be problematic, as well. How do we walk that line, as someone who has had to deal with it in a couple of high-profile situations?
General HILL. The situation in Venezuela is a very complicated situation. We have encouraged through our government in relations with Mr. Chavez to respect his constitution, to continue to work through the political reforms, and those discussions go on with him on a daily basis.
From my perspective, what we have done with Venezuela is continue our mil-to-mil relationships with the Venezuelans at about the Colonel-level and below. We have been very careful in how we have managed our General officer relationships with them for two reasons: one, to ensure that we do not encourage Mr. Chavez's seeming move to greater authoritarianism; and certainly that we do not seemingly invite a coup. It is a very delicate situation.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Jones, I would like to get back to Africa for a moment. You mentioned EUCOM's initiative there in the Pan-Sahel area. What are our numbers of troops and resources that we presently have committed in that area? And in the future, will there be additional troops and resources?
General JONES. Thank you, sir. The American footprint in Africa is generally quite small. We have a number of teams. They are usually Special Forces teams that are out in various countries, that are helping nations develop their basic infantry skills, patrolling capabilities and the like. So it is a very, very small-scale footprint, but yielding, I think, very high results.
I think part of the transformation that we are proposing for the U.S. European Command is to be able to have more strategic effect through a rebalancing of the force and greater access to the wider expanded area that defines the European Command in 91 countries. Helping nations help themselves has always been the hallmark of American success. Although this is a very modest beginning, we are finding that by bringing to bear those things that only we can providefor instance, intelligence capabilities and small units that can go out and lend helping hands to train host nation forceswe get a tremendous return on that investment.
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I will get to you the specifics in terms of the numbers. It is in the hundreds, not any higher than that.
Mr. CALVERT. The reason I asked is that obviously there are terrorist groups that are looking for a base of operation, and that region of the world seems an obvious choice for some. I guess my question, to begin with, is do you believe we will stay in this as a supporting activity? Do you think this could have the potential to become another major front in the war on terror?
General JONES. I think that Africa, in some respects like South America, is still problematic as to whether the roots of democracy are going to survive in certain countries. General Hill and I have talked about this several times in respect to our missions, that we feel very strongly. I do not want to speak for General Hill, but I believe we share a common view that the more we do now at the small end of things, the less we will have to do in the future.
So I think that a more proactive engagement strategybut not just talking about terrorism. This is certainly something that we want to fight, but the causes that allow organizations like radical fundamentalists and the like to take foothold. There are causes problem down in the future where we will have to act, by acting now proactively and by doing those things that reach out in a broader context of beyond security.
What happens if you secure an area? What is going to change in the society? Are there investments that are going to come in? Are there companies that are willing to help make a difference and build factories and capitalize on a labor market that frankly is just sitting around watching whatever is going to happen.
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So I am really excited about the kind of work we are doing. I think it is an initial step. I think for a very small investment, comparatively speaking, we could save ourselves from much greater investments in the future. That is really what I am trying to get across.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, General.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Rodriguez.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, General Hill and General Jones. I know, General Hill, you mentioned the fact that surrounding Colombia, a lot of those countries now have drug-related situations. I recall distinctly talking about this issue six or seven years ago when we started under the Clinton administration. As we went into Colombia we were going to squeeze the balloon and it was going to spread to the other areas. It definitely has.
The only thing that concerns me is, I know we fought in Central America and South America for three decades in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's about fighting communism. Then it became about fighting the drug kingpins and drug dealers. Now it is about terrorists. At some point in time, at least I felt that you were going to be successful in terms of putting the squeeze, but we also knew that it was going to spread to the other countries. I know my fellow colleagues started bringing up Panama and some of those issues.
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That really bothers me if at some point we do not come to grips with that. I do not know if we are asking the wrong group, because I know we need to do some work in other areas down there. It seems like the only thing we do is engage in military activities, instead of other efforts on education, on infrastructure development; on health and other positive things that we shy away from.
So I wanted to just kind of get some feedback. At what point are we going to make some gains, now that we are not talking about drug dealers. Now we are talking about terrorists.
Secondly, you also mentioned the cap on troops. Do you feel that we ought to really increase the number of troops that we have now? I really have some concerns about the utilization of Reservists, the way we have been using them. I wanted to get your feedback on those two issues.
General HILL. Okay, Mr. Rodriguez. Thank you very much.
First off, on the squeezing the balloon, which is the phrase, we have made some substantial gains. The President's Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced just yesterday about coca cultivation being down 23 percent in Colombia last year. This is a large number, and 18 percent overall in the region. As I have traveled around the region, I have talked with each one of the military and the leadership of all these countries, minus Venezuela, about ensuring that they work their border issues with Colombia to inhibit arms and other illegal activities, and coca going back and forth.
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Mr. Taylor mentioned earlier about being in Ecuador. The Ecuadorians have really stepped up to the plate, as have the Peruvians, the Brazilians and the Panamanians. So I think that each one of those countries, working regionally, are trying to inhibit narco-terrorism from destabilizing the entire region. I have been very pleased with that effort.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Before you go to the cap, you mentioned the exception of Venezuela. Why?
General HILL. The Venezuelan border is particularly porous. They do not work as effectively with the Colombians in controlling that border. I cannot answer the reason why.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Have you been ordered not to go in? Have you been ordered not to communicate with them? Is there any reason why we are not working with them?
General HILL. No, sir. We work with the Venezuelans on a military-to-military relationship. We still do that, and we encourage them, as do the Colombians, to work better along their border. The Colombians have discussions all the time with them, at the Presidential level and below.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Is there any reason why the military has no contact directly with Venezuela?
General HILL. Sir, we do have contacts with the Venezuelans. I have a mil group that is located in Venezuela. We have had people out on that border looking at it. We have been encouraging the Venezuelans to do that.
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Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Okay, thank you. Go ahead on the cap.
General HILL. On the cap issue, the cap issue is one in which, as you look at the cap, and it goes back to Mr. Skelton's question earlier about the military being stretched and operations tempo (OPTEMPO) and personnel tempo (PERSTEMPO) being high in the military, particularly the Army and the Reserve Component that you talked about. As I look at the cap, we are not talking about 800 folks going into Colombia tomorrow afternoon and 800 being there all the time. It is a number that ebbs and flows, depending upon the training mission and depending on those operations that are going on in Colombia. There are, in fact, some Reservists and some Active Component folks doing those operations.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Have you discussed in terms of the need for additional troops?
General HILL. With the Colombians's larger-scale operations and more units in the fight, there is an opportunity for us to provide planning and assistance teams to them; greater intelligence-sharing; an ability to influence their war in a way that we have not had in the past. That is why I have asked that I be allowed to assist them with more people, more training opportunities, more assistance opportunities, so that they can win their war.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Kline.
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Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you very much, gentlemen, for being here.
I was looking at the map. I think it looks like the European Command put here, and it occurs to me that we ought to be extremely grateful for your presence here, because you and the troops that work for you are influencing a huge part of the world. I think that we often forget that sometimes the best people-to-people contacts between Americans and folks around the world come from the troops that work for you. So I am very grateful that you are here.
Of course, General Jones, since I spent most of my life wearing a Marine Corps uniform, I just have to tell you that I am absolutely delighted to see the Commander of European Command wearing the uniform, and nobody I believe better than you can wear it. I am just delighted that you are the Commander, sir.
I have a lot of questions for you, General Jones, but I want to close a loop if I could for just a minute with General Hill on some questions that have been asked here by my colleagues concerning the increase in perhaps Islamic fundamentalists that may be apparent in South America; some of the issues that we have talked about with narco-terrorism; and the funneling of funds to terrorism and so forth. I appreciate very much your answers to those questions.
I have a broader question, if I could. I was looking at your statement. You were expressing some concern about some changes in South America and in Central America; some of the new and arguably fragile democracies that may be in some trouble. We talked a bit about Venezuela, Bolivia, and I think we have been watching elections, for example, in El Salvador recently. I wonder if you could just give me an assessment, to the extent that you feel you can, about the state of those democracies. Are we fundamentallyI guess I am asking whether we are gaining or losing?
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General HILL. Gaining and losing is a very difficult question region-wide. General Jones' comments a few moments ago discussing Africa, and how you continue to support democracy so that the business can come in and flourish, were very well taken. Latin America is vitally important to the United States in terms of our culture, the economy, oil. We get more oil from Latin America than we do from the Middle East; 49 cents of every dollar spent in Latin America is a U.S.-purchased good.
This is important to our country. It is important that democracy flourish. Throughout the region, there are strains on democracy as democracy tries to take root. If you said to me today, what is the greatest threat to Latin America democracy, I would tell you that it would be poverty and the inability of those countries to raise up their populace to a greater degree; to have more resources; and then to have the ability for U.S. and other industry to come in and bolster those economies. They have to raise up to that. Before they can do that, there must be security and stability inside their country. That is my concern with Colombia. If Colombia is to flourish, and it is a dynamic population with a huge potential for economic growth, and that growth is moving along at a very good rate today. In order for democracy to continue to flourish; in order for the economy to flourish; in order for poverty to go away in those countries, security and stability must take place. I am concerned about all that.
Mr. KLINE. As am I. We have so many balls to keep in the air, and of course we are very much focused on the Global War on Terrorism and looking to the Middle East and the periphery of General Jones's area, but I am worried that we might lose sight of some other developments in South America. Very quickly, General Jones for you, we have been delighted to see the cooperation of Poland, the Poles in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and in the operations there now. I know that there is some consideration about strengthening relations with Eastern European countries, and even some discussion of moving U.S. forces. I believe, in fact, it came originally from your Command about the possibility of moving some U.S. forces in that direction. Can you tell us how that is going?
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General JONES. Yes, sir. Very briefly, as NATO expands within the next few weeks, on the second of April, actually, the formal accession ceremony will take place in Brussels of seven new members. Just to recap, they would be Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. They will become full members of NATO. As the Commander of the U.S. forces in EUCOM, of course, we have had to do a reassessment with our own force posturing to see how we might best support not only our national interests and our bilateral relations in Europe, but also support for the alliance.
That has led at the direction of the Secretary of Defense to conduct a major study. In EUCOM last year, we proposed a fairly dramatic change in the capabilities of our forces that have been there since the end of World War II. It involves a re-shaping of those forces in a manner that might make them more strategically effective to address the emerging interests to the east, and more specificallyand I associate myself with the necessity to focus on the greater Middle East, and also, as I have said publicly and privately, to the realities of our southern flank, both on a national basis and an international basis.
The substance of the proposal, sir, is to essentially make our bases that are currently in existence in the traditional part of Europe, that existed post-World War II, and to collapse them into strategically enduring installations. In other words, I have used the example of Ramstein Air Force Base, without which we would not have been able to execute the flow of forces to either Operation Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom. Bases like that will have continuing strategic value, so we have identified those. We have made recommendations as to how we should address those.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Beyond that, with regard to the new realities to the east, we have proposed two new types of bases. One called a forward-operating base, an example of which would be a base like we have at Camp Eagle in Bosnia or Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, which have already been built, but which do not include the massive infrastructure of our post-World War II basesthat is to say with schools and families and so on and so forth.
The third type of base would be a forward-operating site which is a bare-bones installation that you can see from an aerial picture would be a runway, some rudimentary shelters, maybe electricity, maybe not, but where truly expeditionary forces could operate to help our friends and allies whose borders are threatened, have the wherewithal to defend themselves and to do some basic training.
What we have set about to do in Europe is to develop a catalog of all such bases and work nation by nation in developing agreements whereby in the future if it became necessary to use such bases, that the agreements would already be in place and that we could do this either on a bilateral basis for training or in response to a real crisis.
By taking the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Marines who are based in Europe, most especially the Army, and transforming that Army, which is based around two heavy tank divisions, into something that is more strategically agile, and augmenting this force with rotational forces from CONUS or from any other place that they might come from, we could actually become more strategically effective and reach out and influence areas to the east, where the welcome matI have to tell you, one of the greatest feelings I have had as an American is to go almost anywhere in Eastern Europe and see the hand of friendship and cooperation, whether it is Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, embracing concepts such as non-commissioned officer (NCO) leadership, which was absent in former Warsaw Pact countries.
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This is a marvelous time and an extremely unique opportunity to transform former Warsaw Pact nations who want to do this, into a much more interoperable capability that will not only benefit the alliance, but certainly the bilateral relationships we have with our friends. This is an extraordinary time in this important theater.
Thank you for that question.
Mr. KLINE. It is exciting to hear the excitement as you talk about it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentlelady from California, Ms. Sanchez.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Hi, gentlemen. Good to see you again. As you know, I have had the opportunity in the past year to go out both to SOUTHCOM and to EUCOM to take a look at the troops and see what is going on out there. So it is great to have you back to testify before us.
Has Mr. Meek had the opportunity yet?
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. No. I would tell the gentlelady, no. Mr. Meek still has not had a question; nor has Mr. Wilson. And we will probably have a vote, a series of three, in about five minutes.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I will limit my questioning to one question, to give them the ability to ask before we leave.
The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate that.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Then I will submit the rest of the ones that I have for the record. So, General Hill, I will submit your questions for the record and I will ask our NATO Commander here. I have a question about the reduction and the realignment of the bases and forces in Central Europe, and obviously the transformation plan. According to your testimony, the plan envisions deployment of forces for six-month rotations to forward operating bases (FOB) and forward operating locations (FOL). I think it makes sense in light of the fact that we are trying to get closer to where things might pop up in specific theaters.
But I want you to comment on the human impact of these expeditionary concepts on the total force. The idea of six-month rotations to FOBs was born before we went into OIF and OEF, and we placed such overwhelming demands on the force. Now that we are almost daily reminded of the extraordinary strain that deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have, what they are doing to our Active troops, to our Reservists, our National Guardsmen, our resources, their families, which is what we hear from all day long out there.
Is the concept of the regular six-month deployment overseas even feasible from a human standpoint, now that we have an indefinite commitment of over 100,000 troops to Iraq? Could the Army even provide forces to these six-month deployments to FOBs as long as we are committed to the Iraqi theater, without breaking the force and without hurting our retention and recruitment? Has Iraq changed the concept or the timeline for the EUCOM transformation?
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In case you think I am smart and I thought this up, actually this was from a relationship of what the troops are actually asking me when we were out in Europe this past year.
General JONES. Thank you very much, ma'am, for those insightful questions. Obviously, when a nation is engaged in two major theater conflicts, as we have been in Afghanistan and Iraq, there are certain things that have to come into a new focus with regard to priorities. You cannot do everything at once and simultaneously.
So the plan that is being proposed is obviously a plan that if it is accepted and instituted will have its place in the sun at a time when we will be hopefully engaged in less of a combat operational mode and more of an engagement mode within the normal context of how we use our forces.
I am very much a believer in the principle of forward presence, and by forward presence I do not necessarily mean that we have to build Fortress America everywhere. As you know, I come from an expeditionary service, a service culture that has tackled the problems that you so correctly mentioned, in such a way that the Marine Corps, for example, has been able to attract and retain high quality members of our force for many years now. As a matter of fact, we just had a milestone celebration of over six years of monthly meeting of our quotas.
More important to recruiting, the acid test for any service chief is what is the exit poll. The exit poll is reflected in people who will leave the service, if you break that bond between them and their families and the quality of life, and the reasonable expectations that they have to do their jobs, but to do it in a way that allows them also to raise families and have a certain amount of time at home. So no one understands that and has been more dedicated to that than the Marines and the Marine Corps.
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Having said that, what we are seeing throughout the transformation of the Armed Forces of the United States is a recognition that rotational forces have an inherent value. The inherent value in the context of the operational forces is predictability. This is extremely important to get to your questions with regard to family stability because, as a Marine, if I know that I am reporting into the Second Marine Division or the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, generally in normal times I know that in one year's time I am going to be deploying for six months. I will come back for 18 months and I will deploy for another 6 months. That is eminently acceptable in an expeditionary force.
Where we have problems with the concept in the aggregate is among services that have two or three philosophies, some for individual replacement; some for unit replacement; some for rotational. What I think the Army is coming to is more of a commitment to a rotational forces as a core philosophy. In the case of Europe, what that will mean is that the two heavy armored divisions that define the U.S. Army presence in Europe will, once transformation is done, have something completely different. We will retain a certain amount of permanent capability, but that capability will be very expeditionary, very agile, very light. We will probably put a lot of our heavy equipment into pre-positioned stocks. It will be exercised and used and ready to go.
And we will be augmented by rotational forces that can come from elsewhere in the United States. They can sometimes be National Guard; sometimes Reserve units; sometimes Active forces. I like to make the case that in Bosnia or in the Balkans right now, virtually all of the troops are National Guard troops and doing a great job. So where the troops come from is not nearly as important as it was 20 years ago, when we did not have the strategic transportation that is available to us now and the world was much bigger in terms of the amount of time it took troops to get there.
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Your point is well taken. As the availability of disposable units, if you will, is concentrated in Afghanistan or concentrated in the Gulf, of course that draws down on the rest of us and we will have to find ways to balance the force and balance its utilization in ways that are commensurate with our commitment to our families, which is beyond question.
I also think that there is an offset to this, and that is until we can in fact have this rebalancing, we can do a lot more with allies. We can build coalitions to do this. We can provide a lot of things to people that can help them, in Africa, for example, to defend their borders by bringing to bear some of the capabilities that only we have. That does not necessarily mean people on the ground.
So it is a long answer to a very good question. There is no question in my mind, though, as a supporting Commander to the Central Command, of the important struggle that we are involved in, that that is a priority of work; but I think someday that will end and we need to be able to have what is next lined up. I think this plan is part of what is next.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, General.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlelady.
Mr. Wilson and Mr. Meek, we have probably about ten minutes left on this vote, so I think we have a good chance of wrapping up here.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson.
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Mr. WILSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank both of you for your obvious enthusiasm for what you are doing and your competence. I am very grateful for your service and your troops.
Additionally, General Hill, I appreciate your interest and concern about the people of Colombia. I am very active in the Partners with the Americas Program. We are in South Carolina, associated with Southwest Colombia. We have had for a number of years student exchanges, business exchanges, cultural exchanges. Obviously, they have been disrupted. Still, we have a number of students that are able to come to the United States.
Unfortunately, we had other programs. One of my sons went to high school in Cali, but that is on hold. I see the progress you are making. I appreciate it and I have been particularly impressed by the Special Forces and their dedication and success.
Additionally, General Jones, the jurisdiction that you have, your area of operations, is amazing to me. From the top of Europe to the tip of South Africa is extraordinary. My motivation for even being involved in government and politics was as a Cold Warrior. I appreciate the success of the European Command.
Also, I am so excited, as you are, to see the freedom for people in Central and Eastern Europe that could only be imagined. A country that I have worked with closely with Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher is Bulgaria. We are active in the Bulgaria Caucus. I am so proud of their active participation; troops in Afghanistan; a battalion to Iraq. They are providing bases to the United States. I work very closely with their very capable ambassador, Elena Poptodorova, who formerly was a member of the national assembly. I know first-hand of their dedication to the war on terrorism. I urge you, as you have already answered the question of Congressman Kline about forward placement of bases, that Bulgaria is willing, able and enthusiastic.
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A question I have is, I am very pleased about the success that we have had in the war on terrorism. One of the greatest successes is the virtual disarmament of Libya. I know that that is in your jurisdiction. Would you comment on what the status and significance of Libya is?
General JONES. Sir, thank you very much for your statement and the question. The cautious optimism that we all have with regard to Libya, of course, has to be played out, but from a strategic standpoint, to have a country the size of Libya join the family of nations along the southern rim of the Mediterranean, and hopefully conceivably, and you could even see them becoming at some point part of a Mediterranean dialogue and actively functioning as one of the partners in keeping the Mediterranean and keeping terrorism reduced in North Africa is incalculable.
This is a very, very positive development, and we hope that it has a long-lasting impact. We stand ready to do whatever we can at EUCOM to make sure that it is a success.
Mr. WILSON. And to what would you attribute the change of attitude of Moammar Qaddafi?
General JONES. I have no particular insights, sir, about what reason that he might have, but I would say that I am sure he was very impressed with the capabilities he saw on display against Iraq. I believe he came to a judgment that it was probably better to be on the right side of the issues than on the wrong side of the issues, particularly where terrorism and instability is concerned. So I applaud his change of heart.
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Mr. WILSON. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Senator Jones. I mean, I am making you senators now.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not want to demote him here. [Laughter.]
Mr. MEEK. I heard that, especially after this long stay they have had here this morning.
General Jones, I would submit my questions for the record and written to you. But, General Hill, first of all, I just want to say, and Mr. Chairman, I think the committee needs to be made aware of the fine work that not only the men and women in Haiti are doing as it relates to restoring safety and peace, but General Hill I want to commend you personally for keeping me abreast of what is going on in Haiti.
As you know, I represent more Haitians than any other Member of Congress. Regardless of the political situation there, that is not my main concern. My main concern is making sure that we are able to make it a chapter six country, more than a chapter seven, so that we can get other countries in there providing humanitarian help.
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Mr. Chairman, rightfully so, many countries asked nongovernment organizations (NGO) and others to leave at the height of the danger in Haiti. As it relates to the Coast Guard and the work that SOUTHCOM is doing and the fine Marines that are on the ground there, a lot has changed.
The briefing that General Bishop gave his last trip to the Hill last weekend, and Colonel Napoli when I came out to SOUTHCOM on one Sunday and he pulled together the Command staff to share with me in a closed-door briefing about what was going on in Haiti, some of the characters, some of the people that you are dealing with.
I can say that your recent creation of the civil military operations center, the CMOC, I know it has worked in Iraq. I know that it has done positive things in Somalia and also in Haiti in the early 1990's when you were there, along with many other members of SOUTHCOM. That is really set up to coordinate NGOs to be able to get back into Haiti. I think that is the key to hopefully building some sort of environment for future elections so that that democracy can continue on.
One of the main roads in Haiti, the best road in Haiti, was built by the Army, out of Port-au-Prince to Celan and up to the north. When it runs out, it is a pretty rocky road from that point on.
I wanted to ask you about the CMOC and maybe share with members of the committee and the Chairman, how do you see that working toward hopefully more countries taking part in the peacekeeping and also humanitarian efforts?
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General HILL. Thank you, Mr. Meek. I appreciate your interest in Haiti. We share a common interest in this country that we would like to see. The Haitian people deserve a lot better than they get from their leadership. I am hopeful that they are on the right path again.
The civil-military operations center that you speak of, we quickly established it within the Joint Task Force staff to better facilitate the nongovernmental organizations to deliver food and other products to the populace and to carry out their operations. That will continue to get better and more delivery of goods as the situation continues to become more stable and secure, which I have no doubt that it will.
Mr. MEEK. Mr. Chairman, I shared with you when I walked by and I wanted to talk to you a little bit about Haiti, and I know that we are on our way to a vote, but I am going to try to get over there on the two-week break that we have, to hopefully get a chance to not onlyI have been in conversation with the Ambassador, but also meet some of the general's people that are over there working with the CMOC because I believe that we need Members of Congress that have an assignment to hopefully get other NGOs to return, and say that it is okay; that I have seen that it is okay; that they are working hard toward making sure that we are able to reach some of those areas in Haiti where individuals are actually not receiving services because we asked folks to leave. So I want to talk to you further about that.
General Hill, I just wanted to say personally, I know that this is my first term in Congress, but I just want to appreciate what your staff has done to keep me informed, which has allowed me to represent my constituents better, and also stand for Haiti in this Congress in a way it should be stood for, and that is making sure they receive the assistance that they deserve.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
I think we have probably two minutes left on this vote, but I want to make sure the ranking member, who saved his questions for the last, and now he understands the folly of that policy. [Laughter.]
I thank him.
Mr. SKELTON. But Mr.Chairman, they were all asked anyway. Just a special thanks to each of you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. I thank my partner on this committee very much.
Just one last question before we take off here, General Hill, is this. You have a cap. The Administration has recommended a modification of the cap, but nonetheless a maintenance of the cap. If you strip the politics and the resistance of Congress to an expansion of American personnel members in-theater in Colombia, from your perspective as a military person who has missions and objectives and has to meet them, would you preferand I am asking for your own personal opinionto carry out your professional duties that there be no cap?
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General HILL. Mr. Hunter, I would prefer to not have a cap. I would prefer to have the flexibility to carry out the mission that the United States has given me to do without the cap, but I recognize that it is a congressional constraint and we will work with it.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay.
I appreciate it so much. Gentlemen, thank you. Thanks for your leadership. I think we had an excellent discussion with members of the committee.
The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:21 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]