SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10718]
POSTURE OF U.S. MILITARY FORCES - U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
MARCH 28, 2001
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HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
One Hundred Seventh Congress
BOB STUMP, Arizona, Chairman
FLOYD D. SPENCE, South Carolina
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
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
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
VAN HILLEARY, Tennessee
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
BOB RILEY, Alabama
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
DON SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
ANDER CRENSHAW, Florida
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
ED SCHROCK, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
NORMAN SISISKY, Virginia
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
THOMAS H. ALLEN, Maine
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
MIKE THOMPSON, California
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
David Trachtenberg, Professional Staff Member
Laura Truesdell, Staff Assistant
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Wednesday, March 28, 2001, Posture of U.S. Military Forces - U.S. Central Command
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2001
POSTURE of U.S. MILITARY FORCES - U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Stump, Hon. Bob, a Representative from Arizona, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Franks, Gen. Tommy R., (USA), Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command
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Franks, Gen. Tommy R.
Skelton, Hon. Ike
Stump, Hon. Bob
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
United States Central Command Map
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
POSTURE OF U.S. MILITARY FORCES - U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 28, 2001.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bob Stump (chairman of the committee) presiding.
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OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BOB STUMP, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM ARIZONA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order. I know we are going to probably have a vote on the rule on the budget any minute, but we need to get started. Sometimes these 5-minute votes delay into 25.
Today, the committee meets to hear testimony regarding the posture of U.S. Armed Forces within the Central Command area of responsibility.
Some of the most serious threats to the United States and indeed the world are located within the Central Command area of operations. For example, Iran continues to actively support international terrorism and is acquiring advanced weapons and nuclear technology from Russia. Pakistan and India are engaged in a dangerous and unpredictable nuclear arms race, and Iraq continues to threaten the region with its aggressive military posture and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.
By all accounts, the U.S. policy toward Iraq that was inherited from the previous administration is under review by the Bush administration. Appropriately, our witness today has been involved in portions of the review related to his area of operations. The committee eagerly awaits the outcome of the Administration's review, and looks forward to learning what viable alternatives to the current policy make sense and will advance our strategic interests in the region.
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The Commander in Chief of Central Command must contend not only with Iraq, but also with other threats in the region. More than 18,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardmen are involved daily in Central Command operations and training. The threats to U.S. interests are real and so are the risks to our forces in theater. The last three major terrorist attacks on U.S. military personnel, as well as the bombing of the American Embassy in Kenya, all took place in the Central Command region. The attack on the USS Cole last October was only the latest reminder of the price of securing the peace in this volatile area.
As the new administration reviews its policy toward the region, it is timely that this committee focus on the current state of events and understand the impact of ongoing operations upon our Armed Forces within Central Command. In that regard, we have before us today General Tommy Franks, Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command.
Welcome, General Franks. The committee looks forward to your presentation.
But before you begin, I would like to recognize the committee's ranking Democrat, Mr. Skelton, for any remarks that he may wish to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stump can be found in the Appendix.]
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and I join in welcoming our very distinguished witness, General Tommy Franks, to this hearing.
The CENTCOM area of operations continues to be one of the most dangerous regions of the world. It remains a significant threat to the international stability on which this Nation relies. I am reminded that the Administration has initiated a comprehensive national military strategy review and much of what we hear today has to be about the events and accomplishments associated with the current military strategy. But what General Franks tells us today could serve as an informed baseline for understanding military strategy changes that may evolve from the assessment.
Mr. Chairman, I recognize that no military mission is risk free. My worry is that by failing to provide adequate resources to the Commander in Chiefs (CINCs) and the Services, we increase those risks. There is no need for a reminder of the Congressional responsibility for resourcing the forces, notwithstanding the assumed public perception that the Defense Department is already getting more than its fair share of the Gross National Product.
As I said in the strategy hearing last week, Mr. Chairman, I am concerned about the current year defense budget. I also remain convinced that a thorough assessment is a prudent requirement to determine future needs. But we all know that real needs to improve current readiness and quality of life matters are going unmet. We have sufficient knowledge about them without a new study. The facts are that the United States simply cannot maintain its global security commitments on a budget frozen at current levels or without a 2001 supplemental.
I sincerely hope that we will see a request from the Administration for supplemental appropriations in the very near future and a fiscal year 2002 defense budget request that will accommodate the Administration's priorities without cutting other vital programs, and I will speak about this at greater length later this week.
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Mr. Chairman, I look forward to our very distinguished guest's testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be found in the Appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Let me remind members that we will strictly stick to the 5-minute rule.
General, as we discussed, if you would care to summarize in any way you see fit, we would appreciate it. That would maximize the time for questions and answers from the members and they may properly engage in what is on their mind with you. You may proceed in any way you see fit.
STATEMENT OF GEN. TOMMY R. FRANKS (USA), COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
General FRANKS. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton, members, I certainly appreciate this opportunity to appear again before the committee and to say thank you for your continued strong support of our men and women in uniform as we have them deployed over in the Central region.
Mr. Chairman, as I mentioned, I have submitted written comments for the record and would ask that they be included, and I will introduce that written statement with a brief oral overview.
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The CHAIRMAN. It will be included in its entirety, General.
General FRANKS. With continuing tensions as we see them in the Middle East, and I think this is much in the press, with the Arab summit that concludes today in Aman, Jordan, it is important that we remind ourselves of both the challenges and the opportunities that our young men and women, these magnificent soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, face over in the Central region each and every day. It has been said in this body, as well as the other, that these are the finest people that we have had in uniform, and, sir, I will be on the record having seconded that. They are in fact magnificent in every respect. It is our obligation to lead them, sir, as good as they are.
As you know, Mr. Chairman, our region encompasses 25 nations in an area about twice the size of the continental United States, some 4,000 miles east to west, 4,100 miles north to south. It includes the northern Red Sea area, the countries of Egypt and Jordan, it includes the Horn of Africa and East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, certainly and South Asia from Pakistan up into Central Asia as far as Kazakhstan. Sir, this region has been characterized historically as being very diverse and also very volatile, and it certainly remains so today, with great diversity of culture, religion and economic condition.
It is in that environment, or because of that environment, that we have structured our approach to the countries in this region. It is because of the shape and structure of that environment that we have put in place activities that address threats that we face over in the region, as well as recognizing the differences that we see there.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These have been incorporated in our theater engagement strategy, which the Secretary of Defense has, and in fact is considering, as the new policy formulations for this administration come into place.
Our goals and objectives remain to sustain uninterrupted access to energy resources, some 68 percent of those available on the planet which exist in this region, more than 40 percent of which pass through the Strait of Hormuz. So one of our responsibilities, in fact one of our objectives, is to maintain access to these energy resources at the same time that we maintain access to markets in the region.
Additionally, we are responsible to promote regional stability in an area that is inherently unstable. We are also responsible to maintain freedom of navigation for the reasons I mentioned previously, and as the committee certainly knows, we have on a given day more than 200,000 Americans residing in this region, and our responsibility is to look after them as well as their interests.
Additionally, we look for providing security as we can to our allies and friends in this all-important region.
In order to meet these responsibilities, Central Command will have on a given day between 18,500 and 25,000 men and women in uniform. This morning we have 21,300 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen deployed over in the region, and some 30 naval vessels. We have always between 175 and 200 air frames involved in our operations over there, and those assets are used on a daily basis to enforce the Southern No-fly Zone in Iraq, as well as conduct maritime intercept operations in the northern Arabian Gulf for the purpose of precluding the illegal smuggling of gas-oil by Saddam Hussein, the use of which gives him disposable income which he could use to reconstitute weapons of mass destruction or to improve his conventional capability in spite of Security Council resolutions and existing sanctions.
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Last year the operations that I have just described included more than 20,000 air sorties by our pilots, more than 10,000 of them being over Iraq, and also included the intercept of more than 600 naval vehicles, more than 70 of which were diverted to friendly ports in the Gulf for carrying illegal gas-oil.
Iran and Iraq both remain destabilizing influences in the region. Instability is further threatened by the Palestinian-Israeli issue, which we read about daily, as well as disagreements over border demarcation, control of natural resources, religious and ethnic disputes, religious extremism, humanitarian crises, principally in the Horn of Africa, the Indo-Pakistani rivalry between two nuclear capable states, and, finally, the transnational terrorist threat which we see presenting a growing problem in the Central region.
Central to our ability to sustain and promote our interests is our access to the region, operations and training events which permit us to retain competency of a well-trained force when it is deployed to the region, and my statement, sir, discusses all these matters in detail and I will not further describe them here.
Suffice to say, support by this committee, by the Congress and the American people remain key to our success in this vital region.
In closing, sir, I would like to publicly thank the superb soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Department of Defense civilians and American contractors who work daily in the Central region. They are in fact extraordinary and they work every day in very dangerous circumstances. Our presence in this area has not been and will not in the foreseeable future be risk-free. In fact, these people go every day in harm's way in order to secure our vital and enduring interests.
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Mr. Chairman, I would be pleased to answer the committee's questions.
[The prepared statement of General Franks can be found in the Appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much for the statement. This may be an appropriate time for us to break. We have one 15-minute vote on the rule on the budget. So without objection, the committee will stand in recess until the sound of the gavel. It will be about 15 or 20 minutes, General. Thank you.
Mr. SPENCE [presiding.] The committee will please be in order.
General, Chairman Stump had to make a statement on the floor relative to the budget, so he asked me to fill in for him while he is gone.
I guess I am probably up first for a question. Looking at the map and relatively recent history, you have your work cut out for you in the Central Command. A lot of the hot spots we deal with in this world are right there.
Well, that brings me around to the threats we face in the world today. I hear a lot of talk about the future, and we still have all these threats in the future we have to address, and sometimes people forget we have a lot of threats right now we have to deal with.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In that regard, I hear talk about our strategy for dealing with threats in the world, the ones that have served us pretty well, I guess, even though I don't think we had the size to deal with it, from all the things we have been bringing out in our hearings the last couple years, for a two major war scenario.
I know myself, I have been trying to make the point that we would have a difficult time fighting two major theater wars at about the same time in distant places. I kept getting back from our military leadership and others that, well, we could do it, it would just take longer. Then I said, well, what does take longer mean? And it came out, well, obtaining our objective, and we would suffer more casualties, and this and that and all the rest of it. Eventually down the road in the past, we always would manage to get there.
Korea comes to mind. After sacrificing a lot of goals and people and everything else, we finally fought to a draw in one major theater war. Anyway, I had a difficult time convincing people that we had a problem there.
Along came Kosovo, and I was not too much in favor of Kosovo for one simple reason: We had a lot more threats in the world, if you call that a threat, than that one. I was concerned about what would happen if we had a real big-time threat breaking out while Kosovo was going on.
At the end of Kosovo, the truth came out. The Air Force, for instance, had to marshal most of their assets, they said, from all over. As you well know, they shot off about all the cruise missiles they had. We had no line up and running to replenish them, and the Navy shot off a good many, too. I was talking to fighting pilots in Mildenhall and they said not only cruise missiles, but other preferred ammunition, laser-guided and all that, we about ran out.
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General Jeffords said back in those days that if something else had broken out, it would have been real difficult for them to handle it. So that is where we are today, as far as I am concerned.
I still think we have to have that strategy of fighting two wars, and we have got to be able to have the size of force to do it and give them the equipment to do it. That is the best case scenario, I think.
What would have happened if Korea had broken out, for instance, right then? We already had to bring a carrier task force around from the Pacific to the Adriatic and you could have seen what would have happened in Korea from that standpoint.
With that preliminary, I just wanted to ask you, how do you view our ability to handle these threats? Many of them are in your area, not just one of them, which I would call a major war, and we have still got Korea and the rest of them. What do you think about that, being able to do it?
General FRANKS. Mr. Chairman, I would find myself agreeing with your comments. I believe that your discussion of what would happen if we were to have simultaneous major theaters of war is exactly on target. We would prevail. The risks would be higher, especially for the one that started second in this near simultaneous construct. And what higher means is taking a lot longer and involving a great many more casualties with our men and women in uniform. Sir, that is my view.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SPENCE. I think the final answer we got from the Chiefs is it has gone from moderate to high risk now.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have one question, General: The area of responsibility is called AOR, am I correct?
General FRANKS. Yes, sir, you are.
Mr. SKELTON. In your AOR, what area, region, or subject is of the greatest concern to you as you are the leader of the Central Command?
General FRANKS. Congressman, that is a substantial question, sir, and I will try to give you as direct an answer as I can.
There are several issues or things that give me concern in our AOR in the Central region. The near term problem that we have had and will continue to have for the foreseeable future will be Iraq, a hegemon where the leadership, the regime in Baghdad, has refused over the past 10 years to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. There is much in the press recently about what our future policy with regard to that regime may be.
Sir, as you would expect, I will leave that discussion to the policymakers, but I will tell you so long as we are involved in Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch, that being the patrolling of the no-fly zones in Iraq, we will continue to place our young men and women in uniform at risk.
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On the other hand, should we not be involved in containing Saddam Hussein and his ambitions, there is a potential for further proliferation and building of weapons of mass destruction in that region, as well as the continuation of rebuilding programs with conventional forces, as well as the potential proliferation of terrorist threats from Iraq.
So, Iraq will remain a short-term problem for us, and I think that is one of the things that underlies the work that is being done right now to formulate a policy down the road for our approach to Iraq.
A second issue, a longer term issue, will be Iran. There is much in the press recently about the relationships and meetings between Iran and Russia with regard to the continuation of the Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran, as well as the potential for Iran to purchase I believe perhaps $6 billion to $7 billion over the next number of years worth of everything from enhanced submarine capability to enhanced air defense capability to enhanced air forces.
It is obvious that Iran is the holder of the largest chemical weapons stockpile in our AOR today. Iran continues to support state-sponsored terrorism designed in the case of Hezbollah to upset negotiations of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
I would find some hope with President Khatami as a moderate that over time he would be able to permit the movement of Iran back toward some realm of moderation. But as we speak today, the more conservative influences inside Iran cause us to believe that Iran will remain a long-term strategic problem for us in our AOR.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Sir, in our off-line discussions we talked about terrorism, both transnational and state sponsored. It remains a probable in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility (CENTCOM AOR). On the day in which we speak, 15 of our countries in the region are atI will say it this way20 of the 25 countries in our region are at substantial risks with regard to terrorism. And so the way we protect our forces at the same time or while we accomplish our missions in the region, terrorism will remain a problem for us in the foreseeable future.
Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will remain a problem for us in the region, that being long-range delivery systems capable of delivering either conventional munitions or perhaps chemical or biological. And in the case of Pakistan and India, a capability to deliver nuclear weapons will remain a problem for us in the future and is a problem for us today.
Sir, general instability in the CENTCOM AOR remains a problem for us. The instability brought about by the ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and Israel, the border disputes that exist between Eritrea and Ethiopia, where during a 2-1/2 year war that ended last December more than 100,000 people lost their lives. So border demarcation will remain an issue for us.
Smuggling remains an issue for us in the region. The smuggling of narcotics, principally out of Afghanistan, will remain an issue for us in the future.
Sir, finally, I would mention environmental issues, such as water, where we find that, for example, in Jordan, the aquifers are not being replenished and water is becoming ever more precious in that region.
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Sir, that is a quick snapshot of where I see the problems in our AOR.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you so much.
Mr. SPENCE. Mr. McKeon.
Mr. MCKEON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, General. Good seeing you again.
General FRANKS. How are you, sir.
Mr. MCKEON. I missed your statement. I had to go to another committee, so you may have talked about the questions that I have. But I would like to know what actions have been taken and will be taken in order to prevent a repeat performance of the attack on the USS Cole?
General FRANKS. Congressman, as you certainly and as the committee would remember, immediately following the attack on the Cole back on the 12th of October of last year, the first thing that we did was cause all of our transiting forces, our naval units, to remain at sea until we could provide secure environments in which to replenish those vehicles.
Additionally, we have deployed several hundred more force protection people into the AOR. We have taken a look at every process and every procedure, not only within Central Command, but within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, Central Command and our components, to be sure that we know where the seams are.
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One of the instructive things for all of us that came out of the attack on the USS Cole was the fact that after Khobar Towers and the embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya and Tanzania, we were very, very sensitized, the Armed Forces were very sensitized about the need for standoff and about the need for force protection, enhancement of infrastructure, that being buildings and so forth.
What we were not at that time sensitive enough to was this business, as the Crouch-Gehman Commission pointed out, of units in transit, ships and airplanes. So the first thing that we did was we took a look at every assumption that we had made to be sure that we knew and do know where the high threat seaports are in the AOR, and in fact this work is being done by all the unified commands around the world. The same thing with the airports that we use for transiting units. I wanted to be absolutely sure that, I will give you a specific example, that every ship that enters into our area of responsibility is met and thoroughly briefed before the ship enters the area of responsibility so that there can be no confusion with respect to the terrorist threat level and actions to be taken in a given port for a given stop.
The specific personalities that we have involved in our security operations now possess a degree of operational experience which gives us the capability to do better red teaming, if you will; that is, to take a look at our installations and vessels through the eyes of a shooter as well as through the eyes of a force protection expert.
Additionally, we have gone forward and requested the Secretary's assistance, the Chairman's assistance, with additional money for additional staffing, to be sure that our analytical capability can provide more tailored intelligence information to all of our forces, depending on where they may be geographically. I am talking about a specific site in the region.
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So, Congressman, I would leave it at that. But there have been in fact a great many actions undertaken. Having said all of that, sir, I will be quick to tell you, we will never reduce the risks that our people face in this very dynamic region to zero. In fact, on a daily basis, our people are being watched. In many cases they are being stalked. The intelligence that we have available to us is always awfully good in hindsight. It is seldom good enough in anticipating where we have a seam and providing us the ability to protect ourselves 100 percent.
Mr. MCKEON. Thank you. The attacks that we flew recently in Iraq against the installations that were threatening us, has that diminished the threat there?
General FRANKS. Sir, it has diminished the threat. Let me explain to you what that was about.
We talk a lot about IADS. As Congressman Skelton mentioned a minute ago, AOR means area of operation responsibility. IADS means integrated air defense systems.
There are several things about an air defense system that can give our pilots trouble. One of the things that can give us trouble is the early warning radar that a threat can have, Electronic Warfare (EW) radar, and the other is target training radar. Additionally, the communications that link those radars to a command and control facility in the case of this most recent strike, fiber optic cabling, then the command and control facility gives the instructions to the shooters, which can be anti-aircraft artillery, or it can be surface-to-air missiles, SAMs.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When you take all of this capability together, it forms over time and becomes a serious threat to our pilots. The rationale behind this strike on the 16th of February was not a single piece. It had to do with increased sophistication and increased capability in all of those ingredients that I mentioned which were enabling Iraqi air defenders to be closer and closer and closer to our pilots.
If you look atI will provide, sir, if I may, in a classified insert for the record more specifics, but I will give this generally. If you look at the air defense threat as we saw it in November, we saw it jump essentially to about twice that size in December. Then in January we saw it jump again to about twice the size it had been in December.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
So, given that, coupled with the fact that we had been using intelligence means available to us, watching the various components of this IADS structure over time, we decided the right thing to do was to alter the capability of that. You know the target sets that we went after, and some has been written about that.
Sir, with that background, I will tell you we had the desired effect that we wanted. It doesn't have as much to do with the number of times air defense systems may be fired; it has to do with the accuracy of those air defense systems. If things are shot up in the air a long ways away, they are not nearly the threat as they are if they get closer and closer and closer.
So, that was adjusted, yes, sir.
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Mr. MCKEON. Thank you very much.
Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Snyder.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a couple of comments and then a question or two. General, I appreciate in your written statement your having a brief discussion of strategic lift. I don't think it is that section. I was talking about F22's or terrorism. But a couple of years ago a couple of us wrote a letter to the Chairman suggesting we have a hearing on strategic lift. As time goes by, it is going to be increasingly important. It is important today.
I appreciate your comments for commendation for the Congress and President for the TRICARE for life. My experience with my military retirees back home is they clearly have noticed that and appreciate it.
I wanted to ask a question. Your command essentially deals with what most of us consider the Arab world. Some have suggested or are suggesting that the United States should consider closing the Palestinian Authority offices in the United States, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) offices in the United States. From your perspective, how would that potentially impact your relationships with both the nations you referred to as moderate Arab states and those we think are not so moderate?
General FRANKS. Sir, let me preface the comment by saying that the policy on whether the Palestinian offices in the States should be closed obviously will reside with the policy team, so I would not want to presuppose any sort of work that that policy might take or the direction that the policy might take.
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One of the great benefits that CENTCOM offers to our country is, for the reason you described, and that is the CENTCOM AOR is the mass of Arab states. We in fact provide balance by our military-to-military associations, relationships, some of which are very personal, in the region. It is obvious that any action that is taken that is extremely biased in the direction, perhaps biased for good reason, I make no qualitative judgment, but any action that is perceived in the region as unbalanced in favor of someone, of a non-Arab, has an effect on the relationships that we have in the region.
Sir, that is probably, even though circuitous, the most direct answer I can give you to the question.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, General. In your written statement also you referred to the proposed budget from the President this year as, I think your quote was, meeting a ''most pressing priority,'' which probably is a code word for there is a whole lot of inadequacy in the budget number. Like most military people, I assume you are hoping it will be plussed-up as time goes by and when the Secretary of Defense comes back with his report. I have been concerned through the years that while we make some fairly lofty statements about our expectations for the mil-to-mil contacts, that they really fall behindthey will be considered not pressing priorities, and that then we are shocked when we see militaries in Third World countries that do things that we don't like.
I guess my specific comment is where would you rank the Congress right now on supporting mil-to-mil contacts? Are we an A, a C, an F?
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General FRANKS. Congressman, I wouldn't be bold enough to rank this committee or the Congress.
Mr. SNYDER. We like candor around here, particularly if it agrees with us.
General FRANKS. I believe it is very hard for the Congress to read between the lines in terms of the submissions that you receive. I will say this: Interaction or engagement, either term, works for me, or shaping of the security environment. It is one of the items mentioned among my eight items on my most important list, my integrated priority list.
I have told the Secretary and I am on record having said, as has my predecessor Tony Zinni, I was on the record having said that our relationships equal access, and so I believe it is important to align the mission of maintaining access and promoting stability with resource levels that are, over time, predictable and sufficient to be able to maintain these personal and military-to-military relationships which give us access to this area of vital and enduring interests to the country.
Mr. SNYDER. General, you specifically mentioned a few minutes ago the Eritrean and Ethiopian war and the demarcation process. Does the budget proposal give you adequate resources to have as much potential influence and involvement with that process as you would like to have?
General FRANKS. Sir, it does. In the case of Eritrea and Ethiopia, as you would know, beginning last July, we had an opportunity, and this is a good example of engagement, we had an opportunity last July to meet with ministers of defense and chiefs of defense, as well as ministers of state from some 11 East African countries, and we did that in Kenya.
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That was the first time where we had had the senior representatives from both Eritrea and Ethiopia in the same place for a long period of time.
What came out of that was the result that we saw on the 12th of December when the cease-fire was reached.
As the United Nations has stemmed forward, and I applaud their efforts with the United Nations peacekeeping initiative that has placed some 4,500 soldiers, not Americans by the way, in a temporary security zone between Eritrea and Ethiopia, to come into play. We like the direction that that is moving. I believe there are going to be hurdles in that, but our relationships with the leadership, to include President Isaias in Eritrea and Prime Minister Meles in Ethiopia, are substantial and resource levels are appropriate for us to continue the work.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you for your time and service, General.
Mr. SPENCE. Thank you, Mr. Snyder. The gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Simmons.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, General, for your testimony. I have to remark on your 11th Armored Cav patch. During the Tet Offensive, you guys saved our butts. So I really appreciate that.
General FRANKS. Thank you, Congressman.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SIMMONS. Moving to U.S. Central Command, it was my privilege a few years ago to command a military intelligence detachment that supported CENTCOM in its mission, and I appreciate your comments on page 32 and 33 to the effect that without the reserve component, especially in intelligence, you really wouldn't be able to meet your mission requirements. We felt we had a real mission, and we appreciated serving your command.
Looking at the AOR, and we had an AOI, area of interest, as well, I was always confused by the facts that countries such as Israel, Lebanon, Syria, which are so critical to the political and economic situation in the Middle East, were not included in your AOR. And then looking at the other side, of course you have Pakistan, but not India, and certainly India and Pakistan would have to be considered also flashpoints in the AOR.
Why is it that the AOR is described as it is, and is there any value or is there a lack of value in the fact that those neighboring countries are not included, and yet would be very much a part of the strategic equation?
General FRANKS. Sir, the Unified Command Plan, which will certainly be reviewed by the new leadership, will certainly address those issues.
I will tell you what the wisdom has been up to this point. Interestingly, I have agreed with the wisdom. It has been that in order to provide the balance that I described in response to the Congressman's question a minute ago, that being the daily interface with the Arab world, the view has been in order to maintain that credibility that we would separate the country of Israel from the Arabs in the region.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Sir, I believe that that has provided a sense of balance, and all of the countries where we visit and where we have our men and women in uniform are very much aware of the fact that we do our very best to represent these moderate Arab interests in the region.
That is sort of a comment on Israel.
Now, the same has been the wisdom in the Pakistan-India case. It has been that there has been such animosity since 1947 on the Kashmir issue, life conflict, life control and the working border, that in order to maintain credibility with one, it was best not to have a visa in the passport to the other. So that has been the wisdom.
With respect to Lebanon and Syria, the idea has been that proximity to the Mediterranean and ties to the Mediterranean were sufficient to cause them to be in the European Command area of responsibility. I am not sure, sir, how the review will go in the future, but I do know that what is terribly important to us is that we maintain daily contact with General Joe Ralston, the European counterpart for Europe, and the same thing with Admiral Denny Blair in the Pacific, so that we are situationally aware of activities on both sides of each of these boundaries.
Up to this point, just good staff work between the unified commands has made these relationships reasonably transparent. But, sir, that is a good question.
Mr. SIMMONS. I appreciate that response, and I appreciate the fact that you are reviewing that issue, because I think it is important.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second, you commented on the USS Cole, and the USS Cole is essentially a high value target operating in that particular instance alone in the Middle East in a port that traditionally had been unfriendly to the United States.
It would seem to me that it would be critical to our policy to protect those high value targets and the people who man them, that they have a fueling capability that is standoff, and that in that particular case, due to cutbacks or other budgetary issues, they simply did not have that capability available.
I guess I would be looking to a plan that goes beyond intelligence, because we all know that the terrorist target is extraordinarily difficult to break, and you can have all the technical and intelligence you want, but if you are not ahead of the people running the operation, you are not going to know what is happening. I think we need to restructure how we refuel our high value targets. If we have an oiler operating out of the Middle East, that is fine. You reduce the profile of the target, the number operating it. You can actually contract for it. But we have to make sure that these high value ships, targets and personnel are fueled at sea or at least offshore.
Could you comment on that?
General FRANKS. Congressman, I think that is a good observation. I would say that the key to all of this from the operator's view, the key to it from this CINC's view, is what is required is operational flexibility. What we want to do is we want to establish less pattern. What we want to do is we want to increase our capability to refuel on the move, and that is done by positioning. We want to be less stringent in the planning of our global naval force presence policy in order to permit perhaps slower transit of vehicles, of ships who will need in the future to move as single units, because when you reduce the speed of movement, in fact you essentially go one and a half times to two times the distance that you can move a ship.
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It is well-known and on the public record that the USS Cole came through the Suez Canal full of fuel, was on a 26 to 2,800 mile transit and was marching at 25 knots. At 25 knots, one goes about 1,300 to 1,400 miles, reaches between 50 and 55 percent of fuel, and needs to stop for fuel.
So the issue, as I testified before this committee, was an operational issue.
Now, as we look at that, anything that provides operational flexibility so that we do not have to establish a pattern of the refueling of 27 ships in Aden Harbor since the beginning of 1999 is both safer and better.
So one of the transiting issues that I mentioned earlier that we learned was that we either need to provide fewer assets in order to replenish, or we need to not go to the same place on an operational continuum that says every 90 days something happens in the same place.
Sir, I would also say that the same is true for our airports of debarkation. We need to be sure that we do not establish preferred airports of debarkation, where we land consistently and establish a pattern, unless we are willing to provide increased force protection there.
So, sir, to go to your point, I think that the investigations that were done led the Navy to take a decision that we were, number one, going to continue to move single ships, and that in their view additional oilers were not required in order to do this.
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I won't comment, because I don't think it is appropriate to comment, on the service view of what they need. What I simply will do is demand that by process, by procedure, and by resource, we take the prudent step, and if we do not have the asset required, that we alter the march rate in order to avoid setting operational patterns.
Mr. SIMMONS. Would you be prepared to overrule the Navy if you felt they were flat out wrong on that assessment?
General FRANKS. Sir, I would.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentle lady from California, Mrs. Davis.
Mrs. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, General. You just alluded to some of the operational issues that come into play, and I wonder if you could comment about the 1999 Navy's decision on the homeporting question. I understand if there is a crisis in the area, obviously having a career battle group in the area would be very important for them to respond.
Do you see any operational benefit to stationing an aircraft carrier in Washington rather than in San Diego? Have you had a chance to look at that issue?
General FRANKS. Ma'am, that specific issue I have not looked at, but certainly, as you know, we have what we call a 1.0 carrier presence in our region all the time. That is to say, we have a carrier battle group that is there.
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Now, interesting for the committee, Central Command is a bit unusual, because unlike European Command and unlike the Pacific Command, we do not keep standing forces. That is for a variety of reasons, and I think they are good reasons. If you are in an area that is this volatile, one would like to have a rheostat where you can turn up the force level or turn it down, depending on whether we are looking at a contingency operation or whatever.
But what I have found in the time that I have been in Central Command is that a 1.0 carrier presence is the waistline for what we need, and that has been what we demanded of.
Mrs. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Mr. Chairman, may I ask one more question?
The CHAIRMAN. Please do.
Mrs. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about your input into the Administration's directed strategic assessment? How are you being involved in that and what do you anticipate to be the major impact on that assessment to your area of responsibility?
General FRANKS. Yes, ma'am. I have had personal impact to that process by way of several meetings with Secretary Rumsfeld. I understand, I have been given a view into the panels that he has undertaken to have performed. As a matter of fact, last night I was given some of the preliminary results of some of that work by Secretary Rumsfeld, along with a request that went to me, along with Admiral Blair, along with General Pete Pace for Southern Command, and asked for our observations and opinions. So I believe in accordance with what this body will undergo, that we are being given an opportunity to reform the policy. I believe from a humble CINC's perspective, it would be premature for me to say what I think will come out of all of that policy review. But I will say this, I like the process. I think the process will in fact give the Secretary and give the national command authority an opportunity to take a look at the way we do our business from the outside in, rather than asking all of us to consider ourselves.
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So I like this outside view that is being taken right now.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from California, Mr. Calvert.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The issue of Iraq, I am curious, or on the issue of smuggling oil, is Iraq pretty much moving oil at will through Jordan right now?
General FRANKS. Congressman, Iraq is in fact moving oil through Jordan, and the long-standing requirement and trade relationships that have existed between Jordan and Iraq, as well as between Turkey and Iraq, have caused the movement of oil into those countries to be permitted.
But, yes, sir. I am not sure about if there is a top line constraint on that, but I have been there many times and I have seen the nonstop movement of the oil trucks.
Mr. CALVERT. Do we have any idea how many barrels a day are being moved?
General FRANKS. Sir, I don't. I can get that and will provide it to you.
Mr. CALVERT. It is a significant amount, I assume?
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General FRANKS. It is a significant amount, yes, sir.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. CALVERT. Is there any impediment we know of to keep Hussein from rebuilding his arsenal of mass destruction? Is that going on?
General FRANKS. I think, sir, that several things have helped with that. I think, let me use the naval example, the maritime intercept. If you look at the trend of how much oil he has been able to smuggle over the last few years, in fact we like the trend the way it is going now.
The amount of oil that has been able to be brought out of the Khor Abdullah has been something less than 3 percent of what he has been able to sell. So we like our ability to interdict the amount of oil that he is able to smuggle out in that route.
If you look at the overland route, I think there were some reports of discussions between Secretary of State Powell and counterparts in Syria with regard to this pipeline which has been on the ground, I think, and effective for something, 6 months or so, and I have seen reports as high as 150,000 barrels a day, on the low end programs 100,000 barrels a day, and some discussion that would limit that and bring that export of oil back under United Nations control.
That is good because if we limit the amount of disposable income Saddam Hussein has, then we are having some effect on his ability to rebuild or reconstitute a weapon of mass destruction and means of delivery program.
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As you know, sir, what we do not have is anyone on the ground who can verify what is going on in these dual-use facilities. We do see construction going on in a variety of places that in the past had been used as dual-use facilities, and they give us concern. So we watch them very carefully, but without people on the ground to verify, I cannot sit here before the Congressman and say no, he is not reconstituting his weapons of mass destruction program.
Mr. CALVERT. It is fair to say we just don't know?
General FRANKS. We just don't know, yes, sir.
Mr. CALVERT. Finally, what is Iraq's relationship with her neighbors right now, specifically Saudi Arabia, Jordan, certainly Iran, Turkey?
General FRANKS. Sir, what you see is before the Gulf War I believe Iraq had relations with about 70 countries. Of course, during the Gulf War that dropped off dramatically. In 1999, Iraq had relations back up to 44 countries. I am told last year that number was raised to 52 countries. So from around the world, it is a true statement that the ability to isolate Iraq has been on a downward track, as has been I think accurately reported.
Based on what I get out of the Arab summit that is ongoing now, and based on what I get from meeting with leaders in the region, there remains no one who does not understand that Saddam Hussein is a threat to regional stability and also a threat to his own people. So that appreciation, sir, does exist in each one of the countries that we visit and where we have relations.
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At the same time, the Arab people in the countries, in the countries of the Gulf, are very disturbed about two things: One is the Intifada, the Palestinian-Israeli issue; and the second one is the business of suffering Iraqi civilians.
I believe that these two concerns are very much on the mind of the policy team as they get together to try to figure out how to recement and rebuild our approach to Iraq.
Sir, I believe that is what this policy review is all about right now, to try to bring these levels of concern on top of the table where they can be adequately and thoroughly reviewed and a consensus can be achieved with the countries in the region so that we move forward in the future with a more cohesive policy.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair recognizes Mr. Schrock of Virginia.
Mr. SCHROCK. No questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Taylor of Mississippi.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, General, for being here today.
General, like every American, I was distressed at the actions taken against the Cole, the loss of the lives of the American sailors, but am particularly distressed with the relative ease that the perpetrators were able to approach the vessel.
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In hearings it came out that the waterside security for that vessel had been delegated to a Third World ship channeler, a decision that all of us realized was a very bad one to make.
I would like to know what changes have occurred as far as the security of our vessels in that region. Number two, in fairness, that is obviously going to incur some additional costs. That, coupled with the increasing fuel bills, I would like to know just from your Central Command's point of view what the Central Command would need as a part of a supplemental if we are able to get one through Congress to get you there this fiscal year?
General FRANKS. Congressman, great questions on the USS Cole. I mentioned earlier that the problem for transiting units, whether they are air transit or whether they are naval transit, has brought several things to mind.
For example, the parallel on the air side has to do with providing standoff for aircraft when they refuel, for example, in Cairo East or a variety of places. So what we have done on that side is create a review for every transiting aircraft to be sure that where standoff is necessary, that being where we do not have a U.S. vetted contract for things like follow-me trucks, refueling trucks and so forth, that we give transportation command the opportunity to go in and provide the standoff at the airport before we bring these aircraft in to refuel.
Sir, we have done the same thing on the naval side. Our naval component, and I will say on the public record, has done an absolutely incredible job, both before Cole and after Cole, of working to anticipate this sort of issue, trying to learn the lessons that we need to learn, and has put together what I guess I would call a flying squad of specially skilled people who go in advance to ports where we perceive an increased threat and provide the standoff that is necessary for ships who are replenishing.
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Specifically, we have done that in Bahrain, and we have also done that in the united Arab Emirates. Similar arrangements have been made for transits through the Suez Canal with the government of Egypt. So instructive to us is one airport and one seaport at a time. Sir, that is probably the most direct answer that I can give you.
Mr. TAYLOR. How about answering the supplemental portion of my question?
General FRANKS. What we have done is we have requested several million dollars already over the last few months in order to augment everything from guard contracts in a variety of places over in our region, to providing some patrol boats in order to execute what I just talked to you about, and that money has already been received and those forces are in place. Intelligence augmentation is something that is necessary so that we can provide this continuing focus.
Sir, I will tell you that the 12 months before the Cole was attacked, our headquarters processed 127,000 pieces of threat information. Of that 127,000 pieces of information, 181 had something that was specific enough either in our AOR or in adjoining AORs, that being Pacific Command or European Command, that would cause us to be able to say you need to either not do this or you need to move.
What we are trying to do now is bring a number, yet to be determined, sir, the capabilities of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA,) Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the unified commands, the intelligence capabilities together in a way that permits us to focus and tailor intelligence so as to have direct meaning to the forces in each one of our AORs. I can't give you a number for what that is going to look like.
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In terms of the transiting vessels, to talk to how much is in the supplemental, sir, that number will have to come out of the Navy or out of the Air Force. I just don't have it.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, for the record, I am aware that a number of Coast Guard port security units have been activated. I compliment you on doing that. For my knowledge, does that come out of the Coast Guard operating budget or will that cost be incurred by Central Command?
General FRANKS. Sir, that will come out of the Coast Guard's operating budget. But I appreciate you mentioning that, because the Coast Guard has stood up a great capability to assist, not just in our region, but in a variety of places around the world. They are to be commended for doing that.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, I look at the map that was placed before us that outlines the geographic area in your command, when I look at this region of the world, I oftentimes think how differently different people think and how different peoples around the world define things.
From a Western perspective, we have a set of values and a set of beliefs and a set of definitions that help us understand the world. But when I travel to the part of the world where your area of responsibility is currently, I find that the values, beliefs and definitions are really quite different than they are in the West.
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So your job must be a very interesting one trying to relate your Western background to situations that you find in the Middle East.
There is one that is very interesting and very dangerous at the moment. We define war from a Western perspective in a way that I suppose has been developed through history, we think of a battlefield, we think of our Army guys and ladies in the Navy and the Air Force and in the Marines working together against an obvious opponent.
In the region of the world, in your region of the world, which I am glad Mr. Simmons asked the question, because I was going to, about Israel, we read in the newspaper every day there is something called an Intifada going on where, and I don't mean this to take sides, and I know you have to be very careful with that, but where people are shot every day, where in the last 3 days a 10-month-old was shot, and yesterday two other children were shot.
Now, we don't define that from a Western perspective maybe as war, but I will bet it seems like war to the people that are living in that region.
Would you just comment on when does this get to be a generally accepted war? Is it a war?
General FRANKS. Congressman, I would say that from the point of view of both the Israelis and the Palestinians, who are faced off against each other every day, it is certainly a war. I think that I have told a lot of homilies and stories about this, and I will tell you a very short one.
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If you traveled down the Armock River Valley, which separates Jordan from Syria, or if you traveled down the Jordan River Valley, you can look on both sides in Israel and Syria, and you can look in Israel and in Jordan, and you can see people tending their flocks and working in their fields. I have been close enough to these people for long enough to appreciate the fact that, whether it is a 10-month-old or whether it is a young son who is being killed virtually daily, in their real live environment, yes, sir, this is a war for them.
Mr. SAXTON. Also with regard to the definition of war, there are various tactics that would normally be considered to be part of a war, or tactics used in a war, I guess is a better way of saying it. How would you describe the tactics that, let's just say, the Palestinians are using?
General FRANKS. Well, sir, the word that comes to my mind is a similar try. If you go, and I would say this is not necessarily a new phenomenon, if you go back to a whole bunch of great military writers, a long, long time, it is the business of applying force against your enemy's vulnerability. When we have families on both sides of this involved and when we have the day-to-day lives of people involved, then the approach is a symmetrical approach, where a threat applies force to a vulnerability on the other side.
Now, whether we legally define that as war or not, Congressman, I am not sure. But that is the case. That is what is going on.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me ask one more question, if I may.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is recognized.
Mr. SAXTON. I don't know why I am hung up on definitions today, but I have a book in my office which is entitled Jihad, which I think translated into English means Holy War. I am wondering if what is going on on the West Bank in particular and Gaza would qualify to be called a Jihad?
General FRANKS. Congressman, my view is that is in the eye of the beholder. I believe if one takes a literal definition of the term ''Jihad,'' it is possible to see a Jihad literally, and I am not saying this in a comical way, can involve humanitarian issues, it can involve medical support.
Jihad means the absolute focus of attention on a particular issue. I think the WesternI think your initial comments are on target in that the Western view of the term ''Jihad'' is that it means a war, whereas the Muslim view, the Arab view in the region where we work, is that a Jihad means the intense focus of energy to a whole variety of issues.
If you take the latter definition, then, sir, I would say what you said is true. If you take the former definition, that means the declaration of war by one side against the other, sir, I am not sure that is true.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentlelady from California, Mrs. Tauscher.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Thank you for calling me the young lady from California, Mr. Chairman.
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How are you, General?
General FRANKS. Ma'am, I am fine. How are you?
Mrs. TAUSCHER. I am great. I would like to talk to you a little bit about the nonproliferation programs. We have many of them run by the State Department and the Department of Energy. Comprehensive threat reduction, Nuclear Cities Initiative, (NCI), Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP), International Science and Technologies Center (ISTC). Many of these programs that had increases in their budgets over the last couple of years appear to be having budget cuts, substantial budget cuts in this coming budget. I guess I am concerned about the nexus between cutting these programs, especially programs in Russia where we are trying to prevent material and scientists from going to Iran and Iraq and a number of places in your AOR, and then what appears to me to be the necessary potential for having increased military budgets to deal with the aftermath of not doing the right thing at the right time.
Can you talk with us about that?
General FRANKS. In Central Command, and I am not sure which line from the Hill this came, but in the past year we received in fact several million dollars, I think over the course of the next 3 to 5 years about $23 million, that has to do with defense initiative that talks to theater missile defense and a variety of things like that. The bottom line of all of this defense initiative is to bring the Gulf States together in a way that enables them to provide greater protection for themselves.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With regard to the outside-to-inside influence, where we see North Korea, China, Russia assisting in what we view as proliferation with a lot of countries in the region, I am not precisely sure what the construct of that is and the funding that is applied in that.
I will say that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Central region is a continuing problem. If you look at things like missile tests and so forth, going back several years, you will find that each year the number of tests and the capability of the countries in the region has continued to improve.
Ms. TAUSCHER. So if I could pin you down a little bit further, if I told you that we were spending $250 million on programs like cooperative threat reduction to make sure that we were keeping scientists and materials in Russia, but you were still feeling the effects of proliferation in places like Iran, and I told you we were going to cut dramatically that budget, would that say to you that you were going to feel the effects of it down the road and that would create a problem for you that would cause you to divert resources and perhaps need more money to do things because we had not done the right thing at the right time?
General FRANKS. Ma'am, I would say yes in answer to your question. I believe that the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and means of delivery is a problem in my region, and anything that supports lessening that problem is good for the countries in the Central region.
Ms. TAUSCHER. If I could just switch for us for one short question, DOD has a bunch of humanitarian demining programs in your AOR. Can you just talk a little bit about the sourcing of those and do you feel they are adequately resourced right now?
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General FRANKS. Yes, ma'am, I will begin at the end by saying yes, I do believe they are adequately resourced right now. We have programs that have been very successful in Jordan. What I think is not widely recognized is that probably one of our most successful programs for humanitarian demining has been in Yemen. The Jordanian program has grown to a level where they, the Jordanians, are involved in the training of some other countries in the region in order to help them develop their own humanitarian demining programs, and Oman is a case in point. So this has become not only a bilateral program, but also a bit of a multilateral program. Very successful, yes, ma'am, and right now adequately resourced.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Thank you, General. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New York, Mr. McHugh, is recognized.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, welcome.
General FRANKS. Thank you, sir.
Mr. MCHUGH. This is a hell of a map. I just wanted to say at the outset that I know everyone on this committee, and I hope all the American people, deeply appreciate the job that you and your folks under your command do on our behalf every day. There are not too many potential problems that we look at in military and foreign policy that do not have a very real potential of developing here. That is why we are here today, to try to understand a bit better about the challenges and perspectives that you have so that we can assist you to do your job even more effectively, if that is possible.
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I was interested in your comments about the concerns that many in the region have with respect to Iraq. I was glad to hear that. Frankly, during a couple of the visits I had with the former chairman of this region, I didn't get a good enough sense from the leadership with whom we spoke that they really believed that Iraq posed a significant longer term threat. It was almost as though only Americans and the allies came in, took care of it, we are not going to worry about other things.
I think for the interests of those governments and those people, that would be a very dangerous position for them to take. So I hope your analysis is correct over mine, and I certainly assume that it is.
But what I did hear from those folks that I did agree with, and I see it is sort of validated in your written testimony on page 9, where you talk about the very real potential for the development in Iran that could mean that country would be the greatest long-term threat in the AOR, and certainly in the more moderate states of the Gulf region, they were more inclined to look with a wary eye towards Iran than toward Iraq.
You talked a bit about as well the concerns that all of you have with respect to certain developments internally in Iraq that may cause them to in some way lash out against their neighbors, either diplomatically or militarily, I would assume in an effort to preserve their status quo.
I was wondering if you could expand a bit on that, talk about how far the internal situation in Iran might have to erode from their perspective to cause those kinds of things to happen, and just generally what form some of those actions, potential actions, against their neighbors may take, and against whom, for example?
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General FRANKS. Congressman, first on your comment on Iraq, I think the closer one gets to Iraq, the more intense will be the observation on how threatening Iraq is. Obviously in Kuwait there is the continuing issue, the discussion of the 19th province, the business of getting the 600 missing in action and getting some accountability out of Iraq and so forth.
As you get to Saudi Arabia, the leadership will tell you that there is continuing recognition of Iraq as a problem. But I also will say your comment about the farther one gets the more likelyfrom Iraqthe more likely one will hear about Iran being a greater long-term threat, so I would not disagree with your observations from your recent trip to the region.
So far as Iran is concerned, you would like to be optimistic. I used to say I am cautiously optimistic, because it may well be that President Khatami as a moderate can bring through things like the elections that were successfully held, the modulus elections, can bring the sense of moderation out of this incredible conservatism that exists in Iran.
Now, the difficulty is that President Khatami, unlike the President of the United States, is not absolutely in control in a balanced way of the instruments of power in Iran. The IRGC, or the military formations, are not directly under President Khatami's control. They are under hard-line conservative control. The MOIS in Iran, the same, that being their intelligence services.
If you look at these principal organs of power that are not under moderate control, and you consider what they are, if you are talking about the IRGC, then you are talking about an interest in conventional weapons. As I think we have all recently read, there are indications that Iran will pursue over the next number of years perhaps $6 or $7 billion worth of conventional weapons systems, some air defense systems, some Air Force systems, SU24, SU27, perhaps MiG29s, air defense, naval systems and so forth. So on the conventional side, Iran as a major conventional military force is threatening to the region, or perceived as threatening.
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If you consider on the MOIS, the intelligence and terrorism side, Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism. We see that daily with their support of the Hezbollah. So the possibility for that as an a threat externally remains very much in the picture.
If you look internally within Iran, where you see this sense of moderation, which is brought about by a lot of young people, it is brought about by a lot of women, if you look at some of the marches that have been held in pushing moderation on the government, then in my view it is possible that crackdowns, which could come in the future on the population inside Iran, will represent a substantial, or may represent, a substantial problem to stability inside the government. That, sir, is what I meant by my points.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kirk of Illinois is recognized.
Mr. KIRK. General, just a few months ago I was flying over Iraq as part of Northern Watch. It was a very nice to be in part of your AOR.
General FRANKS. Yes, sir. It is good to see you this morning.
Mr. KIRK. I wanted to touch on two subjects, Iraq and the missile situation in your AOR. First of all, are you familiar with the Iraq Liberation Act?
General FRANKS. I am, yes, sir.
Mr. KIRK. I wonder if you could summarize for the committee in writing later on what the Central Command has done to date to implement the Iraq Liberation Act.
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General FRANKS. Sir, I will provide specifics. But essentially the bottom line is that we facilitate training, Central Command facilitates training and so forth, as directed by the policy, as it comes out of Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) here. I can give you the specifics. Not much has been put to this training task up to this point.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. KIRK. Have you been able to meet with Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz yet?
General FRANKS. Yes, sir, I have.
Mr. KIRK. For the committee, we are very worried about the Shahab-3, which my understanding is would be almost entirely a North Korean missile in Iran. I wonder if you could characterize the missile threat that you see to U.S. forces and our Israeli allies from systems like that and others in your AOR?
General FRANKS. Congressman, I will. If I may, I will provide as a classified insert to the record what we see in terms of each of the countries where we see some proliferation, and I will talk to the Shahab, the Shaheen, and a variety of other systems that we see.
The Shahab, in fact there have been several launches of the Shahab over the past couple of years, some successful, some not. We see continuing evidence of a desire to, I guess I would say in quotes, perfect the Shahab-3 by the Iranians, and in fact the potential to move beyond that to a Shahab-4 sort of system.
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As I mentioned earlier, these are not stabilizing sorts of things.
Mr. KIRK. My understanding, the Shahab-3 we are basically looking at an Iranian knock-off of a No Dong. If you could provide both classified and unclassified for us, because it does help us in our work.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
General FRANKS. Yes, sir. Sir, I will do that. I think we can probably give you some insights on the numbers also.
Mr. KIRK. I very much appreciate your discussion of the MOIS and its role. Would it be totally inaccurate to describe Hezbollah as a partially owned subsidiary of the MOIS?
General FRANKS. Sir, I really don't know that I am competent to say that. I will say that the MOIS in fact does provide the sponsorship for Hezbollah, and it is very much on our minds because of the direct effect that Hezbollah has on the peace negotiations.
Mr. KIRK. It is my hope as we invite Iran to join the community of nations, that it is the control of the MOIS we are really talking about.
General FRANKS. Yes, sir.
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Mr. KIRK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie. Before he starts, we have three speakers left. I am told there will be a vote at noon or shortly thereafter.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. General Franks, in the assessment in your testimony of what constitutes terrorism, and further in the discussion I have heard this morning with respect to the Israeli-Arab continuum, if you will, policy, security interests, the United States finds itself in a difficult situation of trying to defend, if you will, in policy terms, its support for Israel and at the same time trying to be an honest broker or a bridge to a possible settlement in the area with respect to the military consequences, inasmuch as the military of the United States continues joint exercises of one kind or another with the Israeli defense forces, do they not?
General FRANKS. Yes, sir, they do.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. In that context then, do we place ourselves and our forces in jeopardy when we see the Israeli government encouraging people to build settlements in what is conceived to be Palestinian territory or in disputed areas or areas of contention with respect to return of land or control of land and the Palestinian Authority? Is that not a provocativeI am not asking you to judge it, I am asking you strictly in military terms, does that not constitute the kind of provocation which may result in what other people then characterize in the Daily News as terrorist responses?
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General FRANKS. Sir, I would say that in my personal view, the engagement that European Command will have for some training with the Israelis and the engagement that we in Central Command will have with the moderate Arab States for training, representshas a much greater contribution to stability, as a stabilizing influence, then it represents a threat to either our forces in the Central region or to the European Command forces that are in EgyptI am sorry, in Israel.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. But I cannot conceive that the settlements or the encouragement of these settlements does anything but provoke Arab interests to view the United States as not being an honest broker in these circumstances. I see people talking about, well, we have got to stop the violence before we can move forward. But, to me, there is all kinds of violence. It doesn't necessarily have to be somebody throwing a bomb. If you come into somebody's neighborhood or knock down their house or you build someplace where John says but that is not yours, you can't do that, that is a provocative act and an act which can be seen as aggressive.
General FRANKS. Well, sir, my comments would be that as I said earlier, the perception as we say on the Arab street, in the countries where we deal in Central Command, is very much influenced by what is seen to be going on in the lands that you described. That relationship is very much influenced.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I guess my point, not my guess, my judgment of it is this makes our attempt to then have relations, particularly with respect to where we would like to have coalition-type activity, a hell of a lot more difficult, because you have to end up.
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General FRANKS. I agree with that.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. essentially defending the political acquiescence to this activity.
General FRANKS. Sir, I agree with that. Your observation is correct. There are, as we talk about things like continuing containment of Saddam Hussein, for example, that each of the relationships that we have in the region is in fact influenced by Arab perception of what is going on in this current crisis.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. My observation, General, of Saddam Hussein's discussions, his public discussions, virtually the first thing he says every single time is that the United States supports the settlement questions, these settlement activities, which are antithetical to the interests of the Palestinians, and he therefore claims the high ground.
General FRANKS. That is correct. Sir, that is his public policy, and he has been successful at getting that message out.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Then one other point. With respect to the smuggling of oil, if you look on the map that you have provideddid you provide this?
General FRANKS. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. The Central Command provided this. If you look down the Gulf, starting up from Kuwait, Bahrain, et cetera, through the United Arab Emirates, now, and we are ostensibly patrolling here, I want to make sure I understand completely.
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Are we intercepting these ships that are smuggling the oil or not?
General FRANKS. Yes, sir, we are.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And what happens when they arewhat happens?
General FRANKS. Our forces, principally in the northern Arabian Gulf, simply watch the Khor Abdullah, where the ships come from. As they come out, based on intelligence, we will decide which ones to stop and which ones not. Some of the ships will be compliant with our directive, that is that they heave to, and we board them. We do the appropriate sampling, testing and so forth. We put them in a holding pattern. We invite Gulf States to accept the ships and the cargo. The Gulf States will accept the ships, they bring the ships in, they offload the cargo.
My understanding is that the money is placed in the United Nations account. Sir, that is my understanding. That is the military piece of it.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentlelady from Virginia, Mrs. Davis.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, General, for coming to testify before us today. My question is how important is it that a carrier task force be available to Central Command for contingencies, and would it be of concern to you if the carrier air wing size were reduced?
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General FRANKS. I didn't get the last part of the question.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. If the carrier air wing size were reduced, would that be of concern to you?
General FRANKS. Yes, ma'am, it would be of concern to me. My view, which I have made known, is that given our existing policies, given the existing state of affairs in the Central region, we require the carrier presence, which you mentioned. I believe that we would be certainly less capable of doing our jobs if we did not have that presence. I would not be in favor of a reduction of the EA6s and FA18s and F14s in each of the battle groups.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. I am sorry, I had to go to the floor to speak, and I think it was Mr. Taylor that asked a question about your immediate needs for a supplemental. Can you in 10 words or less tell us again?
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General FRANKS. Yes, sir. I talk to each one of the Service Chiefs, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), the Chief of Air Force, Army, and so forth. I know their view is that they need an early supplemental.
Mr. SKELTON. Their view.
General FRANKS. Let me put it in a direct way. I have not been advised by any one of the Service Chiefs that the forces they commit to us in Central Command or the training of those forces or our exercise program is in jeopardy without the supplemental.
Mr. SKELTON. Okay. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Anyone else?
General, thank you very much for taking the time to be with us today. It has been informative for the members and we appreciate your doing so.
General FRANKS. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. If there are no other questions, the meeting stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:58 a.m., the committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
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March 28, 2001
[The Appendix is pending.]