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 31, 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 31, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActRegional Combatant Commanders, U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTREGIONAL COMBATANT COMMANDERS, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND AND U.S. FORCES KOREA
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
Fargo, Adm. Thomas B., U.S. Navy, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command
LaPorte, Gen. Leon J., United Nations Command, Commander, Republic of Korea-United States Combined Forces Command, and Commander, United States Forces Korea
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Fargo, Adm. Thomas B.
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
LaPorte, Gen. Leon J.
Skelton, Hon. Ike
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DOCUMENTS 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.]
Mr. Turner of Ohio
FISCAL YEAR 2005, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTREGIONAL COMBATANT COMMANDERS, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND AND U.S. FORCES KOREA
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 31, 2004.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:02 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
This is the committee's third hearing to review the posture of our combatant commands. And given the controversy surrounding elections in Taiwan, it couldn't be timelier.
Our guests this morning are Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, United States Navy Commander, United States Pacific Command (PACOM), and General Leon J. LaPorte, United States Army Commander, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK). Welcome to the committee, gentlemen, and we look forward to your testimony. We thank you for being with us this morning.
On March 20th, Taiwan conducted an election to choose its next President, just one day after an assassination attempt on one of the two leading candidates and his running mate. The sitting President, Chen Shui-bian, survived the assassin's bullet and went on to win reelection by just two-tenths of a percentage point. Since then, the opposition party has contested the election, and supporters of both candidates have held large street demonstrations. If nothing else, Taiwan's elections have reminded us that democracy is messy, but it is still democracy.
Contrast that with events across the Taiwan Strait, where the people of China have no voice in choosing their leaders; where the people of Hong Kong have unsuccessfully protested their slow but steady loss of liberty and democracy; where people are not free to practice their faith; and where the government has pursued double-digit increases in defense spending for a decade, well in excess of its legitimate defense needs.
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The situation across the Taiwan Strait deserves our special attention because it has long been recognized as an international flashpoint. But it also points to the extreme range of conditions that exist in Asia, a fledgling but successful democracy just over 100 miles from the world's last major Communist dictatorship. Or, consider the Korean peninsula, where capitalism and democracy thrives south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), but repression and famine are commonplace to the north.
The contrasts highlight what a dangerous and uncertain place Asia can be. While we have solid alliances with key states, the Pacific Command's area of responsibility is also home to some of the most troublesome security problems on the planet. Three of them stand out in particular.
First, the balance of power is changing across the Taiwan Strait. China continues modernizing its military with the most advanced technology available from Russia, and, I might add, paid for today with cash dollars that come from their $100 billion-plus trade surplus over the United States. Taiwan, on the other hand, continues cutting its defense budget. These diverging military trends highlight a political problem in which China is constantly seeking to strangle more assertive demonstrations of Taiwanese democracy lest the people of Taiwan decide that they don't want to surrender their rights in order to become part of greater China. Those trends are accelerating, undermining the fragile standoff that has secured peace across the Strait for most of the last 50 years.
Things aren't much better on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea has reneged on its nuclear nonproliferation pledges and claims to have built an atomic bomb. Ironically, some of the very same people that attack the United States for unilateralism are now attacking it because the Administration insists that the nations of northeast Asia resolve the problem multilaterally.
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We can round out the trifecta of security threats by noting that Islamist-inspired terrorism has gained a foothold in southeast Asia. Jemaah Islamiyah, an al Qaeda affiliate, has established a presence across the region, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Abu Sayyaf and the MoroIslamic Liberation Front continue their war against the democratically elected Government of the Philippines. Both reportedly have ties to al Qaeda.
While we seek diplomatic means of solving these problems, there should be no doubt that the military stands on the front lines in ensuring they don't get out of hand. We absolutely must be ready, willing, and able to defeat aggression in the region in order to deter it. Everyone must know that force is not an acceptable way of resolving Taiwan's status. And while we wish the people of North Korea a brighter future, the dictators in North Korea must understand that they must not be allowed to threaten us with nuclear weapons. And, finally, our staunch allies in the region, including Japan, Australia, and the Philippines, must rest assured that our security commitments to them are unshakable.
Gentlemen, we look forward to hearing today how the forces under your command are accomplishing these missions and what you need from us in order to accomplish them in the future. And so thank you again for being with us and taking time from your busy schedules to inform us of your game plan and your blueprint for the future.
And before we recognize our guests, let me recognize my partner on the committee, the distinguished gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton, for any remarks he might want to make.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [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 very much. I think this is a very important hearing that you have called, and we thank you for that.
I join you in welcoming back Admiral Fargo and General LaPorte, each of whom are friends of many years. And we thank you for your continued truly outstanding service, and we appreciate your being with us.
Now, last year you visited us one week before the war began in Iraq. In the year since, we here in Congress and the American people have focused a lot of attention on what is happening there, and, of course, for good reason. But the Pacific region is enormously important both because the challenges are great and because our allies and friendships there are enduring. Negotiations continue to bring an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons probe. And while conflict on the peninsula may not be likely, the prospect that North Korea continues to develop its nuclear capacity, combined with its history of proliferation behavior, makes this a critical priority for continued deterrence and resolution.
Now, beyond the Korean peninsula, there are challenges elsewhere, from the Taiwan Straits to the ongoing work with our partners throughout Southeast Asia to fight extremist Islamic groups with ties to al Qaeda. A hearing like this is so important to remind us of how much is happening in the Pacific and the region's strategic importance. We cannot lose sight of the fact that your region is terribly important to us and the security of this Nation.
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Part of the reason I remain concerned about our military end strength, the number of troops, is because of this region's importance. We must be able to undertake the range of missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, and globally on the war on terrorism, while still being able to fight and win a conflict in the Pacific if worse comes to worst. Our troops are stretched thin and they have been for some time, and I think we need more troops and that would help you in the Pacific and in Korea, as well.
The committee has begun to hear about how changes to the global footprint, our military footprint, will be implemented in the region. I understand that there are still consultations ongoing with our allies in the region, but I hope you will give us an update as to where we are at this moment and your recommendations for the future regarding that.
So again, thank you for being with us. Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling the hearing.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. And Admiral Fargo, once again, welcome. And the floor is yours, sir.
STATEMENT OF ADM. THOMAS B. FARGO, U.S. NAVY, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND
Admiral FARGO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, Representative Skelton, and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to testify on the posture of the United States Pacific Command. I have the honor to represent thousands of men and women, Active, Guard, Reserve, civilians, and family members who are providing superior service to the Nation in the Asian Pacific region, and indeed around the world. Their high readiness and effectiveness can be directly attributed to the generous support of this esteemed body and of the American people as a whole.
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Today I would like to survey, if I can, some of our primary security concerns around the region, and then I look forward to answering your questions. I request that my full written statement be entered into the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, Admiral, both yours and General LaPorte's full statements will be taken into the record. So you can just make an informal synopsis of what you have got there, or follow your statement, whatever you want.
Admiral FARGO. I have got about four or five minutes here, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Super.
Admiral FARGO. Dramatic events in Southwest Asia for which the Pacific Command continues to be the primary force provider, a primary force provider, have not eclipsed the importance of Asian and Pacific threats to global security, nor our attention to them. First and foremost, we are keenly focused on the Korean peninsula, and General LaPorte and I carefully monitor indicators of North Korean military readiness. And, frankly, I don't think war is any more likely today than it was two years ago, for example; but clearly the stakes would be very high if war occurred.
Millions of South Koreans live within range of North Korea's artillery and the stakes, of course, would be even higher if North Korea continues to pursue a nuclear capability. But North Korea's ability to threaten peace is not limited to the peninsula. The world's largest proliferator of ballistic missiles already has demonstrated the ability to deliver missile payloads beyond even Japan. And the reach of its illicit activities, such as narcotics, extends as far as Australia, as was just demonstrated last summer.
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Now, of course, North Korea's highly enriched uranium program along with its plutonium reprocessing program raises the specter of nuclear weapons either in armed conflict or proliferated into the hands of terrorist groups, perhaps our biggest fear and one that would clearly threaten all nations.
President Bush repeatedly has stated that our commitment to a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and the diplomatic initiative is moving forward to the six-party talks.
Our role at the Pacific Command has been to ensure that diplomacy is backed by a viable military capability, and we continue to do just that, posturing our forces not to provoke, but to deter conflict.
Next, we worry about miscalculation resulting in conflict between India and Pakistan or in the Taiwan Strait. Recent constructive dialogue between India and Pakistan and the relaxation of tensions are positive signs. The Taiwan Strait is another place where miscalculation could result in terrible destruction and poses the possibility of expanding into a wider regional conflict. The Taiwan issue remains the largest friction point in the relationship between China and the United States.
President Bush has stated our support for the one China policy and the three communiques. It should be equally clear that our national leadership and the Pacific Command are prepared to commit; and committed to meet our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We continue to watch closely the developments associated with the recent Taiwan election, and to date we have seen no indication of an imminent military crisis.
Asian Pacific nations face a number of transnational threats to regional stability, the most significant of which is terrorism. The war on terrorism is our highest priority in the Pacific Command. Regional and local terror groups with ties to al Qaeda continue to pose serious threats to the U.S. and friendly interests, especially in Southeast Asia. This region is a crucial front on the war on terror. Destabilization of the governments of this region, moderate, secular, and legitimately elected and with large Muslim populations, would result in decades of danger and chaos. The Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI, directly targets the region for instability through terrorism, supporting its goals of a pan-Islamic state in Southeast Asia. The JI followed up on its October 2002 Bali bombing with the deadly attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta just last August.
I am pleased to report to the committee that the nations of the region are cooperating well against these threats. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines have thwarted a number of attacks, and have detained or arrested over 200 members of the JI.
Indonesia also has been particularly effective in the arrest and prosecution of some 34 JI members who participated in the Bali bombing, most of whom have now been sentenced for their crimes. And, of course, Australia plays an active role facilitating bilateral counterterrorist efforts throughout the Pacific.
But the JI is resilient and pervasive. Other key leaders of the JI remain at large, and new terrorist generations are being trained. And we are learning more about the degree of JI involvement in terror operations in southern Thailand and in the southern Philippines.
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It is against this backdrop of challenges that we reach my final priority, and that is transformation. Specifically, we call it operationalizing the Asian Pacific defense strategy. We are examining new ways of commanding, supporting, and employing our forces. First, we are updating operational plans to incorporate not only our improvements in speed and precision, with lethality and knowledge, but also the lessons learned from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. And second, we are strengthening our command and control constructs to execute those plans responsively, leveraging joint and interagency arrangements.
We are also working hard to develop expeditionary capabilities for immediate employment both in the Pacific and anywhere else that might be needed, and to integrate those capabilities into new operating patterns and concepts.
You have already provided us major improvements like the Stryker armored vehicles, which have deployed to Korea and the C17 aircrafts. And you are well aware of the two critical transformational efforts designed to improve our global force posture and footprint. Our Global Posture Review aims to range our forces most effectively to assure friends and allies, while deterring and, if necessary, defeating our adversaries. And the Base Realignments and Closure, or BRAC Commission, scheduled for 2005 supports posture improvements by eliminating unneeded facilities and infrastructure that absorb dollars needed elsewhere.
In sum, we are looking for ways to effectively array combat power as appropriate for uncertain threats of the future while reducing the burden we place on friends and allies in the region. Our goal is an enduring posture and footprint that demonstrates our commitment and is sustainable for the long term.
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And finally, we are looking for access and logistics prepositioning opportunities throughout the theater that minimize lift requirements and increase responsiveness whenever and wherever we are threatened.
Mr. Chairman, I am proud to represent the men and women of the United States Pacific Command, and I sincerely thank you for the opportunity to testify today and I look forward to your questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Admiral.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Fargo can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. And, General, thank you for being with us, sir. Go right ahead.
STATEMENT OF GEN. LEON J. LAPORTE, COMMANDER, UNITED NATIONS COMMAND, COMMANDER, REPUBLIC OF KOREA-UNITED STATES COMBINED FORCES COMMAND, AND COMMANDER, UNITED STATES FORCES KOREA
General LAPORTE. Chairman Hunter, Congressman Skelton, and distinguished committee members, I am honored to appear before the committee to update you on a current situation on the Korean peninsula. I would like to submit my 2004 posture statement for the record.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to extend the thanks of all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, and the Department of Defense (DOD) civilians that serve in Korea. Your unwavering support provides these dedicated men and women with the resources to maintain the readiness that underpins peninsula security and regional stability. You can be justly proud of our service members and the Department of Defense civilians serving in Korea.
The security and stability of the northeast Asia region is a long-term interest of the United States. Along with our allies and friends, we continue to deter threats to security, promote freedom, and to contribute to regional prosperity. The presence of the United States forces in northeast Asia signifies our enduring commitment to these goals.
The Republic of Korea (ROK) has long been a key U.S. regional ally and leading democracy in northeast Asia. The Republic of Korea democratic processes continue to govern the nation, demonstrated by the peaceful constitutional processes being used to address allegations against President Roh.
The Republic of Korea, the United States military alliance exemplifies cooperation among democratic nations to promote shared enduring interests. Our alliance remains steadfastly committed to its fundamental purpose: to deter and defend against North Korean threats and to strengthen mutual commitment to regional and stability. The combined forces of the Republic of Korea and the United States remain trained and ready to accomplish its security missions.
In addition to its predominant role in peninsula defense, the Republic of Korea has demonstrated a sustained commitment to coalition operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2002, the Republic of Korea has contributed up to 500 rotational medical and engineer troops to Afghanistan, and the Republic of Korea Air Force and Navy have flown and sailed in support of the United States forces engaged in the war on terrorism. Last year, the Republic of Korea deployed a 675-person contingent for stability operations and pledged $260 million for reconstruction in Iraq. This past February, the National Assembly approved a dispatch of up to 3,000 additional troops to Iraq. When this contingent deploys, the Republic of Korea will have the third largest troop contingent in support of the Iraqi coalition.
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On the Korean peninsula, the combined forces of the Republic of Korea and United States Alliance are transforming, guided by an enhanced shape and aligned construct which synchronizes our efforts and ensures that the Republic of Korea/United States Alliance remains relevant to the security of both our nations. Together, we are working to enhance our combined military capabilities to bring state-of-the-art military technologies and operational concepts to the Korean theater, strengthening our combined peninsula and regional deterrence and readiness.
These enhancements include improved armored vehicles, air defense systems, chemical and biological defense, and advanced precision munitions. The advanced concept technology demonstration programs such as theater effects-based operations, tactical missile system penetrator, and Joint Blue Force situational awareness have demonstrated promising ways to enhance the capabilities of U.S. forces based in Korea.
We also continue to improve individual protective equipment, including interceptor body armor and chemical protective equipment.
The United States forces continue to demonstrate the ability to rapidly reinforce the Korean peninsula with advanced capabilities such as the C17 aircraft deploying Stryker-equipped Army units and high-speed vessels moving Marine expeditionary forces to the peninsula.
We have begun to shape the combined forces by transferring military missions from the United States forces to the Republic of Korea forces. These changes acknowledge the growing capabilities of the Republic of Korea military and its predominant role in peninsula defense, while maintaining the firm United States commitment to peninsula security and regional stability.
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We continue to align United States forces into two strategic hubs of enduring installations that support an enduring United States military presence in the Republic of Korea. Consolidating and realigning the United States forces, including the Second Infantry Division and units stationed in the Seoul metropolitan area will increase our operational abilities while improving readiness and the quality of life of United States service members. These enduring hubs, coupled with the prepositioned sets of equipment, provide the strategic flexibility to rapidly reinforce the Korean peninsula or to promptly respond to regional security concerns.
The realignment of the Second Infantry Division, begun under the 2003 land partnership plan, is a major component of transforming the United States Forces Korea to meet future security requirements. The realignment of Second Infantry Division depends on stable funding to existing projects in the future defense plan.
We are concluding negotiations to relocate the United States forces from the Seoul metropolitan area. The Yongsan relocation, done at the request and the expense of the Republic of Korea Government, will enhance the operational readiness of the alliance, improve facilities and quality of life for United States forces, and most of all, return valuable land to the Korean people.
With your continued support, transformation of the United States forces in Korea will result in a more capable and sustainable U.S. military presence in Korea and produce a stronger combined Republic of Korea/United States military alliance.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Improving community relations and the quality of life remain a top priority of my command. The Good Neighbor Program, implemented at all command levels, continues to promote positive community relations with our Korean host. These programs, such as English language tutoring, cooperative humanitarian and conservation projects, and local Korean-American friendship associations build mutual understanding and cultural appreciation.
Service member quality of life in Korea is trending upward. With your support, we continue to improve the operational facilities, housing, and community support facilities through renovation and construction. These improved facilities, along with incentives such as increased family separation pay, cost-of-living allowance, and assignment incentive pay has increased retention in Korea.
On behalf of those serving in Korea, I thank you for your continuing support of these key initiatives that directly address the substandard living and working conditions and improving the quality of life for our service members.
The United States forces in Korea shares your concern about sexual assault involving service members. The command treats sexual misconduct in any of its forms as a serious matter, and we are taking stringent measures to address the issue. We have charged leaders at all levels with personal responsibility for rigorously enforcing policies and establishing a working group to identify ways to eliminate risk factors that may contribute to sexual assault. Equally important, we have reinvigorated our education programs, stressing risk factor awareness, prevention, and compassionate victim care.
I thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee, and look forward to your questions. Thank you.
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The CHAIRMAN. General, thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of General LaPorte can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, thanks for giving us a broad-brush picture, and I know members have lots of questions, and I will have a few questions here at the end of the hearing, but at this point would pass on questions. And the Ranking Member is recognized.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I yield my time to the gentleman from Rhode Island, Mr. Langevin.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is recognized.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I thank Congressman Skelton for yielding.
I want to thank both of you gentlemen for being here and for the fine job you are doing for your service to the country.
On a personal note, I would particularly like to welcome General LaPorte here. Your alma mater at University of Rhode Island (URI) is extremely proud of your success and all you have accomplished. I understand you are from the graduating class of 1968, and one of your fraternity brothers at Phi Mu Delta is Mr. Ken Wilds, who serves as my district director. So he sends his regards. He also shared some interesting stories with me, which will remain classified, General.
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General LAPORTE. Thank you for not asking me those questions, Congressman.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Admiral Fargo and General LaPorte, given China's military modernization efforts, North Korea's nuclear program, and the presence of numerous terrorist groups in Southeast Asia, the U.S. obviously must ensure that we remain well informed of developments in the Pacific as they occur. How would you characterize our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, ISR, capabilities in the region? And what additional tools could Congress provide to enhance those capabilities?
Admiral FARGO. Congressman, obviously the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance is a key issue for both General LaPorte and I. I think the assets we have in the region right now are adequate. Clearly, we balance these worldwide to ensure that we can meet all of our global needs.
In terms of my priorities, specifically, and my top three priorities in the Pacific, ISR is in those top three. And I would list those as ISR, missile defense, and antisubmarine warfare.
I think probably the most compelling need in this area is for a persistent Long Dwell ISR asset. Probably something that could be provided by an unmanned aircraft would be particularly helpful; a manned aircraft could be used to complement that. But that is our top need right now in terms of ISR.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General LAPORTE. I would agree with Admiral Fargo. On the peninsula, I have adequate resources to conduct indications and warning in an armistice scenario, and we have plans for reinforcement if we were to change to a higher threat level.
In terms of the terrorist threat, which was part of the your question, we work very closely with the Korean intelligence agencies and the Korean National Police. They have very sophisticated means of providing us information on any potential threats in terms of terrorists. And right now, I would classify the terrorist threat in the Republic of Korea to be low.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you.
Admiral Fargo, the next two questions will be for you. As you know, Indonesia is an important nation for the U.S. in combating Global War on Terrorism because of the presence of Jemaah Islamiyah radicals there. And, obviously, we need to work closely with the Indonesian Government to root out terrorism. But I am deeply concerned, though, about reports of human rights violations by the Indonesian military and security forces against religious and ethnic minorities as described in the State Department's 2003 report on human rights. So I would like to know what type of counterterrorism assistance the U.S. is currently providing to Indonesia and what steps we are taking to foster a greater understanding of human rights with Indonesian security forces.
And second, if I could, China, as we have discussed earlier, is undertaking extensive modernization of its military, which has concerned our ally Taiwan. Could you further characterize and elaborate as you already have on the current relationship between China and Taiwan and offer your views of the likelihood that China would initiate military action against Taiwan? And, additionally, what steps has the U.S. taken to discourage Chinese aggression, to improve Taiwan's ability to defend itself, and also what additional resources do you believe Taiwan still needs?
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Admiral FARGO. Congressman, let me start with the first question on Indonesia. Clearly, Indonesia is a tremendously important country in Southeast Asia, and really in Asia and the Pacific. This is the largest Muslim country in the world, over 200 million people, actually more people than Russia today. It is a relatively new democracy, having been in existence for five to six years. Its government is moderate and secular. And the stability of Indonesia is key to the stability in Southeast Asia.
With respect to the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI), the Indonesian military, I believe that they have made progress over the last couple of years. We are very focused on their previous human rights record, and we demand accountability for that record as an imperative.
But there are signs that reform is occurring in the TNI. For example, in the last year, legislation has been passed that takes the TNI out of the political scene in Indonesia. And after this election that is coming up in April, they won't have any seats in the assembly. The Chief of Defense of the TNI, in fact, is not going to allow the TNI to vote in this election, not because he wants to set a precedent, but because he wants to make sure that they steer clear of politics in this upcoming election.
They have separated the police from the military in Indonesia, which I also think is a very good sign and a good move so that the police can focus on internal security and the TNI can focus on national security. And there are some clear signs that they have done significant training in human rights in terms of their performance most recently in Haji.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I think that certainly this bears watching. Our role, I think, is to serve as a model for the TNI to make sure that we help bring them along on this path to reform so that they understand the rule of law, the proper role of a military in a democracy, and that they can develop as an institution in a manner that will properly serve their people.
With respect to China and Taiwan, as I said in my opening statement, we don't see any military indications right now, indications and warning that would be cause for imminent concern. We watch the situation very carefully. Obviously, a stable situation across the Taiwan Strait is tremendously important to the larger security concerns within Asia and the Pacific. My responsibilities, of course, are related to the Taiwan Relations Act, and certainly we understand those and we maintain a force posture and readiness and ability to respond to contingencies to ensure that, should the President so ask us, we can meet those responsibilities under the TRA.
Mr. LANGEVIN. I see my time has expired. So I thank you gentlemen for your testimony, and thank you for being here and for your service.
Admiral FARGO. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Weldon.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you both for being here and for your service to the country. We have had several delegations in theater in the past several years, and General LaPorte in particular, on the ground, I want to thank you for your attention to the quality-of-life issues for the troops. I know Korea has never been the most desired location for those troops with families, and I know you have taken great efforts to try to increase the incentives to have troops want to be stationed there. And I appreciate that. And the same thing to you, Admiral, in terms of the theater.
I want to focus my points today and questions on Korea, which gives me great concern. As you both know, I had received an invitation to take the second delegation into North Korea next week from the Foreign Ministry. And the initial invitation to me had 6 conditions which were very troublesome to me, because we had 17 Members assigned to the delegation, 12 or 13 from this committee, including 3 subcommittee chairs.
The troubling nature of what happened and transpired involved the fact that we were meeting in six countries with six heads of state and a commitment with Kim Jong Il, and then at the 11th hour I was told that all six conditions must be met before we would get in. Five of the conditions were easily acceptable. The sixth was that they were limiting us to five members of our delegation, which is obviously impossible. I couldn't tell 12 Members to go shopping in Seoul while the rest of us went in to Pyongyang.
So I drove up to New York on Saturday and met with Ambassador Hahn at the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) mission, and he and I had a discussion that I would say in the ten times or so that I have met with him was probably the least positive one that I have had. And I tried to make the comparison of Libya to North Korea and how Gadhaffi had given up his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and still is in power; in fact, we are embracing Libya. In fact, we have a representative of Libya in town today that is being shuffled around for meetings with Members.
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But he didn't buy that. And he said, ''We are not Libya; we have nuclear deterrence.'' and we got into a discussion about what I perceive to be somewhat of a threat that they have nuclear weapons and therefore that was a reason why they had to be dealt with differently from Libya.
The bottom line is he wouldn't give, and so I canceled our trip and told him we would reschedule it when they were ready to accept our conditions, and was very troubled and told him that those Members of Congress in both parties that want to try to continue dialogue and avoid confrontation were being rebuked in this manner. And since they had accepted large delegations from Beijing and from other countries, including nations in the region and Russia, that this was a troubling sign to us.
I am troubled by what I see, what I perceive to be a continuing worsening of the situation with North Korea. And I say that because they continue to build what they call their ''deterrence'', but which we call nuclear weapons. They seem to be more arrogant in their approach with every passing day. And I think they are also reading the polls. I saw two polls done last year, one in May and actually one in January of this yearI think it was by Pew Researchthat showed that the opinion in South Korea of the South Korean peopleand maybe this is skewed and I would ask you to comment on itactually showed that a greater number of South Koreans perceive the U.S. to be more of a threat than North Korea. Now, that is very troublesome to me, and I am sure the North Koreans are reading those same polls.
So my concern is, what is the impact of the current impeachment of President Roh? What impact has that had on our relationship and with the current Prime Minister, who, I guess, is assuming responsibility until an interim President is named? Do you share my concern that the problems are getting worse by the month, and that North Korea continuesand are you seeing any other signs of a change in North Korea's attitude separate from what we are hearing at the six-party talks?
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General LAPORTE. Well, Congressman, you raise a very serious concern, a concern that all of us share.
Let me talk about first of all North Korea's approach to this very complex challenge. Many times they appear to be irrational, especially dealing as a nation state in an international community, when they put such demands on other nations. Clearly a diplomatic solution to this problem is what everyone wants. And many times the United States is accused of unilateral action. In this case, the United States led the way in terms of the six-party talks and really held firm with North Korea relative to getting our allies and the nations that had equities in the region involved in these talks.
Our position is very clear in terms of the irreversible dismantlement of their nuclear capability, and I think that is a position that needs to continue to be supported.
In terms of the polls, South Korea is a democracy. It is a maturing democracy. And the good news is that they can have polls and people can have dissenting opinions. It has been 50-plus years since the Korean War. The younger generation did not experience the horrors of that war, and they have lived in peace and prosperity for many years, so they have a differing perspective than the older conservative Koreans. That is not necessarily a bad thing. I think in a democracy we need to have a debate about different perspectives and different positions. There are many polls that take place. But I will tell you, when you talk to the Korean people, they are steadfast in supporting the alliance. They continue to desire to have the U.S. military presence on the peninsula and even after any type of reconciliation with the North.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WELDON. President's Roh's status?
General LAPORTE. President Roh's statushe was, as you, I am sure, know, was impeached by the National Assembly. According to the constitution, the issue of impeachment will now be resolved by the constitutional court, a nine-judge panel. They have up to 180 days to accomplish that task. My understanding is they met yesterday for the first time.
I think the fact that that process is ongoing in South Korea, even with the North Korean threat, is a tremendous testament to the maturity of their government, and also the fact that the civilians continue to control the military and the military respond in a very professional manner to the civilian leadership.
Prime Minister Goh is executing all the duties of the President. I have seen him twice since he has taken on these duties. And, in my estimation, he is doing a fine job. And we will continue to managehe will continue to manage the affairs of the nation.
Admiral FARGO. Congressman, I agree with General LaPorte. And certainly from our vantage point in the Pacific Command, we haven't seen any appreciable effect in terms of our military-to-military relations as a result of this impeachment, and the government is functioning very properly. Certainly we are committed to the diplomatic track.
Our role in the Pacific Command, which we have learned over many years, is that diplomacy has to be backed by a solid military capability. And that certainly is what we are doing; not to provoke but to deter. And that is the posture we have established.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. General LaPorte, just as a quick refresher, it is my understanding that the Chinese Government has more or less said that they would not back the North Koreansthey would not back the North Koreans should the North Koreans initiate an attack, but that they would defend them if they were attacked. Is that correct? Is that in writing? Is that verbal? That is the
General LAPORTE. I am not sure that I am the right person to comment on China's policies.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. I guess my question is, in your mind, what is the difference between a nuclear device in the hands of the North Koreans and a nuclear device in the hands of the Chinese?
General LAPORTE. Well, you are addressing a point of capabilities. And both, obviously, are very significant capabilities. But clearly, in my mind's eye, it is an issue of intent. And what do you intend to do with these weapons? Do you intend to use them in a threatening manner?
North Koreaa North Korean nation with nuclear capability, threatens the entire northeast Asia region as well as other nations in the Pacific. In addition, they are a known proliferator of missiles, missile technology, narcotics, and other illegal activities. What is to prevent North Korea from deciding to sell to other nations or terrorist organizations nuclear-grade, weapons-grade material? That is a significant concern to all of us.
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Mr. TAYLOR. General, I have been on this committee now for 14 years. I don't think I have ever heard any of your predecessors mention the narcotics angle untilactually, until yesterday. How long has that information been available?
General LAPORTE. Mr. Congressman, North Korea has been heavily involved in the illicit drug business for many, many years. We have detailed information on that. And they are government-sponsored chemical labs, methamphetamine labs in particular, but a lot of other drugs. As Admiral Fargo mentioned in his opening statement, last year a big contraband shipment was captured in Australia. So much of their working capital, their hard currency is generated by illicit activities.
Mr. TAYLOR. Admiral Fargo, you talked about the entire region. I would be curious if you could give me a quick assessment of the Chinese naval capabilities, and what sort ofwhat, if anything, is new as far as their capabilities?
Admiral FARGO. Congressman, Chinese naval capabilities are improving through a pretty robust modernization program. Probably at the center of that modernization is the acquisition of Soviet-made kilo-class submarines as well as an indigenously produced Song-class submarines. Their modernization in this area is producing a large and capable and modern diesel submarine force that we are concerned about. Those are probably the areas of greatest concern with respect to the Navy.
There has also been significant modernization in their fourth generation aircraft. They purchased SU27s and SU30's from the Russians once again. These are very modern, very capable aircraft that provide them significant capability.
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There is other naval modernization going on with respect to surface ships that they are building. I think what you are seeing is the economic development that we are all well aware of in China; that is, somewhere between seven and ten percent is effectively fueling this modernization.
Mr. TAYLOR. General, in the planned move of our approximately 37,000 troops in Korea, at the end of this moveagain, your predecessors had spoken on numerous occasion about the approximately 12,000 artillery and rocket tubes in the range of that. At the end of this move, what percentage of that force will be outside of that ring of fire from those tubes?
General LAPORTE. The artillery threat that exists in South Korea right now is a function of long-range artillery fires, primarily rockets, that exist along the demilitarized zone. And they can range to the greater Seoul metropolitan area. The missile threat that North Korea has covers the entire peninsula. So the movement of our forces will always have our forces under the threat or danger of missile attacks. They will be moving south out of the range; their locations will be out of the range of the artillery, and that would be the majority of U.S. forces stationed in Korea.
Mr. TAYLOR. Is thatfor some reason, is that number classified?
General LAPORTE. No. It would be the majority, I would say 95 to 98 percent of the forces. There would be forces, obviously liaisons and other functions, that take place in Seoul and north along the demilitarized zone.
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Mr. TAYLOR. But other than that, 98 percent would at least be out of artillery range should something happen?
General LAPORTE. Yes, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Hefley.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Two or 3 years ago I believe a group of teachers in Indonesia, American teachers in Indonesia, were ambushed; returning on a Sunday afternoon from a picnic, ambushed on a mine company road that was controlled at both ends by the Indonesian military. We pour a lot of funds in there for cooperation with the Indonesian military, and so the Congress voted last year to withhold funds until they would cooperate in a full and complete investigation of this. Well, they have cooperated more. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has gone in; the FBI now has published their report, and their indication is that indeed this was probably an ambush by the Indonesian military. They first tried to blame it on the tribal insurgents, but this was automatic weapons; this wasn't bows and arrows, and it is probably the Indonesian military.
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Are you familiar with this incident? And what do you see the outcome of this? Where do we go from here? Because we can't just wink at this thing. They killed American people, wounded American people. Admiral?
Admiral FARGO. Yes, I am very familiar with this situation, Congressman, the Timika incident. And certainly we are very focused on it. And as I mentioned in my earlier comments, we should demand full accountability for this incident.
I haven't seen a final FBI report. I have been in pretty close contact with the FBI throughout the investigation to, one, make sure that they were getting the cooperation that they needed to do a complete and thorough investigation.
I have talked directly to General Suharto, and he has assured me that if this investigation shows that there are members of the TNI that took part in this attack, that he is going to hold them completely accountable, and there will be the kind of discipline that we would expect would be very proper in this particular situation.
Mr. HEFLEY. Well, I hope you will hold him accountable for that offer of cooperation, because this is something that we can't allow to go unpunished, it seems to me.
Admiral FARGO. I agree completely.
Mr. HEFLEY. Or we can't cooperate with them anymore.
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Can you tell us a little more about the situation in the Philippines right now with the terrorists?
Admiral FARGO. Yes, sir, I certainly can. The Philippines, of course, have been a great partner in the war on terrorism from the outset, and we are working very closely with them to build a sustainable, competent counterterrorist capability.
There is a range of threats in the Philippines. Initially, our principal concern and their principal concern was the Abu Sayyaf crew, which was essentially a hostage-for-ransom group that operated in the southern Philippines and in the Archipelago. We have conducted a number of joint efforts to help provide intelligence and training and advise the Armed Forces of the Philippines to deal with the Abu Sayyaf group. Probably the one that was the best well-known was on Basilan Island. Exercise Balikatan had some considerable success in removing the ASG, the Abu Sayyaf Group, from the Basilan.
President Arroyo has stated, and we certainly agree, that the principal; threat, terrorist threat in the Philippines right now is Jemaah Islamiyah, the JI. And the JI, of course, is an al Qaeda surrogate. We are providing significant support in terms of security assistance to help train the Armed Forces of the Philippines to deal with these groups. And we have trained a number of light reaction companies and light infantry brigades, as well as once again providing them intelligence that would allow them, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine police, for that matter, to take effective action against these groups.
Mr. HEFLEY. Are we making progress with it, do you think?
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Admiral FARGO. Well, I think we certainly are with the Abu Sayyaf group. You may have seen in the papers, there was a significant arrest over the last few days, somewhere between four to six Abu Sayyaf group members that apparently were involved in the bombing of the ferry recently, and may have been involved in some of the hostage-taking in Southern Mindanao. So I think there is significant pressure on the Abu Sayyaf group.
The Jemaah Islamiyah, I think we are going to have to deal with through solid cooperation amongst all the nations in Southeast Asia so that we share the information in the intelligence between countries like the Philippines and Indonesia and Malaysia and Singapore, so that we can use that intelligence and go after these folks in a very effective way.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I know you touched a little bit, General LaPorte, about the ability of the South Koreans to defend themselves against a conventional attack from North Korea. But there is talk also about the possibility of moving some of our troops out of South Korea. Do you think that this sends the wrong message when we withdraw troops, especially being that it is a hot spot with North Korea?
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General LAPORTE. Mr. Congressman, as you know from your many trips to Korea, we have a very close working relationship with the Republic of Korea military. And we have a process ongoing; it is called the Future of the Alliance Initiative. It is in the second year of a 2-year program. We are addressing and reaffirming our commitment to the alliance. And we are looking at roles, missions of force structure. Up to this point in time, there has been no discussion about troop reductions. There had been discussions about mission transfer and enhancing capabilities. And that is in fact what we are doing.
We are investing tremendous monies, both the Republic of Korea and the United States, to enhance our military capabilities. And I will tell you, from recent major training events, that is working very effectively.
The Republic of Korea is a very credible military. They are highly trained, they are well equipped, and they are highly motivated. They have 690,000 active duty personnel. That equates to 22 active divisions.
So as you can see, Mr. Congressman, they are very capable in their own right. But we work as an alliance. It is very important. And a combined forces command is Iraq/U.S. Alliance. So I think the transformation of the U.S. and the Iraq military is the right thing to do. We need to posture ourselves in terms of enhancing, shaping, aligning forces for the future.
Mr. ORTIZ. You know, one of the things that has worried me in the past years since I have been here is that I know that it is an unaccompanied tour in North Korea. But how many dependents do we have in Korea now?
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General LAPORTE. How many family members?
Mr. ORTIZ. Yes, sir. I know we have around 30-some odd thousand troops. But how many dependents do we have?
General LAPORTE. We have approximately 37,000 troops. The percentage that I am authorized to have on unaccompanied tour is 10 percent, but in fact we have about 8 to 7 percent of the personnel are accompanied. So there are approximately 10- to 12,000 family members that are residing in the Republic of Korea. Then, of course, we have Department of Defense civilians that work along side by side with our military.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you.
Admiral Fargo, I know that soon it will be time for the U.S. Kitty Hawk to retire. So is Japan making any movements about maybe accepting a nuclear-capable ship to be stationed in Japan when that time comes, sir?
Admiral FARGO. Well, of course, Japan has been a great host to the Seventh Fleet over many, many years, and their support has been absolutely critical to our security in East Asia and the Western Pacific. Kitty Hawk is scheduled for replacement around 2008, that is the date. And we would hope to replace her with one of our most capable aircraft carriers. This is a subject that we will talk to the Japanese about and collaborate with them and work through, as we do with all issues, with a very strong alliance partner.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you so much. And I thank you both for being with us today. It is good to see both of you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The distinguished gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Admiral, in your opening statement you mentioned the need for lift; and that caused me to dig into your written testimony here. And I would just like to frame this question this way, by quoting some of your remarks here with which I agree.
As you say, that we continue to work to expand our ability to rapidly flow forces and equipment, at the same time we must efficiently sustain these forces as they move forward.
And then you talk about the C17. You say PACOM strongly supports the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Transportation Command's efforts to procure at least 222 C17 aircraft as a minimum baseline to ensure responsive global mobility and provide the flexibility and capability to support DOD warfighting transformation.
And a little bit later you talk about tanker aircraft. Our national security strategy cannot be executed without air refueling tankers; yet many of our tankers are nearly 50 years old.
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These are sets of issues that we are extremely concerned about, and you are absolutely right to bring them to our attention. And I guess my question is this: Earlier today I was with General Cody over at the Pentagon talking about how to improve mobility and more rapid deployability of our forces and the whole set of things are going on in order to accomplish that general goal.
So I guess my question is, first, thank you for bringing these things to our attention. You reinforce some beliefs and some thoughts that we already have.
Mr. SAXTON. My question is, how can wewhat were your suggestions on how we can move forward with this mobility lift need that is so severe both in terms of tankers as well as presumably C17 aircraft?
Admiral FARGO. Well, certainly, Congressman, strategic lift is one of the clearer advantages that the United States has that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. And our ability to produce that lift and tanking is key to the immediate employability of our forces, and that is central to the Pacific Command's strategy.
I think we have got to press ahead with our C17 program. We have got solid investments in this budget that will provide the infrastructure for C17s in Alaska, in Hawaii. That is going to be very important. We have got to replace the tanker force with a modern capability.
As I mentioned in my statement, they are in the neighborhood of 45 to 50 years old and a lot of our plans, the plans that General Laporte and I are charged to execute, depend significantly on tankers. Tankers are key to the effective execution of those plans.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. And again, I commend you for raising these issues. It is our job to resource them. And I note that theat the same time the Air Force doesn't have in its palm the additional 42 aircraft that would take us to the 222 that you mentioned.
Have you expressed or can you express your desire to the Air Force above the TRANSCOM level as to how important this is? Can youhave you done that or could you?
Admiral FARGO. I certainly have and will, sir.
Mr. SAXTON. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I think that is the only question I have at this time. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. And the gentleman from Arkansas, Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the spirit of true confessions here, I think I came in after the gavel went down, and I hate to divulge that, but in fairness to the junior members here, I think I will. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. In that case, Mr. Larsen.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LARSEN OF WASHINGTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Dr. Snyder, thanks.
The CHAIRMAN. Actually, Dr. Snyder, I think everyone from here on out came in after the gavel went down. But it is okay.
Mr. LARSEN OF WASHINGTON. I was here. I had to step out for a meeting. I am sure that was the case.
Admiral Fargo, in your testimony you talked about your Maritime Security Initiative and how it is part of the PSII think I gathered that, Proliferation Security Initiative.
Could you update us on how that cooperation is working? Could you just give us a feeling, operationally, of how it is working and what hasn't worked and how we can improve it?
Admiral FARGO. Congressman, I would be happy to.
We have proposed what is called the Regional Maritime Security Initiative, which I believe will help operationalize the policy that has been set forth in PSI. Fundamentally, we don't have as clear a view of the sea space, the maritime space, as we do of airspace today.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC An aircraft takes off today, we know where it is going, who is on board, and we know its status pretty much throughout its trip. We can't say that about the sea space right now. And we certainly know an awful lot of the transnational threat and transnational crime is communicated through the sea space; and by that I mean terrorism and the trafficking in drugs and humans and piracy and so on.
So our proposal is that we need to put together an architecture, if you will, that allows us to share information and share intelligence that puts standing operating procedures in place with the countries of the region such that we can take effective action against this elicit activity.
There is very large, widespread support for this initiative. I just came back from Singapore and had a very solid conversation with the Sings and they are going to help us with this. My instinct, it probably ought to start at the Strait of Malacca and work its way out, because the Strait of Malacca is fundamental to the movement of all of the energy through the region.
So this is a pretty large and complex undertaking, but I think it is particularly important for our future. We need to know who is moving through the sea space. We need to know the status of those ships. We need participation from the vast majority of them so that we can single out and queue on those that aren't within the law.
Mr. LARSEN OF WASHINGTON. A couple of questions on that. Although this isthe PSI is a relatively new initiative for the administration. It certainly seems to be an important one to help us with proliferation threats. However, how new is it for you, and do you need to be resourced to specifically do it?
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Second, a lot of the countries that are part of the PSI are not in this regionAustralia is, but you know, Spain and Portugal and the UK and so on. So what kind of cooperation do you expect from, as you mentioned, Singapore, but other countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, any other country that we can point to as a partner in the war on terrorism?
Admiral FARGO. Well I certainly expect expanding cooperation on PSI. You know, most recently India has indicated to us that they would like to be a part of the PSI. Singapore has recently joined. And, certainly, with respect to the Regional Maritime Security Initiative, I expect a very broad range of support. All the countries in the region are concerned about the transnational threat. As I mentioned, it is terrorism and proliferation, but even the trafficking in humans is a concern. So we need to gain control of the sea space.
I think you will find that all of the countries in the region have an equity here and a means to make a contribution, however modest.
Mr. LARSEN OF WASHINGTON. Are youdo you feel you are adequately resourced to implement this?
Admiral FARGO. Well, I think we are going to have to dowe are going to have to rely on some old capabilities that we have used in the past in the war on drugs, our ability to conduct detection and monitoring; our ability, as we have enforced previous embargoes, to do maritime interdiction operations. These are skill sets that apply also with this particular requirement.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I think we are also going to have to take a look at how we transform our capability to deal with it. You know, we are looking at things like high-speed vessels, putting Special Operations Forces on high-speed vessels, putting potentially Marines on high-speed vessels so that we can use boats that might be incorporated with these vessels to conduct effective interdiction. And once again, the sea lines or communications where terrorists are known to move about and transmit throughout the region.
Mr. LARSEN OF WASHINGTON. Just quickly, one last question, something different. Are any decisions made or thoughts given to repositioning existing aircraft carriers intofrom the West Coast, or the East Coast for that matter, into the Pacific?
Admiral FARGO. Well, I think, as we stated pretty clearly, we are taking a look at the global integrated force posture and footprint, and certainly this will be one of the key issues that we look at as part of this total review. You know, the importance of Asia and the Pacific, I think, is well understood and has been stated clearly by the President. It is very important to the future. Forty-four percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the world right now is just in northeast Asia alone, when you take a look at the United States and China and Japan and the Republic of Korea, and that is only going to grow. So the importance of the Pacific and East Asia is going to be tremendously important to the security of our country.
Mr. LARSEN OF WASHINGTON. Thank you. And thank you Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON [presiding]. Thank you.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Schrock, the gentleman from Virginia.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And Admiral and General, thank you for coming such a long way to share some time with us today.
I left Southeast Asia many years ago, and although I desperately want to return, it just hasn't worked out. The closest I got was when I was privileged to serve on the Pacific island of Guam for 2 years in the mid1970's, and it is interesting, the subjectI notice there is a delegation from Guam today from the Chamber of Commerce, and I am glad they are here because I think this subject is very important to them, as well.
Even though I haven't been able to return to Korea or Vietnam, I am sure I would find a totally different place than the one I left. And I also believe I would find that a U.S. military presence in that part of the world is a stabilizing factor that is good for our relations and with our allies and, of course, with our foes, as well. So I am glad we are having this exchange of thoughts and perspectives today on the challenges that the Pacific area of responsibility holds for our military. With all the attention that has been given to another part of the world, I think it is very important that we continue to focus on the part of the world you are privileged to represent, as well.
That being said, let me ask this. What steps can youcan we take to increase our presence in the Western Pacific? And given the vastness of the theater and the range of possible threats, is the fleet response plan sufficient to perform the Navy's mission or might it be necessary to permanently shift additional assets, currently based in the continental United States (CONUS), further into that theater, and should we be increasing the size of the fleet in any way to deal with potential threats in that area?
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Admiral FARGO. Congressman, we are looking at this very carefully right now. We have, in fact, shifted some assets in the past year. We have made the decision to move three submarines to Guam. Two of those submarines are already home-ported in Guam and are being taken very good care of in Guam. The third one
Mr. SCHROCK. And Guam will take good care of them, take my word for it.
Admiral FARGO. And Guam will take very good care of them. I know all of the members of the delegation that you have met with from Guam, and they are all good friends and great Americans; and the support from Guam has been absolutely tremendous.
I think, you know, we will take a hard look as part of this integrated global posture review of whether we ought to move more assets forward in the Pacific. That is a key part of our deliberations. And I really don't have much more to add to what I mentioned previously.
Certainly, all of our efforts with respect to this are going to be done in collaboration with our allies. We are going to make sure that we support these alliances that are tremendously important to us today, as they have been for the last 50 years. Our efforts will be to ensure that we have the forces that are immediately employable to deal with the kind of contingencies and the new threat environment that we see amongst us today.
Mr. SCHROCK. Do you believe that Taiwan's desire for increased autonomy and eventual independence could some day create a situation of military confrontation between the United States and our regional allies, including China? And if ''yes,'' are we properly postured to deal with that sort of a threat?
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Admiral FARGO. Well, I am not going to try to predict the future, Congressman, as to, you know, what Taiwan is going to do. I think the most important thing is that we have to meet, you know, our responsibilities with respect to the Taiwan Relations Act, as well as provide good advice to Taiwan as to, you know, how they improve their capability to defend themselves; and we are certainly doing that.
Mr. SCHROCK. General, do you believe in light of the situation on the Korean peninsula that we should be changing our force structure in that specific part of the world? And would a different mixture of capabilities be more appropriate than what is currently in place? And what could be inferred from North Korea's dismal economic condition about their ability to prosecute a war with us, with the South, should it come to that?
General LAPORTE. Let me begin by personally extending you an invitation to come visit us in the Korean area, and I am sure Admiral Fargo would like to have you come visit us in the Pacific.
Mr. SCHROCK. The next time my friend, Solomon Ortiz, goes, I will tag along. In fact, I think he is out planning another trip right now.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Snyder, it is really your turn, right, this time.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Oh, I am sorry. I thought you were finished.
Mr. SCHROCK. No, sir. We were just having a little bantering back and forth. But I had asked a question first.
General LAPORTE. Let me answer your question, the second part first.
Clearly, North Korea is a credible military force. They have 70 percent of their army south of Pyongyang along the DMZ. Their ''military first'' policy diverts economic resources to the military first, so they maintain alike I said, a very credible military posture. So the economy has a minimal effect on that.
In terms of forces, what you said is exactly what we are doing. We are looking at shaping our force so that we have the right capabilities for the future threat, both for peninsula security and regional stability. We are enhancing our force significantly, from command and control to high-speed vessels to reinforcement capabilities, prepositioning equipment. All of this is done, being done, in collaboration with the Republic of Korea military as they transform their capabilities and their capabilities.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you, General. Thank you, Admiral.
And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. For the third time, Dr. Snyder.
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Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Admiral Fargo, how do you balance in your thinking or your investment of time or how you get your intelligence briefings or how you approach your job thehow do you balance that when you are thinking in terms of a terrorist threat from kind of an amorphous, probably disorganized, group of folks versus nation-state China's potential or potential competition with China? What could happen if a flare-up occurred over Taiwan, North Korea versus South Korea, our commitments there?
How do you balancewhile it is cleaner to think about the latter two, clearly the loss of life more recently has been coming from terrorism. Tell me how you organize your thoughts and days and your forces on that.
Admiral FARGO. Congressman, I think, without a doubt, the war on terrorism is our top priority in the Pacific Command right now. It is immediate. It is something that we focus on intently day to day. Certainly, that doesn't diminish our focus on our other priorities, as I stated earlier, our efforts in Northeast Asia, our concern about miscalculation in a place like the Taiwan Strait or, very frankly, looking to the future and our ability to transform our forces to make sure that we can deal with those threats.
But my morning, of course, starts with a very thorough intelligence brief and then an opportunity to sit down with my director of operations, my director of intelligence and my director of plans and policy, where we review the events of the day and, of course, of the immediate future. Those events include, of course, the war on terrorism, things we just talked about with respect to places like the Philippines and Indonesia. It also includes the political-military environment in the places like China, Taiwan and Korea.
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Dr. SNYDER. I wanted to ask specifically with regard to Thailand. Your written statement talks about their cooperation on terrorism, but it doesn't specifically discuss their situation. And they have a flare-up that appears to be more than just a flare-up, but probably is going to turn intomay well turn into a sustained problem for them.
Would you talk about the problems they are having primarily in the south.
Admiral FARGO. Well, the Thais are dealing with a very serious concern right now in the south. Of course, they had an attack on an armory that took a large number of weapons that still have not been found.
They are fundamentally reorganizing their approach to dealing with the south. They have put new people in place in the last week. I think it is a concern that, once again, they are intently focused to ensure that they can provide the stability in that important region of Thailand that is necessary to further its economic prosperity.
Dr. SNYDER. How would you judge the current situation with regard to mil-to-mil contacts with China and Indonesia? What is their status and how do you judge the importance of that as you look ahead?
Admiral FARGO. Well, with respect to China, we have a very modest and, I would say, improving mil-to-mil relationship with the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Over the course of this past year, I have hosted my counterpart, the Nanjing region's military commander, General Chu, to Hawaii. We had what I would call an improving set of conversations in that, now that we have met each other a couple of times, there is a much greater ability to have a real dialogue. So I think that is helpful.
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Secretary of Defense hosted his counterpart, Minister Cao, and he also came through Hawaii and we had a chance to talk to him in some significant depth.
I will visit China again this summer coming up. That will be my second visit as the commander of the Pacific Command and my third in the last couple of years. I made a previous visit as the commander of the Pacific Fleet. So I think, you know, we are conducting this military relationship within the clear rules set forth by the National Defense Authorization Act. I think it helps communicate the quality of our capability and the quality of our relationships throughout the rest of Asia and the Pacific, and that is good and helpful.
Dr. SNYDER. How about Indonesia?
Admiral FARGO. With respect to Indonesia, we also have a relationship that is governed by the current law. It is contact that is all nonlethal, of course, and in nature it involves the kinds of things that we think would be helpful, bringing their vetted leadership, the people that the embassy have personally looked at, back to places like the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, the Center For Civil-Military Relations, so that they are properly trained in the role of the military within a democracy.
I have visited Indonesia twice and a number of my component commanders have. We have done other things to help promote exchanges of subject matterexperts, for example, that deal with the rule of law; that deal with how the law enforcement and military ought to be separated in a counterterrorist effort, those kinds of things that we think will help develop the TNI as a responsible institution.
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Dr. SNYDER. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. You know, we had some conversation earlier that North Korea has been known to export illegal drugs and things of that nature, and it occurs to me that a mind-set that would be willing to risk the criticism of the world for doing that would probably not hesitate to exploit their nuclear capability by selling it to others. And I know that is certainly one of the big concerns.
If you had to point to nations or terrorist groups that would be at greatest risk for gaining nuclear capability by having that capability sold to them by the North Koreansof course, clandestinelywhat would be your biggest concern?
Admiral FARGO. Well, I think our largest concern would be if nuclear material was sold to al Qaeda. Clearly, they have the will, and the skill obviously, to carry out a devastating terrorist attack. So, you know, that is kind of the nightmare scenario, and that is why we feel so strongly about a non-nuclear Korean peninsula.
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There are other groups, certainly, al Qaeda affiliates that are probably of lesser capability, but should it fall into their hands, they probably would have the capability to do great damage also.
Mr. FRANKS. Well, it just occurs to me, Admiral, that, you know, of all the threats that we may faceconventional threat against South Korea, even, perhaps; and I might have a follow-up question about conventional threats to some of our fleet in the regionbut it seems to me that of all the things that could destabilize our country and be a serious threat to us, socially and economically and, certainly in terms of our confidence in American security, that this threat related to North Korea selling nuclear weapons to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups could really easily find its way to the very top of my grave concern list.
Do you think that you are being afforded the necessary resources and focus of not only political resources, but financial resources to deal with this? Is this something that is really in the forefront of our mind, or is it subordinated to some of the other issues?
Admiral FARGO. Congressman, I think it is precisely at the forefront of our minds. It is why I mentioned it right out of the blocks in my oral statement and have in my written statement, and certainly it has been the subject of numerous conversations and meetings that both General LaPorte and I have had with the senior leadership in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Joint Staff.
I think we are not only focused on this, but have the resources to doas I said earlier, to make sure that we have the military capability to back up the diplomatic effort that is ongoing and is very proper. And certainly the readiness of those forces is not only adequate, but very good.
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Mr. FRANKS. Well, please, General.
General LAPORTE. I would just add, I agree totally with Admiral Fargo that a nuclear weapon in the hands of a terrorist organization is one of our greatest concerns, and given the history of North Korea relative to selling missiles and missile technology, it is a concern we must address.
Mr. FRANKS. Well, gentlemen, it sounds like, you know, that sometimes, you know, we have to just restate the obvious; and that is essentially what I am doing. I know that these issues, it is obvious that they are in the forefront of your minds, and I apologize for not being here at the drop of the gavel and not hearing your earlier testimony. But this seems to be just a fundamental matrix that if you have al Qaeda with the mind-set and the intent and the intense desire to use nuclear weapons against the United States, the source seems to be the greatest variable here. And if North Korea has gained nuclear capability and they have demonstrated the mind-set to sell even, you know, illegal drugs or nuclear weapons, I just feel like that should be almost an overwhelming occupation of our concern.
And I appreciate all of you being here.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Trent.
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Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And General LaPorte, Admiral FargoAdmiral, it is nice to see you again, and thank you for your kind words about Guam. You and I have a similar perspective on the world because of our focus on national security concerns in the Pacific and our work to strengthen relations with our neighbors in Asia. And given our similar interests, I have a couple of questions for you this morning, Admiral.
In my mind, nothing says I am interested in providing security and stability more than an aircraft carrier. Placing an additional carrier in the western Pacific saves valuable steaming time, and our allies know that we can respond in an instant. And as you yourself have said, Admiral, in the past, Guam is the center of the universe. Guam and the Marianas are America's front line of defense, the closest U.S. soil to east Asia.
If I appear eager to press this issue, it is because the decision to move an aircraft carrier has a large impact on any community in which it is home-ported. Any community that hosts an increased military presence must make sure it has the necessary infrastructure, facilities and community support.
Admiral, this morning at the public hearing we have a delegation from the Guam Chamber of Commerce, including the president and other officials, and they are here in Washington to address these very issues with the Pentagon. So I would like to ensure that any decision you make regarding the carrier, or other assets for our territory and our area, is shared with the affected community well in advance.
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When we last had a dialogue in Congress on this issueI think it was over at the International Relations Committee last yearyou said it was too early to discuss the issue. But there have been a number of comments made since, both off and on the record, the latest when a congressional delegation met with you in Hawaiiyou remember, Admiral, on our way to the Pacific islands and Guam. And I asked you the same question.
So I would like to ask you simply, Admiral, where do we stand today?
Admiral FARGO. Well, Congresswoman, the ''Guam is the center of the universe'' comment that I made very clearly refers to the map of the world that I have in my office. It is a great map. It covers probably a hundred square feet and, of course, Guam is at the center of the universe in that map.
Ms. BORDALLO. I just wanted my colleagues to know that.
Admiral FARGO. Of course, I think that there are very solid arguments for moving an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, you know, based on our plans and potential contingencies and the current threats. But, once again, that has to be balanced with the rest of our concerns throughout the world, and those deliberations and those decisions are certainly ongoing right now. They haven't been made yet, and Guam is going to get, I am sure, every consideration within this because of the strong support that Guam provides and its strategic location. But I think it would be certainly premature of me right now to speculate what kinds of decisions will be made with respect to that issue.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Admiral. I respect your candid comments.
The second question I have for you is, I would like to now turn to homeland defense. You have the same duty as your Northern Command (NORTHCOM) counterpart, General Eberhart, to provide military support to civilian agencies in the event of a terrorist attack. I am concerned that you have not been given the same assets and funding as NORTHCOM to meet this mission, assets under your command like the Helicopter Combat Support Squadron, the HC512, Guam, with a civil support mission. And these helicopters have assisted in numerous search and rescue operations over the years.
I would not see any move by the Navy to privatize their mission. In fact, I would like to see an increase in civil support capability and that is why I was very disappointed by the recent announcement by the Secretary of Defense on the next round of National Guard weapons of mass destruction civil support team (CST) deployments, which left out Guam.
I discussed this issue with General Blum from the National Guard Bureau, and he said that they were so concerned at the lack of a CST unit, that they were even considering the permanent deployment of Hawaii National Guardsmen to Guam. And this idea goes against the intent of Congress, because we authorized each State and territory to have a team; and it is clear acknowledgment that the closest WMD-CST cannot deploy to Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in time. Yet, we still don't have a team.
The President's budget request for 2005 only includes funding for four new teams, and there are 11 States and territories without a WMD-CST. Now I am concerned that unless you make your support for Guam's getting a team known to Secretary McHale, we will not have one funded until 2007.
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So could you share, Admiral, with the committee the importance of your homeland defense mission and how important the National Guard and units like the Helicopter Support Squadron are in meeting this mission requirement for PACOM.
Admiral FARGO. I would be happy to. We have done a great deal of work on homeland defense and homeland defense planning in the Pacific Command. We have worked very closely with the Northern Command to make sure that we are following precisely the same principles and philosophy, and certainly we are intent on ensuring that we have the resources to execute our plan with great alacrity.
As part of this, I have appointed the Commander of the U.S. Army, Pacific, as my Joint Task Force Commander For Homeland Security. Obviously, Lieutenant General Jim Campbell has great capacity to help influence these events and provide resources to this particular mission. And he will be reinforced by the other component commanders within the Pacific Command.
We have a solid plan that, as I said, takes into consideration not only Hawaii and Guam, but all of my responsibilities throughout the Pacific of U.S. possessions and territories and the other entities that we have a national security relationship with.
I will go back and talk to General Campbell specifically about the issue you raise on the CST teams. And we will take a look at that.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you. Thank you very much, Admiral.
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Mr. SAXTON. I would just like to say thatlet's see, we have got one, two, three, four more questioners, and if we stick to the five minute rule we can make it. There is supposed to be a vote around noon, and I can't come back after the vote.
So if the remaining questions could be asked in a concise way so the Admiral and the General can answer them in a concise way, then everybody will get a chance to participate. And we are going to Ms. Davis next.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you both for your service. And I am sorry that I missed a number of the questions that my colleagues had asked. I actually was sitting in on a hearing on sexual assault in the military, which is a concern that we all share.
But I wanted to ask, in light of a simulation exercise that I took part in yesterday at the National Defense University and this discussion of the role that China is playing vis-a-vis North Korea, or that we perhaps hope it to playand I know that your area is not the State Department, but from a military perspective, I wonder if you could comment on China's involvement with us, with the U.S., in their dialogue with North Korea.
Was that more of an exercise in demonstrating their influence, or a real attempt to help us? Is that something from a military perspective that you can comment on?
Admiral FARGO. Congresswoman, I can provide some comment on this. Certainly I think that China has been very helpful with respect to the six-parties talks and the diplomatic effort to resolve the issue with respect to North Korea's nuclear capability. My personal view is, I think they are doing it because they find it in their national interest, that we have a shared interest here, that China really does believe that it is not in their interest to have nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.
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Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. And, General LaPorte, would you care to comment as well?
General LAPORTE. Well, I agree with what Admiral Fargo said, and I don't think I could add very much more.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you.
Perhaps in your discussions earlier you had an opportunity to talk a little bit about whether or not the issues that you face in the Pacific are compromised in any way by our activities today in Iraq and Afghanistan. Are there concerns that you have in terms of the force structure there that you are comfortable commenting on? What would we certainly want to be certain is not de-emphasized as we continue to have focus whether it is not necessarily in the military, but certainly in terms of public opinion, in terms of readiness and our own discussions here?
Admiral FARGO. I think it is very important to recognize that the Department of Defense remains very focused on Asia and the Pacific; certainly General LaPorte and I have met very frequently with the Secretary of Defense on this. He has been out to Korea and Japan recently.
We were essentially untouched during the first rotation of forces into Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. We sent the carrier Kitty Hawk, but that was immediately back-filled with the carrier strike group Carl Vinson.
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There are rotations now that are moving out to Southwest Asia from the Pacific. But the Navy and the Air Force, of course, have been able to reset their forces relatively quickly from the war, and as a result, we have significant force structure, significant capabilities, if you will, that allow us to mitigate those rotations of forces into Southwest Asia.
So we have taken, you know, a very thorough look at this and evaluated the risk. I think the risk is both reasonable and responsible. And as I said, we have adequate forces to deal with it.
General LAPORTE. And I would just comment on the Korean Peninsula, the operations elsewhere in the world have not had an impact at all on our training and readiness. And I work very closely with Admiral Fargo relative to forces that would support and reinforce the peninsula, and we are both confident that the services are providing the capabilities necessary.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to ask one question, Admiral. You had in your written testimony here, saying that ''We also sense increasing synergy between transnational threats like terrorism, elicit drug trafficking in humans and piracy.'' can you talk a little bit about the piracy and how that seems to fit into the transnational threat and the synergy you mentioned?
Admiral FARGO. Yes, sir. I certainly would be happy to.
The piracy in Southeast Asia is a very real concern. Certainly, it is a growing threat that the nations within Southeast Asia and especially those in the immediate bordering countries, the Malacca Strait, are very focused on.
These pirates have the ability to board ships and rob them, and in some cases, they have taken whole ships and moved them to a location where they could sell them and sell the cargo, so on and so forth. I mention this as part of the transnational threat concerns because I think that there is a common thread here, and an awful lot of this is facilitated by communications through the sea.
In other words, the trafficking drugs, as we talked aboutwe mentioned the North Koreans moving drugs to Australia that were interdicted over a year agothe trafficking in humans, the ability to proliferate weapons of mass destruction or other weapons, and the movement of terrorists all can be communicated through the sea. Piracy is another example of that. So that is why we are working as hard as we are to put together the Regional Maritime Security Initiative because, you know, this is pretty vast space and no country can do this by themselves, so it is going to have to be a multinational, a multilateral effort, if you will, to deal with this particular problem.
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Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Thank you.
Switching quickly to China, the information that we have before us is that they are spending, or were spending, 4.3 percent of their GDP on their military. And some analysts are saying that that is not really reflective of the actual amount that they are spending, that there are a lot of hidden costs there.
Can you talk for a few seconds, since our time is limited, about that? And then in 2002, 2003, 2004, and really over the last decade there have been double-digit increases in China's military budget; and I guess a more specific question is, is that primarilyare they preparing primarily for some kind of conflict with the U.S. over the issue of Taiwan?
Admiral FARGO. Well, I think it is always difficult to try to judge what China's military budget is because there are off-budget pieces that are difficult for us to assess. So there are some classified intelligence estimates that do that in some detail.
What we know is, it is growing. They have announced that it is growing. I think they announced a 12 percent increase in their defense budget this year, and we are certainly seeing that in the modernization of their forces. So that isI think that is all pretty clear.
What their intent for this military is, you know, impossible for me to assess. What I have to be able to deal with is the capability, and I think we ought to recognize that China in the future is going to have a very modern and capable military.
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Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. General?
General LAPORTE. I couldn't add much to that in the interest of time.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Okay. One final quick question.
Mr. SAXTON. Make it quick if you could because you have got one minute.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. I will yield back. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. SKELTON. A follow-on. Has there ever been a time in history when there has not been piracy in the Pacific?
Admiral FARGO. Not certainly in my memory, Congressman. It doesn't go back much more than about 55 years, though.
Mr. SKELTON. But you told Mr. Ryan that it is a serious, ongoing problem today.
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Admiral FARGO. Yeah. I think that certainly there has been piracy as long as there has been the ability to go to sea probably. But it is something that we are hearing with much greater concern from within the nations of Southeast Asia and, really, nations of the Pacific. Anybody that uses the Malacca Strait, it is a concern.
Actually, an office has been set up in Kuala Lumpur to track these piracy issues so that we can get a better feel for the scope of the concern.
Mr. SKELTON. A number of years ago, I think it was when I was visiting you, we flew over the Malacca Strait, and the ships were lined up coming through that; and when we say it is a crowded avenue, it really is.
Let me ask this of each of you, if I may: Both of you work with our allies and, Admiral Fargo, your statement notes that Japan's commitment to the self-defense force personnel to Iraqof course, we have seen the news on thatand both of you mention the Republic of Korea's commitment of personnel to Iraq; and we know how much Australia has committed to the effort.
A Pew Research study found that 75 percent of Indonesians were very or somewhat worried about the potential of an American military threat. And of the two east Asian nations it surveyed, South Korea and Indonesia, both showed a drop in favorable views of the United States after the war.
Now, South Korea dropped from 53 percent in the summer of 2002 to 46 percent in June of 2003. Indonesia went from 61 percent down to 15 percent over the same period. This is a serious public opinion challenge. So how would each of you characterize the attitude toward the United States in different parts of the region, and what should be done to strengthen their relationships? Admiral Fargo first, then the General.
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Admiral FARGO. Well, I think the support in the region is really very solid, Congressman, when I look from Northeast Asia to Southeast Asia. You mention the contributions to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Japan and Korea and Australia, but they also come from Thailand and Singapore and the Philippines.
I was just in Fiji and they have offered to make a contribution. Mongolia has made a contribution. Tonga would like to make a contribution. India was one of the first countries to provide Strait of Malacca patrols after 9/11. So I think the support is really very solid.
Obviously, it is a continuing effort to make sure that we articulate our policies and the clear need to deal effectively with the war on terrorism, and we are doing that. From my standpoint, the mechanism that I have available that I think is particularly effective is the Theater Security Cooperation program where I have the ability to interact with these militaries, and other agencies besides the militaries, too, so that we can properly convey American values and make sure that we have solid partners to move forward with in terms of the security of this important region.
General LAPORTE. Mr. Congressman, the concern you raise is a concern to us also. And polling is just one indicator of what a nation's people feel about another nation.
I will tell you, living in the Republic of Korea on a daily basis, the citizens of that great republic show great dignity and respect to the U.S. service members that are serving there. The military leadership is rock solid in this alliance in terms of the Combined Forces Command, and we get tremendous support from the national leaders in the Republic of Korea.
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As I stated earlier, democracy allows people to have different perspectives and to voice those perspectives. So I think it is healthy that you have these types of debates that take place in these nations. But it doesn't mean that they have any less resolve in supporting their alliance with the United States.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, sir.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you. I want to follow up just briefly on Ike's question.
The problem that I see, we do get fairly good support from the governments in many cases, not in all cases, but even the governments that are supporting us, their people seem to be against us. And that, you know, that is a long-term problem.
You know, as we saw in Spain and conceivably see in other places that, you know, absent the support of the populace, these leaders, you know, making the right call, supporting us as they should, are going to have a hard time doing that.
I offer that as an observation more than anything, that we really need to focus on the people themselves, not just on figuring out some way to get the leaders to go along with us because, you know, it is putting those people out on a limbyou know, people like Tony Blair and others who have been terrific in helping us. And they are out on a pretty serious limb when the public opinion is so solidly against them and efforts to improve those diplomatic things are very important.
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I just want to ask about North Korea. I participated in the same operation or the same exercise that Congresswoman Davis and others did, and the challenge that I see is where North Korea is headed seems unacceptable, which is, they are advancing in some cases in fits and starts with their nuclear program and their missile program. And then they just seem to, sort of along the way, you know, blackmail us, you know, mess around with us, sign on to agreements they have no intention of following.
But it is still this inexorable march toward, you know, nuclear capability and long-range missile capability. And that is a huge threat, as both of you mentioned, because of who they might sell it to, not to mention the fact that their possessing it alone is a problem. But the real problem is who they might sell it to.
So the current trajectory just doesn't look like it is going to get us where we need to be.
Now, the alternative to that is to draw a line in the sand and say, you know, if you test another missile, if you continue to proceed with this, we willyou know, we will respond militarily to take that out. And there is a huge line of risks, and that is part of the reason the folks in South Korea are so nervous; if we escalate it in that way, they are the ones who are going to bear the brunt of it.
Given that sort of rock-and-a-hard-place scenario, you know, stay where we are, let North Korea sort of drift in a direction that we desperately don't want them to go, or draw a hard line that may require military action with unpredictable consequences, what do you think is the best choice?
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And I want to sort of add on to the last part of that, what do you think the likelihood is, if we draw that line, they cross it and, say, we go in and take out a nuclear facility or take out a proposed missile test, what do you think the likelihood is that North Korea would, you know declare war on the South and respond militarily? Or is it possible that all of that is bluster and that would cause them to pull their horns in? What is your assessment?
General LAPORTE. First of all, I am not a policymaker, sir. I would not attempt to answer what the policy should be.
But I think we should have a strong military capability that is coupled with a very strong diplomatic effort. And we need to be able to demonstrate tremendous capability and resolve it in both of those arenas. And I think we are doing that right now in the six-parties talks and also with our military training and readiness in the Republic of Korea.
Mr. SMITH. Certainly. And on the military question, if it came to a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, I mean, what is your assessment on whether or not we could be successful in pursuing a military option if whatever line we drew was crossed?
General LAPORTE. The threat that North Korea presents to the Republic of Korea and U.S. forces in Korea is a function of the proximity that those forces are to Seoul and to the military formations. So war in the peninsula would be a very, very destructive and costly war. But I would be quick to tell you that ROK and the U.S. military alliance is a very ready and trained force, and Admiral Fargo's ability to reinforce is also very well developed.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, General LaPorte, I want to thank you for your hospitality when I visited the DMZ two years ago. It was an extraordinarily eye-opening experience to be at the last site of the Cold War. And I was so impressed by the dedication of your troops and the competence, and it is very reassuring to know of their leadership and their abilities. And thank you so much for your service.
I also had the opportunity last year, and I appreciate it, going with Chairman Curt Weldon on the delegation to Pyongyang. And we learned first-hand that North Korea claimed to have nuclear weaponry. My concern, though, that I expressed to them that seemed to be understood by Libya is that by having nuclear weapons, that is destabilizing rather than stabilizing. Do you see anyand I know it may be a policy matter, but is theredo you see any steps toward again denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula?
General LAPORTE. Well, I haven't seen any in that regard. In fact, North Korea's public statements are that over time they will continue to build their nuclear deterrence.
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Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. And that is just so unfortunate. But, again, I have faith in your capability.
Admiral Fargo, I appreciate seeing in your comments the efforts being made by the United States to prevent miscalculation in regard to tension between India and Pakistan. And I am very grateful to be the cochair of the India Caucus, and it has been an extraordinary year of increase of U.S./Indo military exercises and cooperation and the strategic partnership missile defense, on and on. It has been extraordinary. Additionally, I believe a stable Pakistan is to the advantage of India.
The concern I have, though, is the Taiwan Strait. And I had the opportunity to visit Taipei several years ago. I was so impressed by the dynamic economy, and then two years ago to visit Beijing and again see a dynamic economy. But I am just really concerned about miscalculations that could be obviously catastrophic for Taiwan, but it would be catastrophic for a modern China. And do you feel like the deterrence is in place to avoid miscalculation? And I share the concern of Congressman Schrock.
Admiral FARGO. I think for starters, Congressman, the President has made it very clear that we oppose any unilateral change in the status quo there just so that we can achieve precisely the objectives that you discuss. I am pretty confident of our deterrent capability. Certainly, we are well postured right now; we understand the problem; our forces are well trained; so, our ability to dissuade and deter China, I think, is really very good.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Well, I want to thank you for your efforts, because, again, India and Pakistan are obviously doing better working together and then coexisting with great exchanges between the two.
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Admiral FARGO. It really has been a very good couple months here.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. And I understand Prime Minister Vajpayee has been certainly working with President Musharraf in a very positive manner, and, lightning is going to strike, even making progress in Kashmir. But additionally, I hope for the mutual benefit of Taiwan and China, that there is understanding that miscalculation would not be in the interest of China.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Wilson.
Mr. Taylor has a question.
Mr. TAYLOR. General LaPorte, I am just curious. In your estimation, is the risk of a war with North Korea greater now than one year ago, five years ago? And asking you to look into the future: What are we going to hear one year from now as far as the situation in Korea? The first two are your opinion, obviously, comparing it now to one year ago and five years ago. And the other one, I really would value your prognostication.
General LAPORTE. Well, it is difficult to look into the future, but as we assess the military capability of North Korea, I think I have mentioned several times, it is a very credible conventional force. The thing that concerns us the most is the development of their asymmetrical threats, their special operating forces, their weapons of mass destruction.
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The conventional force I would say has pretty well held steady for the past 12 to 24 months that I have been in Korea. We have watched their training, obviously, very closely. Their training has been within seasonal norms for the past five years. We know that they are experiencing some shortages in fuel, and that is limiting a lot of their training, especially beyond the small-unit level. But they demonstrate capabilities, conventional capabilities, on a daily basis.
The future is just very hard to predict. I would say in a conventional manner I think you are going to see I will come back next year and testify, and short of some situation that goes differently, I think the conventional threat will remain constant. It is the asymmetrical threat with the weapons of mass destruction that is the unknown.
Mr. TAYLOR. I guess it wouldas a taxpayer and as someone who has to answer to the taxpayers where their money goes, I have got to express my concerns that when I hear the administration, you know, toying with the idea of the withdrawal from Korea, thenand I do very much understand the quality of life, and in particular I have seen some of the buildings we have there in Korea, and obviously I would not want my son or daughter stationed in them, so I understand the need to replace them. I guess my only concern is I would sure as heck hate to build a new base just to have the Administration decide to bring the folks home. That would seem to be a wasteful expenditure of tax dollars.
How long do you anticipate that we will have troops in Korea? For the foreseeable future?
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General LAPORTE. Well, I think both our nations have committed to an enduring presence of the U.S. military on the peninsula even after some form of reconciliation between South and North Korea, and that is primarily to provide regional stability. Up to this point in time, in the future of the alliance studies there have been no discussions of troop withdrawals. It has really been a discussion of enhancing capabilities, shaping and aligning forces for many reasons. But it is an increase in commitment to the Republic of Korea by the United States. We are not lessening our commitment at all.
Mr. TAYLOR. Admiral Fargo, to shift gears, I have been curious, I remember I guess it was about three years ago right now when the collision of the Chinese plane with our P3. And looking back on it, was that a one-time event by one overly ambitious Chinese pilot? Is it something that continues to this day, the near passes with our aircraft? And I would hope you would speak freely on that. I would hate to have you tell me one thing and then read the New York Times tomorrow and read something else.
Admiral FARGO. Congressman, I think, you know, we have done a very thorough analysis of that collision, and, in fact, I made a recent classified report to the Joint Staff as to our assessment of precisely what happened. Certainly, the Chinese pilot was very aggressive and irresponsible, in my view.
I think we have seen a change in their behavior since then in the manner in which they conduct their operations. It appears to me right now that they are operating in a manner that is more responsible, much safer. And we will continue to track this very closely to see if we have any signs that that, in fact, is changing.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. What can you tell me about the incident involving the oceanographic vessel that was pursued by the Chinese naval forces, I want to say, last summer?
Admiral FARGO. Well, we disagree with the Chinese over our interpretation of the law of the sea. And we believe very clearly, and I think this isin my view, this is the larger interpretation that the international community agrees tothat those hydrographic vessels can operate and are operating in international seas. The Chinese have a different interpretation that deals with their exclusive economic zone and so on. So there we don't see it the same way. We have a commission together where we sit down with the PLA Navy, the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) Commission, that is specifically designed to see if we can close this gap in interpretation.
Mr. TAYLOR. Does that happen on a regular basis? I happen to be aware of that one because I knew some crew members aboard that vessel, and probably would not have known about it unless I knew some crew members on that vessel. Is that happening on a regular basis?
Admiral FARGO. It happens occasionally, I think would be a better way to characterize it. But once again, the Military Maritime Commission that we have put together with the PLA Navy is allowing us to ensure that we put procedures in place to operate safely without giving up our inherent right to operate in international waters.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am not so sure you answered my question. I thought my question was, is that happening on a fairly frequent basis, or was that a one-time incident?
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Admiral FARGO. The answer is it is not happening on a frequent basis; it was not a one-time incident.
Mr. TAYLOR. Has it happened a dozen times?
Admiral FARGO. Well, I would be happy to get you a specific report on how many encounters there have been.
Mr. TAYLOR. In the past 12 monthsmay I make this request of you? I would like to know how many similar incidents there were to that. And if you don't know off the top of your head, I certainly understand.
Admiral FARGO. I don't know off the top of my head. There have been a couple of others, but it has not been something where I was concerned about the safety of our ship.
Mr. TAYLOR. In none of those instances were you concerned about the safety of your ship?
Admiral FARGO. That is correct.
Mr. TAYLOR. Again, for the record, I would like to know in the past 12 months.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral FARGO. I would be happy to get those for you, Congressman.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. TAYLOR. And, again, thank both of you gentlemen for traveling so far to be with us.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Skelton.
And, Admiral, General, thank you for being with us here today. As you can tell from the buzzers, we are being called to do our duty. But thank you very much for being here today, and thank you for your great concise answers. Thank you for what you do for our country. And when you get a chance, pass along to the men and women that work for you how much we appreciate what they are doing, as well.
General LAPORTE. Will do that.
Admiral FARGO. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 12:10 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]