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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 25, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT

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contingency, although we have assumed greater risk. we have maintained focus on key aspects of the rebalance to the asia pacific, strengthening our alliances and partnerships, improving our posture and presence and developing the concepts and capabilities required by today's and tomorrow's security environment and we have done this against the backdrop of continued physical and resource uncertainty and the result ant diminishing readiness and vailability of our joint force i look forward to your questions . >> distinguished members of the committee, i'm honored to testify today as the commander of the united nations command, combined forces command and the united states forces korea. on behalf of the service members, civilians, contractors and their families who serve our great nation in korea, thank you for your support.
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after six months in command, i'm confident that the combined and joint forces of the united states and republic of korea are capable and ready to deter and if necessary respond to north korean threats and actions. we know how real the north korean threat is, as four years ago tomorrow north korea fired a torpedo sinking a south korean ship, killing 46 sailors. that terrible day is a constant reminder that standing in freedom's frontier with our korean ally, we can't allow ourselves to become complacent against an unpredictable totalitarian regime. the regime remains dangerous. and has the capability, especially with an ever-increasing asymmetric threat, to attack south korea with little or no warning. north korea has the fourth largest military in the world with over 70% of its ground forces deployed along the d.m.z. its long range artillery can strike targets in the soul metropolitan area where over 23
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million south koreans and momomomomomomo live. in violation of multiple u.n. security council resolutions, north korea continues to develop nuclear arms and long range missiles, additionally gressively is a investing in cyberwarfare capabilities. north korea brings risk to the world's greatest or fastest growing economic region which is responsible for 25% of the world's g.d.p. and home to our largest trading partners. against this real threat, our nation is committed to the security of south korea to our national interests. our presence and your support of our troops give meaning to this commitment. we are a key component of the nation's rebalance of the asia-pacific region. together the alliance's commitment to each other enables stability and prosperity now and in the future. in the spirit of this commitment, we are working closely with the south korean military to develop its capabilities and combine c-4-i
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systems and defense strategy and the procurement of precision guided munitions, ballistic missile defense systems and i.s.r. platforms. readiness is my top overarching priority. to ensure that we are focused on the right things at the right time, i've developed five priorities. first, sustain and strengthen the alliance. second, maintain the armistice to deter and defeat aggression and be ready to fight tonight. third, transform the alliance. fourth, sustain force and family readiness. team.fth, enhance the an essential part of this is a positive command climate that focuses on the covenant between the leaders and the led in our mission together. at the core of mission success is the close relationship we share with our south korean partners. we benefit from important history fornled on many battlefields, shared sacrifices
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and democratic principles. over the past 60 years we've built one of the longest standing alliances in modern history. we will continue to ensure a strong and effective deterrence posture so that pyongyang never misjudges our role, our commitment or our capability to respond as an alliance. i'm extremely proud of our joint force and their families serving in the republic of korea. i sincerely appreciate your continued support for them and for our crucial alliance. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much, general. let's try seven minutes for our first round. admiral, let me start with you. as you noted in your written testimony, china's declaration in november of an air defense east fication zone in the china sea immediately raised tensions. while the declaration of that
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identification zone is not -- has not affected u.s. military operations in the area, there is a concern that china is attempting to change the status by taking these incremental steps to assert territorial claims. so let me start by asking you this question. is china's declaration of that identification zone changed the status quo between china and japan with regard to their respective claims to this caucus? >> from my observation, first it had not, as you correctly stated, it has not changed our operations at all and we don't recognize it or comply with it. i have not seen any change in the activities of our allies, the japanese self-defense force, as they pursue operations in that area, based
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on the proclamation of the chinese. >> and, admiral, what's your assessment of china's pursuit of antiaccess and area denial capabilities and what are the implications of such capabilities on the ability of other nations, including the united states, to move freely in the international waters of the western pacific? we've known for -- >> week of known for some time that the p.l.a. have been pursuing technologies and capabilities that would allow them to potentially control the access in the areas around their borders, particularly in the sea space. those technologies specifically i believe are directed at what they perceive as potential u.s. vulnerabilities as we maintain
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our forces forward. so we have for many years built our security environment around aircraft carriers, forward bases with our allies. lie heavily on cyber and on space capabilities. because we operate a long distance from home and we rely on a long line of logistics, support necessary to be in that far forward and to maintain a peaceful security environment. so i would say that the capabilities that we observed are being pursued by the p.l.a. , go after either directly or indirectly what they perceive as potential u.s. vulnerabilities. so whether they ever intend to use them with us or against us or against an ally, the concern also is that these technologies will proliferate and they will further complicate the global
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security environment. >> ok, admiral what's your assessment of china's cyberattack -- cyberactivities that are directed toward the united states? what can you tell us about their use of cyberspace to target u.s. defense contractors? >> well, in the cyberworld there's a lot of bad actors. it's not just china but specifically since we look at this, week of known for some time that -- we've known for some time that there has been state-sponsored activity to try to look at and to try to get into defense contractors and then to work that backwards to try to either develop an advantage or to better understand any vulnerables that we may have -- vulnerabilities that we may have. so we watch this very carefully. we are becoming more and more aware of activities such as this on a global scale. and i believe that the steps we're taking to build
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cyberforces that are capable to build on what i believe is our advantage in cyberspace, i believe we have a considerable advantage compared to the rest of the main actors in the world. and our advantage is only going to increase as we put these capabilities in place. >> let me switch topics to the replacement facility, the f.r.f. on okinawa. there's now been some progress in that area. do you believe that 10 years is a reasonable time line for the construction of that facility? and do you believe that the government of japan and the marine corps are committed to adequately maintaining the current air station until the f.r.f. is completed? >> well, the facility at camp
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swab that will ultimately replace fituma, we're happy with the decision that was made by the signing of the landfill permit. it was another step forward in making this a reality. by all estimations i have seen 10 years is a reasonable amount of time. it could actually be done faster and i believe that there are those who would like to see it done faster. particularly with our -- within the japanese government. i believe that currently the funding is in place to be able to ensure that it remains safe and adequately operated and i can assure you we don't want to see that facility degrade to the point that it puts our operations at risk. >> ok, thank you. general, let me ask you about his same issue of north korea.
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are the chy necessary in your judgment unwilling -- chinese in your judgment unwilling or unable to exert pressure on the north koreans to agree to preconditions to restart the six-party talks? >> chairman, based on those that i've talked to in the region, to include the seebs -- south koreans and their contracts, i believe we've seen some result of china's pressure on north korea in the muted rhetoric of kim jong un in the past several months. particularly after the assassination of his uncle. why i believe they can put some pressure and we probably have seen a result of some of that. however, i think there's much more that they could do. as most of north korea's banking and much of their commerce comes through china. and to this point, they've been unwilling to take any more
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steps as far as i can tell. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this morning in "the stars and stripes" there was a good article. i ask that it be made part of the record. it talks about the -- what's happening to our capabilities in that area. admiral locklear, your quote saying that the resources currently at your disposal are insufficient to meet operational requirements and i appreciate that statement. admiral locklear, it's my understanding that 50% of our -- the navy's 300 ships or about 150 were expected to be in the pacific theater, initially, was that right? >> we've had about 50% for a number of years. >> ok. this doesn't take a long answer here. as part of the rebalance now they're talking about they would expect that to go up so
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it would be around 180 instead of 150. this is the point i'm trying to get. because of what's happening now and sequester coming, it -- sequestration coming, it would be 60% of a smaller number, coming out with the same number of ships available in that theater of 150. do you follow me here? >> i follow you, yes, sir. >> what about our partners over there, our allies, japan and korea and australia, do they -- do you think they understand that while they are expecting that we would have 150 ships and it ends up being -- increasing to 180 and it ends up being 150, is this something that they understand or they appreciate or do they believe that we have the kind of problems that we have? >> i can't speak for how they feel about it. but my guess -- my expectation is that they are very watchful of how the u.s. defense budget
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will play out in the long run. >> well, you know, we've said that our friends won't trust us and our enemies won't fear us. this is in the middle east. i'm beginning to think we're going to have the same situation in that theater also. ballistic missile capable submarines that can hit the united states from the east asian waters will begin patrols this year in the chinese defense budget -- and the chinese defense budget is expected to grow by 12%. i'm kind of reminiscent of the days back in the 1990's when we were cutting down our military by about 40%, at that time china was increasing by around 200%. that was around that decade, in the 1990's. i'm seeing some of the same things happen here. the priorities of our country versus the priorities of china, i've always been concerned about china and their capabilities.
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and when the secretary hagel, and i appreciated his statement, he said american dam nance on the seas and skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted. does that concern you as much as it concerns me? >> i think in the context of globally that chinese military and the gloth of the military won't be -- growth of the military won't be a global competitor with u.s. security for a number of decades, depending on how fast they spend and what they invest in. the biggest concern is regionally, where they have the ability to influence the outcome of events around some of our -- many of our partners and our allies by the defense capabilities that they're pursuing. >> in the quote i read out this morning's "stars and stripes," was that an accurate quote? >> i haven't read the article but i believe that it is --
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what you quoted is accurate. >> judging from our discussions in my office, i think that is an accurate quote and i think people need to talk about it. general, we are looking now at a new kim junk and you and i talked in -- jung and you and i talked in my office. my concern is, because he's less predictable than his predecessor, would you agree with that? >> yes, senator, i would. >> do you think by being less predictable that would translate into a greater threat? >> yes, senator, i do. >> i agree with that. because you don't really -- you can't tell. sometimes we talk about the days of the cold war, when we had two super powers and both of us were predictable. and the less predictable we are, the greater the threat is to us. i think particularly now with the drawdowns that we're suffering and the limits capabilities that we're giving you -- limited capabilities that we're giving you to do
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your job. in your opinion, are sanctions, diplomatic pressure and appeasement with the shipments of food and oil that have been our policy tools likely to halt north korea's further development, proliferation of nuclear weapons? >> senator, i think that it's an appropriate step in terms of our sanctions, continued sanctions. but i don't believe that at present they'll be enough to convince him that he should denuclearize. >> i don't think so either. i agree with your statement. however, again, getting back to the unpredictability. this guy is dish don't think he's deterred by that type of action. we also talked about another problem. i think the forces on the peninsula that would be needed to fight immediately are combat-ready. my concern is with the follow-on forces. i'd like to have you share with us whether you're as concerned about that today as i am. >> senators, as you stated, the
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forces on the theater have been fully resourced, despite the budget constraints that we've had. i'm happy with that and appreciative of it. t i am concern canned -- >> [inaudible] >> that's correct, sir. i am concerned about the readiness of the follow-on force. in our theater, given the indications and warnings, the nature of this theater and the rely that we face, he i on ready -- i rely on rapid and ready forces to flow into the peninsula in crisis. >> it's because throughout your career, you've been able to rely on that. and you're not now. do you agree with general amos when he said we will have fewer forces arriving, less trained, arriving later to the fight, this would delay the buildup of combat power, allow the enemy more time to build its defenses and would likely prolong combat operations altogether, this is a formula for more american
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casualties, do you agree with that? >> i do, senator. yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. admiral, general, thank you so much for your service. admiral, what is the current status of china's hypersonic eapons projects? >> well, they have demonstrated the technology in tests that they were visible to the world earlier this year. how fast that they can actually put that into an operational capability sun known. but it could take several years to do that. >> do you think they currently have the ability to strike u.s. assets? in the continental u.s.? >> say it again, sir. >> do you think through the hypersonic weapons projects, you mentioned it will take several years to get it done.
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do you think they presently have the ability to strike the continental u.s.? >> well, i think they have the ability to look at and to understand and through satellite imagery and everything else to have views of the united states. whether or not they have -- what they're going to ultimately do with hypersonic capability as it relates to their long range deterrent, i don't know. >> how would you characterize china's attempts to disseminate technology to iran and north korea? full speed ahead or what would you say? >> well, in the case of north korea, which the general and i spent a lot of time looking at, to some, you know, perspective, north korea is an ally of china and they're closely aligned from a military perspective and have been for a number of
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years. and i know that there have been some progress made as far as the chinese supporting the sanctions. i can't tell you how much they are abiding by that. but my sense is that there is -- has been a close relationship on military capability and military equipment for some time and probably will continue. >> how would you see the pace of chinese cyberattacks this year coming up, 2014, you know, the first quarter so far, the rest of the year? we saw an extraordinary amount in 2013 and how would you compare the volume? first the volume and then next would be the quality or the targets involved. >> well, i think after we made it fairly public that there was knowledge that we -- of what was happening with some of the
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factions in china, there was for some period of time a decrease, i understand. but there's still lots of cyberattacks that occur, as i said early errier, not only from -- earlier, not only from china but a number of places around the world. those number of attacks, as the cyberworld becomes more complicated, are on the rise. >> and general scaparrotti, what is your estimate of north korea's efforts in cyberattacks? >> senator, north korea is, along with their other means, are investing in cybercapability. presently at this time they've been known to use their cybercapability here a year ago. they had, we believe it was north korea that had the impact in south korea's median banking institutions. presently it is a disruption of services, disruption of website
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capability, but they're focused on it and their capabilities are gaining. >> general, again on another issue, can you provide us with just a current status of the relocation of forces to camp humphries? >> yes, sir. our relocation has begun, as you know. we are moving forces according to the alliant partnership plan from the north, which we call area one, north of seoul. yongsong area he predominantly. presently we have not begun the initial movements. they'll begin this year. the majority of our forces will move in 2016. at humphries we're at 13% construction and 67% or so under way. so the build is well under way and we're on track to move the majority of our forces in 2016.
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>> is there any viable short-term solutions to having enough adequate housing within a drive, you know, a 30-minute drive to camp humphries? >> senator, we just last week had a housing industry seminar in seoul in order to both inform and also gain information from private industry in korea. as to the capability to provide housing within the 30-minute area which is our policy of humphries. our recent surveys tell us that there isn't the capacity right now. we were actually looking to see what the capacity at build is. >> admiral, in regards to counterfeit parts, you know, so much has gone on with china. you have seen any indication that they're trying to address that problem or trying to identify or help us to track
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these counterfeit parts? >> i have not. > general, in regards to the north korean regime, do you believe kim jong un is controlling the military in the country or do you think he's a front for their military? >> senator, i believe that kim jong un is clearly in charge. he has appointed himself as the supreme leader through the constitution and the actions that he's taken with respect to the change, particularly in the military in terms of leadership, is clear and i believe he's in charge. >> in regards to that same topic, how much influence do the chinese have on him? if they push, does he follow their lead or is it still his call at the end of the day? >> senator, i believe they have the capacity to influence him.
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they've shown it in small ways. but i think from what i've seen, he also is an independent actor and will tend to go his own way which i believe has frustrated china as well from just what i've read and know from others that have been there. >> thank you both for your service. my time is up. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general, thank you for your answer to senator inhofe's question about your ability to arry out your responsibilities , as you say, your forces under your command are operationally ready but we see more and more indications of fewer and fewer units of the united states army that are operationally ready. and that must be a great -- of great concern for you. in case of the unthinkable and that is an outbreak of conflict. is that correct? >> yes, sir, that's correct. on the korean peninsula, the
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nature of the fight is potentially high-intensity combat and time and space factors also present a tough problem for us. so the delivery of ready forces on a time line is important. >> admiral locklear, would you agree that china's efforts are under way to change the balance of power in at least the western pacific? >> i would agree. >> and that may be carried out in an incremeble fashion such as the -- incremental fashion such as a requirement over the acquisition a, the of an aircraft carrier, in other words, incremental steps that probably wouldn't sound too many alarm bells, is that what you think -- what do you think their strategy is to
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assert their influence and dominance of that part of the world? >> yes, sir. well, their maritime strategy is pretty clear. they don't hide it from anybody. and they have certainly tailored their defense spending heavily in the maritime domain. and so it is ancremental strategy. it's not to be done i thinkal all at one time. my sense is they look at their strategy and they look at the current status in the south china sea and i think they believe they're on their strategy. >> and the fact that there's not been easy expectations of the unfortunately called pivot has not become a reality, that must be some factor in their impressions of us. >> well, i think that, first of all, i think in the long run a
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relationship between the u.s. and china is in the best interest of everyone. they watch very carefully the u.s.. we've guaranteed the security there for many years, that helped their rise as well. and so they are very much interested in our alliances, of those alliances, the status of forces that we have there, the capabilities of those forces. and so, yes, it does matter to them. >> and the announcement of 12.2% increase in defense spending by china certainly a contrast in our defense spending and traditionally much of their increases in defense spending have not been transparent, is that correct? >> i believe that there is more
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defensive spenditures than what they report annually. >> what is the likelihood in your view, and it's a very difficult question, of a confrontation between china and japan, japan -- and japan over this? >> i like to stay away from hypotheticals. >> yeah, you do. i don't want to ask you that. but certainly many of their actions have been very provocative. would you agree with that? >> i would agree that their actions have been provocative and in many cases attempt to change the status quo. >> does the literal combat ship meet your operational equirements? >> well, the combat ship as you know has a long history of why
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we built that ship, for what reason. it has a shallow shaft, it has speed, it was designed to have changeable pay loads, it was designed to have a small crew, it was designed to be able to be forward deployed and operated. the operational concept, yes, it does. but it only meets a portion of hat my requirements are. >> is there a lesson learned in the recent reduction in the plans for acquisition of the l.c.s.? >> well, i think that if you alk about a navy the size of 320 or 325 ships which is what i would say would be an assessment some have made is necessary for the global environment you're in, you know, having 50 or 55 l.c.s.'s makes a lot of sense because there's a lot of places in the world where you can use them. but if you're talking about a budget that can only support a navy much smaller than that,
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then having that heavy of reliance on l.c.s. does not make that much sense. so i can understand why the reduction way was made but i'm still a supporter of the l.c.s. nd what it can do. >> what are we to make of all these firings of short range missiles out to sea by the north koreans? >> well, i think kim jong un had several reasons for those firings over time, since 21 february. i think there's a small contingent of that, part of the normal winter training cycle. i say a small contingent because this has been very different than in the past. the remainder i think were demonstrations both for his regime and for demonstration to the people of capability. the other was a demonstration for us, receipt lines, us and the rocks, in terms of their capability to do that on short
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notice, with very little warning. >> [inaudible] >> yes. this was -- it consisted of scuds and then also an experimental m.r.l. that they tested as well. >> and how capable is that? >> that's a capable system and a s one that can provide good munition and rapid fire. >> i thank the witnesses and thank you for your service. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i thank the gentleman for your service. ed a miller, the chinese strategy -- admiral, the chinese strategy, can you describe it? is it a combination of forces and aerial denial or is it exclusive to one of those dementions or is it something else?
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>> i think it's heavily reliant on an aerial denial or counterintervention strategy which would be designed to be able to keep someone else out, for them to have dominant influence. however, we are seeing a more global outreach, a more forward deployed, i mean, we just had -- we've had -- seen successful p.l.a. operations in the gulf of aiden and counterpiracy operations. i believe to their credit they've got significant force deployed today on a number of ships and airplanes, in support of the lost malaysian airliner. we're seeing longer deployments, longer, what we call out of area deployments by their submarines. i don't know that that's necessarily something that should alarm us, though, because they're a global economic power and as their economic interests grow, their security interests will grow and they're going to need a navy and bigger assets to go
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ensure that their security is maintained. >> the point you raised, they have been very active in submarine construction. they've got a fairly expansive fleet, both ballistic missiles, submarines and attack subin are ins. they're building more -- submarines. they're building more. they've got russian submarines. i've noticed a surge in their submarine capabilities ahead of sort of surface ships. >> certainly they have a credible submarine force today. they're in the process of modernizing that submarine force. and i think that they'll have, in the next decade or so, they'll have a fairly well modernized force of, i'm not sure of the exact number, but probably 60 to 70 submarines which is a lot of submarines for a regional power. >> and they might represent the most sophisticated technological platforms that the chinese have?
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in terms of their seaborn platforms? >> i would say that they are on par. they do have good sophistication in their surface ships as well. their air defense systems are very capable. and certainly they have some very credible missile technology that's among the best in the world. >> general, how would you evaluate the readiness of the republic of korea forces to fight in a joint effort with the u.s. forces on the ground under your command, obviously, as u.n. commander? >> yes, senator, idse rate them very highly. they're a modern capable force. their officer corps is well trained. a con script army. but they have good training for their soldiers, sailorses, airmen and marines as they come in. i've been out with alall of their services in the six months i've been there and they work well together. as an alliance we work well together as well.
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>> do you have informal contact and chinese counterparts the perspective on what their attitude is toward the regime in pyongyang today? do you have that sort of if not official, unofficial? >> i do not, senator. >> you don't have any informal contact? >> negative. >> ok. and what's your -- essentially your intel is coming from the intelligence community about what the attitude is of the chinese towards the north korean regime. >> yes, sir, and also from the ambassadors and officers that are members of the u.n. command that i have as well. and that's a good source of information. because some of those also have embassies or offices in north korea. >> would you comment upon what your perception is? i know you're limiting information. but do you have a perception of what their attitude is, are
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they supportive or upset about them or questioning the north korean regime? >> what i understand is that they are frustrated, that they were surprised, for instance, the uncle ution of and they're attempting to ensure that k.j.u. and the regime does not create instability on their border. >> admiral, let me turn to another issue too and that's amphibious capabilities in asia. the marine corps was engaged in counteru.s. is operations for more than -- counterinsurgent operations for more than a decade in afghanistan and iraq. they're now coming back in. can you comment about the capability to conduct amphibious operations in the pacific? >> yes, senator. well, we have had a good return of our marines back to the asia-pacific. particularly as the activities
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in the middle east wind down in afghanistan. under my command i have five amphibious readiness groups. i have four in san diego and one in hawaii. i mean, i'm sorry, one in japan. but the reality is that get marines around effectively, they require all types of lift. they require the big amphibious ships but they also require connecters. i have asked for additional amphibious lift be put into the pacific. and that request is under consideration. >> without that lift, you would challenged to conduct a amphibious assault? >> well, the lift is the enabler that makes that happen. so we wouldn't be able to do, as you suggest -- to do as you suggest. >> thank you, sir.
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thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator sessions. > thank you, mr. chairman. general scap ratty -- scaparrotti. and observed your plans base relocation in korea, tell us the number of troops you are looking to house there and whether or not families will be accompany canning the soldiers. -- will be accompanying the soldiers. >> yes, sir. as we relocate, predominantly humphries, i'll focus mostly on humphries, that's the largest base we'll have there, we will relocate forces and they'll go from about 9,000 to approximately 24,000 in that area. and in terms of families, it would be about, in terms of command supported families in that area, about 2,700. >> so, most of the soldiers
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will be deployed without families? >> that's correct. in korea, as you know, we -- the predominance of our force are on unaccompanied tours. >> now, what would be the total force strength in korea? >> 28,500. >> and this new basing would allow that to be -- to house them adequately. i think current housing is inadequate and i think the relocation is smart and i think you could be leaner and more effective with this relocation, are you on track fundamentally on track? >> i agree with you. -- we're on track fundamentaly. we're not on the time line primarily because of construction. about a three months' lag on that. i think we'll be ok. >> admiral locklear, the -- and
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to both of you -- we are facing real budget problems. there's just no doubt about it. admiral mullin told us the greatest threat to our national security is our debt. the latest projections from our own congressional budget office indicate that in five years interest on our dote will surpass the defense -- on our debt will surpass our defense budget and we'll be paying $880 billion in interest on our debt. so all of us have got to confront that fact. i am uneasy and very troubled by the fact it seems to me that the defense department has disproportionately taken reductions. however, colleagues, it's not -- there are no further cuts in the future. under the budget plan that we
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modified with the murray-ryan bill. base bers for the defense budget, for f.y. 2015, is $4.95 -- $495.6 billion. the peak in fiscal year 2012 was $530 billion. so we're down $35 billion in actual dollar spenting -- spending from where we were at our peak. but that remains flat for two years and then begins to grow at the rate of about $13 billion a year. so i'm worried about where we are. i'm worried about what kind of damage this may do to the military. but all of us got to be realistic. there's not going -- you're not going to be able to expect that congress is just going to blythely add a lot of new spending. we don't have the money. and a fundamental threat that's impacting america now is debt.
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we'll have way above -- interest payment is the fastest growing item in our budget. it's just terribly dangerous to us. combat locklear, on the ship, one of the things that we are worried about with regard to china is their sophisticated expansion of their submarine capability and even nuclear capability of submarines. that ship is designed and will be utilized in antisubmarine warfare, will it not? >> one of the three capabilities that was in the orange design was an -- original design was that, yes. >> are we where we need to be in terms of technology to identify and monitor submarine activity?
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>> i would say my assessment across the joint force is that we are where we need to be and the places where we need to go, we understand where those are. modern mines are threats to us and could deny access to entire areas of the ocean. this ship has -- is designed to be capable to be an effective antimine ship. the l.c.s. >> that's correct. and i believe that was the first mission capability that was going to be put into place. a ell, you mentioned symposium recently that has taken up to 17 years to get a new ship brought online. i know that's hard to believe
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but it historically seems to be about accurate. is that a concern if we would design a new ship, the length of time and the cost of developing that ship? >> i actually got that quote from admiral wayne mayer who was basically the father of ejiss and he instructed me one days, from the time you think a ship until you actually operate low t's called a 17-year cust. it takes 17 years before the bureaucracy works its way out. we tried to cut that and i think we cut it by a significant amount. the navy did. but it wasn't without risk. >> and it was almost 17. because it was -- when i was on the sea power subcommittee when i came here 17 years ago a, admiral vern clark was propose -- ago, admiral vern clark was proposing the l.c.s.
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it's just now coming to be produced. it's a fabulous ship and has great potential as you indicated earlier to take onboard all kinds of technological equipment that could be valuable in the future. and you'd want to continue to see them develop at the speed they are. i wanted -- i'll submit some written questions perhaps about concern about our allies in the pacific. the strength, growing strength of the chinese nuclear capability and how that is impacting our friends and allies who depend on us for a nuclear umbrella and i believe as we discuss, colleagues, any kind of nuclear treaty, we can't just consider russia. we'll also have to consider a rising nuclear capability of china. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome to both of you. thank you for being here and for your service to this
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country. admiral locklear, i know that this has come up before. but in your written testimony you highlight china's significant advances in submarine technology and its continued production of ballistic missile submarines. which will give china its first credible sea base nuclear deterrent probably by the end of 2014, as you say. obviously the statement is very concerning. and i wonder, the department of defense's submarine capabilities are going to be critical, as you've discussed. and the continued procurement of two virginia class submarines each year will be critical to mitigating the projected short fall in submarines included in the navy's 30-year ship building plans. are you confident that the virginia class sub procurement plan and the proposed enhancements are what we need to meet the demands of our submarine force in this
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century? >> i'm confident. >> can you elaborate a little bit on that? given the challenges we're facing from china. >> certainly we need to sustain the size of our submarine force and i'd be be a advocate of growing our submarine capability. we still maintain a significant advantage in undersea warfare and we need to continue to maintain that significant advantage. the same applies to submarines that applies to ships or airplanes. only one submarine can be in only one place at one time. so we have to size that force based on what the world is showing us today and into the future, you know, the world gets a vote on how we have to respond and submarines figure heavily into -- particularly my o.r., into scenarios from peace
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all the way to contingency. as far as the upgrades that we are putting into our virginia class submarines, i'm comfortable that the submarine community and the navy have looked hard at their role in how they're going to be in the joint -- role of the joint force. and that they have calculated across a wide range of missions that submarines do, whether it's intelligence and reconnaissance, whether it's strike capabilities, whether it's special operations capabilities, that these have been figured into the future design of the virginia class submarine. >> thank you. did you want to add something? >> no, thank you. >> ok. you leaned forward and made me think you had a comment.
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robert work testified before this committee last month at his confirmation hearing and one of the things that was a concern to me, i think probably at enators king and ayotte, a very parochial level, is he talked about the u.s. ship building industrial base is being under pressure. and as we have looked at the projected population of expert ship yard employees, those with 30 or more years of experience, it's expected to decline by roughly 40% from -- by 2018. and so i wonder if you could talk about how concerned you are about this, admiral locklear. what steps are being put in place to address attracting a new work force to replace the
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folks who will be retiring and especially given the challenges , budget cuts and uncertainty how you expect we will address this coming challenge. >> when i was a young officer onboard one of my first ships, i was an engineering officer and i happened to be in a ship yard, a u.s. ship yard at that time, having the ship worked on. and we opened up the main engines of the ship and the guy that was sitting next to me was a ship yard worker probably about my age and he was showing me the inside of this engine. and he said, come down here, i want to show you something. and inside that engine he had welled his name when he was a young apprentice in that ship yard, the ship was about 25, 30 years old at that time. and so i had a good visibility of the credibility of that kind
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of a continuity of these people that really kind of understand the skill and craft of making very sophisticated ships and war ships and submarines. but i believe our industrial base is under pressure. particularly as our ship building industry shrinks and we don't do a lot of commercial ship building in this country. so we have really a national treasure, a national asset that has to be looked at from that perspective. to expect it to kind of compete out there in the open market, with all the other -- globally is just not -- and particularly when we are by law required to build our own ships in our own country, which is the right thing. so we have to continue to update that work force. we have to contract it and then retain it. the know that particularly navy, as mr. work talked about, has looked hard at.
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this but it has to be figured in the calculation -- at this. but it has to be figured in the calculation of the national security strategy for the long run. >> you know, obviously we're very proud, those of us who represent the ports with -- naval ship yard and i'm sure it's true of those who represent the other ship yards in this country are very proud of the good work of the folks who have been there for many years and are very concerned about our actions here to make sure that we continue to support the level of activity that allows this country to maintain its security. as we look at the future and the potential cuts from sequestration kicking back in in 2015, it's certainly something i hope all of us will work very carefully with you and the leadership of our
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military to address. because if we allow those cuts to come back in, it's going to have clear implications for our future. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. senator wicker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. admiral locklear, i am deeply concerned about the administration's budget request . that it may not provide the full range of equipment and ready forces necessary to our national security strategy in the asia-pacific. deterrence is intrinsically linked to readiness, to provide deterrence, our military's capability must be tangible and demonsstrabble. so what -- tell us, first of all, in a general sense, what do you see as the u.s. security priorities in the asia-pacific region and what is your assessment of the risk to your ability to execute our objectives in the asia-pacific if we do not provide you with ready and capability forces?
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-- capable forces? >> well, i think our first priority is support general scaparrotti to ensure that peace and stability's maintained on the korean peninsula. and that the kim jong un regime is properly contained. the second priority i think is to ensure that our alliances are historic alliances. we only have seven treaties as a nation and five of those are in my o.r., area of responsibility. that's to ensure that those alliances are maintained and upgraded for the 201st century and they have the right military equipment to support those alliances. and then i would say the next is our growing list of partners and how we partner with them, that are below the ally level but certainly are no less important to us as far as how we maintain peace an security.
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we've enjoyed stability in this region generally for the last, you know, number of decades. and so the u.s. military presence has underwritten that stability and i believe it remains a priority. i believe this is what the rebalance was about, is to recognition that we have to get back at it in the asia-pacific by necessity, not by desire, but by necessity. >> sir, who are our growing list of partners, would you outline those? >> we have a strategic partnership in singapore. we have a growing relationship with malaysia in the philippines. indonesia. indonesia. alaysia, brunei. all these countries that are predominantly in southeast asia
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and south asia that are important to the future security of environment. >> and so we have obligations to five countries under treaties and then we have these grow canning list of partners. help -- growing list of partners. help us with the people who might be listening in, the american on the street, the guy at work, the soccer mom taking care of the family, how does stability affect us in our daily lives? stability in your area of responsibility. >> well, my area of responsibility's 50% of the world. of that 50%, 17% of it is land and 83% is water. of that 17% of the land, six out of every 10 people alive live on that 17%. most of the global economy is generated from there. most of the type of two-way trade that our country does in this region is generated there.
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most of the energy supplies that really influence a global economy flow through this region every day. we're a pa pacific nation. centric my is pacific- and it's important for us to ensure that a peaceful and stable asia, indow asia-pacific is maintained. >> i think you're right, admiral. and it just concerns me a bit as i look at what's going on now with some of our european allies, countries that have relied to their detrimental on promises -- detriment on promises we've made about the integrity of their territory, it just seems to me that any signal we send, you don't even need to comment on this, but y signal we send that we don't really take a seriously,
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a treaty obligations, is worrisome notion for people who might rely on us in the future and so i wonder, i just wonder allowed to the members of this committee -- aloud to the members of this committee what signals we are sending when we don't come down very hard on violations of the territory of some of our treaty partners. . let me shift, in the time i have, i'm glad to know that senator reid, the distinguished leader on this committee, has asked you about our amphibious capability and i believe you said that you had asked for addition ap ships for your area of respopsability is that correct, admiral? >> that's correct. i mean as part of the ongoing dialogue about the rebalance

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