Return to Transcripts main page


Gen. Mattis Answers Senate Questions in Confirmation Hearing; Rep. Mike Pompeo Set to Begin His Hearing. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 12, 2017 - 10:30   ET


SEN. JIM INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Yes, I look forward to that and thank you for being willing to do this.



SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: Thank you. Thank you, General Mattis, for also being willing to do this.

You and I have had a chance to work together in the past and we've also had a chance to visit., I would like to first briefly talk about the overseas contingency operating fund and the joke that is being -- the cruel joke that is being played on the American public that we have not been able to come together in an honest way and confront the needs of our military and confront the needs of our domestic national security in a bipartisan compromise to allow us to quit putting base military funding in a fund that doesn't have to be paid for. And it's gotten worse every year, you know.

It -- and it's such a hypocrisy. It is one of the reasons everybody in America is so disgusted with us, that we can't be honest with the American people about the needs of our country and come together in a bipartisan way to meet them in a way that is responsible in terms of the way that we budget and spend money.

Tell me how you intend on addressing this important issue going forward.

GEN. JAMES MATTIS (RET.), SECRETARY OF DEFENSE NOMINEE: Senator, the -- the need for our country to maintain a safe and secure nuclear deterrent, a decisive conventional force while maintaining an irregular capability is -- is completely understood. And I know it is by this committee. But how do when -- then translate that into budgetary discipline and managerial integrity of the budget.

And as you know, we will bring forward from defense what we think we need for overseas contingencies, for the base budget, this sort of thing. But I believe -- my -- my desired instinct would be everything is in the base budget, except for something that legitimately pops up that couldn't be anticipated.

But at the same time, we're not in a position there to -- to dictate that. And the bottom line, we will come to you with what is necessary and then support this committee and the Congress in -- in justifying it and making certain we have your confidence we're spending every dollar for what we should be spending it on, something we cannot do right now I'm aware of.

But that's my goal in this -- in this effort. And I don't have a solution for what the Chairman described as a self-inflicted wound of the Budget Control Act.

I -- I don't know how to get to -- to get around this in a way that puts the Congress really back into its oversight role rather than salami slices of cuts where you don't actually exercise your judgment.


MATTIS: I'm -- I'm much more comfortable with you doing that than some arithmetic. So, I -- I think I'm with you. I share 100 percent of your frustration in your goal, ma'am.

I -- I can't tell you I know how to get there. I've been you giving my best military advice.

MCCASKILL: Thank you.

I also want to briefly touch on women serving in every military occupational specialty. And -- and you and I had a chance to visit about this at length.

I'm particularly proud of the work that has been done on this in my state. Since 1999, the Sapper Leader Course at Fort Leonard Wood has been impressively maintaining completely gender-neutral standards, determining who and who does not graduate with that prestigious tab. It is a rigorous physical requirement of the Sapper tab.

Despite those rigorous physical demands, over the course of the graduation rates since 1999, the graduation rates for women and men have both been at about 50 percent. So, understanding that none of us want any standards diminished and that we've got to maintain the highest physical standards for the specialties in which men and women are going to serve.

Can you address for this committee how committed you are going forward to having both men and women serve alongside each other when they are capable of doing the work for our country?

MATTIS: Yes, Senator, I can. I think you hit on the -- on the point that no standards are changed. The standards are the standards. And when people meet the standards, then -- then that's -- that's the end of the discussion on that.

I would also add that what we're talking about here is somewhere north of 15 percent of our force is made up of women. And the reason we're able to maintain an all-volunteer force with very, very high recruiting standards is because we go to males and females.

And that same application of those -- those -- that human capital has got to show that where they can best serve, that's where they go.


SEN. RON WICKER (R), MISSISSIPPI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

General Mattis, let's talk about Israel for a few moments. Would you agree that the United States shares common values and strategic interest with Israel?

MATTIS: Israel is a fellow democracy. And I think Israel's security is -- is very, very important to the United States.


WICKER: Are there any other democracies in the Middle East?

MATTIS: No, sir.

WICKER: Would you agree that the threat of Iran's regional belligerence and nuclear ambitions are a shared threat, both to the United States and to Israel?

MATTIS: And -- I agree and I would add also to our Arab partners in the region.

WICKER: And I think you said that we're going to -- we're going to have to live with what the administration has done with regard to the energy agreement with Iran. Are you confident that we can monitor the situation with regard to possible violations, do we have that capability?

MATTIS: I'll have to get in and look at the classified data if you confirm me Senator. I believe we can have it, I just can't respond authoritatively right now if we've got those -- those processes in place.

WICKER: In your opinion, what did the United States failure, last month, to veto the U.N. Resolution with regard to Israel, do to our bilateral relationship with Israel?

MATTIS: Sir, I'd have to get back and look at that. I say that because I've read what's in the newspaper and what's going on in both Tel Aviv and Washington and New York, but I do not have a -- a very authoritative view of that right now.

I think we've got to restore a better relationship with Israel and with our Arab allies. I think there's a sense, on their part, that we are indifferent to the situation they face -- the security situation that they face.

WICKER: And we certainly don't need to send the signal that we're indifferent to their situation do we?

MATTIS: The greatest generation came home from World War II recognizing, whether we like it or not, we're part of this world sir. We're going to have to remember that lesson.

WICKER: And I realize this was a foreign policy question, but you're going to be part of the -- the national security and foreign policy team and let me say that -- that one of my greatest concerns with regard to our failure to veto this resolution -- therefore to let it be adopted by the U.N. Security Council is that people will argue that this establishes international law.

And somehow this Congress and this new administration are going to have to send the signal that we do not recognize that, with regard to the Israeli presence in certain section of Jerusalem that we do not recognize that resolution as international law and we are -- we are in a tough position there.

If you'd like to comment on that, I'd be glad to hear your thoughts sir.

MATTIS: Sir, I think ultimately we're going to have to promote peace between the Palestinian and the Israeli authorities there. And that's going to take time to build that kind of trust and we should be a partner in trying to build that resolution between those people.

WICKER: When one speaks of Israel maintaining its qualitative military edge over neighbors in the region, what does that mean to you General?

MATTIS: Sir that -- it has to do with the technology of the military equipment provided. I would only add that we also have improving relations between Israel and some of those neighbors and where we can work, in terms of partnership, with both Israel and the Arab neighbors we can strengthen everyone's security and stability in the Middle East.

WICKER: Do you believe their qualitative military edge needs to be revitalized?

MATTIS: I'm not aware that it's not vital now. That it's not fully formed right now.

WICKER: And with regard to the Thucydides Trap -- of course Secretary Cohen has insulted every member of this committee by suggesting that we don't readily understand that, but with regard to that, as I -- as I understand it, this occurs when a rising power tries to meet the power of an already existing and established power.

Do you think that is a risk when it comes to our relationship with China, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region?

MATTIS: Sir, I believe that we're going to have to manage that competition between us and China.


There's another piece of wisdom from antiquity that says, fear, honor and interest always seem to be the root causes of why a nation chooses to go to hostilities.

And I would just say that what we've got to do is engage diplomatically, engage in terms of alliances, engage economically and maintain a very strong military so our diplomats are always engaging from a position of strength when we deal with a rising power.

WICKER: Thank you very much. Good luck to you, sir.

MATTIS: Thanks.


SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And welcome, General Mattis and thank you for your willingness to continue to serve this country.

I have read that in 2005 as commander of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, that you asked researchers to, quote, "Unleash us from the tether of fuel and explore ways to improve the efficiency of military vehicles in order to reduce the strain that energy put on supply lines." Because you -- not only when you commanded the first Marine division during the 2003 invasion that you had also seen what happens when our troops outran their fuel supplies.

So can you speak to why you think this is important and will you, as Secretary of Defense, continue to support the military's effort to pursue alternative and more efficient sources of energy to reduce our alliance on conventional fuel supplies?

MATTIS: Yes, Senator, we will take advantage of every advance in terms of extending our legs, extending our energy efforts. And certainly there's a lot of progress that's been made. I've been living in Silicon Valley for the last several years so you can understand my interest in what they're doing out there in the private sector.

SHAHEEN: Well, thank you.

I think our military is way ahead of much of the rest of government and much of the private sector and those are lessons that can be shared that will benefit the private sector as well. Chairman McCain talked about the threat that Russia poses and listening to your responses, it sounded to me like you also believe that Russia poses a threat to the United States and to the -- I think you said the Transatlantic Alliance.

Today, for the first time since the fall of communism, American troops arrived in Poland as part of the European Reassurance Initiative. How important is it for us to continue these initiatives to reassure our European allies that we will continue to support them? And how concerned are you that some of president-elect Trump's statements with respect to continuing to support NATO, to support our allies in Europe, has undermined our ability to continue this initiative? And will you support the ERI continuing as secretary of Defense?

MATTIS: Senator, I do support ERI. NATO, I've -- from my perspective, having served once as a NATO Supreme Allied Commander, is the most successful military alliance, probably in modern world history, maybe ever. And it was put together, as you know, by the greatest generation coming home from a war to defend Europe against Soviet incursion by the military -- their military. Yet, the first time it went to war was when this town and New York City were attacked. It's the first time NATO went into combat. So, my view is that nations with allies thrive and nations without allies don't. And so I would see us maintain the strongest possible relationship with NATO.

SHAHEEN: Thank you.

And are you concerned about some of the statements that president- elect Trump has made with respect to our historic European allies and to NATO and how -- have you had a chance to have discussions with him? And how confident are you that he recognizes what you've just said about the importance of those relationships?

MATTIS: Senator, I have had discussions with him on this issue. He has shown himself open, even to the point of asking more questions, going deeper into the issue about why I feel so strongly. And he understands where I'll stand and I'll work with the other members of the team -- national security team once the Senate confirms them, to carry these views forward.

SHAHEEN: Thank you.

You talked about, I think Senator Inhofe raised the issue of readiness for our troops. And when you and I met, we also talked a little bit about the National Guard and the importance of the Guard as being part of the one fourths that we depend on.


Readiness is obviously a concern for the National Guard as well, and in new Hampshire for example, our National Guard is experienced a 32 percent decline in force structure since 2007, much more than many states that are smaller than we are. And they've had trouble with training rotations, resources, equipment, other aspects of readiness.

Can you commit to us that you, in addition to, trying to address readiness with our active duty forces, that you will also look at the Guard and Reserve and try and ensure that they also have access to what they need to be ready for deployment?

MATTIS: Senator, I share the Chairman's view that we have shrunk our military capability. And one of the things that that forces on us is the awareness, it's not just a strategic reserve any more in the National Guard, it's also an operational reserve. That means they have to be ready to go on very short notice. That's just a reality when we've shrunk our military to the point we have yet not reduced our strategic obligations.

So we are going to have to keep the National Guard and the Reserves of all the armed forecast the top of their game. We can't deploy them without having them at a high state of readiness. Mostly in equipment and training, there are some things obviously they don't do because they're not on duty 365 days a year, but as an operational reserve and strategic reserve they'll be critical.

SHAHEEN: Thank you, general.


SEN. DEB FISCHER (R), NEBRASKA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you General Mattis for your past service to this country and thank you again for your willingness to step forward and serve us once again. I was happy to see your responses to the advanced policy questions affirm the importance of nuclear weapons, which you describe as fundamental to our nation's security. And your statement that, quote, "We must continue with the current nuclear modernization plans for all three legs of the triad," end quote. When we talked in my office about the triad in our meeting last week, you brought up I believe a very important point that bears repeating relating to the ICBM force. And there's a broad recognition that the legs of the triad have different strengths. The bombers are visible and therefore they have, what I call, signaling value. The submarines are highly survivable and the ICBMs are the most responsible leg and they can be launched at a moment's notice.

You mentioned what you called the targeting challenge of our ICBM force and what that targeting challenge poses for our adversaries. Could you explain that further?

MATTIS: Ma'am, in my review of the triad that you brought up here Senator, I looked at each one of those legs, is it necessary. And I haven't had access to all the classified data, but I had a fair amount of background on this and some of the aspects of why we have a triad have not changed.

So we look at each leg of it with the ICBM force. It's clear that they are so buried out in the central U.S., that any enemy that wants to take us on is going to have to commit, two, three, four weapons to make certain they take each one out.

In other words, the ICBM force provides a cost imposing strategy on an adversary. And again, what we're trying to do is set such a stance with our triad that these weapons must never be used ever again. And so the deterrent value of the ICBM force is, that an enemy would have to basically use three or four times as many weapons to take out each individual one. So, that's the targeting challenge the enemy faces against the ICBM force.

FISCHER: Thank you.

And in your answers to committee's advanced question about whether we are deterring hostile activity in cyber space, you say no, and you continue on to state, quote, "To be deterred our adversaries must know they will suffer consequences from cyber attacks that outweigh any gains they hope to achieve. If they choose to act as adversaries, we will treat them as such," end quote.

I completely agree and believe that more cost must be imposed on those who are responsible for cyber attacks.

FISCHER: So this gets to the issue we've discussed in great detail on this committee, which is the lack of an overall policy to respond to cyber attacks.

[10:50:00] When we discussed this in our recent meeting, you made a point that I believe is also very important, which is that the lack of a policy is potentially destabilizing, because adversaries unaware of our boundaries may take a provocative action that forces the United States to act militarily. I believe you characterized it as, quote, "Stumbling into a conflict."

Essentially, we don't want to find out what constitutes an act of war in cyber space the hard way. Can you elaborate on that point for us?

MATTIS: Senator, I believe a lot of crises and even wars, have started from miscalculation. So while it's important we make clear what we stand for, I think in an area such as you're bringing up your cyber, it's also important that our adversaries know what we absolutely will not tolerate.

And by making that clear, you're less apt to have somebody stumble into -- into a situation where now we're forced to take action. That said, this -- putting together a policy like this is not something that the Department of Defense can do alone.

We certainly have a key role -- a fundamental role. But at the same time, from our Treasury Department to our Commerce Department, to our Homeland Security, we need to get a lot of people in the room and put this policy together. I realize its -- it's a new domain, but that doesn't give us an excuse not to address it on an urgent basis.

FISCHER: Thank you, sir. I look forward to looking forward to working with you on that. This committee has been focused on cyber. We are looking for a policy and I look forward to developing one with you. And I invite you to come to Nebraska and visit Offutt and would love to be there when you're there. Thank you.

MATTIS: Thanks.

MCCAIN: Not required, Senator Gillibrand?

GILLIBRAND: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I wanna continue some of the line of questioning started by Senator McCaskill. Do you plan on rolling back the opening of infantry positions to women based on your previous statements? MATTIS: Senator, I've never come into any job with a -- an agenda -- a preformed agenda of changing anything. I come in assuming the people before me deserve respect for the job they did and the decisions they made.

GILLIBRAND: I ask specifically, because in previous speeches, one from the Marines Memorial Club in San Francisco on April 16th, 2015, you were asked specifically about whether we should open infantry positions and special forces combat jobs to women.

And you said, you did not think it was a good idea. You said when you mix -- you know, that "When you mix eros, when you mix affection for one another that could be manifested sexually, I don't care if you go anywhere in history, you will not find where this has worked, never has it worked."

And then, in a previous speech on April 23rd, 2014, you said, "The idea of putting women in there is not setting them up for success. Could we find a women -- woman who could run fast enough? Of course we could. Could we find a few who could do the pull-ups? Of course we could, that's not the point. That's not the point, at all. It's whether or not you want to mix eros."

And so in both of these question-and-answer sessions, you said you do not think you could do it. Have you changed your view on this issue?

MATTIS: Senator, I was not in a position to go back into government when I made those statements. There are many policies that have been enacted over many years, including the years since I've been on active duty.

I'm coming in with the understand that I lead the Department of Defense and if someone brings me a problem then I'll look at it, but I'm not coming in looking for problems. I'm looking for a way to get the department so it's at the most lethal stance.

And in that regard, it's all about military readiness. I'm looking for military readiness and -- and what we can do in that regard.

GILLIBRAND: Do you plan oppose women serving in these combat roles?

MATTIS: I have no plan to oppose women in any aspect of our military. In 2003, I had hundreds of Marines who happened to be women, serving in my 23,000 person Marine division. And this is 10 years before I retired and I put them right into the front lines, alongside everyone else.

GILLIBRAND: So you no longer believe that eros is a problem when men and women are serving together?

MATTIS: I believe that if we are going to do -- execute policies like this, we had better train our leaders so they could handle all things that come from a policy that decided this talent.

That's our responsibility, to train our young leaders --

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're going to break away momentarily from the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to go to the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Mike Pompeo, the Congressman, is getting ready to testify.


here he is, he's been nominated to become the CIA director. Mike Pompeo -- let's listen in briefly.

REP. MIKE POMPEO (R), CIA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: And your kindness. I sure know that I have. Thank you so much for agreeing to be here this morning.

Senator Roberts, thank you, too, for your warm introduction. And I'm especially grateful for your guidance over the years, not simply because you're the dean of the Kansas Congressional Delegation, but due to the insights that you've shared with me in your role as the former chairman of this committee. Semper fi, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More time? I may have to leave early. I finally got a client.


POMPEO: Senator, I completely understand, thank you very much for being here, sir.

Chairman Burr, Vice Chairman, senators, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today as the nominee of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I want to thank the staff of this committee, too, for your kindness and attention through the nomination process.

I'd like to thank President-elect Trump for nominating me. It's an honor to be selected as the next steward of the world's premier intelligence agency. I look forward to working with Senator Coats, the nominee for the director of National Intelligence, and supporting him in his critical role should we both be confirmed.

I also want to thank Director Brennan and Director Clapper for their many, many years of selfless service to our nation. I'm grateful of course to the people of the Fourth District of Kansas who have entrusted me for the past six years and change to represent them in the United States House of Representatives. It has been a true honor.

And finally, I want to thank my patient and patriotic wife Susan and my son Nicholas, each of whom I love dearly. The two of you have been so selfless in allowing me to return to public service, first as a member of Congress and now if confirmed working with warriors who keep America safe. I cannot tell you how much it means for you all to be with me here today.

Having been a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I understand full well that my job if confirmed will be to change roles from the centrality of policy-making to information provider. The director must stay clearly on the side of collecting intelligence and providing objective analysis to policymakers including to this committee.

I spent the majority of my life outside of politics. First as an army officer, then as a litigator, and then running two manufacturing business in Kansas. Returning to duty that requires hard work and unerring candor is something that is in my bones.

Today I would like to briefly sketch some of the challenges I see facing the United States, address trends and intelligence, and describe what I see as the Central Intelligence Agency role in addressing each of those.

This is the most complicated threat environment the United States has seen in recent memory. ISIS remains a resilient movement that still controls major urban centers throughout the Middle East. We must ensure that they and those they inspire cannot expand their reach or slaughter more innocent people.

The conflict in Syria is one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of the 21st century. It has led to the rise of extremism and sectarianism, as well as further created instability throughout the region and in Europe and indeed all across the world.

Iran. The world's largest state sponsor of terror has become an even more emboldened and disruptive player in the Middle East.

Russia has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS.

As China flexes its muscles and expands its military and economic reach, its activities in the South and East China Seas, and in cyber space now pushing new boundaries and creating real tension. North Korea, too, has dangerously accelerated its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

We all rely on intelligence from around the globe to avoid strategic and tactical surprise. Intelligence helps make the other elements of national power effective, including economic and legal measures against weapons proliferators, terrorist financiers and other criminals.

Foreign governments and liaison services are vital partners in preventing attacks and providing crucial intelligence. It's important that we all thank and appreciate the foreign partners who stand with us in helping make sure that we all have the intelligence we need to keep America safe.

If confirmed, I intend to advocate for a strong and vibrant intelligence community and for CIA's centrality in that community. There are at least four long-term trends making the urgency of supporting intelligence paramount. First the Intelligence Community finds itself a potential victim of long-term negative budgetary trends which can weaken the fabric of our intelligence community.

Second, as with the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missile technology, countries such as North Korea have overcome low barriers of entry to engage in offensive cyber operations. The United States must continue to invest wisely to maintain a decisive advantage.

Third, the effects of dislocation and poor governance present critical challenge but also new targets and opportunities for the CIA's collection and analysis. And finally the insider threat problem has grown exponentially --