Defense leaders testify about military posture and national security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region before the House Armed Services Committee. Appearing before the committee are: Navy Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; Army Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, commander of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and the U.S. Forces Korea; and Jedidiah P. Royal, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs. April 18, 2023.
I wanna thank our witnesses for being here and their service to our nation. I know it takes a lot of time to prepare for these hearings and uh we really uh appreciate the fact that you do that and you make yourselves available. The Indo Pacific is home to the greatest threat we faced in generations in North Korea. We have a mad man who would rather build an illegal nuclear arsenal than feed his starving people. The world is set by while Kim has lobbed ICBM S over his neighbors rebuilt his nuclear testing facility and expanded his inventory of warheads. Last week’s announcement that North Korea tested a solid fueled ICBM is the latest extremely troubling news. It eliminates the time consuming liquid fueling process, making it much harder for us to detect the missile and neutralize it before launch. That’s why it’s so imperative for us to invest in missile defense and accelerate the next generation interceptor program. A strong missile detect and defeat capability is also critical to our deterrence of the Chinese Communist Party. We’ve talked a lot this year about the growing threats we face from the C C P. They’ve tripled defense spending in a decade and that’s what they admit to rapidly modernized and expanded their conventional forces. Made unprecedented advances, advancements in space, hypersonic A I and quantum computing and increase the number of launchers missiles and warheads in their nuclear arsenal at a dizzying rate. The C C P’s extraordinary military buildup is certainly concerning. But what’s most alarming is the increasingly provocative actions President Xi has taken in recent years, pushing out China’s borders with new defense agreements and military bases in foreign nations illegally building militarized islands and trying to limit freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, threatening our allies in the region when they work with us and cozying up to Putin and the Ayatollah and other tyrants and attempting to coerce Taiwan with military exercises simulating a blockade and invasion of the island. It’s gotten to the point where Xi’s Foreign Ministry is now seeking to intimidate the Speaker of the House and other members of Congress just for supporting democracy and self-determination for the people of Taiwan. This is not how responsible nations act, especially not nations armed with nuclear weapons. We have no choice but to take these threats seriously and we have to be resolute in our response. We need to accelerate our own military modernization. We need to enhance training and readiness in the region. We need to better distribute logistics throughout the Pacific, but we won’t prevail in any conflict with the C C P on our own. We need to expand and strengthen our partnerships in the region. We need to better arm our allies with agreements like a and we need to expedite the delivery of arms and training to Taiwan so they can better defend their own democracy. But most importantly, we need to take action. Now, China is not going to give us 10 or 20 years to prepare for conflict. We simply cannot procrastinate further. I look forward to hearing from my witnesses on their assessment of the threats and uh what they support uh and, and the need to and what they need from this committee uh to deter China. And with that, I yield to my friend and colleague, the ranking member for any comments he may have. Uh thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think he did an excellent job of outlining the threats and the concerns that we have in the, in the, in the theater in North Korea and uh in the Indo Pacific Theater as well, more broadly, it is a very challenging part of the world and one that contains a lot of threats to our national security and to global security without question. Um We have our, you know, as the national defense strategy says, the pacing threat in China, clearly our our largest competitor both economically and militarily and right next door, we have our most unpredictable rogue threat in North Korea as you outline their development of nuclear weapons and the way they are closed off from the rest of the world uh that puts us in a position to not exactly know what the leverage points are to deter them and work with them, makes them a significant threat as well. I appreciate both of our witnesses being with us today to help us walk through that on North Korea. There’s no easy answer to the question. But what is our best deterrent strategy?
How do we contain that threat?
Given the nuclear capabilities that North Korea is developing and the unpredictable nature?
How does one reach a country like North Korea that is so isolated from the rest of the world?
And China is a much broader threat. We, we will talk a great deal today about Taiwan and certainly that is the biggest flashpoint, China’s militant attitude towards Taiwan, their increasingly aggressive language about possibly reunifying China through military means something that we must deter conflict. There would be devastating for the entire world. We need to figure out how to deter China from taking that aggressive action. But it’s also important to point out Taiwan is but the largest flashpoint as the chairman alluded to China is aggressive and bullying across the world in in countless ways. Um as mentioned, they are claiming territory in the sovereign nations of at least a half dozen other countries. But also the best way to think about the threat that China puts it to the world is you cannot criticize China without them launching an economic war against you. And there are a number of examples of this, but Australia is perhaps one of the best back uh during the pandemic. I think it was sometime in late 2020 Australia dared to suggest that China could perhaps be ever so slightly more transparent in how they were dealing with COVID. In response to that mild criticism, China literally launched an economic war against Australia. Um Now one of the positive outcomes of that was Australia, you know, woke up and said, wow, you know, doing business with China is going to be problematic. We we better find other allies and partners to deal with that. But it happens across the world. Lithuania said something about Taiwan that China didn’t like same thing but even in industry, um if anybody in industry says something that China doesn’t like they will use their economic might to pummel that country or or entity. Um There was uh I think it was the G M for the Houston Rockets who said something pro Hong Kong. Um and the NBA was instantaneously cut off by China. If you’re going to make a movie in this world and you wanna sell it in China. China has to approve the script literally. OK. Um And if they don’t, it doesn’t get sold there, the level of aggression that China has has to restrict the freedoms of the entire world is I think far greater than most people realize we need to present an alternative key to that is our presence. Us being actively involved in the Indo Pacific region. I applaud the efforts of the people before us today to make clear that we do that President Biden’s national security strategy prioritizes China. We are present there. We will continue to be, we need to have that adequate deterrence, but we also need partners and allies. Um We look forward to hearing from our witnesses today about those partners and allies. Obviously, you know, Japan, Australia, South Korea, uh India, the Philippines, Thailand, these are some of the most important but all the other players, I was really struck by Indonesia um as a place that’s just they, they’re trying to get along with both. How do we work with them to help us in this fight?
Because ultimately, and the final point is our goal with China has to be peaceful coexistence, which sounds weird given everything we’ve said about the problems and threats that China presents, but we are not going to defeat China. Uh China and the us are going to be major global powers for as far as the eye can see. How do we find a way to nudge China back in a more positive, less aggressive and less bullying direction?
That’s ultimately what we have to do. Conflict with China is not inevitable. 100% not, we need to figure out how to peacefully coexist with them and deal with the threats that they present in a way that is keeps the world at peace. I look forward to the testimony from our witnesses and I yell back. I thank the ranking member and now like to introduce our witnesses. Uh We have the honorable Jed Royal is the Prin principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo Pacific Security Affairs. Uh Admiral John Aquilino, the Commander United States, Indo Pacific Command and General Paul Camera is the Commander United States, United Nations Command Korea and the US Combined Forces command us forces Korea. I welcome our witnesses and uh Mr. Royo, we’ll start with you for five minutes to outline your statement. Chairman Rogers, ranking member Smith and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on what the Department of Defense is doing to safeguard the interests of the American people, our allies and our partners in the Indo Pacific region. I would first like to acknowledge the tireless work of those who serve the US in uniform across the Indo Pacific as well as those who serve in the civilian workforce across the department. The very first words of the Biden Harris administration, Mr. Royal, could you pull the microphone a little closer?
Yes, sir. There you go. The very first words of the Biden Harris administration’s Indo Pacific strategy state that the US is an Indo Pacific power. And Secretary Austin has been clear about our commitment to seeking transparency, openness and accountability freedom of the seas, skies and space and the peaceful resolution of disputes in the region. That vision and that commitment continue today. The department does not take this vision for granted. We have seen the PR C increasingly look to the People’s Liberation Army as a tool for coercion in support of its global aims. The P L A has continued to conduct inherently risky intercepts against us, ally and partner assets in the air and at sea, increasing the risk of an accident. And the P L A continues to conduct coercive military activities in the Taiwan Strait, the South and East China seas and beyond the PRC high altitude balloon that violated our airspace earlier this year. Exemplified the prc’s disregard for the basic principle of sovereignty at the heart of peace and stability. This is why the National Defense Strategy identifies the PR C as our facing challenge. At the same time, North Korea also continues to engage in provocative and destabilizing behavior. Climate change will continue to place downward pressure on peace and prosperity across the region. And violent extremism continues to require cooperation with our partners on counter terrorism. The Department of Defense is doing more than ever to strengthen deterrence and to ensure we can prevail in conflict if necessary. We are deploying the right capabilities now investing in the capabilities we need in the future. And our budget request shows it efforts like the rapid defense experimentation reserve, show Howard quickly delivering promising prototypes to war fighters and the B 21 radar which the secretary unveiled last year is a clear example of a new cutting edge capability. Here’s the bottom line deterrence in the Indo Pacific is real and strong today because the US military remains the world’s most capable and credible fighting force. Major investments like these will help keep it that way. And the US is not alone in upholding peace and stability in the region by investing in greater capability and connection. We have supported Japan’s decision to increase substantially its defense budget over the next five years and to introduce new capabilities including counter strike that will strengthen regional deterrence. We are taking clear and meaningful steps to modernize and strengthen our alliance with the Republic of Korea. We are working together with the Philippines to accelerate our allied capabilities. We are making major investments in our defense ties with India and maturing our immensely beneficial security relationship. The a security pact exemplifies our collaboration with highly capable allies to expand our combined capacity. Finally, we continue to fulfill our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act which has formed the bedrock of peace, stability and deterrence in the Taiwan Strait over the last four decades when it comes to modernizing our force posture in the Indo Pacific to be even more mobile, distributed lethal and resilient. The Department of Defense is delivering historic achievements in December. The US and Australia announced a series of new force posture initiatives including increased rotations of US, bombers and fighters at Australian bases in January. The US and Japan announced a series of force posture improvements including the first four deployment of a marine regiment in Japan. Weeks later, the secretary visited the Philippines and our governments announced the US forces will have access to Philippine military bases in four new strategic locations. These announcements add up to a historic improvement of our regional Force Posture. We are operating with allies and partners like never before with bilateral and multilateral exercises growing in scale scope and complexity. We have deepened our trilateral security efforts with our closest regional allies. We have broadened our initiatives with multilateral partners to deliver real results for peace and security, especially with ASEAN and the Quad states across the Indo Pacific region are investing in their own capabilities, their connections with regional partners and their relationships with us. Over the past decade, our five regional treaty allies have increased their military expenditures by double digits. That is what delivering on our shared vision looks like. In closing, I appreciate the work of this committee, both members and staff and continuing to sharpen our edge in the face of many challenges. In the past several years. We have witnessed the growth of a strong bipartisan consensus around the scale and scope of the China challenge. We are working toward the transformation of that consensus into a coalition built around solutions. The Department of Defense is deploying the capabilities, driving forward the force posture and deepening the alliances and partnerships. We need to meet our pacing challenge. Thank you for your time and attention today. I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you, Mr. Royal uh Admiral. You’re recognized uh Chairman Rogers, ranking member, Smith and distinguished members of the committee. Uh First, thank you for the opportunity to be here today and discuss the Indo Pacific region. Uh First, just let me say that I appreciate and need your support and your uh continuous support for the service members, their families, government, civilians and all who operate in the Indo Pacific Command. And it is my distinct honor and privilege to serve alongside these brave men and women who execute our missions of deterrence and for defense every day. Uh I can’t thank you enough for all of your support. It’s instrumental, instrumental in our ability to accomplish these missions, but there’s more to do and we must act with a greater sense of urgency every day. Indo paycom works tirelessly to prevent conflict, not provoke it. War is not inevitable and it’s not imminent. However, this decade presents a period of increased risk. And I say that for the following reasons and they’re real, the illegitimate illegal invasion and the war in Ukraine, the military buildup and malign behavior of the PR C including a no limits relationship articulated as a partnership with Russia continuous missile provocations and nuclear rhetoric by the D PR K and the constant threat of violent extremism in this theater. Our national defense strategy identifies the PR C as the most consequential strategic competitor of the United States. And it’s the only competitor capable of combining its economic diplomatic, military and technological capabilities to mount a sustained challenge. In an attempt to displace the United States. And the rules based international order sees the initiative as inco’s approach to execute the national defense strategy and accomplish our priorities, defend the homeland deter strategic attacks, deter aggression and build a resilient joint force by design. This approach prevents conflict through integrated deterrence and it ensures we can fight and win should deterrence fails. Lastly, it provides the Secretary of Defense and the president options for any contingency. There are four key elements to seize the initiative. First, a robust theater posture. Second, a joint operations campaign comprised of lethal persistent forces forward. Third, technologically superior capabilities to maintain our war fighting advantages in the near mid and long term and forth, an enhanced network of allies, partners and friends with common values and goals. We respectfully request your continued support for these focus areas. Recognizing that any delay in one area directly affects the others and puts the overall success of our deterrence efforts at risk. I say it again, conflict in the Indo Pacific is not inevitable, but we cannot rest on our past accomplishments to secure a peaceful future security challenges threaten our very way of life. As well as the peace and prosperity that the rules based international order has enabled for nearly 80 years. The investments we make today will allow future generations to enjoy the same legacy of liberty our ancestors entrusted to us, but we don’t have the luxury of time. We must act now to preserve a free and open Indo Pacific. Thanks, Chairman, I look forward to your questions. Thank you, Admiral uh General, the camera. you’re recognized for five minutes. Chairman Rogers Frankie member Smith, the distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you as the commander of the United Nations Command Combined Forces, command of the United States forces Korea to discuss the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. Korea is as important today as it was in 1950 when the international rules based order was first challenged and successfully defended on the Korean Peninsula, located on the Asian continent, the Republic of Korea’s crucial regional and global security when North Korean communist forces invaded South Korea with the blessing and assistance of the Soviet Union and China. The United States along with 22 members of the United Nations stood together with the South Korean people to expel the aggressors. The Korean War taught us that we must always be ready and forward postured with our allies to ensure continued peace and stability on the peninsula. I have five priorities that are nested within the Indo Pacific commanders seize the initiative approach to ensure a free and open Indo Pacific. My first priority is to defend the homelands, the United States and our allies. The Korean War has not ended, we’re an armistice and the Kim regime has developed capabilities that reach beyond Seoul, Tokyo, Washington DC and the capitals of the United Nations command, sending states by defending Ford in this strategic location. We better protect our people and the Korean people defending Ford reinforces our ironclad commitment to the Republic of Korea. My second priority is to strengthen the United States and the Republic of Korea alliance. We must never take the alliance for granted. This is our center of gravity in deterring the Kim regime. The alliance has effectively deterred the Kim regime’s resumption of large scale aggression for almost 70 years, allowing security and stability to flourish in the Republic of Korea to develop into an economically prosperous, vibrant democracy. In contrast, the Kim regime ignores the needs and rights of the great majority of its population and continues to invest its resources in developing weapons that it uses as leverage, external leverage courses, concessions from the international community, internal leverage, maintains control of the people and ensures Kim regime survival. My third priority is to prepare for combat. This is decisive. Our alliance alone cannot deter aggression. Our power of resistance deters maintaining the highest state of combat readiness is our main effort because readiness is perishable. We must continue realistic training in order to respond to aggression and defend our homelands. My fourth priority is to build coalitions to dissuade aggression in the region. Our network of allies and partners with common interests on the Korean Peninsula represents our greatest asymmetric advantage. My fifth priority is to ensure our personnel are taken care of and prepared to execute our mission on the Korean Peninsula. Mission. First, people always or people serving on the Asian continent have the extraordinary responsibility of providing security and stability throughout the Republic of Korea and Northeast Asia. Our focus remains taking care of the mental, physical and spiritual needs of our service members, civilians and families. Since 1953 the United States and the Republic of Korea remain ready to deter and respond to North Korean aggression. Our mutual defense treaty expresses our common desire to live in peace with all peoples and governments. It also expresses our common determination to defend ourselves against external armed attack so that no potential aggressor could be under the impression that either the United States or the Republic of Korea stands alone in the Pacific area. While the United States and the Republic of Korea alliance began out of military necessity. It has evolved to become the linchpin of stability and prosperity. In Northeast Asia, the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, guardian civilians and contractors are proof of our ironclad commitment to the alliance and ensures that the authoritarian regimes of North Korea. China and Russia cannot unmake the international rules based order should the Kim regime resume hostilities with your continued support?
We are ready. I’m proud to serve with them and an honor to represent them before you. Thank you. And I look forward to your questions. Uh Thank you, General. Thank all the witnesses. Uh We’re now gonna move into the question period. I want to emphasize to the members but also to the witnesses. We have a five minute time limit. You should have a clock in front of your microphone uh at five minutes, I will cut off any answer. So you might wanna be succinct. I don’t wanna be rude, but I want to treat everybody the same when it comes to answers uh questions and answer period. Uh And that, that, that applies to the chairman and the ranking member as well. So uh I’ll recognize myself first, Mr. Royal and Admiral Alina. What actions do we need to take in the near term to improve Taiwan’s self-defense capability?
Uh Congressman, thanks for that question. Um The um the interest of the department is very strongly connected with the ability of the United States to meet the uh Taiwan Relations Act. The Taiwan Relations Act has been the foundation of uh deterrence in the Taiwan strait over the last 40 years. Uh We need to make sure that Taiwan is uh consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act able to defend itself. Uh And we’re looking here, sir at the uh opportunity for Taiwan to uh understand what threat um is posed against the, the Taiwan Strait in this regard. Uh I S R command and control battle management systems are absolutely critical. Taiwan also certainly needs to be able to uh make sure that any invading force is uh caught dead in its tracks in the strait as it comes across to be able to defend at the beaches and to be able to be resilient in depth on island. Thanks chairman. Uh every day we execute our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act. Uh The training that’s required uh the capabilities that have been identified by the honorable uh Nelson are critical and getting them to the island as soon and as fast as possible is critical. Great. I think the ranking member would agree uh with me that we are very confident that we will get a N D AAA bipartisan National Defense Authorization passed not only out of committee in a timely fashion but out of the floor and in a conference report, uh there is more dialogue in, in the Congress about the difficulty we’re gonna have in achieving uh appropriations bills in a timely fashion and the consequence of Congress not achieving a timely uh and fulsome appropriations bill uh would mean a two year C R possibly. And my question uh is this a, you have said repeatedly in the public uh and talked about your need to go fast uh to help prepare us for conflict and, and your command and you end up if you were to have a T two year C R, would you be able to go fast in trying to prepare for conflict in your theater?
Uh Chairman of uh C R of any length uh is devastating to the Department of Defense specifically for Indo Pacific Command, uh maneuver, maneuvering in the uh industrial space, providing those capabilities. We just talked about at pace and at speed. uh any new starts loss of buying power, there are critical disadvantages uh to ac R again, my assessment is it would be devastating. Ok. So I would take that as a no. Yes sir. Great ranking members recognized. Thank you. Uh Just two questions. One general, the camera, what role do you see China playing in the North Korea challenge?
Both positive and negative in terms of containing that threat?
Thanks Congressman. Um I I don’t see anything on the Korean Peninsula that does not involve Chinese and Russian involvement with D Pr K and quite frankly, with, with, with the R O K. Um they have uh put economic pressure on the Republic of Korea in the past. Um And uh but they also have their own people that are, that are stationed in the Republic of Korea. Uh So in a neo operation, getting them off the peninsula, I think would be in their best interest. What, what, what would they do to put to put pressure on North Korea to not continue to not do nuclear tests to not to continue development?
Are they just going to monitor it or is there something that, you know, where if North Korea did this, China would, would leverage North Korea to try to get them at least somewhat under control or is China just going to go?
Not our thing?
No, they, they have, they are treaty, they’re their only treaty ally, the borders are back open. Um So there’s goods that are coming back and forth across the border. Um I think he can put pressure on D Pr K in, in that respect. And, and Admiral Aquilino, when you look at the broader China threat, in terms of our allies and partners can, can you sort of walk us through that world of those partners?
I believe we have five treaty allies in the Indo Pacific region. Um But then you also have a lot of other countries that are navigating the world between the US and China and Russia. And that’s the piece that I find most interesting about this, the way this plays out if we’re going to be successful in both containing the threat from China and Russia and hopefully nudging them towards a more cooperative rules based approach to resolving differences. We’re gonna need the India’s, the Indonesia’s um Vietnam. So what does that look like?
And what is your strategy for trying to get as much help as possible out of all of the countries in the region. Thanks Congressman. Uh certainly uh foundational to our strategic deterrence approach and integrated deterrence uh is the allies and partners and it’s an asymmetric advantage. Let me just say that uh the strategy and approach is competition, not containment. Uh and the five treaty allies of Japan, Korea, Australia, Philippines and Thailand are foundational, right?
Those are mutual defense treaties uh that stand uh through Senate ratification and are truly important. But our approach is to pull in as many uh additional allies through a uh set of layers of many and multilateral engagements, operations uh and work we do together uh for a variety of reasons. Number one, we are like minded nations with common values. Uh We have deep people to people ties and that’s beyond just the treaty allies, uh Indonesia, uh Malaysia, uh Bangladesh, all the nations in the region and we operate and exercise with them frequently 100 and 20 exercises a year, uh deep engagements in the form of key leader and other events. So pulling that layer together, uh Congressman is really important and it is the asymmetric advantage because it’s the one thing China doesn’t have and that’s partners. Ok. Thank you very much back chair and I recognize the gentleman from Colorado Mr. Lambert. Thank you, Mr. Chairman for having this hearing. Thank you all for being here, Admiral Aquilino. One of my top priorities is accelerating our work on offensive and defensive hypersonic capabilities. China’s significant investments in their hypersonic, which they view as an important element of their regional war fighting strategy are extremely troubling. Their progress is undeniable. In 2021 they did an around the world fractional orbital bombardment demonstration. They have intermediate range hypersonic capability that can hit targets thousands of miles away and po possibly uh penetrate our defenses. And by contrast, our progress has been slow and has lacked urgency. And I think we need if not quantitative parity, at least qualitative parity, can you share the challenges you face in deterring China based on their current superiority in hypersonic?
And what is your best military advice on the need for the US to field these hypersonic capabilities?
Uh Thanks Congressman. So again, in alignment with the theme that I’ve started here today, we need to go faster, right?
The concerning part about the PR C is both the pace, the speed and the advanced capabilities that they continue to deliver uh and demonstrate and to deliver a credible deterrent. We certainly need the ability to counter and or uh exceed. Uh Currently, our military far exceeds anything China can deliver uh in this particular lane, we need to go faster. Thank you. Um What can you tell us here in open session about what you know about their plans for hypersonic in this decade?
I think we’d have to take that in a classified hearing Congress. Ok. We’ll, we’ll follow up on that also admiral. Um the pace of China’s strategic nuclear breakout has been as former stratcom commander. Admiral Richard said breathtaking uh we’ve learned recently that they have three new intercontinental ballistic missile fields. Uh They have more mobile and land land based launchers for ICBM S in the US. They’re working with Russia to produce plutonium now. So how should we respond to China’s nuclear, ongoing nuclear breakout?
So sir, the uh the the speed at which the Chinese are delivering nuclear capability uh is certainly concerning and Admiral Richards and now General Cotton and I have had multiple conversations. Um The one thing we ought to be concerned about the Chinese narrative is that the United States is beginning a nuclear arms race in the Indo Pacific and the only nation that’s delivering a nuclear arms race in the Indo Pacific is China. You just articulated the foundation and the and the speed and capabilities they’re delivering. So for the United States, uh our best strategy is to ensure that our force is modernized. Uh And that we are able to uh hold uh superior nuclear deterrent as required. Thanks, Admiral, I I’ll also point out as you would agree that the US and Russia have engaged and are entering into, have entered into nuclear treaties but not China. Uh General Camera. Uh can you describe the challenges you face to maintain deterrence on the Korean Peninsula, giving their, given the North Korean regime’s ongoing missile testing and capabilities?
And thanks Congressman, our, our focus is on building uh readiness and focusing on all the war fighting functions and all the domains. Uh making sure that uh that we’re bringing in all, you know, joint combined. Uh So the focus is peace through strength um and focusing on combat readiness, but also working with uh the interagency uh because it’s not just a military solution. Ok. Thank you. Now, assistant secretary roll, given the discussion we’ve just had about Chinese and North Korean nuclear ambitions. Um I’m amazed that the administration’s fiscal year 2024 budget request once again, attempts to cancel out funding for the nuclear sea launch, cruise missile. I’ll, I’ll call it slick them in and uh I I expect and hope that Congress will once again overrule that impulse and continue the funding and research on this and on this critical capability. So, stepping back, how is the Biden administration going to address the growing Chinese nuclear threat?
I hope it’s not by canceling out of the programs. How are we going to address these, these growing threats and, and North Korea as well?
The Nuclear Posture review is quite clear eyed in its approach to these uh challenges. We understand them fully in the President’s budget submission. We included $38 billion to modernize the nuclear triad. Um And we continue to look hard at our overall Force Posture, Nuclear Force Posture uh and readiness. Jim time expired. Uh chair would like to recognize one of our former colleagues, a long term member of this committee, John Klein, the Colonel Kline. Good to be with you to have you back with us. Uh Now we’ll go to uh recognize Mr. Courtney for five minutes. Thank you. Um uh Mr. Chairman, thank you to the witnesses for being here. Uh Just one quick point regarding the um sea launch missiles. Uh last year’s budget, we actually included $25 million to have a fully thorough investigation by the Navy in terms of just the the costs as well as the benefits of that program. So um there’s no whatever sort of is out there. We did not kill that program, but we really need to understand with our eyes wide open what the operational impact will be for our ships and submarines if we start installing nuclear warheads on um uh you know, attack subs or uh other ships. Um Aquilino in your testimony, uh you inventoried all of the new cooperation that’s going on with allies in the Indo Pacific region over the last year and I’m very impressed even just within the last few months. Um It’s really quite striking in terms of how quickly things are, are moving out there last month. Um At Naval Base Point, Loma, uh President Biden, uh Australian Prime Minister Albanese and UK Prime Minister Soak released the what they call the optimal pathway uh to implement a which um in which uh will include uh transferring to Australia. Uh conventional armed nuclear powered submarines. Congress has work to do in terms of enabling that um execution of, of the, of the agreement in terms of just dealing with um export controls and other other issues there. But from your standpoint, can you state what the strategic benefit of this arrangement is um in terms of sharing these precious assets, I mean, we’re recapitalizing our own submarine fleet at the same time. But again, can you just sort of talk about what you see as the value of that um arrangement?
Yes, congressman that well, we articulated the concern for the strategic environment, right?
As, as the PR C takes more aggressive actions, I think all of our partners are seeing that same activity and it’s got them concerned. So our, our work with uh both Australia and the United Kingdom as it applies to sharing some of our most sensitive technology in the form of uh nuclear propulsion and nuclear powered submarines uh is a really large step. So uh as it applies to deterrence effect, uh additional nations with the capabilities that we have being completely interoperable at any point over the globe, uh brings a strong deterrent value to the problem. Thank you. And I think as you know, I mean, the last time we did this was with and we’ve only done it once was with one country and that was in 1958. So, I mean, obviously this is a huge step. Um and again, can you just talk about Australia’s, um you know, um position regarding stewardship uh of, of uh these submarines which is gonna require obviously some training up to, you know, for their navy. But also just again, their commitment to uh again complying with the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. But, you know, and also having their own sovereign control over that fleet congressman. So as we know, Australia is one of our strongest partners and allies. Uh They have shared blood and treasure with us uh for over 100 years in every conflict. Uh we’ve ever been in uh again, when you talk about people to people ties, they’re deep our values, our interests. Uh So having the Australians as a part of this program, I have no worries at all about uh you know, losing that technology elsewhere. They will treat it uh at the highest level. Uh We also treat other technologies with the Australians uh as it as it applies to space and cyber in the same kind of vein. So, uh I have no concerns about Australia taking this on and being able to be successful. And from uh my position, we’re taking actions every day uh to ensure that we can deliver it as soon as possible. Well, thank you. And again, your comments about moving faster. Um you know, I, I think also applies to Congress in terms of really getting these authorities aligned so this thing can really move um in the in the, in the at the speed it it requires. Um Mr. Royle, you also mentioned the a um agreement in your uh testimony. And um you know, one other part of the president’s budget that came over was um new funding, additional funding uh 640 million for um submarine industrial based capacity. Last year, we actually um put 750 million. That’s again, workforce supply chain and facility again. Can you talk about really how this is a critical piece of making sure um that both our navy uh and also that the agreement can be um you know, have the capacity it needs congressman. Your point is spot on with respect to resilience of the submarine industrial base. We believe that the budget submission there represents a sense of urgency with respect to maintaining the readiness of that force. I’m also proud that Australia has now committed to invest in the defense industrial base for submarines as well to the tune of $3 billion and we’re very confident that they will deliver on that. Uh This represents a historic opportunity for us to be able to put increasing uh assets uh in the undersea domain and strengthen the interoperability with our closest allies. Thank you. Thank you, gentlemen. Cheer. And I recognize gentlemen, Virginia Mr. Whitman for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Like to thank our witnesses for joining us today. Admiral and I want to uh begin with you First of all, thanks so much for your leadership there uh in the Indo Pacific uh command that is uh an incredibly challenging time. We wanna make sure we continue the effort to deter the Chinese Communist Party and make sure we can continue to maintain a free and open Indo Pacific. We also wanna make sure too that uh the C C P and, and for that matter, Beijing don’t test our determination to make sure the Indo Pacific stays as a free and open place in the world. Uh I always think back to your predecessor’s testimony here in 2021 when Admiral Davidson said that he believed that China would make their move to reunify with Taiwan forcefully by 2027. So I want to revisit that a little bit and I want to ask in your best professional military judgment, do you anticipate that Beijing will attempt to by force seek reunification with Taiwan before 2027?
So Congressman uh uh um after having worked for Emerald Davidson, I I know he came up with 27 was based on what Xi Jinping said, which was the challenge to his military to be prepared uh to execute a task by 2027. That was foundation uh the approach of his comments. Now, uh for me, it doesn’t matter what the timeline is the secretary give me this mission today. So I’m responsible to prevent this conflict today. And if deterrence were to fail to be able to fight and win. So the timeline, uh everybody will have an opinion on when it is. Uh I think everybody’s guessing uh the intent and need for the for the depart for indo paycom, the department industry and everybody to go faster uh will help prevent this conflict. Let me ask this then in your best professional military judgment based on the buildup of the Chinese Communist Party and all their military assets and where we are today with what we bring to the table across the joint force. Do you believe that the threat today is greater than it has been in the past?
Uh I believe that the trends for the threat are in the wrong direction. There’s no doubt about that. Uh But I’m, but I will tell you, Congressman that the United States military is uh ready today for any contingency as, as you see the future of where China is going, where the United States is going. Uh When do you think the balance of forces will be such that it could, it could motivate China to say here is our opportunity. Yeah, I I’m not sure that it’s a balance of forces issue. Uh I, I think there’s a ton of variables on what might motivate President Xi Jinping to take that action. Uh Congressman and it’s our job to convince him every day that it would be a bad choice. What, what is the most effective thing?
That we as the United States can do across the spectrum, strategically, economically, you name it, that has the greatest chance of deterring the Chinese Communist Party from forcefully reunifying Taiwan. A a as I stated, I think that the PR C has taken on a whole of government approach to achieve their objectives. Again, diplomatic, military, informational, uh economic. And I, I think it’s worth uh now for me, I own the military piece in support of the secretary. Uh I think our approach and what we’ve laid out delivers a deterrent effect. Uh the entire whole of government uh approaching it the same way uh would be good. And some of those things have occurred. The Chips Act uh supported by the Congress was extremely effective. Uh the ability to protect technologies that are sensitive and uh important to the United States is important. So we just need to compete across the entire spectrum understanding that our security challenger will not you based on your best professional military judgment. Do you believe that with everything that we are doing that we will be able to effectively deter China, not only now, but also in the future?
Uh I do, China is a near mid and long term challenge for us. So uh we need to deter today tomorrow and the next day and I do believe we’re doing that, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Now you’re back. I thank the gentleman, not recognize gentleman from California, Mr. for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you very much for uh your testimony for your work and for your commitment. Um Two lines of questioning we’ve discussed the allies in the Pacific in some detail. And thank you very much for um making that clear and the importance of it, but we’ve not yet discussed another set of uh potential allies in the area. And these are the freely associated states, Palu Marshall Islands and Mike SIA. Uh Mr. Royal, could you please uh talk to this issue, what we need to do in that regard?
And then if you could follow up Congressman, thank you. Uh We enjoy a substantial relationship with the uh freely associated states. I think that um we have been extended some very favorable military terms. Uh We’ve just completed some memoranda of agreement with the States for future uh access uh basing uh with the US military. This is an extraordinary relationship that we share with them. And in fact, I would just point out their participation per capita in the US military is higher than anywhere else in any other part of the United States. And so we’re very grateful for their service involved here. We have a funding package that we’ve put forward onto the to Capitol Hill here to make sure that we can continue this arrangement going forward. And it would ask for congress’ support uh with that funding package. And that’s also uh Paal Marshall Islands, Micronesia. Yes, sir. Very good admiral. Uh Yes, sir. So I, I just got back from Yap and Pompeii uh as was stated that the amount of people who have served in the United States military, uh I met with about 25 people, I think 15 of them had service uh really impressive. Uh That said we defend the freely associated states as if they’re the US homeland. So that history goes back, they were critical to our success in World War Two. Uh They are critical and they’re strategically located. Uh So it’s really important we get this agreement done very good. Thank you. Uh I’d like now to turn to the Pacific deterrence initiative 11 point $11.5 billion authorized in 2023 of Admiral. If you could uh bring us up to date on the usefulness of that, what else you might need or how you are deploying that $11.5 billion. Thank you, sir. The uh so as you know, this body has uh passed a law that requires me to submit an independent assessment, identifying the capabilities uh and the needs from Indo Paycom to support uh both the deterrent and defend and the uh the Nation mission. And as a part of this year’s 12 54 we identified the requirements uh as needed uh that language articulates that Indo Paycom should provide that input to inform uh P D I and as P D I is calculated inside of uh the department. Uh My my needs were, were identified and recognized in the upcoming uh N D A A. Do you have recommendations for enhancement modification changes in the language or authorities?
Uh I don’t sir. I think that the articulation uh as it applies, I think meets both the intent of this body and uh I’m glad to provide my requirements. Thank you. Uh You’re back. Thank the gentleman and I recognize the gentleman from Georgia Mr. Scott for five minutes. Thank you, chairman, gentlemen, thank you for being here. Uh Ranking member Smith started talking about China and uh partnerships and, and how they conduct themselves. And um you know, it’s pretty clear to those, those of us on this committee and paying attention that China Communist China operates in the best interest of Communist China with without regard for, for who they hurt or any of the rules. And I have every faith in the world. But if uh if the situation kicked off with Taiwan, that between the United States and our, our partners, we could win that. I’m concerned is the PR C has this whole of government, whole of world approach though, that they’re embedding themselves into the US economy in such a way that um even if we win the war, it would destroy our economy inside the United States and admiral. Are, are you aware that less than 15 days after Communist China flew the spy balloon over the United States, the Ford Motor Company announced a multi-billion dollar deal with Communist China to, to purchase their battery technology. Uh I did read something about that. Congressman. I, I I think that um I think we have to be very careful when we use the heavy hand of government. But I will, I will tell you um if corporate America is going to less than 15 days after Communist China, does that to the United States announce a multibillion partner multibillion dollar partnership with Communist China?
I do think that the dod needs to reach out to corporate America and say, you know what if you buy that technology from China, the dod is not gonna buy that technology from you. Uh And, and I, I, I, I just think this is one of those few instances where, where we’re gonna have to use that heavy hand to, to press back on corporate America and how and how deep they continue to embed themselves with communist China and, and the financial ties there. Um Every faith in the world and our ability to beat China in a war. Not sure how we do it if our, if corporate America continues to get in bed with them like that. But um I, I wanna with that said Mr. Roy, I’m, I’m concerned admiral said that the trend was moving in the wrong direction. I’m concerned it’s moving in the wrong direction. I was a little taken back at the president of France going with everything going on between uh Russia and China right now right now in their alliance uh in Ukraine, I was a little taken back that the president of France went and sat down with um Xii Jinping. What is he trying to protect France?
France’s um investments in Africa. What, what’s going on there?
Uh We were um in touch with the French counterparts um uh during the course of that visit and we’ve been in touch with our European allies very closely about the challenges that we see the Pr C representing in the Indo Pacific region. Uh We’re very uh very much impressed with the nature and the trend of the NATO strategic concept in the way that it describes the PR C challenge to Europe. We’re also seeing progress in the E US, uh new white paper and the way that they talk about China as well. So we believe that the conversation with Europe is advancing uh with respect to the nature of this challenge. And we also appreciate the fact that the French are sending um service combatants into the region and, and sailing uh where international law allows in the Indo Pacific region. But he, but he did take, I mean, Europe is one thing France, France is a part of Europe. But what Macron did it seem seem to be selfish and individualistic and not in the best interest of what’s happening in in the world at this stage. Are you defending him?
I’m not defending uh President Macron or any other European leader. I’m telling you that uh our relationship with Europe is strong. We continue to advance the dialogue and the discourse about the nature of the pr c threat. And we’re seeing positive trend lines there in our engagement throughout Europe. OK. Well, I just, I, I want, I, I want you to know, I have every faith in the world in uh in our ability to, to handle China militarily. I’m I’m very concerned about what I saw. I think Ford Motor Company is the best example for less than 15 days after the Chinese flew us by balloon across the United States, targeting us military installations, Ford Motor Company. And for the record, I drive an F 3 50. I’m a Ford guy partners with Communist China on their battery technology and, and, and I think that uh we have to bust those alliances between corporate America and Communist China with without a yield. Thank the gentleman chair. I recognize the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Gallego for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chair, Mr. Roll in your written testimony. You highlight the increasingly provocative conventional military activity that the P L A is conducting. I’m also concerned about the threat in the gray zone and believe that irregular warfare training in the region and especially in Taiwan is crucial. Do you believe the department has uh has the authorities?
It needs for special operation forces to collaborate with allies and partners in irregular warfare. And where can we further deepen our or expand our regular warfare programs with allied and partner forces in the Indo Pacific?
Thank you, Congressman. Our uh our special operations forces amount to a real strategic advantage for the United States. Uh They uh complement and enable the strategy that we have articulated through the national defense strategy. Uh And our budget reflects the importance and the value that they bring to the Indo Pacific region. It’s important right now for us to focus on how we modernize our special operations forces, making sure that they are well connected uh to the other components of the department. Uh And that they focus on that enabling capability going forward. Uh But uh we believe that that is well captured within the budget submission. Thank you. Uh Mr. Follow up, I also want to ask you about Chinese disinformation efforts in the region. Have you seen a change in the approach to how the C C P conducts disinformation campaign since the start of Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine?
And what lessons do you believe China is drawing from Russia’s example in the disinformation space congressman. I think um some of that discussion is best left to a classified session. I will say that uh the PR C has demonstrated a significant appetite in its coercion campaign and that’s certainly inclusive of a misinformation, disinformation effort associated with that uh if we look at the high altitude balloon, to me, that is a very good example of the kind of intrusion uh that you’re looking uh that the PR C is undertaking in a variety of domains right now. P Admiral Carlino, thank you for your testimony. I want to ask you about the no limit strategic partnership between Russia and China that you, that you referenced in your written statement. Can you talk about what this enhanced relationship means in practice for military forces in the region?
And is there a tangible effect on the security situation in the in uh in the, in the Pacific that we have noticed or we will be noticing?
Uh Thanks Congressman. Uh this kind of ties to a couple of your questions here to, to Jed because uh this is a different space, right?
Two large uh authoritarian nations coming together in an attempt to change the world order in ways that are beneficial to authoritarian governments, vice the rest of the world. That’s a pretty concerning space to be in uh whether it’s impact into the UN or ability uh to stifle any uh you know, agreements that go forward. Uh That’s the approach, they have no friends, they have identified that it is better if they’re together in order to achieve their strategic objectives. That’s a concerning world. It ties directly to the misinformation, disinformation question. The PR C has been echoing Chinese or excuse me, Russian disinformation in direct support. Uh articulating that the war was uh their war against the Ukraine against Ukraine was derived from an expansion of NATO. Just not true. So, misinformation, disinformation in today’s day and age uh is concerning weaving through that mess and the pr C have a million man propaganda arm to generate it. Yep. And I go back. Thank you, gentlemen. Not recognized. Gentleman from Tennessee. Mr. Doctor Lee for five minutes. Thank you, Chairman uh Mr. Royle. On three separate occasions, we have seen President Biden commit the United States to the defense of Taiwan in a potential conflict with China. Only to see his comments, walked back by those in his administration. So I would ask who is driving policy in this administration on China and Taiwan?
Is it the president of the United States or unelected Bureaucrats and appointees within the State Department, Pentagon and White House Congressman. The department stands by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques and the six assurances as the foundation of the relationship with uh Taiwan. Um We continue to believe that uh that our relationship there is uh aided well by the relationship we have. We’ve maintained it on a variety of levels with key leader engagements and, and tight cohesive uh understanding of one another’s defense requirements. And we spend a lot of time talking about the uh the uh pr C pacing challenge as uh as we’re observing it operating in the region. OK. Well, we like to talk about strategic ambiguity. Do you think President Xi has been ambiguous at all in his intentions on Taiwan Congressman?
We agree with you that President Xi has been very assertive in his approach to conducting a counter coercion campaign against Taiwan. Uh We believe that he does intend to build a capable force that could stand to threaten Taiwan over time. And would you agree that our commander in chief has been pretty clear in his position on the United States commitments to the defense of Taiwan. Uh Congressman, I believe that uh uh the president has been clear with his intentions. Um I certainly wouldn’t want to speak for him. I will say again that the Taiwan Relations Act continues to guide our engagement with Taiwan, including supporting their self-defense and making sure that we are in a position as the United States military to counter any coercive activity in the region. What I struggle with on this committee when I go back home and talk to constituents and I’ve heard other members say the same thing is how do we message things like China Taiwan?
How do we message Russia and Ukraine, Ukraine?
And it seems when we don’t really know what the end game is, it’s hard to do that. Uh We’ve asked specifically, what’s the end game in Ukraine?
And there’s not a clear answer. Uh is there a clear answer for what the end game would be if China invades Taiwan Congressman. Um I won’t engage in hypotheticals on future invasions. I will say that um invasion is neither imminent nor inevitable. Uh And the work that uh that we are doing in the department every single day is to focus on deterrence and we do that by increasing our lethality, our posture and our readiness. Uh We’ll continue to operate uh uh by the Taiwan Relations Act. Um And we’ll continue to work on counter coercion uh readiness within the US military to do that and to ensure that we are supporting Taiwan and their ability to defend themselves. But we seem to be struggling within the military on recruiting and other issues and morale. And I think maybe a lot of it is due to strategic ambiguity and nobody really knows what’s going on within our military. We, we seem unclear about what our strategy in Ukraine is. We’re getting a mixed message from our commander in chief and our State Department, Pentagon on China Taiwan. Uh in the past, I remember presidents going on TV and addressing the nation. We can only reach so many people from within this committee or Congress. And, and you guys have the same challenges. I mean, would it be important for the president to go on TV?
And, and maybe address the nation on what’s happening in Ukraine, what our strategy is there and, and what our strategy would be and let President Xi know clearly where the United States stands and maybe some of our allies would come along. Uh Congressman, I’ll defer to the White House on uh the President’s um uh on air time. Uh Again, I think that the president is asking us to do the daily job of deterrence. Uh And that he has submitted a budget that represents uh a real qualitative investment in our ability to maintain deterrence in the region. Ok. Well, the saber rattling about blockades uh in the Taiwan Strait and certainly uh China’s aggression in the South China Sea. We know that uh you know, half the world trade goes through that area. It seems like as uh representative Scott mentioned a minute ago, what corporations are doing financially with China may be the best way uh to get their attention and certainly they can have a blockade of things coming in. Uh Is it possible we could have a blockade of things going out and it would impact all of us financially. But if uh the best way to to win this uh uh pending wars to not fight it. So uh I guess I, I would just like to see more unification of our allies, uh more talk from Japan, Australia and people who are committed and maybe a better strategy economically to help deter China. But deterrence did not work with Russia and I hope we can do better moving forward with China Taiwan. And uh thank you for you all being here today, Jim’s time expired. Chair and I recognize Jim from California Mr. for five minutes. Thank you, Mr., chair uh Admiral. Uh Thank you for your leadership. You’ve spoken about the importance of the strategic relationship uh with India, I chair uh co-chair with Michael Walz the US India caucus. Uh And on April 26th, we have a major summit with Secretary Mattis uh the ambassadors, others. I hope if you’re in the country, you may be able to participate or send someone. But I would like you uh to uh reflect on the importance of the relationship post uh colonialism. India and China had a relationship to emerge as the Asian uh voice. Uh But that relationship now has really soured uh with a concern that there should not be a hegemon in Asia and that China is treating other countries as junior partners. It seems to me that gives us an opportunity to ensure that China doesn’t emerge as a hegeman to strengthen the relationship with India. And I’d like to, to get your thoughts. Thanks, Congressman. Uh So we uh we value our partnership with India and we’ve been increasing it and doing a lot more over time, they have the same security challenge, primary security challenger that we do. Uh And it’s real on their northern border. Uh two skirmishes now and over the past nine or 10 months uh on that border as they continue to get pressurized by the PR C for border gains. So we have the same security challenges. Uh We also have uh the desire to operate together based on the, the, the world’s largest democracy. We have uh common values and we also have uh people to people ties. For a number of years. I met with General Chouhan, my counterpart uh at the Sin Dialogue. Not long ago, I’ve been to India five times now in the past two years. So the importance of that relationship can’t be overstated. We operate together frequently uh with the quad nations. Again, the quad is not a sec, a security uh agreement. It’s diplomatic and economic, but the quad nations come together often to operate together in multiple exercises. So we continue to work to be interoperable and to expand the relationship. And I appreciate that and we’ll follow up with your office if you are in the country or have someone for the April 26th summit. Uh One question uh I was out with uh uh Representative Mike Gallagher who chairs the China Select Committee and we were out at Stanford and I was struck by uh Oriana Sklar Mastro uh who’s a professor there. And she wrote in the paper, the Taiwan Temptation uh and uh concern that are we deployed enough, do we have the capability if there was a blockade or uh an invasion of Taiwan?
And in this article, she makes the argument that, that we don’t, that we don’t have enough uh long range missiles to actually uh shoot down Chinese ships and that uh this makes our deterrence weak. I mean, I’m not summarizing in all detail, but that was the gist of it. Do you have a sense or anyone on the panel, if, if that’s accurate, do we need more capability to uh make sure we have effective deterrent?
So today, Congressman, let me just articulate that the uh indo Paycom command is ready and prepared for any contingency that said as we talked about before the uh the uh challenger is moving fast experimenting and delivering additional capabilities. And I think that uh department’s budget uh as it applies. Uh And again, I’ve given my 12 54 report to articulate the capabilities that I think I need. So uh the delivery of those and again at speed and as fast as possible, uh I believe uh would continue that deterrence both today and into the future. Mr. Congressman. I would add that we are uh uh deeply interested in seeing increasing responsiveness from the US defense industrial base. Uh This budget uh puts a lot of money in uh to making sure that our defense industrial base is even more competitive, including $30 billion uh towards um uh munitions tomahawk, L rasm S M six and others uh and 11 billion towards hyper and subsonic uh weapon systems as well. So we’re building uh including through the multi multi-year procurement authority that Congress has now provided to the department, a deeper stock of munitions within the defense industrial base uh to meet the uh to meet the challenge you you described. Thank you. I would just say that from my perspective, the more we can do to have effective deterrent that China understands the better in terms of avoiding war. And so I would be interested in hearing how we can have the most effective deterrent possible. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I thank the gentlemen chair, not recognized gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Gallagher for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, um Admiral. Uh the F Y 23 N D A A directs dod to conduct war games, tabletop exercises and most importantly, operational exercises with Taiwan’s armed forces. I sort of view this as the least expensive way to build operational expertise and create a force capable of deterring an adversary. When can we expect to see the first exercises between the US Navy and Air Force and their Taiwanese counterparts?
Uh So uh congressman, thanks, I’d like to talk to you in a classified hearing about the schedule for our operations. I think that’d be most beneficial when you uh I guess in an unclassified setting. Um when you war game, these scenarios put aside the operational exercises, are you assuming some level of interoperability with Taiwanese forces?
Uh Absolutely both. Uh as you know how war games work, right?
You can pick the time we can war game. What does today look like?
What does two years from now?
What was four years from now look like. So we, we look at all those uh in order to ensure that we got a broad view and we leave no uh holes in our understanding and analysis while we’re on the subject of war gaming. Uh Tomorrow night, the select committee on the Chinese Communist Party is gonna be conducting um a war game. And I think for a lot of our members, it would be an opportunity to participate in a war game that haven’t done that before. It’s going to be Taiwan focused and the Pacific focus uh usually when we run these war games, one thing quickly becomes apparent, we go Winchester on critical weapons systems, we run out of long range fires in particular. I would be curious to get your view on that. What worries you about the stockpiles of long range fires that we have west of the International Date Line?
And what do you think is our best way to start replenishing our stockpiles and make sure that you have what you need in theater prior to the shooting starting?
So thanks Congressman first. Let me just make sure uh I wanna make sure how, you know, I look at war games, right?
War gaming is on a learning objective. So when people talk about, hey, who won, who lost uh war gaming is not about that. It’s about learning and understanding vulnerabilities, uh strengths and uh helps you go forward and figure out how to adjust and what you might need. So, uh when you go into this event, I, I hope they looking at it in the same way, uh with regard to the munitions piece again, I’d like to talk in a classified setting over the specific issues. Uh That said I’m not too worried um as it applies to our ability to deter and then deliver effective contingency operations if required. You’re not too worried. I am I am not worried what I would like is the acceleration of those things identified in the budget. And then in my 12 54 report, I’ve made those requirements be known interesting. So even in AAA scenario that goes kinetic, you’re not worried about the sufficiency of our stockpiles and our magazine capacity right now. Uh I’m not worried about the United states’ ability to respond. Again, we can talk about specific munitions in a classified setting. I got, I mean that surprises me. I guess it, it, it goes counter to what little I know from playing a few war games here or there, but I’m not living it in the, the Indo Pacific um every day like you are um quickly general. Uh I believe this year at the end of July, we will celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement. This is referred to as America’s forgotten war. The irony is that in China, they have not forgotten it. In fact, they celebrate it the highest grossing Chinese movie of all time is the Battle of Lake Changin, which is a sort of a creative retelling of the Battle of chosen Reservoir. Sort of an oddball historically focused question. But what lessons do you believe that this forgotten war offers for contemporary national security, strategists and planners?
Thanks Congressman, be ready. I mean, that’s, you know, uh the uh this kind of war, you know, we weren’t prepared. So what, what this says for us is my main effort of being prepared, combat readiness and evolving as the enemy evolves. Um And looking at it through, not just a land fight, um but making sure that we can fight in all the domains and we have the capabilities to be able to, to be able to do that. And um so it will be the 73rd anniversary of the beginning of the war and the 70th anniversary of the armistice, uh which we’re gonna celebrate uh throughout, we’ve been celebrating throughout the year, but it will culminate in uh in the fall time with the Koreans. I, you mentioned this kind of work. Can I assume that’s on your reading list such as it exists uh when I was a captain, I wrote it. Yes, that’s fantastic. All right, I yield chair, I recognize, gentle from California, Mr. Carba Hall for five minutes. Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you to all the witnesses for being here today in Payco hosts a broad range of challenges. Most notably the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but also the increasing effects of climate change and building on relationships with several allies and partnerships. The PR C is steadily building up their space and anti-space capabilities. In 2022 they executed 64 launches alone. Admiral Aquilino. Can you speak to the importance of maintaining space superiority in the Indo paycom A R especially as the PR C are facing threat is making advancements in this domain. And can you speak to how m maintaining fiscal year 22 funding levels would impact our superiority. Uh Thanks Congressman. So uh as it applies to deterring and, and uh it should deter fail, being able to fight. And when space is critical as we integrate all domains under sea, honesty above the sea and space and cyberspace, uh The synchronization of those effects happens every day in and the space layer is an enabler for the terrestrial force. We absolutely need to maintain our superior advantage uh and continue to invest as we expand in space if we were to reduce the investment. Uh I’ve already identified in my 12 fif 54 report some shortfalls that we believe are beneficial. Uh But if we were to fall back, that would also be impactful. Thank you, Admiral. The second item on your unfunded priority list from this year is to operationalized near term space control. Can you expand on what factors contributed to this ending up on your U P L I I, I’d, I’d rather do that in a classified setting, sir. Thank you. And it seems that a majority of space programs and development in the Indo paycom A R are protected at the highest levels of classification. I think we all share the goal of wanting to prevent any escalation in the region. And believe strategic deterrence is key strate, strategic deterrence is only possible if the deterrent is known to our adversaries at some level is in the thinking through what space programs we should declassify as a strategic deterrent to the pr C ambitions in the space domain. Uh Yes, sir, we do that uh all the time. Uh Certainly there is the ability for the security challenger to understand what we do in space. There are capabilities uh that can do that for him. Uh We treat all of our capabilities. Uh We look at them in a way such that we protect what we need to protect and for those that uh we don’t believe we need to protect. We allow those to be seen. We do that uh with thought uh with thoughtfulness to ensure we get it right. But we have to protect those things that are critical for the United States defense. Thank you. We know that the end of area of responsibility is on the front lines of climate change, experiencing increasingly frequent disruptive storms and sea level rise. That is already encroaching on military installations and training ranges. While these weather events lead to demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. They also directly impact defense infrastructure in the region. The Army Commission is studying in 2018 that show that many Pacific islands including Kwa Atoll, home of Ronald Reagan’s ballistic missile defense test sites are at risk of his experiencing significant climate impacts by mid-century Secretary Royal. How is the department planning for and seeking to mitigate these risks as we look at force posture in the region?
Thank you for that question. The climate change uh does uh uh fold into the national defense strategy?
It’s a growing challenge that we understand. It’s certainly one that we spend a lot of time talking to our partners in the Indo Pacific, particularly Pacific Island nations. Uh where we see the effects of climate change uh occurring rapidly. Part of our um uh strategy here is to not only recognize it but to make sure that we’re thinking about areas to mitigate the impacts of climate change, including greater energy resilience, uh better infrastructure that protects against the erosion of rising sea waters, et cetera. So I believe that we have captured that well and we certainly are funding against that in the president’s budget submission. Thank you, Miss. Thank the gentlemen here and I recognize a gentleman from Florida Mr. Gates for five minutes days ago in the Washington Post and Washington military planners are realizing that China has surpassed the United States in hypersonic military technology. Does anyone seat at the table?
Disagree with that assessment?
Congressman. I think in terms of assessments, we should probably take that to a classified discussion. What’s been sort of unclassified without our consent?
We had this leak that showed that China could launch one of these hypersonic glide capabilities 2100 kilometers that it could get there in 12 minutes. And I actually don’t think it’s that it can’t be too classified because it was a year ago admiral that you were before the Senate Armed Services Committee. And you seem to be giving the warning at that time that we saw manifest in this leak. You said, quote, the hypersonic glide vehicle threat poses a serious threat to the US and allied forces in the region and we require a near term initial defense capability to meet this challenge. I read in between the lines of that to say you require the capability in the near term because you don’t, you didn’t have the capability when you gave this testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, not in a classified setting but in open hearings. So I guess my question to you because I sense you are the truth teller on a lot of these things. Have you acquired the capability since this testimony?
The department is working on the uh ability to do hypersonic defense congressman. Uh Again, I stand by what I said I am concerned about it and, and it’s still true today, would you that statement that you made to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2021?
You wouldn’t revise that or change that. That is true as we sit here today. It is. And so what I observe about our posture in indo paycom is that for the last 30 years, the United States has been building aircraft carriers that will never get into the fight. And we’ve spent years building electoral combat ships, Mr. Smith, that will never get into the fight. And while you have been giving us the accurate information, you gave it to us. Now, you gave it to the Senate a year ago. The truth is we have not made a sufficient investment in hypersonic defense in order to ensure that we have this credible deterrent threat. Isn’t that right?
So if you look at uh the report as it applies to our Guam defense system, uh we have identified the need for that capability, right. And so I, I guess to how do our electoral combat ships ever get into the fight in a, in a China Taiwan scenario?
Well, again, I think that’d be better in a classified setting. I just think it’s not gonna happen. I think it’s whether it’s classified or not classified. Can we hit a moving target with our hypersonic offense?
Again, sir, I think we ought to take those capabilities discussion. Well, ok. So if I represent to you that China can hit a moving target and we can’t hit a moving target. Do you have any basis in this setting that you can share with me to rebut that assertion?
Uh I disagree that we can’t hit a moving target. Oh, we, you think we with our hypersonic capability, I didn’t say with a hypersonic capability, but that’s what I’m talking about because of course, we can hit moving targets. But with a hypersonic capability, it changes the deterrence analysis because the time window shortens considerably as this leak of classified information tells us kinda as you told us a year ago. And so I I I know that there’ll be uh great blood lust to go after the leak of this information. It is never OK to leak classified information, especially when it could potentially put people at risk. But what I wonder is who’s gonna be punished more the knucklehead who leaked this information or the generals and admirals and so called experts who have sat before this committee and the Senate for decades saying that these capabilities that we were funding with gazillions of dollars were going to sufficiently deter China. And what you said last year, what you’ve confirmed now is that we need a capability in the near term that we do not have. What this leak shows is that China has it and we don’t and yet we continue to build ships that will never get in the fight. We continue to support these endeavors that don’t enhance deterrence. But if the right senator or congressman or lobbyist is for them, we do them. And I think that’s while it is never ok to leak classified information. I think that’s what animates the concern among some of our even youngest and most inexperienced service members that we are not really positioning to win this fight. And we got too many grifters who roll in and out of the Pentagon, two defense contractors and some of them even become Secretary of Defense thereafter. And I think it is disgraceful and it’s not worthy of a true pacific power like the United States. Just uh yeah, I’m not sure why the gentleman kept looking at me throughout that whole thing. I actually, I actually had the amendment on the floor last year to defund the combat chip. I’m not sure how the gentleman voted on that, that amendment. I, ok. Well, that’s good to know. Interesting. Um And I will say, and I know we can’t talk about it in detail. There are massive investments in the president’s budget in hypersonic missiles. There is no question that we were behind and by the way, we were behind under the last administration as well. Um And in the last couple of years, we have made massive investments into hypersonic. Um you know, when we don’t get into details what worked or not, but we recognize the threat and I would urge this time the gentleman to join me when we try to move money away from those platforms that aren’t going to be as useful and into those platforms that are useful. I just wanted to be clear you back. So uh chair would advise members not to display classified information, whether it’s been leaked or not in open hearings. Chair and I recognize gentle lady from New Jersey, Miss Cheryl for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and uh Mr. Royal Admiral Aquilino. Did you want to say anything about um our classified information?
How important it is that we protect that in um our military despite um any arguments about where we need to move in this, in this uh committee congresswoman, I’ll offer that. Uh this appears to be a disgraceful criminal act that has occurred and it’s very serious. The department is taking it with the highest uh uh degree of seriousness. We every single day have a responsibility to protect information and make sure that our classified information remains ours. Um We’re supporting the Department of Justice. We’ve been very clear in offering every bit of support that we could, we possibly can to help them in their investigation. Uh We’re conducting outreach with allies and partners to make sure that they are also understanding what the position of the department is in this process. I do want to be clear on this point, this will not knock us off of our strategy off of our campaigning approach uh with integrated deterrence in the Indo Pacific region. It is an exceptionally unfortunate situation that does come with national security consequence, but it will not knock us off of our approach. Thank you. I think the gentleman from Florida raised some very good points. But I I just wanted to highlight that people put themselves their lives, their families lives in danger to bring us this information. And it’s really important to me that we understand how dangerous it is to people working very hard for the United States of America around the world when these things are leaked. Um Thank you very much. I’d also like to thank you for your service and commitment to keeping our nation and our troops safe, especially as our country in the world grapples with a variety of complex and non-traditional threats, including the increasing aggressiveness and nuclear posturing of North Korea, aggressive and coercive transgressions from China in the region, cyber security threats and disinformation campaigns, climate change and increases in natural disasters as well as supply chain shortages. So in the region uh is not an easy one, but thank you for your service. Um So Secretary Royal and Admiral Aquilino, we are currently conducting our largest ever joint exercise with the Philippines with the new leadership in the Philippines. How does our renewed relationship impact our freedom of navigation operations for sea lanes in the South China Sea?
Uh Congresswoman, uh we are enjoying a strategic convergence with uh the government of the Philippines in operating in a manner that’s stronger than ever. Um Training exercises, information sharing and our ability to respond quickly to any kind of contingency that may arise. Uh Right now, uh I was really proud when uh we were able to secure access to four new strategic locations through the sites in the uh with the government of the Philippines. These will uh offer the opportunity for uh opening the aperture of our ability to respond with the Philippines um in a timely fashion and responsive fashion to any contingency, particularly humanitarian affairs and disaster relief have already been identified there. We believe this relationship has a lot of wind in it sails, it’s definitely moving forward in the right direction and we’re seeing the uh and we’re seeing the outcomes of that every single day. Thanks congresswoman. Uh So again, the uh mutual defense treaty with the Philippines is critical. Uh They’re a great partner, General Santino is my counterpart and a good friend. Uh Minister Galvez uh who just recently took over uh is a wonderful partner and they’re facing some challenges, right?
The, the Pr C has claims that are inside uh the Philippine uh Exclusive Economic Zone. Those claims went through an international tribunal, they were uh articulated as they were not legal uh in the international world order as to as defined. Uh yet, the Pr C continues to pressurize uh our Philippine counterparts. So it’s really important that we continue to maintain support. We operate with them, as you said, is going on right now. We do combined patrols and uh and we support our Philippine partners everywhere. And I think traditionally, we’ve struggled a bit to get support from our allies in the region on our freedom of navigation exercises. Um Can you talk a little bit about the support we’re receiving from our allies uh today?
Yeah, thanks. So, uh let me start by articulating. So the freedom of navigation events that we execute uh are designed to demonstrate uh what the uh interpreted international law and order looks like. We don’t fund countries. We, we challenge excessive claims uh and it’s supported by our partners in the nation in the region. Thank you. And now you’re back. I recognize gentleman from Nebraska General Bacon for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank all three of you for being here today. Uh These are very important discussions and your perspectives are vitally important. Uh We, we’ve been talking for about eight years of pivot to Asia. We’ve talked about China being the pacing threat near peer competitor threat. But I don’t know that I’ve, we’ve, I’ve seen the talk, I’ve seen the strategy documents. I don’t know that we’ve actually seen as much physical movement. So I’ll ask you, Admiral if I may, how was, how much has the Navy increased its size or presence in the Pacific?
The last couple of years. Uh Thanks Congressman. So the Navy is, is postured 60% of the maritime forces in the Pacific. 40% is on the east coast. Has that been an increase over the last two years?
Uh It’s been uh that’s been in place now for at least three years, three years and a little bit before that. How about the Air Force?
Because I’ve seen some units being withdrawn from the Pacific uh as we uh align and execute the National defense strategy. Uh The positioning of those forces, uh certainly would be beneficial to be maintained inside of the first island chain where they’re postured or forward stationed air forces. Uh I have uh supported those forces to remain in place and, or be replaced by equivalent capability and numbers. But is it, would it be accurate to say we’ve seen that actual decline in air order, a battle in Asia?
I just, I just, I just, I see the talk but I don’t know if I see the actual physical presence. Yeah, I’d, I’d have to go back and take a look at that. Congressman. Overall, the force has gotten smaller. Right. There’s no doubt about that. So, uh whether it’s distributed or, or where it’s been pulled from and I have to go look at one of the concerns that we have is over the next, over the fight up, the Air Force will shrink about by about 400 fighters. What kind of concerns does this give you?
Yeah, thanks, Congressman. I’m concerned about any removal of combat power from the Indo Pacific Theater. I would be too. Thank you for, thank you for that. The B 20 ones and the Navy long range precision weapons seem to be very significant for your theater. There’s a lot of talk from the army about long range surface to surface missiles and positioning them also in the Pacific. But one of the problem area is where do we station those?
And can you do we have good options where to uh put these weapon systems?
Yes, congressman. So I um I believe we do right. With the service uh concepts, the army has delivered the multi domain task force, the Marine Corps has shifted to the Marine Regiment. Uh and if the when the capabilities deliver for anti-air and and antianti-surface, both land and sea, uh those land forces will be capable and directly uh aligned to what I need in this theater. From the air perspective, their agile combat employment uh approach to be able to be survivable and continue to deliver effect. Uh those capabilities are needed and the posture required to do that we’re working really hard on. Thank you. General fame. I know North Korea just tested a solid fuel uh ballistic missile. How does that change the threat in your perspective?
Right, our ability for indications of mourning. So in other words, it will shorten your indications of warning So, so you make it look more surprised. Yes, sir. Ok. One last thing for you, if I may, sir. Um It was reported that some of the leaked information involves South South Korea. Have you seen any pushback from our allies regarding this or has that impacted your report?
It has not. No, sir. Ok. Uh With that, I, I thank you for your time and Mr. Chair, you’ll be back. Thank you, gentlemen, chair. And I recognize MS Jacobs for five minutes. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you, Chairman. This is for being here. Um I, I wanted to talk about Taiwan um uh Admiral Alino, in your testimony, you stated that Beijing significantly increased its military pressure against Taiwan in 2022 in response to quote, a perceived policy shift in the US, Taiwan political and military ties and quote, I, I think it’s important to recognize what kinds of us actions are actually shoring up Taiwan’s defenses such as the training and weapons the US has provided over the years versus the kinds of things that are symbolic, but actually don’t help the Taiwanese in their fight, like calls to rename embassies, high profile visits, et cetera. Um I, I was hoping you could talk um uh Admiral Ali or uh Mr. Royal uh about the ways in which the department is ensuring that we’re not unnecessarily escalating tensions and, and how we’re maintaining open lines of communication with the PR C. Uh Thanks congresswoman. So let me just start by articulating the US policy uh as it applies to Taiwan has not changed. Uh despite what may be believed in Beijing. Second, we do not see conflict. Everything we do is designed to prevent conflict uh to maintain the peace and stability in the region. So that’s where we sit. I can’t tell you what they believe. Now, additionally, uh on your point of ability to have conversations and engagements with my counterparts, I’ve had a standing ask to meet with the Eastern Theater commander and the Southern Theater commander from the P L A for my entire time in this job and they have yet to accept it. Second, we do the Chiefs of Defense in the region do a uh about a quarterly virtual meeting of which the PR C has been invited to. And of this, I think five we’ve done so far, they’ve shown up at one and they sent a very low level individual. Uh Additionally, we meet annually in person once a year. They have not uh shown up for the last two years. Uh We will working through the process to invite them again in August. Uh So the theme here is we continue to try to engage with our partner. Uh But there’s a different opinion there. Thank you, Mr. Do you want to add sure congresswoman um consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, we continue to support Taiwan’s development of their own self-defense, we talked to them consistently about their defense requirements. Uh We have $54 billion and implemented for military sales with the government of Taiwan, including 27 billion in new contracts that have been put on order since 2017. Uh And so we believe that consistent with the law of the United States, that this is important to, to maintain their defensive requirements. At the same time, we certainly call on the PR C to maintain open lines of communication particularly at moments of crisis. And we have made a handful of requests including during the transit of the high altitude balloon over flying our sovereign airspace. And we have not seen the responsiveness that we would like to see from Beijing in terms of answering our phone calls. Thank you. Um And um as we consider our military presence in the Indo Pacific, I think it’s incredibly important that we prioritize civilian harm mitigation um especially in our ability to convene our partners and, and build coalitions that we need to do. And as you guys well know, um dod civilian harm mitigation and response action plan um provided critical guidance on how to minimize harm. Um I think implementing the recommendations outlined in the plan such as enhanced training and better communication with local communities will be um really important. Um Admiral Alino, could you talk about how implementing the chim wrap will change how military operations are conducted in the Indo Pacific region Uh Thanks congresswoman. So, uh we are certainly uh always operating in accordance with the new guidance that’s out there. Uh We have taken that on that said we’re currently not in a kinetic theater, but even in our peacetime operations, uh we are always uh focused on ensuring that uh the rule of law is followed uh to ensure we protect life of all participants in the region. And that will always operate that way. I I appreciate that. And I think as you know, the requires combatant commanders to develop theater specific training, um especially that addresses cognitive biases. Um And especially as we are working with partner forces in the Indo Pacific to make sure that they too are a addressing the civilian harm concerns and, and human rights. Thank you. I go beck. Thank the general lady and I recognize gentleman from Florida, Mr. Walt for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I mean, we, we’ve had some discussion on this committee, a lot of a lot of debate actually on whether this conflict or conflict with the PR C is inevitable. And I would just comment to my colleagues that Chairman Xi has said that reunification with Taiwan one way or another, including the use of military force, just said it to the 20th Party Congress is inevitable. He said that he’s not going to pass it on to the next generation. Basically said he’s gonna do it on his watch. So I think we’ve got a lot of wishful thinking going on just like we had wishful thinking going on in the run up uh to Ukraine that, that force won’t be employed. And, and with that context, a a coin, thank you so much for your hosting of various congressional delegations. Uh It’s been incredibly informative. Thank you as well. General Camera. And one of the, the key takeaways I continue to take is the ambiguity amongst our allies uh from these trips, key allies allies that if we don’t have use of their air space, of their ports uh of their basing that I don’t see how we effectively come to the aid of the defense of Taiwan. And so I guess my question for you is with greater clarity on our end, on the US end and our intentions help drive clarity with our allies. And I’ll just tell you one quick anecdote we we in, in, in this last trip and in previous trips, we’ve been asking our allies, will you help us in the defense of Taiwan?
Should it come to that?
And the continual pushback is well, when you tell us what you’re going to do, we can make the tough political decisions, what we’re going to do. So again, do you think clarity on our end would help allied clarity much like it has in Europe?
Uh Thanks Congressman. Uh again, I’m not the policy maker, but what I can tell you is for the past 40 years, the policy has been successful. That’s just historically uh accurate. I, I think you’d have to ask the allies and partners what I hear when I talk to them frequently is that, uh, you know, war is not desirable uh for anyone in the region. Of course. So, you know, as that applies, what I read into it is, uh, they are support of our, of our approach. They recognize that we’re looking to prevent this conflict and that’s what’s keeping us together. But in the event that deterrence fails, like of, of course, it’s poverty is not desirable. War is not desirable, got it. But in the event that deterrence fails as it has in Europe, you have to have those basing and overflight rights, right?
Whether it’s Japan Philippines, we can go down the list, you have to have those operationally correct as operational commander. Yeah, the uh the need for basing and overflight. Can you assume today tomorrow in the near future that you have them?
We don’t assume those are choices of sovereign nations whenever the time comes. And I think it’s reasonable then to say if the United States was clear, we’re coming to the defense of democracy in Taiwan, then it would drive clarity in the region. I mean clarity in Europe, for example, has deterred Putin in many ways from going beyond Ukraine. So would clarity in the Pacific help you having that basing and access. Yeah, I think we’d have to ask the allies and partners congressman. Um And, and I’ll just tell you another concern of mine, which we’ve talked to quite a bit about is clarity here amongst the American people. And one of the lessons that the PR C has learned from Ukraine is if they decide to do it, they have to do it quickly. Uh We can’t decide here in Congress where the bathrooms are uh quickly. And so I think we need to have that debate now, not when amphibious ships are, are are being loaded. Uh Secretary Royal, why does Admiral Aquilino have a $3.5 billion unfunded list?
Things like the defense of Guam, the defense of Hawaii, uh secure communications. Why if this is the number one threat according to multiple administrations as the man sitting next to you may be responsible for the greatest conflict in American history have $3.5 billion out of $850 billion budget that you can’t find to, to support that war fighter Congressman. Uh First thing I’ll say is uh there is no daylight between Indo Pacific Command and the Department of Defense. There should be no unfunded priorities for our number one threat. When we think about the prioritization of the region, there’s absolutely no daylight between us, we prioritize and just in the interest of time. Um Why does it take 2.5 years from congressional notification to contract award for harpoons for Taiwan 2.5 years. Why?
Uh Congressman, I’m happy to follow up with you specifically on the harpoon discussion. If that’s helpful to you, the contracting, we have to move more quickly. If the theme of today is we’re running out. Thank you. I recognize gentleman Mr. Kim for five minutes. Yeah, thank you. Uh Mr. Chair. I actually, I just want to kind of pick up on where, where we left off AAA. Uh you uh just sent, said that uh the policy we’ve been implementing has been successful over the last 40 years or so. Uh what, what policy were you in referencing there?
Our one China policy uh and our alignment in accordance with the Taiwan’s Relations Act uh uh Six Assurances for Communication. And is that, is that a policy that’s also being implemented right now through that strategic ambiguity uh approach, Congressman?
Yes, this is uh the, the approach that we have taken with the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques and the six assurances. Uh So if, if we’re saying that that this has been successful for the last four years, do either of you see a need to change that policy at this point?
Congressman, I would say that this policy has served us well, continues to serve us. Well, it allows us to be able to conduct all of the deterrence operations that we’re currently conducting in the region and it allows us to be able to maintain the cohesion with our alliances and partnerships throughout the region that serve us very well. I, I understand the, the, the, the desire about clarity and I understand sort of that how that could very well prompt some conversations that we aren’t having right now. Uh But I can also see how that could be sort of a double edged sword. So I, I guess I wanted to ask uh the admiral and then Mr. Royal, would that strategic clarity at this moment?
Do you think that would help or hurt our ability to build coalitions with other partners?
I’ll jump in first on that one. I uh I believe that we need to maintain constant contact with allies and partners about how they see uh stability in the region. We need to listen to them. We’re doing that regularly. I would also just add one point on clarity. Um I think what is clarifying here is the results that we’re seeing in terms of our engagements with allies and partners in the region, tremendous amount of progress in terms of our posture, our readiness, our ability to interoperate with allies and partners to be very clear, that is the clarifying element of our strategy in the region right now. And we’re investing in all of those areas and our allies and partners are with us, Admiral, anything you’d like to add here. Uh I’m not a policymaker. So again, as it applies, I’ll execute uh in accordance with one thing that I do hear from a lot of allies and partners in the area is about their concern regarding cyber security. This is a place where I feel like we have a lot of opportunity potentially to be able to engage and build that up as we’re thinking about what we have to offer other countries. So I, I guess admiral, I want to just turn to you first and then I’ll turn to the general here. But is there more that we could be doing here to be able to help lift up the cyber security capabilities of, of different partners in the region and, and use that as a way to be able to further our relationships with them. I wonder if there’s something here we can press on the gas. Yeah, Congressman, it’s absolutely a, a field that uh that is needed. We need to expand with our allies and partners that said that responsibility goes to General Nakai uh at cyber com that now he and I coordinate all the time. I’ve identified the area’s priorities and needs. Uh He has taken them on full board but protecting both the United States uh networks as well as our ally and partner networks is critical and it drives us together. Thank you, Admiral. And that is something that I raised with General Nason and, and something that he pointed out is importance as well. So I hope we can follow up uh with both you and, and he to try to figure out how we engage in that way. General, I wanted to just kind of get your thoughts from that. From the Korean Peninsula side. A lot of concerns about cyber security there. You know, what else do we need to be thinking about on that front?
And is there more that we could be doing with our partners in the r to be able to engage there?
Especially as we have a state visit coming up. I’m trying to think about what are the priorities we should be trying to push the R O K on to be able to strengthen our relationship and partnership on cyber security and other issues there?
Yeah. Uh Thanks Congressman. Yeah, the focus is, is on that protecting our information. Uh not just cyber but the other other domains and working with General Nason and his folks, but also working with the Koreans um and the commands that they are standing up to make sure that uh that we can protect, protect this information. We’ve seen some developments promising developments between discussion between South Korea and Japan of recent Mr. Roy. I guess maybe I’ll just ask you, you know, is there an area there that we can try again, kind of push on the gas and try to see if we can help strengthen that kind of relationship there. But also see it as part of the, the kind of security architecture that we’re trying to build congressman just a couple of days ago, we were able to see uh Japan and the Republic of Korea uh operate just off the waters of South Korea. Uh Together, these are the kinds of instances of examples where we’re watching a growing uh convergence in the strategic interests and a growing convergence in their willingness to gentle time expired. And I recognize gentleman from the great state of Alabama. Mr. Dale. Strong for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before uh my question, I’d like to say for the record, any leak of classified documents related to the national security of America is unacceptable under any circumstance, admiral. Uh uh uh my first question, uh I want to echo echo uh the remarks of the Chairman Rogers and saying thank you uh for being so candid uh your unfunded priorities list might as well be a highlight reel of what North Alabama does best. Uh I know you have a close partnership with the missile defense agency S M DC, both call uh Redstone Arsenal home. Uh The number one, uh the, the number one in paycom unfunded priority is for the Guam defense system. The F Y 23 N D A A requires the Secretary of Defense to designate a senior dod official to be responsible for the development and deployment of a missile defense system for Guam, giving your expertise, which dod official do you believe would be best suited for this role?
Uh to reach the objective. Uh Thanks Congressman again. Uh That current debate is going on. Uh I’m not sure I know exactly who uh, but I think that might be better for Jed to take as it’s working through the building. Ok, let me rephrase it. Uh What would you wanna see uh their expertise be uh going into this role?
What would be most beneficial to execute this?
Yeah, I think it’s somebody who could direct budgets who could direct priorities and then uh work towards both delivery and sustainment. Thank you. Uh your uh your number five unfunded priority, all domain missile warnings and tracking architecture would provide upgrade uh upgrades for the THAD software to assist with integrated air and missile defense uh uh protections. Can you speak to the importance of this provision and the uh repercussions if Congress does not um uh find a way to fund it?
Yeah, thanks congressman. So foundational uh again, as we built the requirement to defend Guam via 360 degree threats from all capabilities, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and other capabilities. Uh The end state is this hybrid architecture of integrated capabilities. And the shortfall identified uh in, in the, in my list uh would slow down or delay the integration of those different sets of capability, whether it be the A portion or the army sets of portions that are linked together, Thad Patriot f along with the A P. So it pushes that later Thank you, Ed. Well, both the Navy and in both have the S M six missile on their unfed uh priority list. The final assembly and testing of the S M six takes place at Redstone Arsenal in my district. Uh I am aware that there have been delays with production and the manufacturer is working to get back on track within the year. Uh Can you give uh the committee a perspective on why the S M six is critical within the Indo Pacific Congressman?
It’s extremely capable weapon has both an anti-air capability. It has an anti-ship capability. So uh when you, when you deliver it out into the fleet or whether it comes in some other form, uh it’s certainly proven itself to be uh critically lethal and capable. Thank you, as you shared in your testimony in the 2022 China uh completed 64 successful uh space launches. This is concern uh concerning at face value, especially considering that uh we’re only a uh only 87 launches in 2022 from American carriers. I’m proud to say that the dot S uh top launch provider, which um manufacturers in my district U L A has 100% mission success rate. Speaking uh to your number two unfunded priority. Which specific resources does your command need to ensure a national uh defense Space architecture is res is reliable and resilient. Yeah, Congressman, if we could do that in a classified setting. That’d be thank you. Uh Mr. Chairman, are you back?
Yeah, you and I recognize Gentleman Mr. Ryan for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you all for being here. Thank you. Also for your in depth uh written testimony. It was appreciated and uh comprehensive. Uh Thank you um in the last few weeks uh growing concern certainly for me and many to see more and more cozy relationship between Xi and Putin. Um and uh even more willingness to be overt and blatant about what we know has been obviously happening behind the scenes for a while. Um with that context in mind, as we look at the lessons of the last near decade, looking back to 2014 in Ukraine, what we did in terms of some of the actions in response there with training and embedding with Ukrainian forces. Um Both Mr. Royal and Admiral Aquilino. Could you talk about those lessons and how we’re trying to apply those in Taiwan to be more specific, you know, can you speak to their readiness both in terms of capability and intent and the urgency is the urgency there. And what can we do to bolster that happy to share a few initial thoughts with you and happy to follow up later on first is I think that it’s a real lesson for us that the rules based international order cannot be taken for granted that there is naked ambition that continues to exist in the world and we’re watching that play out in Ukraine. So that’s, I think the first thing we need to be vigilant about the fact that our international order is under duress. Secondly, we need to make sure that we are understanding what the real defense and capability requirements are of those that might be put under pressure by ravenous powers. And so we maintain a strong capability requirements relationship and discussion with the government of Taiwan. And as I mentioned, we continue to uh service those defense requirements through the foreign military sales program and, and direct commercial sales. Uh And finally, in terms of training proficiency is absolutely necessary. Here, you pointed to a relationship that we had with the government of Ukraine that was very productive in terms of its training outcomes since 2014. Uh I believe that we need to be able to, to think about how we can support Taiwan’s proficiency with the weapon systems that they are ordering. Admiral. Yeah, congressman. So again, I’ll just leave it as this. Uh We have done a lot of work, understanding the lessons learned from Ukraine and what’s occurred. And uh we are certainly integrating all of those into our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act. Thank you both. Um A building on that. Uh And, and ranking member addressed this in his opening statement, I’ve heard both from you all uh and others who have come before us, the importance of our alliances uh as one of our, I believe, strategic differentiators and strengths vis A vis um pr C uh adversaries um Admiral. You also touched on this in your testimony. Can you speak a little bit more about where we’re at with India in particular?
Uh And I know that’s a broad question, but are there authorities or requirements that we can help you all on to advance and bolster that uh critical alliance?
Uh Thanks Congressman. So again, in India is a critical partner as we talked about uh this, aside from the cooperation that we’re doing in the military, right?
So the exercises like Malabar Tobias, uh the fact that we’re providing assistance uh as it applies to cold weather gear and other capabilities that they might need as they uh defend their border on the northern side. Uh But additionally, uh you know, we’re expanding our cooperation in the form of production uh as India tries to work to develop its own industrial base. So c 1 30 critical components made in India, helicopter critical frameworks made in India uh that is expanding the partnership and moving them towards certainly self-sufficient sufficiency and increased partnership with the United States. Thank you. Oh, sorry. Did you have something we just offer uh as well that uh recently we kicked off um what we call an initiative for critical and emerging technologies that was announced by the two National Security Advisor of the United States and India, we’re already delivering uh uh offers under the context of the IET a arrangement. Um This is a real moment of convergence for the United States and India and we’re looking to take full advantage of it going forward. Uh Thank you just very briefly, General Camera. How do you assess growing bellicose from the PR C changing Mr. Kim’s calculus?
Is it likely that they sort of feed off each other essentially?
Yeah. Uh Yeah, I mean, they’re passing uh congratulatory notes back and forth and I’ve stated in the past that uh I see nothing on the Korean Peninsula that won’t involve China and Russia both providing lethal and nonlethal support. Thank you. Thank you. You’ll back Mr. chair chair and I recognized a gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Banks for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman Admiral. When did you first become aware of the spy balloon before it entered our airspace over Alaska or after?
I’d sure like to take that in a classified setting. Um A Washington post story over the weekend said that there have been several Chinese balloons that have operated in the Indo paycom A O R over previous years. What what are we doing about it?
So as we posture in the end A O R, sir, I’m responsible for defense of Guam Defense of Hawaii. We have aircraft on alert, our systems and our architectures uh are looking to uh ensure we can identify those in a position and place where we could respond if required. So the the story also notes that the spy balloons in your A O R often fly over us carrier strike groups and over the South China Sea. So are, are we, are we concerned about this or is this something that we too easily dismiss as the president seemed to seem to have done when the, when the balloon flew over the entire continental United States. So sir, I’m responsible and always concerned about force protection uh for our assets. So the network of sensors that exist, uh we understand where they’re going and when, whether or not they’re threatening uh that said if they fly over the South China Sea uh in accordance with the rules based international order, if that’s international airspace, then they should be allowed to fly there. That’s the way we would see it. That’s what we do. That’s what it means to adhere to the rules based international order. Ok. Um Can you explain to the, the public or at least members of the committee, why you wanna, why would, why you can’t answer the question of when you became aware of the Chinese spy balloon before it entered our airspace in Alaska or after?
Uh certainly the means for, for the record. Why, why would that have to be, why would, why would that have to be divulged in a classified setting?
Uh Certainly the way we identified it and how we knew where it was that and when it was uh is something I’d rather keep uh to ourselves?
Ok. Um At a, let’s see, a admiral um at a March hearing, I questioned North Com Commander General Van Huk, who told me that President Biden quote, could ask under special authorities for the military to do more to prevent fentanyl trafficking at our southern border. Could President Biden use such special authorities to help end up block the export of Chinese fentanyl analogs coming into the North America from your knowledge. Uh I’d have to go back and see as uh as I understand it, those cap or those uh precursor chemicals are actually legal to be shipped. So uh currently, I don’t have any authorities to interdict or stop or prevent legal chemicals from being Mr. Royal. What, what would those authorities be that President Trump or President Biden could enact that he’s not enacting that President Trump did use Congressman. I can’t speak to the specific authorities that you’re referencing right now. I will say that uh we believe that the fentanyl uh uh problem that we’re facing is a serious one and a serious threat to our society. The administration does have a strategic implementation plan uh that is shared by members of the interagency and dod has provided enabling support to that strategic implementation plan including through the provision of aircraft, radar and intelligence to support uh arresting this threat as it continues to move forward to our country. So just to clear this up those special authorities do exist, sir. I’m not entirely sure which specific authorities you’re referring to right now. We have the authority to be able to support our interagency partners. Uh And we have done that uh under the rubric of the strategic implementation plan. Admiral. Can you talk about the joint interagency task force West?
That’s used it interdict the flow of fentanyl into the United States. Yes. Congressman. So that’s my organization uh assigned towards counter drug counter transnational crime. Uh And uh taking on that aspect of what the PR C might do. We track any of those shipments in accordance and in conjunction with north com south com and the interagency to provide an understanding of where that may be going so that if it does end up turning into uh an illegal chemical, then it can be interdicted. So my organization is directly connected. We track those whenever we uh we can. Ok. Thank you. I yelled back. Thank the gentleman chair and I recognize Gentle Lee from Texas M Escobar for five minutes. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman and ranking member. Um Gentlemen, thank you so much for your testimony and your service. I represent, I have the privilege of representing Fort Bliss, Texas uh which is in Texas 16, El Paso. And my uh questions are going to focus on the importance of resilient infrastructure, logistics and mobilization capacity. We have to make sure that we are increasing our logistics capacity and force adaptability in the theater where China is not only maintains the advantage of proximity but owns a vast arsenal of capabilities. Unlike that of the insurgent forces, the US spent the last 20 years fighting uh Admiral Aquilino. My first question is for you, sir. I’d like to highlight the critical importance of multi domain operational training in a contested environment especially as it pertains to the army. Can you talk about how Pacific pathways and other initiatives are in integrating this element to prepare our army for a potential conflict in the theater?
What challenges if any do you foresee affecting our ability to conduct joint training with partners and allies on a large scale while emulating a highly contested logistics environment?
Uh Thanks congresswoman. So from the Indo Pacific position, right?
This is gonna take the whole joint force and synchronizing and integrating that joint force uh to be able to deliver effects is uh is a strength, the United States has that no other ally and no other nation can do to include the sustaining of that force across half the globe. So Pacific partnership is or Pacific pathways is critical because it’s a mechanism to maneuver the land component to places where either we can exercise or operate with our allies and partners or to preset the force in places that we need to operate. Uh that same capability is needed across all of the service components. So it it it what identified in my report was uh a need for increased campaigning dollars. That does exactly that it allows for the transportation sustainment and support for forces forward uh to deliver that deterrent effect. Thank you so much. Uh Mr. Royal, any large scale operations or increased deployments in the A R would require development of key infrastructure. However, the need for this infrastructure to be resilient to climate disasters cannot be overstated. What are the biggest challenges impacting your ability to take environmental factors into consideration in making assessments required for mil needs in the A R R congresswoman?
Um I will just uh add to what Admiral Aquilino has said by um reinforcing that deterrence occurs in this region based on two things. One, it’s having the right capabilities at the right level of readiness in, in the right locations. Uh And secondly, because our allies and partners are with us and there this question of posture brings those two together the capabilities and the allies and partners. And we’re seeing some really terrific progress being made with respect to how we are able to posture alongside our allies and partners. In terms of climate concerns. We do have an ongoing dialogue with partners throughout the region, allies throughout the region on how climate change is affecting their ability to be able to withstand and support the US military movement through the region. User pack has a terrific war game series called uh Unified Pacific War gaming series. Uh And they are testing out their ability to maneuver, maneuver through contested environment in the region, including with respect to the potential effects of climate change uh moving forward. So we have uh addressed that in the national defense strategy and we’re addressing that in the budget submission as well. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. You back. Thank you not recognize General Lady from Michigan Miss McLean for five minutes. Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you all for being here today. I appreciate it. Um EDM Ecoli, I, I wanna make it clear that I have some serious concerns with the priority of the White House when it comes to our national defense. I also wanna make sure uh that we understand that I have some serious concerns on how our taxpayers’ dollars are spent as it pertains to the military to make sure that we are ready. And uh I, I think there are a lot of issues that we need to cover. I think prioritization of these issues are extremely important. Like you, I’m gravely concerned about the C C P and the P L A s aggressive modernization timeline. Um While you, while, while you have almost 3.5 billion in unfunded priorities that you’ve deemed as vital to our defense against the P L A 3.5 billion, the president’s budget over the past several years have been, has been focused on a woke garbage in my opinion, agenda that has nothing to do to do do with deterring the C C P. So let me just give you some numbers as, as I, as I see them in 2021 Chairman Milley admitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the dod spent almost six million man hours on woke training. Six. It’s right here. Six million man hours on woke training. May of 22 the dod spent $91,000 on diversity and inclusion for the Air Force Band. OK. Last year, we found out that Calissa Wing of the former Chief D E I officer at the defense department school was pushing her book on white privilege in those schools. OK. Last month, the Air Force launched an effort to hire a diversity equity and inclusion manager manager, excuse me and pay them upwards of 100 and $80,000 a year. I’m curious as to what their outcomes would be because when you hire a diversity equity and inclusion manager, I’m curious what their outcome is because if they achieved their outcome, they’d be put out of a job, but that’s a different discussion for a different day. F Y 23 the president requested 86.5 million for dedicated diversity and inclusion activities. 86.5 million. Now remember you have 33.5 billion of unfunded priorities this year. The president wants 100 and 14 million more, right?
These instances of wokeness and and sends an embarrassing message, I think to our friends, but more importantly to our allies on what we prioritize now. I’m not here to say that diversity equity inclusion is not important, but on the list of priorities, I, I gotta tell you, I think we have some other funded projects that we could spend six million more man hours on. So I know you don’t have an exact number, but I would like to hear your opinion. And how much do you think the C C P spends on diversity equity and inclusion or do you think they might prioritize like their hypersonic?
A little bit ahead of diversity equity inclusion?
Uh I don’t have that number, ma’am. I’d have to look at it and get back to you. What’s your gut feel?
You think they spend like six million man hours talking about diversity equity inclusion and, or you think they spend maybe use those hours to um develop some hypersonic to use against us?
Well, what I would say is it’s certainly not a diverse culture by design. I, I would, I would agree with that, but I’d like to know what you think of our prioritization. You have billions of unfunded mandates and we’re spending taxpayer dollars and a lot of those taxpayer dollars on, on stuff. Do you think that helps our readiness?
Oh, ma’am. I, what I would say is uh as a, as you’ve clearly identified and looked at the report, uh uh I’ve submitted uh it’s clear what I’ve identified as priorities. I think I’d turn that over to Jed to take on congresswoman. I think that the Mr. Royle, please. You’re very soft spoken. Please pull the mic close because we really can’t hear you. Sorry, congressman, congresswoman, I was soft spoken. Uh the health and the well-being of the department’s workforce, both in uniform and civilian is of the utmost important importance. It’s one of four uh key priorities of the national defense strategy. And we are looking uh comprehensively how we’re going to support our workforce going forward. I appreciate that my time’s up. I yield back. Thank you. Chair now recognizes MS McClelland for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and ranking member Smith for convening the hearing today and for uh to our witnesses for being here. Um I want to focus a little bit on our regional alliances. Uh It has been heartening recently that our treaty allies South Korea and Japan have been working recently to resolve their diplomatic tensions and um to cooperate more effectively. Uh How is in Indo Paco working to encourage similar breakthroughs?
Uh strengthening to strengthen ties between us allies in the region so that we can present a stronger united front in the face of increasing Chinese aggression. Uh Thanks congresswoman again, 100 or 100 and 20 exercises a year with partners across the region. So through the military landscape, uh we spend uh a lot of time uh ensuring that we know how to operate together, how we can be interoperable as best as possible, how we can protect the rules based international order. Uh And that’s on top of all of our operations outside of exercises, uh continuous coordination with my counterparts, my staff always directly involved and linked with both country teams as well as our partner nations. So that’ll continue and it takes it, we spend a lot, a lot of money there or we spend a lot of effort there. Thank you. Um And this is for uh Mr. Royal and, and, and also you Admiral. Um recently in the United States, the UK and Australia announced pillar one of the a agreement that will allow Australia to obtain American manufactured nuclear power submarines and eventually make similar indigenously is the US military supplier base ready to expand its capacity to address increased demand. And if not, what steps can we take to ensure that we can meet our stated production goals. For a and for the naval forces?
Congresswoman, I would um just take one step back and offer a complimenting um uh comment to what Admiral Aquilino just stated. You referenced Japan and Korea in your question. I would also note that with Australia, in particular, we have agreed to increase uh us rotational presence including with bombers and fighters uh and uh did uh defense and uh industrial based integration is occurring uh at this very moment, just looking at the level of exercises that we’re conducting in the region, Talisman, Sayan Cobra Gold, Ruda Shield. Uh each of these are seeing uh the highest levels of engagement uh in their history. And so in terms of the overall picture of how healthy the alliances and partnerships are in the region, uh we’re really seeing some historic steps forward on August. We do believe that the industrial base can perform at the level that we have proposed in the agreement that we have with the UK and Australia. We know that it will take a lot of work, it will take a lot of constant conversation with industry partners as well. We are encouraged by the defense industrial base commitment that Australia has already made to our submarine defense industrial base. And so we think things are on the right track and congresswoman for my role, uh it’s to be able to accelerate this capability and in order to do that, right, I’ve sent uh submarines, us submarines to sterling for Familiarization. And so the Australians can also uh look at it. We’ve done that in coordination with the United Kingdom. And then ultimately, uh as soon as possible, we’re gonna look to get Australian sailors on us submarines. So I get to work diligently to bridge the gap as the industrial base delivers what’s needed. Uh Thank you. And um you know, we’ve touched a little bit on how, um you know, war is not inevitable. Um And I wanna focus a little bit on, on, on diplomacy and our military strength can only go as far as um in, in maintaining powerful alliance systems that concerted diplomacy has to be the cornerstone of those alliances. Are we doing enough to maintain a strong and concerted diplomatic presence that makes the job of our armed forces in the region easier, congressman. I’m very pleased to say that our Indo Pacific strategy for this administration is very much an interagency interagency strategy, the role for the US Department of Defense and for Indo Pacific Command and our armed forces is discrete. It’s tailored, it’s focused, it all fits within a broader context of diplomacy. And again, I think that we’re seeing the impacts of that interagency diplomacy led effort when we look at the progress that’s being made in terms of US, Posture, uh access into the region and the multilateral arrangements that have been established in, in many cases, smaller trilateral uh progress that we’re seeing right now between the Republic of Korea, Japan, the United States, other many lateral settings. Thank you, a gentleman from Texas Smith recognized five minutes. Uh Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate it very much and thank you for uh uh thanks to all the witnesses for joining us, Admiral. Is it true that China has doubled their military spending in the last 10 years?
Uh Congressman, that’s true based on the reports as articulated and presented by the P L A. Uh My belief is that spending that actually goes on in support of their military is much higher than that and that their spending maybe increase year over year, about 7.5%. Does that sound about accurate?
The military spending?
Excuse me, their military spending has increased 7.5% roughly over the last, uh, year. Again, that’s their advertised number. Uh I’m not uh sure it’s accurate so they’re focused on and proving clearly their hard power. Let’s talk about soft power in your estimation. What kind of threats to our interests and influence in the region?
Does their Belt and Road initiative present?
Thanks Congressman. I, I’m not sure it would be considered soft power. I think it’s a cos of tool as utilized by the PR C uh to be able to influence and move uh nations in the region in directions that are beneficial for the P L A when the P L A articulates Belt and Road or one Belt one Road as a win win strategy. Uh That’s true. It’s a win for the Chinese and it’s a win for the Chinese. It is not a win for any nation. Uh Secretary Royal, can you touch on India’s importance in, in the region and what we can do to kind of wean them off uh their dependence on Russia for, for weapons and uh defense assistance and uh bring them more into the fold and uh in the western world, the congressman as Admiral Aquilino Ari stated, um India faces the same challenger um that we face in the region. And so what we’re seeing right now is a moment of strategic convergence in our relationship with the government of India. Uh There’s a lot of momentum in that regard with respect to your question on uh from whom do they buy their weapons. Uh We believe that they are uh through a generational process of looking to diversify off of traditional suppliers. We want to make sure that the US defense industrial base is in the best position possible to be India’s partner of choice moving forward. Uh I noted the uh initiative on critical and Emer Royal. Please pull the microphone closer. Thank you, sir. I, I noted earlier the initiative on critical and emerging technologies that has been announced by the two national security advisers uh of the United States and India. And so it’s in all of these areas where we’re able to see the kind of progress uh and the kind of promise for this relationship moving forward. Ok. Thank you. And uh I guess uh for Mr. Roy and if the uh admiral, the general want to weigh in on this, uh how troubling did you find the comments of President Macron of France?
Recently, Congressman, I, as I mentioned earlier, we’re having um a really in depth conversation with uh all of our European partners on the challenges that the PR C presents both in the Indo Pacific region and globally. Uh as we look at the NATO strategic um uh document that that’s been developed, it includes uh the PR C in a way that it hasn’t in the past, I would say the same thing for the latest European Union white paper. So we’re taking uh President Macron’s comments within the context of all of those trends that we’re watching. I would certainly point to other voices out there. Um The Foreign Minister of Germany was recently uh delivered a speech in which she talked a little bit differently than President Macron. And we have uh certainly uh Foreign Minister Wong of Australia who uh delivered a speech along those lines. I would point to as well as uh I would say, fairly consistent with a uh understanding and approach the United States has to the PR C challenge. Admiral General. Do you have any comments?
No, sir, go ahead. General. Sorry. No, sir. Ok. The thing that uh it, it makes it rather obvious to and, and to me is the PR C would love nothing more than to separate us from the EU. And uh if they do that, then that’s a, it’s a huge win for them. And I just want to make sure that uh we nip something like that in the bud because it was very uh just really shocking uh to did that. He said what he said, I didn’t really serve. I don’t think Europe’s interest. France’s interest are certainly ours. So, uh uh thank you all again. Thank you, Mr. Chairman Gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Dezio for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, gentlemen. Hello. I know it’s a long day. Thanks for being with us uh Amber. I want to pick up on a question from Mr. Fallon here about uh pr C spending and in particular advertised or otherwise, where is their investment in their ship building relative to ours?
Uh I don’t think I have the comparison congressman, but uh they are certainly putting out ships at a pace that exceeds ours right now. And that’s warships sealift, commercial, all of it. All the above I ask because I’m one of the pieces I’m worried about is they are very aggressively making territorial claims, asserting the power uh to regulate ships within what is international water that our fleet and otherwise patrols and protects to submit to Chinese command and supervision in those waters again, flagrantly violating international law and norms uh and certainly in against the backdrop of raising their warships or building more warships relative to what we are doing our sea lift capacity. I worry. Uh I think last month in this committee, the maritime administrator told us talking about the sea lift fleet. The average age of some of those ships is 44 years old, some more than 50 years old, we’re relying on foreign built ships uh for our sea lift capacity. And so I guess my question, Admiral would be whether you think our sealift capacity is sufficient to meet our needs. Uh And certainly, if you could weigh in on where our sealift capacity is relative to PR C, uh as it applies to sealift, we certainly uh have a distinct advantage over the PR C built numbers and capabilities uh as it applies to what’s needed in the future. So uh uh General van, the Transcom commander, uh and I speak often she is aware of the needs required. Uh And she’s done some good work. And I also thank the Congress for the support to the uh the additional 10 tankers that we’ve been able to utilize. So as a combined effort, uh sea lift and airlift is critical, especially when you have to do logistics sustainment over half the globe. Uh And again, in partner with Transcom Commander, we’ve identified that and, and asked the services to support it, Mr. Royle, anything you wanna add to or weigh in on that question?
Uh Thanks Congressman, I would offer that dod has uh quite a broad range of modeling and analytical capabilities that we undertake. Uh We’re looking um at this theater as an all domain uh competitive space ship building is certainly one of those domains and we wanna make sure that we remain competitive that in that regard. Uh But we’re also making sure that we’re thinking about the position and the presence of us ships uh with respect to all the other domains that are uh are necessary to bring to bear the right kind of posture at the right time. Gentlemen, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Are you back?
And I, I wanna pause for a minute. I was glad the way that uh Mr. Dezio framed that and that is what are they doing compared to us?
Because I’ve said repeatedly what they spend is what they say they spend is a lie. But what they spend compared to what we spend is not apples to apples. They don’t have an epa uh they don’t have OSHA, they don’t have a, they don’t have a congress. They don’t have any of the, the, the things that we have uh to deal with and interfere with or drive cost up on uh their expenditure. So uh it’s, it’s always healthy to do what Mr. Dezio did talk in terms of what is our capability, what is their capability, not how much they spend versus how much we spend because it really is a silly argument. Uh who Mr. Moylan from?
Guam is recognized for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Uh Thank you to the panel today. Uh The time that you put in and the answers that you’ve been providing, that’s very helpful. I also want you to uh know in the audience. We have um also guests from Guam, our Guam Chamber of Commerce here. We have six of them that are very supportive of our continuing military buildup. On Guam and, and where are they happy?
Are they in the?
Can you kindly stand up, please?
Welcome. Glad to have you all here with us. Hope we didn’t disappoint you. Thank you. And we continue to support our military buildup on Guam. Uh Sir, you uh made in your report uh regarding the Guam cluster, uh identifying us as Guam is the most forward territory in the Pacific, right?
Identifying over 100 and 70,000 American uh civilian citizens. Uh you pointed out uh with Guam and C N Y that we know time in history as such a military buildup and construction being happening. And specifically, you mentioned that Guam is the third highest construction workforce per capita nationally. And the military construction demands require a workforce more than three times as large as what currently exists. So in order to do this, we need a great relief regarding the H two B workers. And right now, uh these H two B workers are going to end in 2024. And in your report, you said we need them until 2029. So you know I’m completely behind you. I trust you, I know what you’re doing and I, and I believe in what you can do, but I need to support you even greater. Congress needs to support you even greater. We’ve introduced the uh standalone bill with the H two B Visas uh to extend it to 2029 we’re even uh attempting to include that in the N D A A language. Uh It would be helpful for me if you can uh further explain uh if we don’t get this done and what’s the importance of this construction being done in, in the Guam cluster and how important it is for you to complete your mission, sir. Uh Thanks Congressman. Uh So, the development on Guam, I think we’ve invested between 11 and $13 billion to be able to execute the requirements that uh we believe we need for both sustainment as well as offensive and, and uh defensive war fighting capabilities. Uh It is critical uh to be able to deliver those at speed and with the sense of urgency that are articulated. Uh so the, the criticality of extending the H two B visas through 29 would allow us to finalize the investments and the delivery of the posture needed on Guam. Uh The people of Guam have been amazing partners uh through throughout history all the way back to World War Two. So we need to finish uh our posture initiatives without the uh ability to get workers which are uh mostly from the Philippines. Uh Again, I’d be clear there’s no Chinese workers coming to Guam to do the work that we’ve asked, it would delay the implementation and push us back years if we didn’t have that authority. Uh Thank you. Another question, of course is um where our budget was significantly uh short. You’re talking about the Guam defense system, right?
The priority mission to defend our homeland with the G D S3 160 degree integrated air and missile defense for Guam uh to include an offensive capability as well. So we, we understand um the budget, the president’s proposed budget was 100 and 47 million short. Uh You identified that this was the purpose of the Guam defense system, the 3 60 degree integrated air air missile defense for the island. Um You know, I wanna thank you for making that a top unfunded priority. Uh And, and uh I’m gonna do my best to make sure that’s a funded priority as well. Uh But, but again, just reiterate that we’re the forward most deployed, right?
We keep this uh as far away as possible without this. Uh we’re putting in danger, I believe uh all the troops we have on island and specifically the civilians on Guam. So please reiterate what, what you’re explaining to us in your report. Thank you, sir. Uh Thanks Congressman. So again, the, the funding shortfall identified as uh as my integration with the, the missile defense agency and the department uh is targeted at integrating the different sets of capabilities uh that are identified in the architecture. So a capabilities tied with army capabilities in the form of a patriot. Uh If and the other uh required portions to deliver a 306 degree integrated defense that 147 would delay the integration of some of those capabilities. Uh And that wouldn’t be optimum for the delivery of the defense of Guam. Uh Thank you. Uh We’ll fight strong to get your h to be extended to 2029 get you that 147 million in order for our nation and for our island of Guam. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank the gentleman chair and I recognize the gentleman from North Carolina Mr. Davis for five minutes. Thanks so much, Mr. Chair and to the witnesses. Um here today, while the focus of the United States security policy of late has been on the People’s Republic of China. North Korea continues to engage in saber rattling tactics in the nuclear weapons domain. Um General Lara at this moment in time, how do you assess the threat level from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and specifically, which leg of the nuclear triad air land sea capability?
Your opinion poses the most immediate threat to the homeland?
Uh To answer your last question, his land capability is the greatest threat. Um What what he’s, what he’s demonstrated with his ICBM testing. Um Our focus is on combat readiness and making sure that we can, we have not deterred him in developing this capability. We now need to focus on deterring him from employing this capability. As we saw tragically in Hong Kong, the people at the top of the institutions matter as much, if not more than the institutions of government themselves in responding to the Pr C’s brazen uh violation of the one country two systems regime that govern Hong Kong. Since it incorporation a generation ago, the US offered little in the way of pushback. Uh Mr. Royal as we think about our military’s posture in the South China Sea, especially as it relates to um Taiwan. How can we be sure that history does not repeat itself. Congressman?
I agree with your assessment that we’re watching. Apr C increasingly repressive at home and increasingly assertive abroad in the South China Sea. The PR C uh continues to make unlawful claims and we call on the PR C to abide by the 2016 arbitration on the claims in the South China Sea. We believe that our mutual defense commitments with allies and partners in the region represent a demonstrable advancement in terms of being able to resist those unlawful claims as we watch them unfold. And so we’re going to continue to sail, fly and operate wherever international law allows. We talked about freedom of navigation operations earlier in this hearing and we’ll continue to share information transparently with allies and partners when we see violations by the PR C in an illicit way along the lines of those unlawful claims. And um Mr. Royal and um to the Admiral, um are you confident that the South Korean allies and other Quad region partners continue to have full trust in our intelligence and military capabilities. Um especially, you know, what we’ve seen over the last few weeks with the leak of um sensitive classification of classified information in the assessment there. Uh Simply put Congressman, yes, we believe that we continue to have uh the full faith and confidence in the partnership in the alliance with the Republic of Korea. Uh Absolutely, Carson, thank you so much. We appreciate your presence today and Mr. Chairman, you back. Thank the gentleman chair and I recognize the gentleman from Missouri Mr. Alford for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, uh ranking member Smith and our distinguished witnesses today. I appreciate you all being here today. I’m, I think we’re all concerned about uh what’s going on with China and Taiwan and maybe we’re not moving fast enough to develop the capabilities to deter communist China. Our military has incredible capabilities. But as we modernize our forces, particularly our air force and navy, we have to ensure that we’re putting hard power in place to make China think twice before conducting a naval blockade or full scale amphibious assault of Taiwan. We also need to do a better job of explaining to the American people why Taiwan matters and why the Indo Pacific Region is critical to our national security efforts. More than 50% of the world’s GDP flows through this region. Taiwan alone produces more than 60% of the world’s semiconductors, more than 90% of the most advanced ones. We cannot allow China to seize control of these critical supply chains which impact goods that we use each and every day. This leads to our questions today. Mr. Keum, after China’s recent military drills around Taiwan, China’s military declared it’s ready to fight. Can you talk more about what Indo paycom is doing to deter the Chinese Communist Party from launching military drills and threatening our allies in the region. Uh Thanks Congressman. So uh Indo Pacific Command is posture with forces uh West of the International Date Line that are prepared to respond, executing uh daily operations for deterrence, operating with our allies and partners. Uh And we’re able to respond quickly to any aggressive action. Do we have the sea power that we need to combat China at this point?
We do at this point as we’ve talked about before China is moving at a very rapid pace. They’re increasing both capability and capacity and we certainly have to make sure that we always have over match against the Chinese. What do you see as the biggest challenge right now then force?
Uh Right now, I think it’s the speed of urgency at which we’re working as we’ve come out of 20 years in the Middle East and understanding uh what this security challenger is posing as a threat. Uh We need to understand how fast it’s coming and we need to go faster. What are the top priorities for munitions and can uh the American sector meet these demands that we’re going to be facing uh for Indo Paycom as a part of my 12 54 report, I’ve articulated the numbers and types of weapons uh that we believe we need to invest in and to deliver uh quickly uh as it applies to the industrial base, I’ll ask Jed to take that congressman on your last point. Um There were 17 munition systems identified uh for a multiyear procurement in the latest N D A A. Those are the 17 systems that I would say are most critical right now in terms of our ability to stockpile to have magazine depth in in the Indo Pacific region. I’ve heard uh we have heard uh U three talk about the importance of our allies and the, and the critical role that they will play in helping us counter China. Can you talk about some of the capabilities that we need to improve on with our allies such as cyber and where there might be gaps in that general?
Let’s start with you, please. Uh We’re working with the Koreans. They’re standing up a strategic command that has a cyber embedded in it. Um working with our cyber com um and the National security agency uh to be able to not just look at it from an, a defensive but an offensive uh capability going forward and I’d rather talk about the rest of it. Um Classified setting admiral what I would say is that certainly the shoring up in defense of all of our networks and our partner networks is step one and most critical because as we continue to operate with them, uh the sharing of information and all of that and, and pay one of my uh unfunded requirements is identified as referred to as a mission partner environment. So right now, I got 13 networks to talk to my partners maintaining 13 networks and keeping them all cyber safe is a, is a chore. The mission partner environment brings all of our, our uh partners into one network, think single pane of glass that has uh zero trust capability for cyber security for us to be able to operate together. Thank you again to our witnesses and Mr. Chairman, I, you’ll back. I thank the gentleman chair and I recognize gentleman from California. Mr. give me Panetta for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that, gentlemen. Thanks uh to all of you for being here and of course, your service um obviously, uh a Ukrainian victory is important and no matter what your definition is of that America’s commitment and leadership is absolutely necessary for that quote unquote win in order for there to be peace in the Indo Pacific region. Obviously, when it comes to Korea, when it comes to Taiwan, America’s commitment is essential as a deterrent and if as an ally, if that deterrence fails, as you said, Admiral. Now what we’ve seen though is obviously built up on both sides for the past 20 years. As the US has been focused on other areas, China has built up the world’s largest stockpile of precision guided missiles, which we’ve heard a lot about today. And obviously you’re seeing the United States have to counter with its own stockpiles and its own long range of precision precision guided missiles. In fact, I guess certain war games have determined that the US will run out, run out in less than a week if there is a military engagement and there’s obviously other areas as well. One of those is distributed lethality is where the United States has to enter into. And part of that is uh this strategy called Marines 2030 where we’re basically giving up tanks and getting up on li li forces by putting more on islands, kind of a ship to shore or shore to shore as they say, uh admiral, if you could expound on Marines 2030 and then also go into the fact that as we work to deter China in a China attack, how do we not provoke one?
Uh Thanks Congressman. Uh First, the Marine Regiment uh again, General Berger, who came out of uh pack as you know, uh I think uh was pretty understanding of the threat, the scenario and what was needed. So I uh I appreciate his effort to focus on the Indo Pacific problem set. Uh that said we need to deliver that organization with the capabilities to deliver effects surface to air, uh air or surface to surface, surface to ship uh when that force is armed and, and prepared and that uh set of capability, it’s exactly what we need in the Indo Pacific to support the fight. Um To your second question on what do we do to not provoke the PR C?
Well, uh number one, we got to make sure that they understand we’re not seeking conflict. Number two, we haven’t changed our policy. Number three, we don’t support independence for Taiwan. And then we need to make sure that they can operate inside this international world order in a way that all nations want to interoperate with them economically diplomatically. Uh And, and that’s the challenge. So first, we need to make sure they understand we are not trying to provoke. Great. Thank you, Mr. Oil. Um Taiwan’s intelligence community faces constant infiltrations by the C C P including taking advantage of weak espionage law, espionage laws that can challenge our own ability to coordinate with the Taiwanese. What do you make of our ability to work with Taiwan’s intelligence community?
And what strategies might we consider to create a more reliable intelligence sharing with the Taiwan Taiwanese congressman?
This is a topic uh of our bilateral discussions with the government of Taiwan. I will say they’re making improvements uh in their ability to hold and maintain security over information. And we also are able to, to have some pretty discrete conversations about what we’re we’re seeing in terms of developments in the region. So I would say that this is an area for that we are improving in and needs further improvement going forward. Great. Thank you. Last question, uh Admiral, can you discuss what uh us indo paycom is doing to ensure our current stockpiles and military assets remain intact amid a conflict under extreme weather conditions such as a hurricane, such as um you know, other, other types of extreme weather events that we’re dealing with. Uh Yeah, thanks Congressman. So uh certainly uh I have an organization that’s the center for disaster uh for excellence for disaster management. Uh They’re doing a lot of work for me to make sure I understand where those places are that we need, that might be at risk based on impacts, whether it be drought, sea level rise, seve severity of storms. Uh And we ensure that those are structured correctly uh and position to be able to sustain and survive any uh harsh impact. Uh but the ability to predict and then the ability to take action in advance of the problem is the approach we’ve taken. Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back. I thank the gentleman from California. Now recognize General from New York. Mr. Lolo for five minutes. Thank you, Chairman uh Admiral General. Um Mr. Roy. I wanna start by thanking you for your service and for being here with our committee today, uh Admiral, I have to say, um I’m a bit excited to speak with you on the record today. Uh It’s not every day I get to dialogue with a combatant commander who’s not only from Long Island but from my congressional district. And in fact, I understand as you told me earlier that you lived five houses away from San’s high school where my wife and I both attended. So uh awesome that you’re here. Admiral. Um I was a few classes after you uh at Annapolis and after commissioning, I was deployed to the Western Pacific three times and spent 11 months in 2005 attached to a joint special operations task force in the Southern Philippines. And with that experience, I have uh great respect and appreciation for the role the Indo Pacific Command plays uh to our national security and our nation’s most dangerous adversaries. China, Russia and North Korea have a significant presence in your area of operations. And I’m honored to have you and your staff here today to discuss and work with our committee to address national security challenges in the Indo Pacific region. And a significant ally in the region is the Republic of the Philippines and the United States. And the Philippines have maintained a deep multigeneration relationship that includes uh bilateral security alliance, uh extensive military cooperation, a close people to people, ties and many shared strategic and economic interests. And as you are all aware, the Philippines, China and other countries have long standing disputes over waters and land features in the South China Sea. And as a result, tensions have risen sharply over the last decade as China has enlarged and placed military assets on several disputed features in the South China Sea. Just recently, our dod has announced the location of four new naval bases in the Philippines to include three on the North eastern part of the island chain. And I applaud those efforts to keep in check the growing threats of China. And I’m optimistic about our efforts to achieve deterrence through strength in the region and it’s crucial that we continue to position ourselves and have regional readiness um in the region and admiral. My question, first question is for you in your testimony, you discussed how important uh how, excuse me, how our competitors seek to challenge us dominance in all domains including space and cyber sir, and to maintain our war, war fighting advantage us indo paycom requires resilient and flexible space and cyber capabilities. And we need to continue to integrate these capabilities into activities and exercises with our allies and partners in the region. And so given these new bases in recent joint training exercise in the Philippines, do you envision any additional resources or manpower that will be needed uh that are currently unplanned for and the questions for everybody. Uh Thanks Congressman. Uh I appreciate the question. It’s good to meet with you as well. Um I just want one point of clarification. So the sites that we have coordinated with the Philippines will certainly not be us bases, right?
So those are uh Philippine sovereign territory that we will work with them to be able to invest in and build out so that the Philippines and the United States can operate together uh whenever needed to both exercise and, and rehearse. Uh that said that those agreements are just going through. So as a part of indo pay comms uh plan for developing those four places, uh we have not even done the assessment nor have we identified any planning and design or ultimately coordination with our Philippine partners on what things are best invested in. So we have way more work to do. None of those requirements are in my 12 54 report. Those will be for future years. Uh but having the ability to work with our critical ally, uh the Philippines, uh we need to build those out as quick as possible. And thanks for your service. The team is still supporting the Philippines uh down south where you operated from. Great, just to follow up on admiral. I’m I’m familiar, I’m sure we’re using the through by and with method still uh with Philippines and some other neighbors and partners in the area. Um When do you expect to uh more specifically drill down to this committee to what resources you need to help advance uh a presence through by and with our Filipino counterparts. So in my current report, Congressman, there are, there are identified projects that uh that we would like to build out in the current sites that they’ve agreed with that. We have started work on uh for the four additional sites. Those will show up next year in, in that report. Thanks, I appreciate, I appreciate your time and uh and your efforts, Chairman, you back. Thank the gentlemen. You’re not recognized, Mr. Hors for five minutes. Thank you very much, Chairman Rogers and ranking member Smith uh for holding this important hearing as the 2022 US national security strategy stated the Indo Pacific is the epicenter of the 21st century uh Geopolitics. The Indo Pacific Theater encompasses over 35 countries, 15 time zones and is home to over half of the world’s population. It is evident to me that success in the region will be a result of multilateral approaches. Secretary Austin has stated that we must use every tool at the Department of Defense’s disposal in close collaboration with our counterparts across the US government and with allies and partners to ensure that potential foes understand the folly of aggression. The work that we do with our allies and partners plays a crucial part of our ability to deter conflict. Um As you know, my district includes Nellis Air Force Base who aligned with the National Defense Strategy have focused their red flag exercises on the Indo Pacific Theater and the pacing challenges alongside our allied partners. So, um how are we collaborating with our allies and our partners to build an advantage and deter any challenges that we may face in the region?
And how are you working with our counterparts in the US government to address issues in the Indo Pacific?
And what can Congress do to further assist in those efforts?
Congressman, I’ll jump in first here on this one. Um As you alluded to in your comments, deterrence holds in this region for two reasons. One is because we have the right capabilities postured at the right level of readiness. And secondly, because our allies and partners are standing with us and uh in that regard, I would say that we’re doing more than ever with respect to advancing our relationships with our allies and partners uh in Japan. We’ve uh we’re watching their uh the Japanese diet increase the defense budget uh by over 25% just uh in the next year. Uh They’ve supported a counter strike capability and they are now offering to host a US Marine regiment in Japan for the very first time. The arrangement is a historic opportunity for us to be able to put increasing capability in the undersea domain into increase interoperability with two of our most capable allies. This is the sort of story that we’re seeing repeated throughout the region right now among all of our defense treaty allies, but beyond that as well with all of our partners. And so when we’re talking about having the right capabilities and watching defense budgets support that in postured in the way that actually does create the right kind of deterrent effects to our adversaries. All of that is under way right now and we are breathing oxygen into that work every single day. Uh Congressman uh as it applies from the training lens, right?
So we do it like I said, 100 and 20 exercises, operations, the training aspect of our allies and partners is critical. Some of them come to your state and go to the gold standard, right?
Of for the Air Force, Fallon for the Navy. And the intent that we’re trying to push in the approach is to take that level of training and connect it from to Australia to Alaska, to Guam to Japan. And if you were to think about a training range that span that size and scope and allies and partners from anywhere in the region could jump in and get high end training like you’re used to and the Air Force is used to at Nell. That’s a pretty good uh path forward. That’s our approach. Thank you for the recognition of the great work uh that our service members are doing at Nellis and beyond. Uh Finally, um we know in states like Nevada, uh many of our constituents are feeling the effects of the climate crisis every day. And the Indo Pacific Theater also experiences some of the world’s most damaging events. Often they are fast occurring and unpredictable. So what are some of the actions that are being taken uh towards uh work around climate resiliency, Congressman?
The first thing that we’re doing right now is spending a lot of time with our allies and partners in the region talking about what they’re seeing in terms of the impacts of climate change, in particular for defense and security requirements where our department is most focused. Uh And to that regard, we are looking at ways to mitigate those impacts, whether it’s related to infrastructure or energy security. And I do think over time uh investments that we need to be making into green technologies that support uh our defense requirements and those of our allies and partners will be absolutely critical in the coming years. Thank you, Congressman, I’ve provided uh my organization has done a 30 year prediction on what each of those nations might be uh seeing come in their way and they can use that for understanding preparedness and as we work projects and other things, uh we make sure we’re supporting anything through the concerns of climate impacts, Jim’s time expired. We’re gonna do uh we’ve been called for votes, we’re gonna do one more witness on each side. It’ll be Mr. Mills and Mr. and then we’re gonna call it a day. So uh Mr. Mills, you recognize for five minutes at most. Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Uh I’ll make this pretty brief on multiple occasions. We’ve dealt with uh people from the Biden administration within the Department of Defense and the Department of State. And as I’ve tried to offer up many times, the recognition of how we view China is very different from my perspective of where we are from an economic uh resource, cyber and other types of aspects of warfare that’s being launched against this. And unfortunately, for often, far too long, we look at everything from kinetic ability. So this question is for you Mr. Royle, when we’re doing all this preparedness to try and identify how we can thwart the efforts of warfare from China’s aggression. Do we recognize them as anything greater than just a competitor?
But as an actual adversary uh congressman, uh the uh term that we use in the national defense strategy is the pacing challenge for the department. Do we recognize them as anything other than a competitor?
Uh Congressman, we can all get into different definitions of what is competitor. What is challenger?
What is adversary pacing challenge is a term that uh we believe sets our sights uh on a trajectory that allows us to do what we need to do to be able to make sure that we are defending and deterring every single day. Ok. Well, why don’t we frame it this way?
How does the C C P view America. Uh I’d be happy to talk with you in a classified session about our assessments of the C C P. Well, it’s pretty simple. I think that when they’re actually trying to go act for us from an economic resource perspective, we’re trying to eliminate the US dollar from being a global currency to ensure they throw us in hyperinflation. They’re trying to encircle us by utilizing the Road and Belt initiative as well as economic coercion in Panama and Honduras to control the tariffs and taxation of the Panama Canal when they’re actually releasing out of the Darian gap, the fentanyl that’s killing tens of thousands of Americans every single year in America when they’re utilizing the marriage of convenience with Russia to try and advance themselves with the Chavez of Venezuela, Pedro Colombia and the Cubans, which are 90 miles off our I am fairly confident they don’t view us as a competitor or to outpace us. But as an adversary that they intend to utilize things like even the W H O and W E F to try and create this hegemony, which is what Chairman Xi is actually looking to do from the very beginning in saying all that, let’s talk about economic resource cap, uh capability capacity, admiral. You’ve been very forthright with us even in our closed door session on where we need to be at in the event of AC C P invasion of Taiwan. What role would the Indian Ocean play in shipping, critical supplies and resources to our partners and allies and could the Indian Ocean supply chains constrain the pr C aggression. Uh Thanks congressman. So, uh again, no matter what would happen in the world, the free flow of product commerce uh uh to our allies and partners and from the United States, right?
It’s on, it’s not only the allies and partners and friends in the region, but it’s the EU it’s the UK uh we would come together to ensure that free flow of commerce could happen for all those nations. And it’s also a vulnerability for the other side. And that’s exactly what I was getting to, which is that in identifying and trying to prevent. Yes, we can continue to try and be a porcupine so that China looks at it and says it is not a viable option right now. But also I think exposing their vulnerabilities to track them away from the invasion to allow them to try and strengthen up their vulnerabilities, which could buy us the precious time that we need to get our industrial base where it has to be to support a war of this magnitude. And so have we looked at how we strengthen the quadrilateral agreements or the quad as it’s referred to with India to ensure that we have that capability to try and expose these vulnerabilities?
We’re certainly working uh with our Indian partners uh both to advance our war fighting capabilities together uh to ensure that we’re sharing information that’s needed. Again, we do have the same strategic competitor or whatever definition we want to put on it. Uh And in my time over the pa in the theater now for five years straight, it has increased exponentially and against trending in the right direction. They’re really good partners. I agree. And I think that our strengthening, as we saw in the Trump administration with Modi, it’s to their economic advantage to weaken China’s aggression from an economic course of stance. But also it’s to our advantage to find reliable resource and economic partners that we can conduct not only just trade but security cooperations in the area to ensure that we have stability and operations that are sustainable for decades to come. Thank you so much. Gentlemen, with that, I yield back. Thank you, gentlemen, chair and I recognize the gentleman from gentle lady from Hawaii, Mr. for five minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chair for decades. Our country has enjoyed a close relationship with the freely associated states under the compact of free Association, especially in my home state of Hawaii, where thousands of fa s citizens live and work contributing to our diverse communities. Ambassador Joseph Yon, alongside the Department of State and the Department in two has been leading the efforts to renegotiate these compacts and send them to Congress for approval before they expire. But to me, the Department of Defense, especially us indo paycom remains the primary beneficiary of these compacts. Admiral Alino. I think we both agree on the strategic importance of these compacts briefly. How important is it for Congress to act quickly to renew these agreements when they’re sent to Congress for review and approval?
Aha Congressman. Thank you. It is critically important. Uh Ambassador Y and I have spent time together. I’ve offered my support wherever and whenever needed. Uh I’ve hosted him in the headquarters. Uh Again, it’s when we say it’s beneficial, it’s beneficial to the United States. Uh The largest number of military service per capita comes out of the freely associated states. Uh We defend them uh as if they were the US homeland and uh it’s critical that we get these agreements across the goal line. Thank you. I also want to add that the PR C is working aggressively as you know, to undermine our relationships with our fa s allies. Last month, President David Paella of the Federated States of Micronesia wrote a shocking letter detailing the extensive influence campaigns and political warfare that the PR C is conducting in his country. His letter is a bold move to assert that F S M sovereignty through transparency and I hope this committee will join me in applauding his courage and his service to our, to his country. Now, Inco’s Independent assessment for fiscal year 2024 included several military contract um construction projects for harbor and port infrastructure in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. These projects are possible in part because of the compacts and the access they provide. Admiral. What is the importance of these types of projects in the freely associated states?
What value are these projects delivering for our fa s allies and Congresswoman for the United States?
I have uh we talked a little bit before about access basing and overflight. Uh you know, those places are critical, uh they’re much needed uh to have them in, in the freely associated states uh provides a level of defense that’s beneficial. And I would once say one thing about the president panel letter, uh I sat with him just a couple of weeks ago. Uh His letter was far from shocking for me and it’s a good read for everybody because it’s the, it’s the model being utilized all across the region by the PR C that he, he shine some light on. Uh It was well done. Thank you, Admiral. With the remaining time I have, I’d like to expound on our military presence in Okinawa as 1/4 generation Okinawan American and Hawaii resident. I feel more acutely than most the impacts of our presence there. And the similarities that exist between my homeland and my home like Hawaii, Okinawa is strategically important to our defense posture in the Indo Pacific. And it too is home to a significant us military presence with all the benefits and the challenges that come with it. The planned relocation of Marine Corps Air Station for 10 months to Geno Bay has been delayed into the next decade. Significant environmental and ecological challenges to this plan. In addition to local political opposition beg the question of when this relocation will ever be completed. And if so at what cost in the past seven years, it has been revealed that there is contamination of waterways soil and drinking water around the Cadena and Futenma base. Blood tests conducted by Kyoto University in 2019 found elevated PFAS concentration in residents blood strongly suggesting potential exposure to not just Okinawan residents but our own us service members to PFAS compounds. There is no denying Okinawa strategic importance to our posture in the Indo Pacific. My two island homes are destined to play a role in the story of this era and I am very proud of that. I only ask that our witnesses here today consider a whole of government approach as we define and strengthen our relationship with both Okinawa and Hawaii. More than just a location for our fleets and our bases. These islands and her people are our allies that should be included in future decision making as we work to secure and defend the region, Majal for your time and I yield back. Thank you, Mr. Chair. What I would like to do since nobody else is scooted in is OK. I was gonna give him time. Uh But listen, I wanna thank y’all. I wanna Thank you all for your patience and your service and being here today. And with that, we are adjourned.