LEVIN: Good afternoon, everybody.
Our committee meets this afternoon to receive testimony from Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld, and from General Tommy Franks, commander in chief, U.S. Central Command. And the subject is Operation Enduring Freedom, the campaign against the Al Qaida terrorists and the Taliban regime that harbored them.
We welcome both of our witnesses to the committee this afternoon. We thank you again for your great service to our nation. General Franks testified before the committee on February the 7th, four months after the commencement of Operation Enduring Freedom. We are now more than nine months into the operation and significant changes have taken place on the ground in Afghanistan.
U.S. and coalition military successes have created a situation in which much good has taken place, both for the fight against terrorism and for the people of Afghanistan. The Taliban has been removed from power. Al Qaida has lost its safe haven.
The U.N.-authorized International Security Assistance Force, has brought a more secure environment to Kabul, and enabled the meeting there of the emergency loya jirgah in June, which elected President Karzai in a transitional authority to govern Afghanistan.
Over 1 million refugees and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons have returned. Over 3 million children have returned to primary school. A poppy eradication program is under way with substantial assistance from Great Britain. A nationwide vaccination campaign has been launched. U.S. and French soldiers have complementary training programs for an Afghan army, and the first ethnically mixed class of 350 enlisted men and 36 officers graduated last week. The Germans are training an Afghan police force.
Despite the battlefield successes, and in some cases because of them, numerous challenges and problems remain. Remaining Taliban and Al Qaida forces have learned to avoid massing their forces and now operate in smaller guerrilla-like groups that are harder to track and defeat. They also avoid open areas and operate out of and intermingle with civilians in towns and villages.
Security outside of Kabul and its environs is lacking, with factional fighting between forces loyal to various warlords and banditry in rural areas taking their toll on civilians and aid agencies.
The absence of central government control for these areas is discouraging international donors from making badly needed investments. Promised aid from the international community is slow to arrive and little has been pledged for reconstruction.
Regional warlords are refusing to send customs and taxes that they collect to Kabul. The Afghan vice president for transitional assistance has been assassinated, and President Karzai has dismissed his Afghan body guards and replaced them with American soldiers.
A severe drought continues and with refugees returning in record numbers, a humanitarian crisis may be looming this coming winter.
Finally, there have been several instances in which U.S. military action has mistakenly resulted in civilian casualties. Various polls and anecdotal evidence point to a resultant loss of Afghan public support for U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan, and an accompanying loss of confidence in the government of President Karzai.
This background raises a number of issues that I hope we'll be able to explore this afternoon. For example, should we heed the advice of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who believes that, quote, "a limited expansion of the International Security Assistance Force to areas outside of Kabul would make a huge contribution to the consolidation of peace," close quote?
Should U.S. forces in Afghanistan make a special effort to support the government of President Karzai and assist it in spreading its control throughout the country?
Should a method be found, perhaps through Agency for International Development, to provide development assistance to those communities that have mistakenly suffered casualties from U.S. or coalition military action?
We all look forward to the testimony of our witnesses this afternoon as we seek to explore these issues and other issues relating to the road ahead in Afghanistan.
We will have a closed session immediately following this session in our main hearing room, Russell 222. And before we hear, of course, from our witnesses I'll turn to Senator Warner for any comments that he may wish to make.
WARNER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming these witnesses. As you recall, Mr. Chairman, on July 9th of this year I wrote a formal letter to you requesting that this committee have this hearing we're now holding today, prior to our August recess. I ask unanimous consent that that letter be made a part of the record.
LEVIN: It will be made part of the record.
WARNER: Of course, it's been a number of months, six in total, since the committee has conducted a hearing on Operation Enduring Freedom, and operations in and around the AOR of Afghanistan.
Almost 10 months have passed since our U.S. troops and coalition partners began military operations against the Taliban and Al Qaida in Afghanistan. I, for one, remain amazed at our initial successes in Afghanistan. It's a great credit to the leadership given by our president, by our secretary of defense, by the chairman and yourself, General, and most particularly the men and women of the armed forces that carried out your orders.
The American people are very proud of what has been done and this justification that's been earned through hard work and indeed tragic losses of life and limb. Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families of those who suffered, as always has been, the brunt of warfare.
Mr. Secretary, you were quite prophetic when you warned us early that, despite the initial successes, this war was far from over. Afghanistan remains a very dangerous place. We see the manifestations of that warning almost every day.
As active military operations have become less frequent, and peacekeeping and nation-building efforts have moved to the forefront, it becomes more important than ever for the Congress and the American people to fully understand the military missions and diplomatic tasks that remain to be done.
Again, it's a tribute to the president and all of you, the men and women, that so much has been accomplished in such a short period.
The Taliban regime has been defeated and dismantled. The Al Qaida terrorist network in Afghanistan has been effectively disrupted and its remaining elements in some way are on the run, yet today we see reports that there's some coalescing of those forces and possibly the designation of new leaders. And I hope that you will touch on that point.
A level of peace and security is being established that allows humanitarian aid, as the chairman said, to begin to flow. By any measure, these operations have been successful.
However, we must be mindful that much remains to be done. Pockets of the Taliban, pockets of the Al Qaida resistance continue to pose targets and must be rooted out. That's tedious and dangerous and risky work for the U.S. and our allied forces.
Our allied forces have played a major role in this war, and the coalition has been very successful.
And I still call them warlords. Mr. Secretary, you have another name for them that you will use in your formal statement. But as yet, they're not fully committed to the concepts of central government and democracy. And that poses a challenge.
Afghanistan, yes, is on a path toward democracy with the beginnings of a central government. What military missions remain for the United States and the coalition troops? Our coalition partners, particularly the Turks, are leading an International Security Assistance Force to help maintain order and security in and around Kabul. The mandate for this force will expire in December of this year. What's the future role and scope of this force, and most particularly, the U.S. responsibilities?
Our president is committed to help Afghanistan organize and train a national police force and an army to insure internal stability and security. That's a good and sound decision. But what is the status for the endeavor? What role are our coalition partners playing to share the burdens?
Al Qaida appears to be on the run from Afghanistan, but other nations in the region have harbored or condoned similar activities in the past. What is the next step in this global war on terrorism?
The attacks of September 11th introduced this nation to a new era and a new kind of conflict, not against nations with standing armed forces, but against the worldwide network of terrorists who do not observe the commonly accepted laws and conventions of the civilized world.
Unconventional war, asymmetric war, has become the norm. This new era demands capabilities that can defend, defeat and deter both expected and unexpected threats. All of us have learned many lessons from the conflict.
And General Franks, we look forward to you specifically talking about lessons learned for today and tomorrow's military.
Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush have made it clear that transforming our forces to defend America from current and emerging threats is their highest priority. This committee has worked with you on that. We have a bill in conference now, which I think goes a long way to achieve many of those goals.
Clearly, however, we must continue to learn from these experiences and build on our capabilities that have served us well in this operation.
As our nation rebuilds and moves forward from that tragic day of the 11th, we must have a unifying moment. The nation is united, as I perceive it today, in purpose and determination as seldom before in our history, perhaps not as strongly since the days -- closing days of World War II.
We're behind the president. We're behind the soldiers and sailors and the airmen and Marines in the front lines. As the military effort evolves, we in Congress will do everything we can to provide our armed forces the resources and the capabilities they need to win this war and to continue to wage the fight on terrorism wherever it is .
I thank you folks for coming today, and I look forward to hearing your testimony.
LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Warner.
A quorum of our committee is now present. And as previously planned, I would like the committee to consider five civilian nominations and a number of military nominations pending before the committee before we turn to our witnesses.
First, I will entertain a motion that the committee consider the nominations of Venicio Madrigal, Eldie Britt and Linda Sterley (ph) -- I hope I'm pronouncing these names correctly -- and William de la Pena (ph) to be members of the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, as well as the nomination of Jack Mansfield to be a member of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
We've received the paperwork on these nominations. They're all in order. Is there a motion to favorably report?
(UNKNOWN): So moved.
LEVIN: All those in favor say aye.
The ayes have it.
I now ask that we consider the nomination of Lieutenant General James Hill to the United States Army to the grade of general, and for assignment as commander in chief, United States Southern Command.
Is there a motion?
(UNKNOWN): I so move.
All those in favor say aye.
Ayes have it.
Next, I ask that we consider the nomination of Vice Admiral Edmund Giambastiani, did I come close?
RUMSFELD: Giambastiani, yes.
LEVIN: He's got a big smile on his face.
Is that because of his promotion or because he's no longer your assistant?
Take the fifth, take the fifth on that one.
(UNKNOWN): I so move the nomination.
LEVIN: He will be -- we're promoting, nominating to the grade of admiral for assignment as commander in chief, United States Joint Forces Command. It's been moved and seconded.
All those in favor say aye.
The ayes have it.
Finally, we're ready to consider a list of 4,694 pending military nominations. They've met the committee's requirements, no objections have been raised.
Forty-two of these nominees have been in the committee only six days, and under our seven-day rule would not be eligible for consideration until tomorrow. However, the majority of these nominees are field-grade officers, some of whom will lose pay if we do not confirm their nominations so they can be promoted tomorrow. And given the fact that we are going to be taking our August recess soon, I would ask unanimous consent that the committee waive the seven-day rule with respect to these 42 nominations and that we consider all of the 4,694 nominations in block.
(UNKNOWN): I so move.
LEVIN: It's been moved and seconded, and there's no objection to the unanimous consent that we favorably report these military nominations to the Senate.
All in favor say aye.
The ayes have it and they will be so reported.
Mr. Secretary, we turn to you.
RUMSFELD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, I thank you for this opportunity to update the committee on our progress in the war on terrorism.
Certainly since September 11th, when you and Senator Warner arrived down at the Pentagon, this committee had given its full support to the global war on terror, for which we do express our appreciation.
I'm very pleased to be here with the combatant commander of the Central Command -- U.S. Central Command, General Tom Franks. He is an outstanding soldier and an able leader and is doing a superb job for our country.
General Franks and I had the pleasure of spending some portion of this morning with another outstanding officer who's sitting behind General Franks, who was also front and center in Afghanistan for many, a good period, and his name is Colonel John Mulholland, United States Army, the 5th Special Forces Group.
He's been in Washington to brief on lessons learned from the activities that he was involved in in Afghanistan and is currently stationed back in his home base at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to make some brief remarks and then have my remarks -- full remarks put in the record.
LEVIN: It will be made part of the record.
RUMSFELD: Well, we've made good progress, as each of you has indicated, in a relatively short period of time. It is also true that this war is, of course, far from over.
We face very determined adversaries. They have demonstrated ingenuity, a callous disregard for innocent human life, and victory will not come easily or quickly. It will require patience of the American people at home, certainly the courage of our service men and women abroad.
Fortunately, patience and courage are virtues that our nation has in abundance, and I have no doubt but that we will prevail.
Last fall, when President Bush announced the start of the war on terrorism, he made clear his determination that terrorists that threaten us will find no safe haven, no sanctuary, and that their state sponsors will be held accountable and made to understand that there is a price to be paid for financing, harboring and otherwise supporting terrorists.
He issued a worldwide call to arms, inviting all freedom-loving nations to join in this fight. And, Mr. Chairman, in the intervening months, the world has responded to the president's call. The global coalition that President Bush assembled and Secretary Powell helped assemble, comprises today some 70 countries. Each is making important contributions to the global war on terror.
We're now roughly nine months into the war, still closer to the beginning than the end, but while much difficult work remains before us, it is worth taking a moment to reflect and take stock on just how much U.S. and coalition forces have accomplished thus far in reversing the tide of terrorism.
At this time last year, Afghanistan was a pariah state, the Taliban regime was in power and brutally repressing the Afghan people. Afghanistan was a sanctuary for thousands of foreign terrorists who had free range to train, plan, organize, finance attacks on innocent civilians across the globe.
As humanitarian crisis of considerable proportions loomed, assistance was disrupted, famine was pervasive and refugees were fleeing their country by literally hundreds of thousands.
And consider just some of the human rights reports which detailed conditions in Afghanistan before the arrival of coalition forces.
Amnesty International's 2001 Human Rights report declared that Afghanistan suffered pervasive human rights abuses including arbitrary detention and torture. The Taliban continued to impose harsh restrictions on personal conduct and behavior as a means of enforcing their particular interpretation of Islamic law. Young women living in areas captured by the Taliban were reportedly abducted by guards and taken against their will for Taliban commanders.
Human Rights Watch report of 2001 described the situation where Taliban forces subjected local civilians to a ruthless and systematic policy of collective punishment. There was systematic discrimination against women; violations of the dress code could result in public beatings and lashings by the religious police who wield leather batons reinforced with metal studs. Women were not permitted to work outside the home except in health care and girls over 8 were not permitted to attend school.
All of this was enforced by the so-called minister for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice.
Mr. Chairman, what a difference a year makes. Today, thanks to the coalition efforts and the remarkable courage of our men and women in uniform, the Taliban has been driven from power, Al Qaida is on the run, Afghanistan is no longer a base for terrorist operations or a breeding ground for radical Islamic militancy. The beatings by religious police and executions in soccer stadiums have stopped. The humanitarian crisis has been averted. International workers are no longer held hostage. Aid is one again flowing and the Afghan people have been liberated.
Through the recent loya jirgah process, the Afghan people have exercises their right of self-determination. A new president has been selected. A new cabinet has been sworn in. A transitional government representative of the people have been established to lead the nation for the next two years until a constitutional loya jirgah is held.
We're working with the new Afghan government to lay the foundations for longer-term stability and to reverse the conditions that allowed terrorist regimes to take root in the first place.
The U.S. and others are helping to train a new Afghan national army, a forced committed not to one group or one faction, but to the defense of the entire nation, which we hope will allow Afghans to take responsibility for their own security, rather than allowing on foreign forces.
Last week the first battalion of more than 300 soldiers graduated and there are an additional 600 Afghan soldiers being trained in two battalions.
We also have helped to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. The U.S. and coalition partners have delivered some 500,000 metric tons of food since the start of the war, enough to feed almost 7 million needy Afghans. Thanks to those efforts, the grim predictions of starvation last winter did not come to pass.
U.S. military civil affairs teams have dug wells, built hospitals, repaired roads, bridges and irrigation canals. They've rebuilt 49 schools in eight different regions. And thanks to those efforts, some 30,000 boys and girls, the hope and future of the country, are back in school.
One civil affairs team has even introduced Afghan children to Little League baseball. Last Friday they held their first game.
Demining teams from Norway, Britain, Poland and Jordan have helped clear landmines from hundreds of thousands of square meters of terrain.
Jordan built a hospital in Mazar-i-Sharif that has now treated more than 92,000 patients, including 22,000 children. Spain and Korea have also built hospitals.
Japan has pledged $500 million to rehabilitate Afghanistan. Russia has cleared out and rebuilt the Salang Tunnel, the main artery linking Kabul with the north, allowing transportation of thousands of tons of food and medicine and supplies.
With the cooperation of over 90 countries across the globe, some 2,400 individuals around the world have been detained and are under DOD control. I think the number currently is something like 650.
They are being interrogated, and they're yielding information that's helping to prevent further violence and bloodshed. For example, with the help with our Pakistani allies, we've captured a senior Al Qaida leader who in turn provided information that lead to the capture of still other senior Al Qaida leaders.
For every terrorist plot we discover, and every terrorist cell that's disrupted, there are dozens of others in the works. Al Qaida operates not only in Afghanistan, but in more than 60 countries, including the U.S. They have trained literally thousands of terrorists who are now at large across the globe.
Moreover, Al Qaida is not the only global network. And terrorist networks have growing relationships with terrorist states to harbor and finance them and may one day share weapons of mass destruction with them.
Our goal in Afghanistan is to ensure that that country does not again become a training ground for terrorist. That work is, of course, not complete. Taliban and Al Qaida fugitives are still at large. Some are in Afghanistan. Others are just across the borders waiting for an opportunity to return. They continue to pose a threat.
These are real challenges, but the security situation, while not ideal, is significantly improved from what we found on our arrival nine months ago.
The best measure of progress is the flow of people. Since January, hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons have returned to their homes. That is a ringing vote of confidence in the progress that's being made in Afghanistan. These people are voting with their feet. They are concluding that life is better in Afghanistan than it was where they were. And I suspect that they're right.
By making clear from the beginning that this was not a war against Islam, by keeping our footprint modest, and by partnering with Afghan forces that oppose the Taliban and Al Qaida, and by demonstrating our concern for the welfare of the Afghan people through the delivery of humanitarian relief from the very first days of the war, we showed the Afghan people that we're coming as a force of liberation, not a force of occupation. In most of the country coalition forces have been welcomed as liberators.
Understandably, our military mission has changed and evolved. Some forces are now locating out of Afghanistan. This should not be taken as a sign that the effort in Afghanistan is wrapping up. It's not. To the contrary, in recent weeks, Turkey has increased its Afghan presence by sending over 1,300 troops to Kabul to assume leadership of the International Security Assistance Force. Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands will soon deploy F-16 fighters to Kyrgyzstan. That's Kyrgyzstan. It was misquoted the other day and caused a little stir in Kyrgyzstan. And they're going to be there for air operations.
Romania has deployed an infantry battalion to Afghanistan and has offered an infantry mountain company, a nuclear, biological and chemical weapons response company and four MiG-21 fighters. Slovakia will soon deploy an engineering unit.
Special operations forces from Canada, Germany, Australia and other nations continue to work with U.S. special forces teams on the ground, combing through caves, searching for Taliban and Al Qaida fugitives, gathering critical intelligence information and creating a presence with the regional political leaders, or warlords as some people call them, which is contributing to a considerably more stable situation in that country because of their presence.
RUMSFELD: Moreover our hunt for terrorist networks is not limited to Afghanistan. The war on terrorism is a global campaign against a global adversary -- indeed, adversaries, plural.
We learned on September 11th that in a world of international finance, communication and transportation, even relatively isolated individuals and organizations can have global reach and the ability to cause unprecedented destruction on innocent civilians.
The challenge for us is to find a way to live in that 21st- century world as free people. And let there be now doubt we can do so. But it requires new ways of thinking, new ways of fighting, new strategies for defending our people and our way of life.
The war on terrorism began in Afghanistan to be sure, but it will not end there. It will not end until terrorist networks have been rooted out. It will not end until the state sponsors of terror are made to understand that aiding and abetting and harboring terrorists has deadly consequences for those who do so.
It will not end until those developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons end their threat to innocent men, women and children. It will not end until our people, and the people of the world's free nations, can once again live in peace and free from fear.
Mr. Chairman, that completes my statement.
LEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
FRANKS: Mr. Chairman, Senator Warner, members of the committee, I am honored to be here today with Secretary Rumsfeld. I would ask that my statement be entered into the record, and I'll provide brief verbal remarks.
LEVIN: It will be made part of the record.
FRANKS: I'm honored to be here before the committee today. I've, in fact, looked forward to the session as an opportunity to highlight extraordinary achievements by more than 71,000 U.S. and coalition troops currently under my command.
In fact, that coalition is carrying the fight to the enemy described by the secretary. Their courage, their tenacity, professionalism inspires me every day, and it certainly a source of great pride to the American people.
When I last appeared before the committee, on February the 7th of this year, I told you that our successes represented but first steps in what would certainly be a long campaign. And that remains the case.
Our focus was on removing the Taliban from power and destroying the Al Qaida network within Afghanistan. Now the Taliban has, in fact, been destroyed in Afghanistan, and we continue to locate and engage remaining pockets of terrorists and their supporters to improve security, stability of the emerging Afghan nation.
Over the past six months, Mr. Chairman, the coalition has grown steadily from 50 nations to, as the secretary said, 70 nations today. Thirty-seven of our coalition partners are currently engaged in and around Afghanistan in support of our operations, and 24 nations have forces located inside Afghanistan as we speak.
Successes up to this point are attributable to the will of this country, and to each of the coalition members, a will which I believe has grossly underestimated by the terrorist organizations which threaten us still. The Taliban, as I mentioned, is gone. Al Qaida's senior leadership is in disarray. Many of their planners, (inaudible) facilitators and logisticians are now dead or have been captured. Their training facilities in Afghanistan have been destroyed, command and control capabilities have been disrupted, and their remaining leaders are, as the secretary said, on the run.
However, Al Qaida has not lost its will to conceive, to plan, to execute terrorist operations worldwide. It is the relentless pressure provided by our military, the militaries of the coalition I described, financial and diplomatic efforts which, over the past 10 months, have prevented Al Qaida from sustaining its pre-9/11 capacity.
In the month of March, U.S. and coalition, as well as Afghan, military forces, conducted the largest combat operation to date in Afghanistan. That was Operation Anaconda. It resulted in the elimination of the Shahikot (ph) and Shimera Valleys (ph) as sanctuaries for concentrations of Al Qaida. Anaconda was a major success. A significant enemy pocket was destroyed, and notice was served by that operation that terrorists would have no safe harbor in Afghanistan.
Our efforts are now aimed at an operation we call Mountain Lion. More than 300 weapon and ammunition caches have been located and destroyed since the 1st of January this year during that cooperation. An exceptionally encouraging trend is that over the past two months, 159 of those caches were identified to us by local Afghan people in the country.
As we led up to the June loya jirgah, as described by the secretary, we made the decision to put a combined joint task force, which we called JTF 180, forward in Afghanistan, commanded by a three- star -- a lieutenant general. This task force gives us a single joint command responsible to me and to the secretary for all military functions in the country. It establishes full-time senior presence.
That commander on the ground has developed very close personal and professional relationships with Afghan military and political leaders, as well as senior members of the Afghan transitional authority.
As the secretary mentioned, we are now training the Afghan national army. On the 23rd of this month, the first battalion of more than 300 graduated. It was multi-ethnic. It was the first battalion of its type in that country. And interestingly, it was flanked on either side by two additional battalions currently in training.
For the first time in decades, the beginnings of a professional representative military force are striving to form themselves to serve the people of Afghanistan.
Another vital factor contributing to the stability within Afghanistan has been and remains the International Security Assistance Force. This force, as you know, initially headed by the United Kingdom and now by Turkey, served to provide an environment within Kabul wherein the loya jirgah process could not only take root but could provide for the first elections held inside Afghanistan in a long, long time.
The contributions of this International Security Assistance Force have been and they'll continue to be important to the Afghan people during the current period of transition.
With the establishment of the most secure environment Afghanistan has seen in more than 20 years, we have been able to effectively begin several military operations. Since March, our combined military task force that works with civil affairs operations has deployed teams throughout Afghanistan and has coordinated literally hundreds of nongovernmental organizations as they do the work as they provide the humanitarian materials, help provide the education system, repair agricultural infrastructure and provide water to the people.
They've identified 89 major humanitarian projects, 43 of which have been completed.
As the secretary says, what we have seen is more than 600,000 internally displaced persons and more than 1.3 million refuges have returned to their homes. People vote with their feet. While the return of this many Afghans to their homes will certainly stress the infrastructure, as it has been destroyed in that country over the last 20 plus years, it represents something else: It represents a desire of the people of that country to reclaim their heritage and to build for the future.
Now we intend to capitalize on the successes that I've described up to this point. In order to do that, our efforts are going to remain focused on the eradication of the terrorist networks that exist within Afghanistan, the charter given to us by the secretary and by our president, and that remains the focus of the work that we'll continue to do.
The reason that we continue to do that is because one part of our effort is designed to be sure that we do not permit an environment to be created where terrorism can be reintroduced into Afghanistan.
To date, U.S. and coalition forces -- with that in mind, working that effort, U.S. and coalition forces have screened more than 7,500 people detained inside Afghanistan, more than 3,500 interrogations have been conducted, 2,200 individuals specifically have been addressed in these interrogations. The secretary mentioned the number of detainees that we currently hold. I would say -- or I would also mention that those detainees represent 44 different nations.
Sixteen thousand documents have been screened; 12,000 of those have been added to our database. Recruitment methods of Al Qaida have been identified. Suspected members have been taken care of as described by the secretary. Weapons caches throughout Afghanistan have been located.
Now having said that, and having described success, while we remain optimistic, given the list that I have just described, we recognize that the Afghan battlefield remains a very complex and a very dangerous place. In some areas, small numbers of remaining enemy troops have blended in with sympathetic segments of the civilian population. Tribal and ethnic and cultural conflicts, driven in some cases by traditional rivalries going back a long time, continue to lead to factional clashes and these incidents threaten stability, and they also provide challenges to our coalition forces who are doing the hard work.
Distinguishing between friend and foe remains a very difficult task in such a complex environment.
We will continue to refine our tactics, our techniques, our procedures and our approaches as we move forward.
As I said, we have a lot of awfully hard work left to do to continue -- or to finish the enemy in Afghanistan.
As I close, I'd like to make clear that we all recognize that we have a great deal of work left to do. While U.S. and coalition forces have done a lot in the past 10 months, the potential for terrorist attacks and for setbacks inside Afghanistan remains very real.
Afghanistan is rising from oppression of the Taliban into an independent democratic nation. I'm optimistic about that future, but I'm also pragmatic.
I'm very proud of each and every one of the men and women who serve this country and coalition countries represented in our efforts. They serve selflessly. They continue to serve tirelessly in the execution of the mission regardless of the uniform of their service or the nation from which they come.
As we speak today, they are hard at work inside Afghanistan. Inside that dangerous environment, they're performing remarkably.
Mr. Chairman, I thank the Congress, I thank the American people for the tremendous support that you've given our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and the coalition I've described.
LEVIN: Thank you so much, General. We'll have one round of six- minute questioning. There are so many of us here today that we better limit it to that so we'll have time to go into our closed session.
We'll proceed on the early bird basis as usual.
General Franks, let me start with you. You noted in your prepared statement that the building of the Afghan national army will require a long-term commitment. And I understand the goal is to train a 60,000-man force. At the current rate, I believe, that would take almost eight years to meet that goal.
Are those figures correct? And do you have an assessment as to how long U.S. and coalition forces will be required to remain in Afghanistan?
FRANKS: I'm sorry sir, that was to me or the secretary?
LEVIN: To you, General.
FRANKS: Mr. Chairman, the way we're approaching that right now I believe will probably by the end of December of this year produce 3,000 to 4,000 trained members of the Afghan national army. By about this time next summer, we expect that number to be in the vicinity of 8,000. By the end of '03, I believe somewhere around 13,000 in the Afghan national army.
Now, with respect to how long we'll continue to conduct that training effort is certainly a decision for the secretary and at the policy level.
My suspicion is that we will begin to look at approaches to provide that training which may give relief to our uniformed people who are conducting that training now. Policy decision to be made in the future.
LEVIN: Thank you.
Secretary Rumsfeld, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has recommended the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force outside of Kabul. I think he's made that recommendation before. Says that it will make a huge contribution to the consolidation of peace.
Would you support the limited expansion of that International Security Assistance Force? Would you be willing to urge other nations to provide the troops to make that happen? And would you be willing for U.S. troops to participate in that force as a way to attract other nations to contribute troops to it?
RUMSFELD: The -- my view and the view of the administration all along is that the International Security Force is a good thing and that to the extent countries are interested in expanding, as the secretary general of the United Nations has indicated he favors, that would certainly be a useful thing.
The problem is that no countries are stepping forward to do that. We've had a good deal of difficulty, first of all, recruiting the original group of countries to serve in the International Security Assistance Force. And then as those countries have rotated out, including the U.K. now, we've had to help recruit Turkey to come in and take the leadership. Turkey leaves at the end of this year and we're going to have to recruit a new successor for that.
And our task as we saw it, was best prioritized as follows. General Franks' staff is to go after the Al Qaida and the Taliban. Our additional task was to help support the ISAF with logistics, intelligence and communications and quick reaction support if necessary. As General Franks also indicated, our task is help train the Afghan national army and raise money for it.
And so we feel that our plate is pretty full, and it would be an inappropriate use of our forces to use then as additional International Security Assistance Force troops.
We feel that trying to stop terrorists from committing additional terrorist acts is our first priority. And our second priority is to support the existing ISAF. And our third priority is to try an Afghan national army. If people step forward, terrific.
LEVIN: Will step forward...
RUMSFELD: If other countries want to step forward and expand the ISAF. The problem is one of the people that's been recommending it is people who don't have troops.
LEVIN: General, let me ask you this question about the July 1st incident, so-called wedding incident. What can you tell us about the circumstances surrounding that incident in which up to 54 Afghan civilians were killed? And very specifically, can you tell us whether or not the investigation, which is, I gather, ongoing, has corroborated a claim that the aircraft were fired on from the ground?
FRANKS: Mr. Chairman, I've looked at the gun tapes from those aircraft. The secretary has looked at a part of those gun tapes. What I think would say at this point is the initial assessment that I asked our ground commander over there, whom I mentioned earlier, General McNeil (ph) to conduct, told us that we should do an investigation and determine actually as best we can, all of the facts and circumstances surround that along with the context within which that event took place.
That investigation is in fact under way right now. Statements are being taken as a part of that investigation.
I will say that there were points of intelligence that lead us to the area. When we put our forces into the area -- and I think the secretary has said on previous occasion, we had them not only in the air, we had people on the ground observing these operations as we were conducting a sweep that this area.
Now there is no question that there was ground-to-air fire. There is no question, Mr. Chairman. Now we have -- I have read much about whether or not this is air defense or whether this is celebratory fire from a wedding. And, sir, the purpose of the investigation is to make those determinations.
And so, sir, that's where we stand right now on that incident.
LEVIN: Thank you. Just to conclude that, on the tapes that you saw, was there evidence on those tapes of ground fire...
FRANKS: Sir, there...
LEVIN: ... against those planes?
FRANKS: Sir, there was evidence on the tapes of ground fire, yes, sir.
LEVIN: Thank you.
WARNER: Thank you.
General, reading your testimony back, you say, "In closing I want to make clear that our work in Afghanistan is not yet finished."
Describe to us as best you can "finished." When, in your judgment, will you be finished in your mission?
FRANKS: Senator Warner, we entered into this with what I believe was a blessing. When the president of the United States, when the secretary of defense describe a mission that days, "Remove the Taliban from effective control of the country of Afghanistan," it is a discrete mission, and I am satisfied with that.
The second part of that mission was to destroy the Al Qaida network, as well as the tentacle pieces of that network, such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, that existed within Afghanistan, which if linked together represented a global threat.
The secretary has described and I've described that that work -- we have work left to do in that regard. There are, in my view, no large pockets, such as the Tora Bora pocket or such as the Anaconda pocket, in place in Afghanistan right now.
Sir, I'm not sure how long it will take us to work our way through each and every piece of the geography of this terribly compartmented country to assure ourselves, me and my bosses, that that work has been completed.
And, sir, the third part of our effort there is to provide as best we can for the creation of a secure and stable environment within which a democratic government can mature in the country of Afghanistan. A lot of different approaches, a lot of different possibilities to that, Senator Warner. But the military piece of it that I have in my mission, the military piece is for the purpose of preventing the reintroduction of terrorism into Afghanistan, such as we found it post-9/11 of last year.
You asked me a question, sir, that was very short. I've given you a long answer. I don't know how long it will take us to work through each of the pieces of that very military mission. I believe the force structure we have in place today gives us an opportunity to do the work which the president and the secretary have asked our military to do. And, sir, we're just going to continue with that until we see ourselves able to put a check beside each component of the mission.
WARNER: Mr. Secretary, do you want to add to that definition of finished?.
RUMSFELD: Yes, sir. Just to add a couple of thoughts.
I think the way to think about the task is, to achieve what General Franks indicated is the goal, it requires that we look at security at several different levels.
There is security of the people that were elected by the loya jirgah. It's important that that government survive and do its job.
There is security in the major cities and the ability of humanitarian workers to provide the needs of people.
There is the problem of border security, they need border guards. There's a problem of police, that they need police.
There is the task we mentioned of dealing with the Al Qaida and the Taliban to see that they don't come back and attempt to reassert themselves.
There are also potentially conflicts between factions within the country. There are also drug lords and people doing drug trafficking. There is also crime, normal crime.
The goal, needless to say, is to have the Afghan government assume all of those responsibilities. My suspicion is that they'll do it at a different pace. And clearly, they don't have the ability to go after the Al Qaida and the Taliban at the present time without the cooperation of the coalition forces. But they do have the beginnings of some capability to start dealing with some of the other aspects of it.
And the answer to the question is, how fast can the civil side step up and take over some of those responsibilities and the national army begin to take over some of those responsibilities?
WARNER: Well, you've been very candid in describing those tasks and also in saying that you're having difficulty recruiting someone to take over the responsibility, say, when the Turks finish their term. All of that indicates to this senator, and we best tell the American people, we're going to be there for a long time. Do you disagree?
RUMSFELD: Well, my goal is to have the Afghan government be successful and systematically, incrementally begin to develop the kinds of institutions of government that they can take over these responsibilities. It's a difficult task, but we've got a lot of coalition countries trying to help and I think that the work is under way.
WARNER: As mentioned by the general, one of the missions was Al Qaida. There have been reports that Al Qaida has begun to reconstitute itself. It has found safe havens in adjoining nations, new leadership is somehow coming to the forefront. What can you tell us on that? And candidly, if you can't, we'll wait until the closed session, Mr. Secretary.
RUMSFELD: Well, I think I'd prefer to do it in closed session.
WARNER: All right. Thank you very much.
I think it's important the record reflect that you give us the latest on bin Laden. I think we know the answer, but the record should contain it. Mr. Secretary?
RUMSFELD: You want me to once again acknowledge the reality that we do not know where he is or if he is.
WARNER: All right.
RUMSFELD: He's either alive and in Afghanistan or someplace else or he's dead. And he clearly is not active and engaged to the extent that he was previously. If he is alive and if he's functioning, he's functioning under very difficult circumstances where life is harder for them, the senior people, in terms of movement, in terms of communication, in terms of raising money and in terms of training terrorists. And that's a good thing.
WARNER: Do you anticipate that we will see efforts to begin to get more security beyond Kabul, which is now the central focus? How soon do we hope to move out with other forces into those areas to obtain the security to achieve the very goals that you enumerated, Mr. Secretary?
RUMSFELD: Well, Senator Warner, the country at the present time I would characterize as being reasonably secure. It's uneven, but for the most part, except for a few pockets of the incidents from time to time, most of the country is reasonably secure. And it's secure because of coalition forces are in a variety of locations, Special Forces are embedded into the regional leaders' forces. We have forces in Bagram. We have forces in Kandahar.
One portion of it is the southeast area that tends to have the most incidents, and that's because there is not a regional leader that has a good grip on things at the present time. I think we just have to live with that for a period. And we're continuing to work on that problem.
WARNER: My time is up, unless the general wants to fill in on that question.
FRANKS: I might just add to what the secretary said. I checked this morning, just before the hearing, and as we speak today we have our people, coalition and American people in more than 40 locations inside Afghanistan doing the work that the secretary described.
FRANKS: And so, we are out and about.
LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Warner.
LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
And thanks, Secretary and General, for your extraordinary leadership. And thanks to the American men and women who are serving in uniform under your command who have performed brilliantly.
I think its important to restate what a lot of us felt, after September 11th when this response was being planned, there were naysayers who were reminding us that the Afghanis had slaughtered the British in an earlier generation and defeated the mighty Soviet Union and that we were getting in over our heads.
But thanks to great leadership by the two of you and, with all respect, even greater effort with those on the ground, together with the terrifying force of our high-technology weapons, we achieved an extraordinary victory over the Taliban and did disrupt Al Qaida. And I think as we go on to the next phase, we shouldn't lose sight of that great victory and what it suggests about the dominance of the American military in a world that remains dangerous.
General Franks, I did want to ask you about one of the operations you referred to, which was Tora Bora. Because, as you know, from within the United States and outside Europe and even in Afghanistan, there have been criticisms of that operation, some of them going to the fact that we allegedly used more Afghani fighters than we should have, and not enough U.S. troops on the ground.
There have been some criticisms from, I gather, a released report in the press from Afghan commanders that said U.S. forces were not being aggressive on the ground to defeat the guerrillas. And I wanted to ask you if you would respond to those for the record.
FRANKS: Senator Lieberman, I'd be pleased to. And let me first say thanks to you and other members of the committee who have visited our people in Afghanistan. I believe your visit was back in January where you had an opportunity to see our people firsthand.
On Tora Bora, early December 2001, United States of America at that time had about 1,300 Americans in country in 17 different locations. Kandahar was, as of that time, still not fully under control. We had our Marine forces operating out of Camp Rhino, which was our initial point of entry into Afghanistan.
We were very mindful -- and I guess I'll take credit or blame for this. I was very mindful of the Soviet experience of more than 10 years, having introduced 620,000 troops into Afghanistan, more than 15,000 of them being killed, more than 55,000 of them being wounded.
We characterized this effort in Afghanistan as a complex and unconventional effort from the very day we started. As of that time in early December, we also kept in mind that the country of Afghanistan ultimately must belong to the Afghan people.
It was Afghans who wanted to attack in the Tora Bora area. We had special forces troopers with those Afghans to be sure. We had linkage with the Pakistanis, who some would say, although not much reported, at that time, had in the vicinity of 100,000 troops on the western Pakistani border along a great many of the points of exfiltration -- likely points of exfiltration from Afghanistan into Pakistan.
Did enemy get out of Tora Bora? Senator, yes, to be sure. As we looked at the plan -- and I looked at it before the operation, obviously, and I've looked at it since the operation.
FRANKS: I've looked at it to see what did the plan say or do, within the context that I just described to you, that should have been done, could have been done perhaps differently.
The plan called for an approach up two parallel valleys, with blocking forces at the ends of those valleys. The relationships that we had at that time with the Afghan forces on the ground were in their beginning state.
Based on that information, the determination was made that we would not try to stop the Afghans who wanted to move into Tora Bora, where we had done a great deal of operational fires or kinetic work, as you would recall, since the 7th of February when we began the operation.
As the Afghan forces moved to contact, they encountered Al Qaida and residual Taliban elements up in there. I have seen speculation as to the number of enemy forces in Tora Bora that ranged from a few hundred to a few thousand. I believe that we do not know what the total size of that enemy force in that area was. I believe that some of those forces, to be sure, did move into Pakistan, and I reason I know that, Senator, is because almost 300 of them were captured by the Pakistanis along that border that I described a minute ago.
LIEBERMAN: General, do we know how many of the enemy we killed at Tora Bora?
FRANKS: Senator, we really don't know how many we killed at Tora Bora. You'll recall perhaps a similar question on Anaconda: Well, how many did we kill? The pounding that we put into that area, the numbers of caves and compound complexes that were closed in that fight over the duration of it make it virtually impossible to know how many were killed. The assessment that I have read, and I believe it, is in hundreds, and I think I probably would leave it having said it that way.
The elevations that our people and the Afghans themselves were working in ranged from 5,000 up to 13,000 feet, so this was not a fight for armored vehicles and so forth.
FRANKS: I am satisfied with the way this operation was conducted. No, I won't say that. I am satisfied with the decision process that permitted the Afghans to go to work in the Tora Bora area.
LIEBERMAN: I thank you. My time's up. And perhaps in the non- public session, I'd ask you, since Tora Bora was in the nature of a first battle, and adaptions and adjustments are always made after first battles, what lessons we learned from it for successive actions.
FRANKS: Thank you, Senator.
BIDEN: Thank you, Senator Lieberman.
INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know we have a lot of members. I'll try not to use all my time.
One of the concerns I had when the budget first came here, I thought it had two glaring deficiencies, and the one I'd like to bring up now is -- it's already been touched on -- is end strength. The chairman talked about the distant future on end strength. We have called up 80,000 Guard and Reserves. We put stop losses on those that are there right now. We have -- I think those of us on this side of the table there's a serious problem with our reserve component -- our Guard and reserve components, because we measure that by letters that come in. These people are loyal, they want to fight, they want to be there, but by the very nature of their job, they can't be fully deployed all the time.
Now as you look into the future, there's going to be a time when the stop loss is lifted, when the Reserves and the Guard go home. And how do you plan -- I'll ask you, General Franks, since I've already asked this question before in other hearings when Secretary Rumsfeld was here. How do you plan to continue the war effort, when that time comes? And it's coming very soon.
FRANKS: Senator Inhofe, thanks for visiting a couple months ago, by the way.
I think probably the secretary is in a much better position to answer it than I am. I'll give you a short, combatant commander view, as a receiver of forces provided by the services for our efforts in Afghanistan and in fact across my area of responsibility. We have a great many guardsmen, reservists, all services doing absolutely remarkable job.
Probably the comment that I could make is that it makes a great deal of difference to us to have that pool from which to draw, because one of the things it does for us, Senator, is it permits us to cycle our people through so that we don't put everyone we put in an overseas circumstance there for the duration. And that, sir, is the best I can give you from a combatant view.
INHOFE: But before Secretary Rumsfeld responds, I can remember back during the Bosnia and Kosovo at the what was then called the 21st Takom (ph). They changed the name of it now. But they said that if something should happen, another war effort, they'd be totally dependent upon Guard and Reserve. And, of course, this is exactly what's happen. That's why I have a great concern and something that we need to address.
I'm sorry, Mr. Secretary, any comments about that?
RUMSFELD: Yes, sir, Senator. You're right, we have, you know, we have 7,500, 8,000 Reserve and Guard called up. We've got some 20,000-plus stop loss. We're currently over our previously authorized end strength up in the 2 percent level. And we have a significant effort going on in each of the services to look at how they can increase their tooth-to-tail ratio, reduce the tail and increase the tooth. And it's time to do that. We're capable of doing a much more efficient job, and it's important to do that.
To the extent we cannot get what we need by making those efficiencies, then obviously we'll come in for more end strength if we need it. But at the moment, we don't -- in fact, we don't even need to. I'm told the emergency allows us to go up. And all services, I think except the Marines, are currently above that prior authorized level.
I will say this: The reason for having the Guard and Reserve is because we considered the total force concept. Using them is not bad. It is the way the thing was designed. And it is working darn well.
Now, are there folks that are inconvenienced? Yes. On the other hand, there are a great many of those people who are volunteers. I don't know what the fraction is, but it's not a trivial portion of the total number of Guard and Reserve who are serving who are serving on a volunteer basis as opposed to a mandatory one.
INHOFE: Well, you know, and that's reassuring. I think we hear from a lot of them that are called up and, you know, as I say, they want to fight, they want to do this, but they can't handle the length and the number of the deployments.
INHOFE: In my thinking, I normally -- and I want to bring up something on mobility. I put that in two categories, one on our refueling capacity and another on lift.
I was on -- as you were going to point out, General Franks, on the USS Kennedy when they were doing operations up in Afghanistan. Of course, our F-18s were taking off and coming back. And they not only required refueling capability, but multi-refueling capability on those particular exercises. I know that we have a shortage of KC-135s, and I think they were using KC-10s at that time up there. But I'd, kind of, like to hear you let us know, how were you affected adversely, General Franks, in Afghanistan by the lack of KC-135 refueling capability?
FRANKS: Sir, probably the best I could give you is maybe by way of example. We like to use our global reach-global power capability. In order to do that, we have to position tanking capability in a lot of different places. When you do that, then what you do is you fragment the numbers that you have, which if altogether, in one piece of geography, might be absolutely ample in order to do a major war, small scale or something else.
In the particular case of this fight halfway around the world and the use of global assets, B-2s and so forth, then we find that it did not kill us in Afghanistan because we were able to have air power coming from our carrier decks, which were close enough to be able to have one tanker up in orbit over Afghanistan and be able to refuel multiple attack aircraft from it.
Had the circumstance been different, then 135s or KC-10 refuelers would have been a problem. And, sir, I can't give you the numbers and I can't quantify beyond that.
Well, my time has expired. I want to submit two written questions for the record having to do with the low-density, high- demand assets, Mr. Secretary, having to do with UAVs and perhaps lift capability C-17s.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
RUMSFELD: I might just say, if I may, that the place that the strain would show up, or the inconvenience, I think, to use your word, would not be in Central Command. It would be in the other commands.
Because what happens when you have an activity going on, General Franks has tended to get that which he requested. And for good reason.
And it -- to the extent you have these high-demand, low-density assets -- capabilities, it's the other CINCdoms that end up with something less than they might prefer.
INHOFE: No, I understand that. And if something happens there, then they have a problem.
RUMSFELD: Exactly. No, you're quite right.
LEVIN: CINCdom, huh? OK.
RUMSFELD: I didn't say that, did I?
LEVIN: Senator Cleland?
CLELAND: Thank you very much, Mr, Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, General, Colonel, welcome. We appreciate your service to our country, and especially the leadership you provide to our young men and women out there who are doing a fantastic job.
Mr. Chairman, I'd like unanimous consent to enter into the record an article in the Army Times entitled, "What We Learned From Afghanistan."
LEVIN: It will be made part of the record.
CLELAND: Thank you very much.
Mr. Secretary, for me, operation Enduring Freedom has become Enduring Frustration. I can remember the aftermath of September 11th and the feeling on Capitol Hill here, the sense of outrage, the sense of focus, the sense of purpose. And for me, having served in the military, that clarity of purpose, that clarity of commitment enhanced our military capacity to do the job.
For instance, we passed a congressional resolution that gave the president the ability to use all necessary force, and it specifically mentioned September 11th. In other words, we gave you the authority to go after those who came after us.
For me that is still mission number one. I think it's fine to nation-build or liberate Afghanistan, but for me the frustration continues because we still haven't killed or captured Osama bin Laden and his terrorist cadre. Do you happen to know where he is?
RUMSFELD: I responded to that when Senator Warner asked it and the answer is obviously the United States of America does not know where he is.
RUMSFELD: We do not know if he's dead or alive.
We do know that he is having a great deal of difficult functioning. He may be dead. He may be seriously wounded. He may in Afghanistan. He may be somewhere else. But wherever he is, if he is, you can be certain he is having one dickens of a time operating his apparatus.
Now, is he critical? Well, he's important, but there are plenty of people who -- six, eight, 10, 12 people probably who could take over the Al Qaida. They know where the bank accounts are. They know the names of the people who were trained. They know the sleeper cells that exist around the world.
So the task is not a manhunt for Osama bin Laden, as your question suggests. The task is to stop -- find the terrorists wherever they are, that one plus all the others, and deal with them and deal with the countries that are providing safe haven to them. And that, we're trying to do.
CLELAND: Well, that's my question. If we don't know where he is, how can we go after him? And secondly, isn't he in western Pakistan, basically in a sanctuary there in an area of Pakistan where even the Pakistani troops are basically not welcome? And aren't we vulnerable then to another attack or his continued organization of attack against us?
One of the things I learned in Vietnam was if a terrorist doesn't lose, he wins, which is why I'm so committed, personally, to making sure that his end is in sight. And it troubles me, I'm frustrated that his end is not in sight or is the end of his terrorist cadre in sight. That, for me, is mission number one for our government and mission number one for our military.
Secondly, I am frustrated by the fact that in the biggest operation of the war, this Operation Anaconda, apparently, according to the Army Times, the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne air assault was told not to deploy with their 105 millimeter howitzers that they would normally take into battle. In other words, here we're sending a brigade into the biggest battle of the war without their artillery support.
I mean, is that normal? Is that something we're going to do? Especially I'm bothered and frustrated because you canceled the Army's latest artillery piece, the Crusader. Is that new way of deploying the Army without artillery support?
RUMSFELD: Well, I'd like to have a chance to answer those questions.
First, if we thought he was in western Pakistan we would find the -- first of all, the Pakistani government and the Army and the folks that are working in that area would, I believe, go find him. We do not know that he's there. That's pure press speculation, people are saying that.
Might he be, yes. He might be anywhere. But do we know where he is, do we have coordinates? No. Are we trying hard, is intelligence working on it? You bet it is. So simply because something like that's in the press doesn't mean he's in western Pakistan, although he may be.
Mission number one, you said, ought to be the Al Qaida and the Taliban. That is exactly what we're doing, and we're doing it all across the globe. And people are getting arrested every day, arms caches are being discovered every day, people are being interrogated, people are being detained.
It seems to me that the United States armed forces were designed to deal with armies, navies and air forces. Doing a single manhunt is a different type of thing. The intelligence community is working hard on it. General Franks is working hard on it. People across the globe are working hard on it.
You can be frustrated if you want; I'm not. I think that we've got a serious effort going on and serious work is being done. And the pressure that's being put on those terrorist networks is important and it's causing them difficulty in all the things they have to do, like raising money and recruiting and retaining people.
Does that mean there won't be another terrorist attack? No, there may very well. A terrorist can attack at any time, any place using any technique.
I'd like General Franks to talk about the howitzers. He's an artillery man.
FRANKS: Sir, I'd be glad to talk about the howitzers and the 101st, as well as the overall structure inside Afghanistan. And actually, I have not read the Army Times article, but I'll respond to the question that you asked.
The elevations in question in Operation Anaconda were at the low end just below 8,000 feet, at the high end above 12,000 feet. An M- 199 howitzer weighs 4,520 pounds. The maximum ordinate (ph) for a 199 howitzer -- and as you know, Senator, how high it goes is 8,000 meters. That puts it at 24,000, whereas the ordinate (ph) for a mortar is less than one half of that. That affects the literally hundreds of aircraft, close air support sorties that were available to the combatants on the ground during Operational Anaconda.
Senator, a 60 millimeter mortar weighs 47 pounds, an 81 millimeter mortar weight 89 pounds, a 120 millimeter mortar weighs in the vicinity of 400 pounds.
FRANKS: And a total of 26 of those systems were available for use during Operation Anaconda.
I have spoken to the brigade commander. I have spoken to the division commander. I have spoken to the land component commander, both before and after Operation Anaconda. And I, sir, find no justification for the comment that you made with respect to the cannons coming with the 101st Airborne Division air assault.
CLELAND: I'm getting this out of the Center for Army Lessons Learned briefing obtained by the Army Times, where a Colonel Mike Hemster (ph), the center's director, said it would be, quote, "a legitimate conclusion to assume that had there been a battery of howitzers on the Anaconda battlefield, the guns could have shut down Al Qaida mortars that inflicted most of the roughly two dozen U.S. casualties on the first day of battle."
I was just interested in how we were deploying our forces here, especially since the secretary has canceled the latest artillery piece by the Army. And then I find that we're sending a brigade into battle here without its normal artillery component. I just wondered if this was a new order of battle, or was this something special.
FRANKS: Sir, the secretary may want to respond more. But, sir, you know from your military experience, as well as I know from mine, that each and every deployment, and each and every mission that we undertake is going to consider the mission to be done. It's going to consider the enemy that we are going to fight. It's going to consider the terrain in which we're going to fight. It's going to consider the lift assets available, to what task we want to put the lift.
And in this particular case, with respect to the Center for Army Lessons Learned, I simply don't agree with the observation, sir.
CLELAND: My time is up, Mr. Chairman.
LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Cleland.
ROBERTS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Mr. Secretary, thank you for a very comprehensive statement in regards to our mission in regards to Afghanistan. I hope all of our colleagues read your full statement.
There have been some sour notes in what has been a chorus of support up to this point as to the conduct of the war. You listed, or I listed, as I summarize your statement, seven positive accomplishments, ranging from the 70-nation cooperation, which is certainly unique and unprecedented, to intel and transformation lessons learned.
I want to thank also General Franks. I would certainly draw the attention all of my colleagues in the Senate to your statement on page 11, where you listed four suggestions imperative I think to our military success in regard to Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: new threats, transformation, what we need to do -- you listed four, and I thank you for that.
Now let me say that Senator Inhofe gave me a segue. It's not atypical of senators to jump from one pasture to another, so I am going to jump from one country away. And Senator Inhofe was talking about whether or not we were stretched too thin in the reserve and the active duty and the guard component. Winston Churchill, his comment on dictators, I think it applies to Saddam Hussein. "Dictators ride to and fro on tigers they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry."
ROBERTS: I met with some Iraqi dissidents, and I could feel the hunger of the tiger in their desire to take their country back from that tyrant.
We have had a lot of discussion in the press recently on the potential war against Iraq. Should we have that kind of a conflict in the immediate future or in the spring or whatever -- and I know that decision hasn't been made -- certainly that would cause some concern in regards to the mission that we would be able to complete.
Churchill also said, "It is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war." So this question would be for the secretary. Do you see any opportunity to safeguard the Mideast and the civilized world in reference to Saddam Hussein by jaw-jaw containment rather than war- war?
RUMSFELD: I guess that's a question really that's best posed to the president and the secretary of state and the Congress. But there's no question but that the problems in that part of the world are problems that do need to be addressed and have been addressed from a diplomatic standpoint, from an economic standpoint, given the sanctions that the U.N. has had in place, the enormous number of countries that have worked on the other problems in the Middle East, apart from the specific one you mention, to say nothing of the worldwide efforts against proliferation.
But over time the economic sanctions weaken, the diplomatic effort seems to get a little tired, the progress that he's been able to make in proliferating the terrorist states all across the globe is a serious one. And I guess there's room for all types of efforts, political, economic, diplomatic and military.
ROBERTS: Should the decision be made to take military action, do you feel you have the authority to, quote, "go to war" against Iraq based on terrorism connections or the U.N. resolution or public law, I think it's 102-1, with the Gulf War, without any further approval of Congress?
RUMSFELD: Those are issues for the president...
ROBERTS: All right.
RUMSFELD: ... that I wouldn't have a comment on.
ROBERTS: In fact, on lessons learned, the U.S. military is conducting a significant experiment exercise called Millennium Challenge '02. Do you see any opportunity to bring forward some of the capability that is exercised in that exercise and that challenge to put it to use in either Afghanistan or a possible military conflict in regards to Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Senator, I wouldn't want to talk about a possibility of a conflict in Iraq; this is, kind of, an Afghan hearing.
But with respect to Millennium Challenge that the Joint Forces Command is conducting, I was down there earlier this week. There's no question but that the exercises, the experiments that they're undertaking are valuable, interesting and will have applicability to all things that we do in any area of responsibility across the globe. I'm very encouraged by what they're doing.
ROBERTS: General Franks, there's a recent article that stated friendly fire still plagues the U.S. military. We've talked about that before. Would you comment on this continuing problem and also the interoperability of our own equipment?
FRANKS: Senator, I think by and large the interoperability of our equipment has been good. I think that the lessons that we have learned in Afghanistan will cause us to probably, over time, as part of transformation, think hard about how we distribute pieces of equipment. In an unconventional sort of conflict, we wind up using people to do things that may be their third or fourth or fifth priority function in terms of the way they're equipped. And so I think we'll take that kind of lesson.
In terms of friendly fire, I will say that anytime there is a friendly fire incident, whether it has to do with one of our military youngsters or whether it has to do with a civilian, it's not only a sad thing, it's something that we want to avoid.
FRANKS: It's something that we want to find either technological solutions or training solutions or tactics, technique, procedure sorts of modifications that enable us to not have repeat performances.
This committee knows, and, sir, you certainly know, that we have never had the perfect circumstance of a war, and that is certainly -- and we find Afghanistan no different. We have had loss of life because of friendly fire incidents in Afghanistan and I regret that.
I will say that I do have great confidence in not only the young people, that being the sergeants and the young captains and so forth on the ground doing the work, I also have confidence in their leadership. I have confidence in the flag officers, the generals and the colonels who look at each and every one of the reports of one of these sorts of incidents and try to figure out how can we avoid repeat.
Sir, that's the best answer I can give you.
ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, my time has expired. I just want to add one thing.
Mr. Secretary, in regard to Scott Speicher, the Navy pilot we left behind in the Gulf War, I wrote in February of this year requesting that Scott's status be changed from missing in action. First he was KIA and we had him changed to missing in action, or the department did upon our request. And our request now is to prisoner of war status.
I want to thank Assistant Secretary Wolfowitz for the continuing dialogue in that regard, but we haven't had an answer. And we just need some assurance that a decision on the POW status will be made soon.
Of course, if it's a decision we don't want, well, we don't want it to be sent up. But we hope a good decision will be reached, and I wanted to mention that to you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
RUMSFELD: Thank you, sir.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Senator Roberts.
REED: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Secretary Rumsfeld and General Franks, let me commend you for our leadership and your determination over these many months. And also I think it's fitting that you asked Colonel Mulholland to join you. He is here today representing a lot of younger special operators. I think you'd be the first to admit they carry the ball for us. They did a magnificent job.
Thank you, Colonel and General.
Let me follow up a bit the line of questioning that Senator Cleland opened up with. First, an informational question: Did the 101st have 105s in-country ready to operate in Anaconda?
FRANKS: No, sir, they did not have 105s. At that time, we had no cannon artillery in Afghanistan.
REED: So the decision -- the availability of 105s, that decision was made in their deployment, not in conjunction with Operation Anaconda?
FRANKS: I'm sorry, sir, I didn't...
REED: Let me rephrase it. The decision to employ or use or have available 105s was made many weeks or days before Operation Anaconda. They simply didn't have the pieces in-country. Is that correct?
FRANKS: Sir, they didn't have the pieces in-country because the conditions when our land component commander brought forth the notion of bringing the brigade of the 101st over, and having performed the analysis of the terrain where that brigade was going to be used, determined that it was not necessary to bring the cannons with them.
REED: Now, the absence of field artillery places much more emphasis and importance on close air support. In your observations, in Tora Bora, Anaconda and throughout the course of the operations, do you think there has to be additional work to harmonize the doctrine of the Air Force and the Navy and the Army with respect to close air support? Is there a common doctrine? Is there misunderstanding? Does this operation represent not just the absence of field artillery, but genuine misunderstandings about what close air support means and what it'll provide?
FRANKS: Senator, fair question. I don't think so. I believe that we would never say in the middle of a battle or of a war, "Gosh, everything is just right and there's no lesson to be learned."
We have learned training lessons about this. We have learned how to better advantage training opportunities where, for example, we will have both naval and air aviation employed at the same time. We have learned things about how we can better harmonize our technology to be sure that we don't have one form of an airplane used by one service that is not able to acquire and attack based on laser work that works with another sort of airframe.
FRANKS: And so, of course, we have learned these kinds of lessons.
But, Senator, doctrinally I believe that it's recognized that both Navy, Air Force and the United States Marines aircraft provide for close air support. So we've learned the lessons. My view is that the lessons we've learned have not been catastrophic, but the application of those lessons will make us better in the future.
REED: Thank you, General.
Mr. Secretary, you indicated in your remarks that we have American military personnel in the headquarters of every warlord or something to that effect.
RUMSFELD: A lot of them.
REED: What happens if these warlords are responsive to us, but not responsive to Karzai or vice versa? Do you have any advice?
RUMSFELD: Well, it's a complicated problem. And it's a problem I'll discuss at greater length in the closed session.
But the short answer is that Afghan regional leaders have armies, and they're in charge of those armies and they pay those people. And our special forces are embedded in most of those units. They are young folks and they do a great job in guiding and offering advice, but they aren't in charge of those armies. And when there's any kind of a difficulty where two regional leaders seem to be having a dust- up, why then we have tough choices to make. Not in terms of participating in their dust-up, because that's between them, but in seeing if it can get stopped, and if it can't get stopped how our folks avoid getting in the middle of it.
REED: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. Secretary, we are trying to create a national army, which I presume means at some point these warlord armies are disbanded. Could you comment upon that process of building a national army, but at the same time, sometime in the future, demobilizing these private armies?
RUMSFELD: Well, there again that's an issue that is going to play out over a period of time. It's unlikely that the regional leaders are going to disband their armies if there's not something that is providing security in those regions or not something that they feel they have a voice in.
So it's going to be a difficult task for the central government's leadership to fashion a set of relationships, political relationships, financial relationships, military relationships, over a period of time. And as the Afghan army and as the central government's border patrol and police forces evolve and develop, one would think there would be less reason for those. And to the extent that the interaction between the center and the regions evolves properly, well one might hope that that would happen. But it's not written how long it will take or whether it will be necessarily even-even, symmetrical in how it plays out.
REED: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Thank you, General.
LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Reed.
BUNNING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank you both for coming. I appreciate it.
I've been greatly disturbed by press reports of potential operational plans in Iraq. I strongly urge you, Mr. Secretary, in conjunction with the FBI, to do your best to find those who are leaking classified material to the press and send them to jail for a long, long time. I think it's vital to our national security. There's none of us up here that know anything about the plans, so it's coming from within. So I suggest that you make a very strong effort to find out where it's coming from and treat it thusly.
RUMSFELD: Senator, I'm doing everything that's legally proper to do so.
BUNNING: Well, do whatever it takes.
Secretary Rumsfeld, there have been reports of Al Qaida members active in the disputed region of Kashmir. Have you made any progress in rooting those terrorists out? Has Pakistan been cooperating with your efforts?
RUMSFELD: Senator, the reports about Al Qaida in Kashmir are ambiguous.
BUNNING: Ambiguous, not true.
RUMSFELD: They're ambiguous. That is to say, it's -- there isn't real clarity as to whether or not, or if so, how many or where, there are Al Qaida in Kashmir.
It is a -- first of all the phrase "Al Qaida," it's a definitional issue to some extent, and the scraps of information that we get are suggestive but not conclusive.
Second, I personally believe that the answer to your second part of your question is that the Pakistan government, if they believed and knew there were Al Qaida in Kashmir, would go do something about it. They have told me that and I believe them.
BUNNING: My follow-up question would -- was that if President Musharraf's government did know, would they pursue? They would?
RUMSFELD: I believe so, don't you, General?
FRANKS: Senator Bunning, I would add, I do agree with what the secretary said, and I don't -- I agree with it because just as Secretary Rumsfeld has spent considerable time with President Musharraf, I have also. And what he has proven over time by having already given us, and I'm not sure, sir, what the number is, but literally hundreds of prisoners that -- from a great many nations, leads me to believe that, yes, he would do that.
BUNNING: I'm going to follow up on Senator Reed for a second, because I have a letter from General Myers telling me that part of the reason artillery was not taken into Afghanistan was, and I quote, "the ability of U.S. air assets to deliver precision munitions at any time."
We both know that air power, while it can be very awesome and do wonderful things, it can't do everything. It can't deliver munitions at any time for the simple reason it's subject to on-station time and the number of aircraft available, and weather, and anti-aircraft threats, and sometime even altitude.
Do you agree that air power cannot be all things to all people? Why do you think General Myers said this to me?
FRANKS: Sir, a question for me or a question for the secretary?
BUNNING: That's for you, General, since he is your chief.
FRANKS: Sir, I don't know. I know him very well, and I think that he very well recognizes that the mortar, for example, as I talked about it a minute ago...
BUNNING: I was told that by others before.
FRANKS: ... is a very capable, all-weather, you know, sort of day and night system.
I will say on behalf of air power, I am an air power advocate, and I am a believer in air power. I think it needs to be coupled with a capability on the ground that gives you, in fact, an all-weather sort of capability. And I can't talk specifically what Dick meant when he sent you the note, but I do know that he very much believes in the use of systems like the mortar and so forth to give that 24-hour, all-weather capability.
BUNNING: Well, my concern obviously was for the safety of those doing the operation and I know your concern as the commander over there would be just the same. But relying on air power and relying on its reliability, when, in fact, it could possibly not be there when you need it, seems to me to be questionable at best and risky.
FRANKS: Sir, for sure, but thanks to this committee we have equipped those Army forces with a magnificent mortar in the 120 mm mortar. It is very, very capable system.
And I'm not -- I mean, I'm an artilleryman by upbringing, and so I'm not anti-artillery. But I recognize things, for example, like you can put four 120 mortars and the ammunition that you want for a given fight in one helicopter, CH-47. Whereas if you do that with these lightweight howitzers, it's one helicopter per howitzer.
And so it's hard for me to make a comparison that one would like to be drawn to that says there's something terribly wrong with not having had cannons.
BUNNING: The biggest problem, General, is that sometimes the helicopter can't fly at certain altitudes, so you can't use it.
FRANKS: Sir, that's absolutely correct. Without a doubt.
FRANKS: But we inserted the people for these operations based on a pretty thorough plan using helicopters. And the same helicopters -- the same type helicopters that we use to insert the people were also used to insert the equipment at those altitudes.
BUNNING: My time has expired. I want to thank you both for being here.
LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Bunning.
CARNAHAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would also like to thank our witnesses today for their outstanding service to our country during these troubling times.
I'd like to have my remarks submitted for the record, Mr. Chairman, and go straight to questioning.
General Franks, I understand that the Iranians were at first very cooperative in our operation within Afghanistan. And now we're hearing reports of their efforts to undercut on the ongoing U.S. mission there. Could you discuss the nature of our relationship with the Iranian forces that are deployed in Afghanistan?
FRANKS: Madam Senator, the secretary will give a much better answer than I, but let me give an operational level sort of an answer.
As we have worked Afghanistan, we have found two large problems. One large problem is this inclination for tribals and ethnic backgrounds within the country to contest one another.
The other has been the interests of nations around Afghanistan in terms of wanting to influence what's going on on the inside of Afghanistan. My appreciation with respect to several countries -- Iran is one of them -- is that they have not been entirely helpful in everything that we have tried to do in Afghanistan. And I'd turn to the secretary.
CARNAHAN: Well, have the Iranian contacts with the warlords in any way compromised the Central Command's relationship with friendly Afghan forces?
FRANKS: Ma'am, it's hard to know. I think the much-reported, for example, one regional leader in the west, obviously being very close to Iran, has a great deal of traffic back and forth between Iran and Afghanistan, and has for a long time had relationships with the Iranians.
The specifics of whether or not that has complicated our efforts to stabilize and to kill the Taliban, Al Qaida and capture them in that part of the country, that has not been in effect -- a direct operational effect that I've seen.
CARNAHAN: Mr. Secretary, with the assistance of the Russians, Iran has made substantial progress toward constructing a nuclear reactor. And reports indicate that it could be completed as early as 18 months from now. I know the administration shares my concerns, certainly, that they -- as to what the impact of this reactor might have on regional security, as well as national security.
And I was wondering if you would comment as to your views about the threat that this reactor poses, and how the administration plans to handle this issue.
RUMSFELD: Well, Senator, I think that your concern and the administration's concern is very well placed. Iran is probably unquestionably burning off, wasting more natural gas and the energy that it would provide than the entire nuclear system that they're building would provide them. They're not short of gas or oil. They don't need the nuclear facility for anything that is legitimate by way of energy in their country. It is a concern to us that the Russians have been, and are continuing to provide that assistance.
With respect to your first question, the United States and most coalition countries are trying to do things that will strengthen the central government of Afghanistan. Therefore our work is to help build a national army, our work is to help see that the assistance that comes in externally is funneled through that government so that they have some leverage and can begin to work with the regional leaders in a way that is advantageous to the population as a whole.
To the extent that Iran deals separately with regional forces, obviously it is unhelpful to the central government. And to the extent that Al Qaida are able to move back and forth across the Iranian borders and find safe haven in Iran, it is notably unhelpful to the global war on terrorism.
And I do not believe that -- you're quite right, there was speculation about the degree of their assistance early on. But I think if one wanted to net it out, it would be hard to say that they'd been a constructive force with respect to the global war on terrorism. They are sending assistance and weapons and money and people down into Damascus, down into Lebanon in the Damascus-Beirut Road, and fostering and fomenting terrorist acts. They're far from clean.
CARNAHAN: General Franks, the U.S. Transportation Commander, General John Handy was quoted in the paper the other day describing projected shortfalls in aircraft capability as the war on terrorism continues to tax our fleet of C-17s and C-130s and C-141s and C-5s. Would you describe what you feel is the importance of our airlift and how it has played in rapidly deploying our combat forces there? And also, could you comment on the DOD's airlift needs?
FRANKS: The last part of your question, please?
CARNAHAN: Comment on the DOD's airlift needs.
FRANKS: I included in my written statement what I think would be taken as an agreement with General John Handy with respect to strategic lift.
FRANKS: You know, if you look at Afghanistan you're talking about a landlocked country. And so, whatever we are moving in and out of Afghanistan, at least for the first several months, until we were able to start using land lines of communication, we did by air.
Transportation Command has done an incredible job with the assets available to them. I think John Handy's view is that the numbers of airframes need to be increased. I agree with that view, in terms of the way it's prioritized. I can't talk to how many that means in a given year. But I think we all recognize that for our work in the future, strategic lift is going to be absolutely critical to us.
CARNAHAN: Thank you. My time has expired.
LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Carnahan.
SESSIONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Mr. Secretary and General Franks, thank you for your service and your very fine service. This is a great and free country. It's appropriate that leaders of our war effort come before this committee and answer tough questions and complaints and second-guessing, and from that we learn. And my observation is that our military is taking extraordinary steps to learn. It is creative and innovative perhaps more than any military in history. It is transforming itself in remarkable ways. And for that I salute you. I have no doubt that the next conflict will be better than this one. But it was a tremendous over the last one, and it continues to improve. And I think all of us have to recognize that and salute you for it.
You know, we had complaints before this war began, fears expressed. I was just thinking about them recently: "Oh, we're not going to be able to win this war. The Russians had failed. We were going to fail. We can't success in this far-off place. We can't get enough friendly nations to help us move our materiel and personnel. If we attack it'll really make the terrorists mad and they will really bomb us even more than they are today. That the Arab street would go up in arms. That the Afghan people were not going to like American troops coming there and wouldn't accept our effort and would not be friendly to us." And that so on and so forth. "That Arab nations would all, in unanimous effort, oppose what we've done."
So facing a lot of difficulties and a lot of challenges, you've negotiated those with great skill, I believe. Diplomatically, militarily, politically, we've made more progress than we have a right to expect, I think, at this time. And I just want to say, on behalf of myself and others I think in this country who agree with me, that we've done very, very well. We thank you for it. And we've achieved tremendous military success.
This government, this Taliban government, that we had the capability of defeating has been defeated. It no longer exists. Yes, we have not captured bin Laden, but I don't think anybody could make it a policy of the United States to guarantee we could capture one person anywhere in the world. You give me a head start in Alabama, you'll have a hard time finding me. I'll just tell you.
So I'm not disappointed. I would be disappointed if he was still orchestrating and pulling the strings behind his terrorist network.
I think we've got to be pleased with what's happened in Pakistan. They've taken a stand on the right side. The Philippines have made tremendous progress against terrorism, killing the leader of that group and making real progress there. We've gotten greater help from the Europeans, from intelligence. Other Arab nations have helped us with intelligence and insight into this terrorist network. And I believe we've done a lot of good.
Mr. Secretary, I know you've been criticized for not moving far enough in nation-building, as some would like to call it. I would just like to say, my understanding is, first of all, we have about 5,000 troops in Afghanistan. Is that correct?
RUMSFELD: A little more.
SESSIONS: We have 7,000 in Kosovo. No prospect of getting a lot more of those homes very rapidly.
I think you've been exactly correct to do everything within reason to not allow our presence to expand unnecessarily and to allow ourselves to be committed unnecessarily through our military forces to do things we can't achieve.
Are you satisfied where you are in that effort, in terms of striking the right balance between helping rebuild this country without turning our military into a police force in every village, hamlet and farm in Afghanistan?
RUMSFELD: Well, Senator Sessions, first, thank you very much. And you're right, you've posed the tension that exists as to how to manage a difficult and delicate situation.
In thinking about some of the earlier questions as to how we got to from where we were to where we are, it seems to me there were several things that took place. One was the repressive nature of the Taliban was so egregious that the people of Afghanistan felt liberated.
RUMSFELD: And second, a lot of Afghan people didn't like the foreigners, the Al Qaida, coming in there and, kind of, taking over major chunks of their country.
Third, you're right, the decision to have a relatively limited footprint, unlike the Soviets, unlike other countries might have, and avoid being seen as a foreign occupying country, particularly in a country like Afghanistan, was terribly important.
Next, we made an enormous effort to avoid collateral damage. And for a country that has been bombed like it's bombed and civil wars and Soviet occupation and all the people that were killed and all the carnage and the damage to vineyards and buildings and institutions and religious idols, the fact that we have been so careful I think was respected.
General Franks, from the very first day, started humanitarian assistance, and it seems to me that has helped as well.
The one area we're imperfect on -- not just the one area we're imperfect, where we are really uneven -- is in countering lies and disinformation by the Taliban and the Al Qaida and the forces that oppose us. We have not done a brilliant job there, it seems to me. Their training manuals organize them to do it. They're skillful at it. They're on the ground and were able to constantly try to make it look like it was an anti-Afghan effort or an anti-Islam effort or a foreign occupying effort. And we were constantly trying to correct that. And every time they'd do it, they'd have a free run of the media for a good chunk of time before we could get ourselves organized to try to counter it.
But your question is right on the mark. That was the tension all along, how to do that. And I appreciate your comment.
SESSIONS: Well, thank you for that.
And, General Franks, just a brief question. With regard to airlift and precision-guided munitions, you made reference to that in your statement, this budget has increased funding substantially for both of those -- it's something I believe is very critical -- as well as to unmanned aerial vehicles. Are we where we need to be? Because I, frankly, think that we could find more if you have to have it. Where are we in terms of your satisfaction level with increase in airlift, unmanned vehicles and precision-guided munitions?
FRANKS: Sir, thank you for the question. There has never been a combatant commander without an appetite. I'm one with an appetite, I think, for the sorts of systems you talked about.
I think that what we see with precision-guided munitions right now instructs us a lot for the future of warfare. I think what we have seen with unmanned aerial systems and the way we've seen them used in Afghanistan, while imperfect to be sure, has taught us a lot, it's told us a lot about what we want to do.
I think what we've seen about the requirements to move lots of people and lots of tons a long ways by air have taught us something about our strategic mobility.
And so my appetite for those systems as a combatant is insatiable. But I'm also pragmatic enough to recognize that there will be only so much resource and that some prioritization will have to be done there.
So if I just keep my -- you know, my humble position, then more is better. But I recognize that a sense of prioritization will have to be done within the various military services and within the secretariat.
SESSIONS: I'll just say on those three things, I think they should be prioritized and we should not skimp on those.
LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Sessions.
DAYTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary and General, I want to join with others in saluting both of you for your extraordinary efforts and your successes in the last 10 and a half months. You accomplished more in about a 10-week period late last year than the old Soviet Union accomplished in 10 years in Afghanistan. You routed an enemy which believed itself to be entrenched and equipped to prevail against you, and you initiated a military engagement in about six weeks, versus, as I recall, Desert Storm took about six months a decade before.
And your -- from all accounts, and those who have more expertise in this realm than I, your prosecution of the war was, if not, use a word, transformational, at least involved a lot of breakthrough innovation, which I guess will be studied for many, many years to come, especially, you know, the combination of precision targeting, and the delivery of overwhelming force to maximize lethality against the enemy and minimization of the causalities to our own forces and our allies and even the civilians in these enemy-occupied territories is really exceptional and, again, enormously to your credit.
It seems to me that one lesson of all of this, going back to the beginning in September 11th, is that even with this overwhelming superior militarily, we don't enjoy as a country invincibility.
DAYTON: We can retaliate, we've proven, with devastating punishment against an enemy attack. But the damage and the death and the disruption that that attack can cause against us, now it seems the unprecedented menu of options that our enemies have available to them to try to deliver these blows, raises some obvious questions and one of the most important of which is can we afford to wait to retaliate in future situations.
And I believe it's that which caused the president to raise at West Point the possibility of preemption and, I guess in my view, its appeal is matched only by its peril. And it it's employed, it seems to me it's going to have profound implications for our country and for other countries around the world, friends and foes alike, and for the future of military conflict in this world.
So I guess I would ask each of you in turn, Mr. Secretary and General, you know, how do you apply the experiences of the Al Qaida attack on this country, the subsequent Afghan war to the groups and governments which pose these prospective threats to us today?
RUMSFELD: Well, Senator, the question is central. It is one that not just the Congress or the United States but the world is considering, and it is elevated because of several things.
Most importantly it is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The 21st century is a period where our margin for error is modest, where we put at risk not hundreds or thousands of people but hundreds of thousands or potentially millions of people can be threatened by weapons of mass destruction.
And if one looks at what happened in Afghanistan, Afghanistan did not attack the United States. Afghanistan behaved in a way that harbored the Al Qaida that did attack the United States.
As tragic as it was, it was not with weapons of mass destruction that time. The United States made a conscious decision to engage in what people call preemption or preventative action or anticipatory self-defense. I think of it as self-defense. And we went after Afghanistan which had not attacked us. But we went there and eliminated the Taliban as a governing body. We eliminated the ability of the Al Qaida to use that country as a terrorist network.
And we did it because we knew we could not simply sit there and allow them to continue to train thousands of additional terrorists who will without question get their hands on weapons of mass destruction in the period ahead.
It is written, it is not if, it's when. There's just too much of it around the world, too many terrorist states that are engaged in weapon programs, involved with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons.
And therefore what you've raised is exactly what this country and the world has to consider, because we're in a 21st-century security environment and it is notably different than the 20th century.
FRANKS: Senator, the only answer I can give is just the notion that says take the fight to the enemy. The operational concept is maintain initiative by taking the fight to the enemy.
DAYTON: Mr. Secretary, given that I agree with what you said, that we're likely to live the rest of our lives in the foreseeable future in a world where, given the proliferation of both the technology as well as the scientific and technological know-how to put that into effect, is one where we'll live with in a world where there'll be groups or governments who do or may have these capabilities, who are inimicable to our interests, who may perceive us as enemies. What are the triggers, what are the trip-wires that we use? Do we go in preemptively every time we've identified such? How do we frame that debate and deliberation?
RUMSFELD: Senator, it seems to me that that is something that this body and other nations and academic institutions need to consider. And what one has to do is balance the advantages, as General Franks suggested, of anticipatory self-defense or preventative action, the advantages of that against the disadvantages of not doing it.
And one has to weigh those. And there are a number of factors that have to come into play.
Obviously there are countries like the United Kingdom that have weapons of mass destruction -- democracies don't tend to attack other people, they don't tend to go after their neighbors. They don't tend to sponsor terrorist states. So if one wants to look at one differentiation and a way to do a quick triage, democracies that have weapons of mass destruction seem not to be threats.
RUMSFELD: There are other countries that, depending on their degree of intimacy with terrorist networks, obviously elevate themselves as problems. And my guess is that the society, our society and the world will end up reading the words that people say, listening to what the dictators and the repressive regimes around the world say about what they think those weapons ought to be used for and what they think of their neighbors and how they condemn the alleged illegitimacy of their neighbors and the things that they tell to their people. I mean, we have a wonderful way of turning a blind eye to what these people are saying.
If we sat down and looked at what they are doing to their own people -- starvation, repression, butchery, use of chemicals. If you look at the aggressiveness of their programs, which is another measuring item; how close are they to having these weapons and how close are they to using those weapons? And these are tough calls.
But if you look at what they're doing to their people and if you look at what they're saying they want to do to other nations in the world, pretty soon people have to nod and say, "Well, they're nominating themselves. They're not being nominated."
DAYTON: My time has expired. Thank you.
LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Dayton.
ALLARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I'd like to start off, Mr. Secretary, by saying you're doing a great job. And I can recall during your confirmation process there's a few naysayers out there, but I think you've proven them wrong. And your leadership of our armed forces during some very trying times is very much appreciated and particularly by myself. And I just wanted to express that to you in a public manner this evening.
RUMSFELD: Thank you very much.
ALLARD: I think that your efforts to take a serious look at our legacy systems is appropriate. And I continue to hear people expound upon, wanting to stay with some of the older legacy systems. I've always felt that we need to work to modernize our forces. That's going to be the strength of our country. And I think that your efforts in trying to modernize those forces is going to make a difference 10 or 20 years from now.
I have heard the comment from some individuals that, you know, maybe we should have had more people on the ground. If we had had more people on the ground, maybe Osama bin Laden would not have escaped. But I do think that fewer people on the ground and higher technology saved American lives. And if I was to make a trade-off there, I'll take the American life any day. And so, that's where I'm coming from. And I just wanted to say those things to you, Mr. Secretary.
My question is to you, Mr. General. General Franks, you've been there, you've talked with people on the ground. And I'd like to have your honest assessment of how our space-based assets have helped during Operation Enduring Freedom. And I'd also like to have you discuss where we may need improvements in the future, as far as our space-based assets are concerned.
FRANKS: Senator, operationally, I will tell you that the pieces of this operation which have been successful would not have been so without space-based assets. It's just very simply a fact.
I'll give you only one example. I could give you many. We could talk about command and control of unmanned aerial systems. We can talk about intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance capability. We could discuss this, sir, in closed session.
But I'll use a different example. I'll use the example of what we have referred to as offset command and control for many years in our armed forces, but until this particular effort in Afghanistan, we actually have never seen. And what I mean is, the business of having combatant command and control located in Tampa, Florida, with a war- fight or in control of a war-fight that's going on in Afghanistan.
Is that a perfect circumstance? Of course not. The one thing that many on this committee recognize that you don't have if you aren't there is the ability to reach out and touch people and explain to them that care is a part of the military work. And so, we miss that.
On the other hand, space-basing has given us the ability, through huge pipes, to be more situationally aware thousands of miles away from this battlefield, I would posit, than we have ever been before when we were on the battlefield.
ALLARD: Could you comment about the role of commercial space- based products, and do you see an increase of their role in the future?
FRANKS: Senator, I'd have to give you something for the record, to be very honest with you. I see a great many space-based products from the commercial sector, but I don't have an informed or mature view of it.
ALLARD: Well, I understand that we had to rely on commercial space imaging, for example, to help us some during this process. And when you respond, your written response, I would appreciate if you would make some comments in that direction.
FRANKS: I will do that, sir.
ALLARD: I appreciate that very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Allard.
We've got Senator Landrieu.
LANDRIEU: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I know the time is getting late, but I appreciate, Mr. Secretary, seeing you and having you here.
And, General Franks, thank you for your extraordinary service.
I have a statement I'd like to submit, Mr. Chairman, for the record. I ask unanimous consent.
Let me emphasize though, one part of the statement and it'll lead into the two questions that I have for you gentlemen.
One part of the statement says that -- and Senator Lieberman really honed in on this, in terms of his line of questioning and comments -- was that there's no question that we have been extraordinarily successful in our military operations. I mean, there is not a critic that I know of in the world in terms of that we might have made a small mistake here or there. But overall, it's been and extraordinarily successful operation because of our superior technology, our organizational skills and our just overall capacity.
But I think the challenge that lays before us is, after winning the war, how to establish and stand up the peace, so that we're not continuing to fight the same wars, so that we're not accomplishing great things in one battlefield, only to lay the seeds of maybe unfortunately another battlefield in the future.
So my statement says something about the challenge before us to be able to successfully stabilize previously destabilized regions, and to begin the long process of rebuilding these nations through careful planning, persistence innovation.
And there does seem to be some disagreement about what we call it, but I'm not sure there's any real disagreement about the need for, and the necessity to finish a job we've started. And that finishing has to do with eliminating the operations of the terrorist organization and eliminating its possible rebirth. And that is a greater challenge. And it's harder to put our hands around.
So my question would be, given that, how are we -- and Senator Levin opened the hearing with this question, and I'll ask it in just a moment. But how are we explaining to President Karzai, who has asked for additional help and support outside of the region that we've defined, how do we explain to our partners and allies who have asked for support outside of what we have determined we should do?
What do we say to them after the agreements that have been signed about, you know, helping to stand up the peace? What is our explanation to why we've, sort of, considered, but not accepted, their invitation to expand our operations to prevent another war, or prevent the seeds of discontent from sprouting up again?
RUMSFELD: It is a question, Senator, that is critical. Our country and the world needs to help find an answer to it. There is a country that, for a couple of decades, the institutions of government have been destroyed. It is without a lot of the normal things that one would have: an army and border patrol, the police courts, all of those ministries that need to do things. And for it to be able to assume responsibility for its own security so that people do return and economic activity can go forward, and humanitarian assistance can be provided, requires a period of time.
And what we have said is we want to do everything humanly possible to help the central government. And we're trying to see that every type of assistance comes through that government, so that it becomes stronger.
We're helping to train the Afghan army. We're helping to tin cup the world to ask for money, to come in and help provide border patrol, and help provide for police training. And we're the ones who helped encourage the countries to do the International Security Assistance Force, and to help recruit Turkey to become the successor leader, and then now trying to recruit other countries to succeed Turkey in December.
When we deal with President Karzai, he knows that. He understands that. And when we talk about priorities, as to what we ought to be doing, he agrees with us, that our first job is to get the Al Qaida and the Taliban and find them and stop them from retaking the country.
LANDRIEU: But in all fairness, Mr. Secretary -- and I agree that we have done an extraordinary amount of work, and that we most certainly can't do it all, and we most certainly have the long-term success would be rebuilding that country and helping them.
But isn't it true that he has asked us for this assistance, and we, to date, have not, on this point, asked us to go outside of the area of the capital of Kabul and help to stand up the multi-national force with some of our -- you know, some more assets?
RUMSFELD: There's no question, but that Chairman Karzai, President Karzai now, would like that. There's no question we would like that. The question is, what ought we to be doing with what resources we have? And how can we be most helpful?
And I think if Karzai were here, he would agree with us that what we're doing in supporting the ISAF and what we're doing in to training the Afghan national army, and what we're doing in going after the Al Qaida and Taliban, and what we're doing by having our armed forces in most of the regional political leader and warlords' units to provide security around the country, is a higher priority than adding additional ISAF, notwithstanding the fact we'd like to see that added.
LANDRIEU: Well, I appreciate that. I just think that it, in this whole debate, which is complementary, or it fits the debate about Iraq and what we need to do in Iraq, I agree with you. The threat is real. This country has no good intentions. It is a great interest, and should be, to every American about what is going on in Iraq, and what our measures are to deal with it.
But I'm going to have a difficulty trying to explain to at least my constituents in Louisiana, why we would be looking like we're somewhat hesitant in Afghanistan, when the job seems more doable than what we're facing, or potentially facing, in Iraq. And that is just the -- it's just not a clear message is what I'm trying to communicate.
So while I'm thinking and knowing and believing the threat is real and being one of the senators willing to do something, that we would have to come across with a little more direct words matching effort to go there.
I'm going to submit my last question, which has to do with our commitment to stand up civil affairs, which is a very important component, General Franks, I think to what you're doing. Again, we're excellent at winning the war. We need to be -- and I think we have the capability for it.
LANDRIEU: I think the Army has the capability. I don't question the capability of our service men or women in any way. It's the political will that I wonder if it's there to step up to the civil affairs aspect of this so we can keep our men and women out of harm's way in the future.
And I'll submit my questions, Mr. Chairman -- my further questions for the record.
LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Landrieu.
RUMSFELD: Well, if I could just respond on the civil affairs.
FRANKS: Senator, I might give just a quick response on civil affairs. The secretary mentioned earlier that humanitarian assistance since the very first days of this. Also since the very first days of it we have been using civil affairs people and, in fact, have had a flag officer inside Afghanistan since -- I may be wrong about the specific date, but I believe December as a civil affairs commander. And when I mentioned the 300-plus nongovernmental organizations and the projects, it is actually those civil affairs units who are affecting the coordination that's bringing all that to pass.
LANDRIEU: But for the record, Mr. Chairman, we have, I think, 4,000-some-odd civil affairs and we have 158 in the country. Can you clarify those numbers. What are the numbers?
FRANKS: I will for the record, Senator.
LANDRIEU: Would you get those for the record?
FRANKS: I don't know what the civil affairs numbers in country are right now.
RUMSFELD: Mr. Chairman, may I make one comment on this subject?
RUMSFELD: One of the dilemmas is that to the extent the United States or any country goes in and substitutes its capabilities for the absence of a capability one has to know that that's a good thing if it's temporary, it's a good thing if it stabilizes a situation, and it is a bad thing if it creates a dependency on the part of that country for those capabilities.
And what we saw was a promise to get out of Bosnia by Christmas, and we're still there. And what we need to do and what we're constantly trying to balance is, how can we provide the Afghan government the kind of support that will enable it to develop the strengths so that it can provide for its own security and other countries, ISAF, coalition forces, the U.S. or anyone else won't have to be there at all?
And trying to do that, there's no road map for it, there's no perfect -- it's not science, it's art. And we're doing it as well as we know how, and my impression is that the priorities are right and my impression is that Karzai would agree with the priorities.
That is not to say he would not like more help; he would. And you're quite right, we've got to get other countries to step up and deliver on their pledges of money and support.
LEVIN: Senator McCain?
MCCAIN: Well, thank you.
I thank both witnesses for their patience. It's been a long afternoon. And I add my voice to the chorus of appreciation for the great job you're doing for the country.
I've been listening carefully to the questions and the answers, and I'm reminded of my old dear friend Morris Udall, who once said, "Everything that can possibly be said on this subject has been said, only not everyone has said it," because the issue has been pretty well covered. But I do have several comments.
First of all, Mr. Secretary, since the issue of Iraq and leaking was brought up, I'm entertained because you've been around this town a long time, and the fact is that I'm reminded a bit of Claude Raines' protestations about what was going on in Rick's casino.
The fact is that they are competing proposals within the administration, and certain people are using, or are attempting to gain advantage by leaking information. We've had leaks on everything short of the use of tactical nuclear weapons. And when it is resolved within the administration, Mr. Secretary, is what the strategy will be for the regime change in Iraq, which the president has steadfastly, and I strongly support, has to be done, then I think you'll find the leaks will stop.
But it's a game that was played with you first came here nearly 30 years ago, and it'll probably be played 30 years from now.
As far as Tora Bora is concerned, we all know we needed more boots on the ground. But we learn lessons. We learn lessons in following operations have been much more successful.
But the main thing that I want to comment on is the situation as regard to Afghanistan. Many of us remember 1989, when the Soviet Union, with our help to the freedom fighters and resisters, was driven out of Afghanistan. We rightfully, perhaps, given the challenges at the time, turned our back. Chaos ensued and the Taliban came to power.
It's very clear the lessons of history, you said its not art, it's science. But you can learn from history, we all know, Mr. Secretary. And that is, when we turned our back on Afghanistan, the people preferred totalitarian government to chaos.
Right now, outside of Kabul, we are bordering to some degree on chaos. You mentioned yourself they are warlords who are fighting against one another. And we don't know whose side to intervene on.
The fact is, we need to expand the peace keeping force. We can't expect any other country to do it. Yes, we were supposed to be out of Bosnia by Christmas, but we have a reason to remain in Bosnia, and we need to expand our peacekeeping forces, or we will repeat the lesson of 1989.
MCCAIN: The assassination of the vice president clearly indicates that. The need to provide U.S. troops as security forces for the president within his own capital clearly indicate that.
You'll be making a serious mistake if we say, "Well, we expect other countries to step up." We're the world's superpower. We have to step up.
Finally I want to discuss with you just briefly this whole issue of aircraft leasing. I won't go into a diatribe about it, except to say that the American people right now are very upset at major corporations cooking the books. You're about to cook the books on this lease arrangement for either 737s, 100 of them, or four VIP 767s.
I have two questions. One, where was the 767 four VIP aircraft on your priority list, because I can find it nowhere? And second of all, would you agree that it's necessary to get authorization from this committee before entering into any lease-purchase agreement of any either 737s or 767s?
And I thank you for your patience and I thank you for being here and your very enlightening answers to many very important questions.
RUMSFELD: May I make just three quick responses, one ...
MCCAIN: To anything, Mr. Secretary.
RUMSFELD: ... on the leak issue, I don't doubt for a minute that there are differing views about what one ought to do. I can tell you one thing, that the relationship between the senior civilian leadership in the Department, between the chairman and vice chairman of the chiefs, and the Central Command, General Franks, is like that. The discussions that take place, the process that's been established, has been working as well as I have ever seen.
And to the extent there are people down at lower levels who don't agree with one level or another...
MCCAIN: Or other branches of the government.
RUMSFELD: Whatever. You're quite right. I came here in 1957, and it's always been so.
Second, I don't agree that the situation in Afghanistan outside of Kabul is bordering on chaos. I think it is reasonably secure, and that it is less secure and worse in the southeastern part of the country and, I mean in the one location where there is an ISAF, that's where the vice president was assassinated.
So it is an untidy place, but it's a lot tidier than it used to be, and I agree with you. There simply must be more capability, from wherever, to assist the Karzai government in security, theirs and elsewhere.
Last, on the leasing arrangement, you're quite right the -- some of the specifics that you referred to were not in the president's budget. I do not know the answer technically as to what authority the department has or doesn't have with respect to the leasing arrangement.
I now in the private sector anybody always looks at the lease-buy alternative and makes a judgment with it as to what's the most effective and I'm told that the Air Force has the responsibility for reviewing these things and is doing so,
MCCAIN: Well, could you answer the final question that I asked you? I believe that before entering into a lease-purchase agreement, or a leasing agreement, that you should get authorization from this committee?
RUMSFELD: That's what I don't know the answer to. That's a technical question. I'd have to go back...
MCCAIN: What's technical about it? This is the authorizing committee, Mr. Secretary. You've been around long enough to know whether it should be approved of by this committee or not, or should it be, can it be done unilaterally.
I don't think it's a technical question. I think it's a very important question about the authority and responsibility of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
RUMSFELD: Well, I guess I answered it as well as I can. I would have to go back and see what's in the authorization language and what's in the appropriation language and how would the conferences came out, and I just don't know the answer.
You may not think it's technical but if I answer it wrong then I have to go back and correct the record, and I simply do not know what authority the Air Force currently has with respect to it.
MCCAIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LEVIN: I'd just to make a quick comment before we close to resume in room 222.
A number of us have raised the question about whether or not we should be doing more to assist the Afghan government to assure that there will not be a return to chaos in the rest of the country outside of Kabul. And I must say I agree with Senator McCain and others who have raised the point that we must lead in this area. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has said that a limited expansion of the International Security Assistance Force to areas outside of Kabul would make a huge contribution to the consolidation of peace. I would hope that the administration would consider that additional support.
Mr. Secretary, you've said a number of times that the allocation of the forces that we have there represents the top priorities and that you believe that President Karzai would agree if he were here, and I think that's correct.
The question is whether any additional resources should be offered, particularly if it might result in other countries coming through with pledges and with forces so that we could heed that advice of Secretary General Annan and get some forces -- get the International Security Assistance Force to the areas outside of Kabul.
LEVIN: And I would hope that this administration would consider that. That is a huge issue and I think we don't want to win this war and then lose the peace in the sense of seeing a return to chaos. I don't think anybody would want that to happen.
Your last comment is that more capability is needed from wherever, to use your word, to assist the Karzai government. Wherever may need to include some contribution from us if it's going to include contributions from other places. And I just hope that that remains a possibility in the thinking of the administration, because the stakes are so huge here.
We will recess now, unless you want to add a comment. We want to thank you again for your presence, for your tremendous energy, for what you've done to really make it possible for us to have the successes we've had in Afghanistan.
We will now resume promptly in closed session in room 222 of the Russell Building. Thank you both.
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