|New American Strategies
for Security and Peace
Congressman James A. Leach (R-IA), Michele A. Flournoy,
Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (Ret.), James Steinberg,
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LOG: JL = Congressman James A. Leach (R-IA); MF - Michele
A. Flournoy; BT = Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (Ret.);
JS = James Steinberg; RB = Rand Beers; MS = Unidentifiable
JL: The topic of the final panel is America’s
Instruments of Power: An Agenda of Reform. And to frame
the subject let me suggest to the panelists that it
might be appropriate to probe the question of the limits
of power, of super power and the possible anomaly that
there are liabilities, and the possible anomaly that
there are limits of power, particularly for a super
For instance, does overwhelming military might protect
us from terrorism, or if used unwisely, escalate vulnerability
to terrorism? Likewise, does overwhelming economic power
insure loyalty or buy friendship even from countries
who are indebted most to the United States? Is there,
in other words, a substitute for good policy when power
And given the dilemma of Iraq, couldn't it indeed
be that the most important multi-billion problem America
faces is not deficits, fiscal or trade, but the antagonism
of billions of citizens around the world who, at the
moment at least, object to our policies? Here to help
us with these and other questions is an exceptionally
talented and experienced group of panelists.
Our first presenter is Michele A. Flournoy. Ms. Flournoy
is a senior advisor in the International Security Program
for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
She's previously worked as a distinguished research
professor at the National Defense University and served
in several positions at the Department of Defense.
Ms. Flournoy holds degrees from Harvard and Oxford.
Our second panelist is General Bernard E. Trainor. General
Trainor is a senior fellow for National Security Studies
at the Council on Foreign Relations, and is an associate
at the Center for Science and International Affairs
at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
General Trainor is a decorated officer whose military
career includes a wide variety of command and staff
assignments. Our third speaker is James Steinberg. Jim
is Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy
Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and is
a former Deputy National Security advisor.
His previous positions include senior advisor to the
Markle Foundation and Director of the Policy Planning
Staff at the State Department. Mr. Steinberg received
his BA from Harvard and JD from Yale Law School. Our
final panelist is Mr. Rand Beers. Mr. Beers has served
four different positions on the NSC staff during four
His areas of responsibility included counter-terrorism,
counter-narcotics, intelligence and peacekeeping. He
was also Assistant Secretary of State from 1998 to 2002.
His final government position was a senior director
for combating terrorism on the NSC. At the moment he
is serving as National Security Coordinator for Senator
Kerry's presidential campaign.
I have asked our panelists to limit their comments
to five minutes. I have brought a watch to conduct a
congressional kind of polite ending circumstance to
the discussion. And it is my hope that the predominance
of what will occur today will be questions and answers
so that our distinguished guests can ask questions.
And so let me begin with Ms. Flournoy.
MF: Congressman thank you very much, can everybody
hear me? I want to start by applauding the conference
organizers for creating a forum for having public discourse
about our national security at this point in time. I
think it's absolutely crucial and I'm very glad to see
all of you here to take part in the discussion.
I've been asked to talk this morning about the US
military, and the particular challenges that it is facing
now and in the future. And I wanted to highlight four
key challenges for you to think about this morning,
challenges that the military really has to surmount
in the near term to be effective in protecting and advancing
our interests in the long-term.
The first one is what I see as a fundamental mis-match
between the demands of the post-Cold War, post-9/11
world, and the pool of capabilities and the structure
of the US military. I think there are several examples
of this or evidence of this. There are Iraq units coming
out of Iraq that have already been told they're going
to redeploy to Iraq in the next rotation cycle.
There are things called low-density, high-demand assets
which is a DoD technical term for forces that haven't
been managed very well because their demand consistently
outstrips supply. And I think we're finally learning
a key lesson, which is that we cannot treat things like
post-conflict reconstruction, like stability operations,
as a lesser case of war-fighting.
These missions require additional capabilities, different
kinds of capabilities above and beyond what we have
for war-fighting. So how do we address this challenge
of this mis-match? The first is that we need to shift
our emphasis. We need to build up capabilities in certain
high demand areas.
These include special operations, intelligence, linguists,
civil affairs, MPs, engineers, medical, the list goes
on. And we need to converge or cut in less relevant
areas. Now the Army is taking some steps in this direction.
They're converting, for example, some artillery brigades
in the National Guard to new MP battalions.
But much more needs to be done in rebalancing the
mix of forces. We also need to look at the whole question
of active versus reserve forces: what we have in the
active force versus what we have in the reserve, move
more of the high demand units into the active force,
and rethink the missions of the reserves and the Guard
Do we want to refocus the Guard primarily on homeland
security? Because these units are being particularly
over-stretched and I think if Iraq is not just a spike
in demand, but actually representative of a new steady
state of demand, then we're going to have a situation
where if we don't make some of these changes, we will
break the force and we will endanger the all-volunteer
force that has been so successful since the Vietnam
We also need to look at changes in the way the force
is managed. Right now many Army units need five units
to support one forward and the same is true for much
of the Air Force. That's simply not a sustainable, effective
ratio. We also have a practice of stripping people out
of units that are not deploying to make deploying units
whole. Again, not something that we could sustain long-term.
So we need some new, smarter ways of managing the force
as well. The second challenge I think is the need to
accelerate and refocus transformation. Transformation
has become the motherhood and apple pie issue of defense.
Everyone's for it, no one's against it, but if you look
at how dollars are actually being spent, there's been
a profound change from the transformation that was launched
in the Clinton administration to the transformation
that's being pursued in the Bush administration, with
much of the Bush administration's monies going into
an accelerated deployment schedule for national missile
I believe we need to refocus transformation on other
higher priority areas like network centric warfare,
the next generation of precision munitions, more mobile
and lethal ground forces... unmanned systems and capabilities
for areas like counter-terrorism and counter-WND (ph.).
We also need to pursue additional defense reform to
free up resources for that transformation, getting rid
of unneeded infrastructure, reducing unnecessary duplication
between the services, bringing the Department of Defense
into the new century business practices.
You know we have a model business system in the DoD;
it just happens to be a 1960s model. We need to enter
the 21st century. But the tough problem here is that
all the low hanging fruit has been picked and there
isn't a sense of crisis in Congress, I would argue,
that would help people to step up to some of the hard
choices and reform that need to be made.
Nor has this administration cultivated a real partnership
with Congress, and that kind of partnership will be
essential to move the reform agenda forward. The third
challenge I would highlight is we need to do better
at figuring out how to conduct truly inter-agency operations
using the military in concert with the rest of the instruments
of our national power in a way that creates real unity
Iraq is the prime example of how not to do this. I
think the failure to integrate all of the elements of
our national power means that we're trying to win the
peace in places like an Iraq and an Afghanistan with
one arm tied behind our back. We have the military out
there doing its very best, but we haven't been able
to deploy rapidly adequate civilian capacity for the
reconstruction task that need to be done.
So we need a more coherent inter-agency process for
planning and executing these operations. We need to
clarify agency roles and responsibilities and authorities.
And we need to build greater civilian capacity, a real
core of civilian professionals who are trained and expert
and ready to deploy to conduct things like stability
The fourth and final challenge I'll highlight is one
that people don't talk openly about too much. It's a
very sensitive issue, but I think it's critical, and
it should be addressed, and that is the need to repair
civil military relations, particularly in the Pentagon.
I've witnessed many Secretaries of Defense, many chairmen,
and I think we're at a real low point.
In this current environment military advice is not
always sought on matters where the military has both
expertise and a very real stake in the outcome. When
it is sought, it's often discounted or scorned. Many
officers have spoken to me of a shoot the messenger
environment, where your career is on the line if you
give advice or counsel that is not consistent with the
views of the civilian leadership.
Now not only has this affected morale in the Pentagon,
but more important I think it has a potentially dangerous
impact on national security decision making. When a
Secretary of Defense is making deployment decisions,
making decisions about putting American men and women
in harm's way to advance American objectives, it's critical
that he create an environment in which different professional
opinions can be voiced and heard because lack of group
think in our business is a very, very dangerous phenomenon.
So in sum, there are four key challenges as I see
them: adapting the force to new missions, accelerating
and rebalancing or refocusing transformation, enhancing
our ability to use the military in concert with other
instruments of national power and repairing civil/military
In conclusion let me just quote something that Vice
President then-nominee Dick Chaney said in a 2000 presidential
campaign. He said, "A commander in chief leads
the military built by those who came before him. There
is very little that he and his Defense Secretary can
do to improve the force that they have to deploy. It
is all the work of the previous administration."
The Bush administration came into office disparaging
the state of the US military but it has found in Afghanistan
and Iraq that the military it had inherited from its
predecessor, Bush I and Clinton, is in fact superb.
This is a testament to the high quality of investment
in people readiness, equipment, et cetera, that was
made in earlier administrations.
It's a legacy that Democrats and the country should
be proud of, and it's a legacy that I believe that we
can build on for the future. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]
JL: Our next presenter is General Bernard E. Trainor.
BT: Thank you. I've been asked to look at the military,
what it can do to smooth the way for diplomatic and
political activities on the international scene, and
I would say that the military in this country has probably
been very effective in this area, probably more effective
than the policy makers.
And I think that's true over the years for two reasons.
The first reason is cultural. Military people, like
doctors, consider their profession trans-national, and
whether you're dealing with a friend or an enemy, there
are certain fundamentals that go into the make up: the
military psyche which makes it easy for you to deal
with foreigners on a cultural sense because you have
a common tie.
Now the second is organizational. The military is
very good at organizations, making them work, even when
under many circumstances one would think that failure
was imbedded in the mission, but they some how seem
to make it work. And of course the classic is NATO itself.
It's been around for a very, very long time and it's
been very effective for us, and it's a way that the
United States has not only been able to communicate
its interest but also to influence the action.
That's the most notable one, but there's so many other
things that have gone on and continue to go on to strengthen
the influence that we have. UNITAS, which is the Navy
trip around the Western Hemisphere, at this time the
Navy anti-terrorist patrols are taking place down off
Djibouti and that area.
The work that's being done in the Philippines and
by the UN in Kosovo, the officer exchanges that take
place between the militaries in the different nations,
the schools that we attend and that foreign officers
attend, the training that we provide, German Air Force
gets most of its training here in the United States.
Training that we're doing with the former Warsaw Pact
nations and even with the principle Warsaw Pact, the
Russians, the ship visits that are taking place, we
just had one with both Navy and Marines into China and
shared activities on military R&D, these are just
a few of the things, but you could see that organizationally
and culturally there is interplay with with our allies
And that can be leveraged for our diplomatic and political
purposes. And in fact it does. We used to call the theater
commanders, commanders in chief, CINCS. Well with Mr.
Rumsfeld in there we don't do that anymore. There's
only one commander in chief, that's the President, so
now we call them combatant commanders, but I think that's
They're much more than combatant commanders, they're
pro-counsels. You take the theater commander in the
Pacific, he just doesn't run the water, he runs all
the water. He has more power than any ambassador because
an ambassador's in a country. He's got the entire region.
Enormously powerful, not only militarily, but politically
About a year ago "The Washington Post" ran
a series of articles which was splendid, explaining
the power that these theater commanders have and continue
to have. The theater commander right now in Iraq, the
CINC, has enormous power, he is a pro-counsel. Okay
so you say we have all of these things that we can influence
But is there something wrong? Yes there's something
wrong, but it's not on the military level. And I think
it echoes a little something that Michele had talked
about and that's the organization within the government.
The National Security Act of 1947 was established to
fight what we might call a classic war, World War II
and its follow-on, the Cold War, against the Soviet
But the current organization does not take into account
that the world has changed considerably since 1947 and
indeed since 1983. There have been a lot of changes
and a lot of new concerns, including homeland security
and terrorism. And we're not structured to handle this
very well on a policy basis, we're still in the stove-pipe
mentality of thinking that in this block you have the
State Department which does diplomatic stuff and in
this block you have the military which does military
And in there the two shall cross. But the fact remains
that the weak is bent over on that political and economic
and agency side rather than on the military side and
as a result of that, the military is doing the things
that others should be doing by default and this needs
a change. We do have to have better inter-agency integration
and probably we have to entirely restructure of the
Department of Defense and the National Security Act
to take into account these other activities.
The military cannot be called upon to do windows,
walls, floors and everything else. By default they're
having to do it and I think they do very well. But to
get an inter-agency group to act in concert without
direction and without resources to do it, you're not
going to get cooperation, and there's plenty of evidence
to support that contention.
So we do need an entirely new approach which integrates
the military and the other elements of national power,
and takes into account that we are no longer facing
a 20th century type of war. We're in an entirely new
situation of which the military will play a part, but
it may turn out that it'll be a minor part. And with
that I'll pass it on. [APPLAUSE]
JL: Thank you very much General. Our next speak will
be James Steinberg.
JS: Thank you Congressman. My remarks very naturally
fall in a sequence here with General Trainor's because
I also want to talk about the way in which the world
has changed and the role of intelligence, and how we
need to rethink how we use and how we organize ourselves
to deal with intelligence in this new world.
I don't think I need to spend a lot of time justifying
why intelligence is so important. If you look at the
two dominant strategic developments of the last couple
of years, the 9/11 attacks and the war of Iraq, intelligence
plays an extraordinarily central role. There's been
a huge debate and a continuing discussion about whether
our intelligence system was up to dealing with the challenge
of terrorism and particularly the attacks of 9/11.
And similarly there's been a great debate and an ongoing
one about whether our intelligence system failed us
in dealing with trying to assess the nature of the threat
from Iraq. But both of them illustrate how important
it is in this new world to have the intelligence system
that provides us with the information we need to deal
with new threats.
And this world is very different, as General Trainor
has said, from the Cold War world. During the Cold War
we knew who the adversary was, we had specific facts
that we wanted to find out about his force deployments,
specific intensions, capabilities and the like. But
these are what Donald Rumsfeld likes to call the known
unknowns. You kind of knew what the questions were,
you knew where to look.
And it was just a question of trying to deal with
the efforts that the adversary made to try to deny you
that information. Pretty straightforward intelligence
task, couldn't always get the answers but at least you
knew what you needed to do. Today we're dealing with
what Rumsfeld calls the unknown unknowns. We don't know
precisely who the adversary is, the nature of the terrorist
threat and some of the other kinds of challenges that
we face are much more diffuse.
We don't know where they're located, we don't know
the composition, we know very little about the intentions.
We know limited amount about the capabilities, we know
little about when and where they're likely to strike.
And so we need to think very differently about the challenge,
and we need to organize ourselves to recognize that
the universe of information that we need is much wider
than the information that we needed in the Cold War.
And the kinds of actors that we need to engage with
to understand these threats are dramatically different.
During the Cold War we were talking about basically
a government apparatus. We had government intelligence
collectors, both technical and human. They provided
their information to government analysts who then provided
it to military and diplomatic personnel.
Very much a closed system in which we had a system
of classification, a system of clearances, a system
of need-to-know, that defined a very tight universe.
And we focused as much on trying to protect the information
from disclosure as making sure that it got around to
people who needed it.
But in the new threats we face today, the people who
have the information that we need are as likely to be
a cop on the beat or a private security guard or a public
health official in the local hospital or even somebody
working in a flight training school, as a CIA agent
or and FBI agent.
Our partners are very much important to us because
it's not just having our own assets to know this, but
we need the support and help from people around the
world, people who are often much closer to the nature
of these challenges and the people who are, not only
the people who are going to collect the information,
but the people who are going to analyze it and then
use it, are much more and much broader a community.
We talk about the intelligence community in the old
days and we could define the center of 10 or 12 or 13
federal agencies and that was the intelligence community.
Today the intelligence community is virtually everybody
that you can think of at one point or at one time. And
so we need to develop a new architecture and a new way
of thinking about our intelligence system that recognizes
that lots of people have information to bring to bear.
And the people we need to inform and to bring into
the analytic questions are much more diffuse. That means
we need a much less top-down system, a much more decentralized
system, a much greater willingness to share information,
a change in the balance between secrecy and sharing
so that even though we may have risks by providing information
to local police or local fire officials or local public
health officials or protectors of critical infrastructure,
that it's better to get the information out than to
try to keep it to ourselves and not have the important
need to have it.
We also need to break down some of the old ways of
thinking about how we deal with information. Our whole
intelligence system is based on a very sharp division
between foreign intelligence and domestic intelligence.
There were good reasons for that during the Cold War
and there were a lot of concerns because of the abuse
of it, intelligence, in the '60s and early 1970s that
led to a set of prophylactic provisions that basically
said we're going to set up this sharp wall between domestic
and foreign as a way to protect civil liberties and
a way to protect the interest of our citizens.
But today that distinction makes no sense. How do
we know in the face of an attack on a building or a
cyber attack whether it's foreign or domestic? And even
now as actors recognize the permeability of our borders,
that distinction isn't going to work. We can't allow
these barriers to prevent the kind of cooperation that
And so we're going to have to rethink and essentially
erase those distinctions. And similarly we're going
to have to rethink the way we think about the relationship
between intelligence and law enforcement. Because of
this division between foreign and domestic intelligence,
we pretty much vested all of our domestic intelligence
capability in our national law enforcement agency, the
The FBI is a good law enforcement agency, but it's
not a good intelligence agency because it has a very
different mission than law enforcement which is to catch
the bad guys after they've done something and to bring
a case and to prosecute them. And now in the world that
we're in today we have to focus on prevention and strategies
that may not lead to a conviction.
We can't take the risk of waiting to see if somebody's
going to actually commit a prosecutable act before we
intervene, and so we need a debate about how we deal
with domestic security in this country and there are
a number of proposals out there. And I think the time
has come to recognize that we have to take the problem
of domestic security and intelligence seriously, and
not try to craft it onto an old system that was designed
for very different purposes.
In that we recognize that we have serious civil liberties
issues, we ought to address them directly and not by
hampering our ability to collect, use and disseminate
the kind of intelligence we need to deal with these
new threats. And the final dimension that we have to
deal with is the better integration of our intelligence
with our policy making process.
I think what we've seen over the last two years is
serious questions about how those two systems work together
and whether we have on the one hand a system that protects
the integrity of the intelligence collection and analysis
process, but also make sure that it's linked closely
enough to the policy making process that the insights
and the judgments of the intelligence community can
actually affect the judgments that the policy makers
If the policy makers don't have a willingness to engage
with the intelligence community, we're going to see
the kinds of problems that we've seen in Iraq of conclusions
that are designed not to reflect the information that
we have, but to try to drive the intelligence community
to provide answers to questions when the answers are
thought to already be known.
This means we have to take on a big set of changes,
new changes. There's a lot resistance to big change,
but as the General has said, we're in a new world, the
principles and the organization that we developed in
1947 to deal with the Cold War simply don't apply to
the current circumstances. And so it is going to take
some boldness and breaking some crockery to really begin
to develop the kinds of systems that we need to deal
with these new challenges. [APPLAUSE]
JL: Thank you Jim, our final panelist is Mr. Rand
RB: Thank you very much. Given the topic of defining
ineffective terrorist, counter-terrorist agenda, I thought
I'd better search for some inspiration for this topic
in this timeframe. And I think I'd like to start with
the fifth question in Rumsfeld's memo to his staff.
“Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated
plan to stop the next generation of terrorists?”
The US is putting relatively little effort into a
long-range plan. We're putting a great deal of effort
in trying to stop terrorists. The cross benefit ratio
is against us. Our cost is billions against the terrorist's
cost in millions. I think that in many ways sums up
the challenge that we face.
And while I certainly can't lay out a full strategy
in all the detail that's necessary, what I'd like to
do in the time remaining is talk about five principles
and seven strategic elements for how to think about
the war on terrorism. The first is that this is clearly
a long-term effort, that there are no silver bullets
and that neither an offensive nor a defensive strategy
alone is going to deal with this.
If we recognize that it's long-term then some other
requirements automatically fall out. Secondly it will
be absolutely essential to maintain public support for
this effort over this long-term in the same way that
it was necessary to maintain support for the Cold War
effort during the period from the Second World War to
the collapse of Communism.
Thirdly it is going to require the building of some
institutions to sustain this effort so that it is not
entirely dependent upon one administration or one individual
thinker. And that's going to mean institutions such
as the Center for American Progress and others who will
keep the debate alive and keep the intellectual development
of the issues very much in the forefront for the American
But it will also require some much more detailed things.
For example, an ability to train people to speak the
languages that are necessary to deal with the issues
surrounding the countries from which terrorists are
coming. A recent report on public diplomacy indicated
the great lack of Arab speakers within the State Department.
This is true in the intelligence community and in
the military as well and it's going to be something
that we're going to have to think about. Fourthly, this
has to be an inclusive strategy. It cannot be one agency,
it has to be inter-agency. It cannot be one country,
it has to be international and it has to be multi-lateral.
It really requires thinking in the terms that spawned
UN Security Council Resolution 1373 where the largest
coalition of countries ever in the world was assembled
to go after Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We've lost that,
we need to come back to that kind of a framework if
we can have some chance of winning.
And finally we have to bear in mind that this is not
a crusade, this is not a religious war and we have to
say that and we have to mean that on a regular basis.
It may not in fact even be a war as some have said here
before, but it certainly can't become a struggle against
Islam. I think that's where I would start the seven
areas that I think that we're going to have to look
at. First, to neutralize the Al Qaeda leadership, to
disrupt their operations and dismantle the organization.
But it won't only be Al Qaeda. There will be other
organizations. We still have to deal with them, we still
have to do what we can to make these organizations and
their leaders less effective. This is one of the areas
in which the Bush administration has been strong, but
it's also important to remember that as successful as
you are in this strategy, if it is the only strategy,
what you end up doing is disbursing the elements of
this struggle in the same way that an effective strike
against the Medine or the Callie Cartels in Columbia
by the United States and the government of Columbia
did not end drug trafficking, it only disbursed it,
and the traffickers are still making large profits around
Secondly, I think that it's important to look at denying
sanctuaries where terrorists can operate beyond the
shadow of the law, beyond the shadow of governments.
The efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq where military operations
have been successfully executed don't end that process.
It really does require, as previous panelists have spoken,
to follow on with the stabilization operations that
are necessary to leave the country in a form in which
the country is governing itself and it doesn't require
US or international military force there indefinitely.
Thirdly, I think we have to focus on the issue of
terrorist financing. I break that out as a special issue
because it's particularly difficult, but I also break
it out because we have an effective framework that people
have set up around the world in terms of dealing with
banking systems and international transfer.
But it does require implementation and it does require
a lot of difficult work on the part of countries and
international institutions to make it work effectively.
Fourth, I think we have to look at the intelligence
system. I think Jim Steinberg has just spoken very effectively
about the issues that are relevant there, but unless
we do this, we will continue to have blind spots that
will leave us vulnerable. Not us, but the world as a
And I think that that means both looking at it domestically
but also in ways in which it's necessary to cooperate
with other international intelligence and law enforcement
organizations because, as Jim said, it's not just foreign
intelligence, it's also domestic intelligence.
Fifthly, I think we have to look at the sources of
recruitment. It's interesting that if you look at the
11 questions that Rumsfeld asked in his memorandum,
in addition to the one that I wrote, there are three
others which go to this very question. They are the
questions that refer to the madrasas, but that's not
the only source of terrorist recruitment.
But we're doing nothing in effect to deal with this
issue and it's going to have to be something that we're
going to have to spend some time and effort on. There
are two obvious areas where progress could be made but
neither of them are simple. Concluding peace in the
Middle East and resolving the issue in Iraq will obviously
reduce recruitment posters for Al Qaeda and other terrorist
And they are issues which we must attend to, and we
must understand the implications of them for terrorist
recruitment. But we also need to look very much at how
we can bridge cultural gaps to the people who got to
madrasas to the people in the Islamic world who are
the sources of recruitment for Al Qaeda and other terrorist
organizations, and find ways to take down the barriers
that have grown up between our selves and them so that
it does not become a religious struggle.
Sixthly, and we just had a panel on homeland security,
I think that this is an absolutely critical element
on the defensive side, and it's something that we have
not spent any time on. The point that was made earlier
that we don't really have a national threat assessment
or a national capabilities assessment which are the
bedrock starting points for any development of any strategic
element in this overall effort, are absolutely true.
And it is absolutely critical that we find a way to
get those, to get them quickly so that we begin to talk
about how much money is enough. So that we begin to
talk about what the management requirements are, and
so that we can begin to talk about what the programmatic
elements ought to be in this effort.
And finally, I think as Juliette Kayyem in the last
panel mentioned, we have to look at the issue of civil
liberties. This is a critical area in this overall struggle
because we cannot forfeit the values that are the bedrock
of America in pursuit of the terrorists who threaten
our basic institutions.
It may not be very good but you degrade it. How would
you tackle that problem if you're going to make the
big changes you're talking about?
JS: Dick, it's obviously a big challenge and it's
why we end up never making any changes because there's
always a worry that given the urgency that we face now
in terms of the threat, that any moves that we make
will have somehow distract us from dealing with the
problem. What I think that we have to recognize as a
number of people have said, that we're in this for the
And that we are just crippling ourselves for the long
haul if we don't make those changes. There are going
to be some risks of moves, we need to think about what
the priorities are in those moves as we make them. A
lot of it is a question of changing the incentives of
the players in the system.
And so for example when we think about domestic security,
we have a number of people who have skills and talent.
The question is who are they reporting, what are the
incentives that they're creating and how can we create
the institutional changes that will make a difference?
For example, today the administration is a joint intelligence
fusion center for terrorism called the terrorist Threat
It's located in Langley, and it's sort of a joint
venture between the CIA and the FBI although it involves
other agencies. The problem with it is that because
of bureaucratic and institutional barriers people come
and sit together and talk about things, but they still
report back to their original agencies, their hiring,
their promotion, and all their sort of cultural incentives
So if we're going to take these steps, let's take
them meaningfully. Let's take these people out of their
existing culture and create a new culture where there
is a sense of sharing, there's a sense in which each
agency that collects intelligence is not going to protect
stuff cause its primary concern is to protect its sources
And the second thing that has to happen, and it's
been hotly debated, is there needs to be somebody who
has ownership of this system. We need a true director
of national intelligence, we've been debating this since
the 1847 Act. But we need somebody who has responsibility
throughout the system, who can see over the differences
between the domestic and foreign.
Who can bridge the gaps and the seams that we have
now? I think in making those basic changes, we begin
to change the incentives in the system. Over time broader
changes will need to take place. But we came as close
as we're going to come to a catastrophe in 9/11. If
we continue to wait and make the kind of incremental
changes that we're going to make now, we're just increasing
the chance that we're going to have another one.
And so I think that what we need to do is begin to
build with the key changes of incentives in the system,
and over time make broader changes. There's a big debate,
for example, about whether and to what extent we should
solve the commendrum of the relationship between the
military intelligence agencies and the now-Director
of Central Intelligence.
That's a big problem we do need to address over time,
but that would not be at the top of my priorities right
now. I think the main thing we have to do is to think
about those key changes we need to make to deal with
the new threats and those require some movement. They're
not necessarily large institutional changes, but by
setting up a different set of incentives and people
who are accountable and responsible for thinking about
these new problems, I think we can begin to make the
movement that we need.
JL: Excuse me there are several people on this side
of the room. Richard has a question right here.
Richard Leone: I think this is the perfect panel to
ask this question of, though it's been implicit in a
lot of the things that have been said. I guess I'd refer
to the old expression when you have a great hammer everything
starts looking like a nail. We have a great military,
great Army and we are attempting to adapt that to a
mission that has emerged in many ways may not be a mission
very well suited for an army.
But I wonder, in terms of being forward looking, what
changes we need to make in the training, structure,
leadership if we want to have a military that is the
kind of instrument we think we need because there may
not be an alternative instrument for the kind of battle
we're engaged in.
BT: Yeah that's a good question and it's an oft asked
question. It was asked a lot after the wall came down
in Berlin. Well we don't know what the future is, I
mean 20 years ago we were oriented towards classical
military operations, you know, tank battles and all
that sort of stuff.
Well that's changed, but now we could also take the
Afghan mantle and say, well, everything in the future's
going to be like Afghanistan and we need small operational
groups in there. Or somebody will take a page out of
the current Iraq situation and say, well, it's going
to be kind of a urban guerilla warfare situation.
The fact is that we really don't know and we have
not been very good in our history in predicting what
the next war is going to look like. I've always taken
the position, and I think it's valid sort of position,
that you look across the spectrum of possibilities.
And you gear yourself for those, and you maintain
a surge capability within your resources, broadly described,
to surge when one of the possibilities becomes either
a probability or an actuality. Therefore, you don't
get rid of all of your tanks and you don't get rid of
all your special operation forces, but you try to meld
so that you have a basic capability across that spectrum
with a certain surge capability and in many respects
the Guard and Reserve can provide that surge capability.
But if we're looking forward right now in terms of
what is the reality, the reality that we're facing right
now is an urban guerilla type warfare and we have to
adjust to that. Now whether that adjustment is going
to be long-standing depends I think on the outcome.
If we are very successful in taking care of the problem
that currently exists in the say Sunni triangle, then
the need for that sort of capability will diminish.
On the other hand if it turns out that this is a long
slog to use the Secretary's term or that we find out
that we are at a disadvantage at the very end, then
we have to rethink in terms of not only of our structure
and organization and distribution but also our very
concepts of operation.
JL: Miss Flournoy.
MF: I would give you two answers to your question,
that from a naturally military perspective I think that
bump stickers need to move from interoperability among
services to real true interdependence among services
so that when the Army tries to send a task force of
24 helicopters to Kosovo, it doesn't need over 500 C-17's
worth of stuff to go with it.
But it can depend on the Air Force and the Navy and
the Marines to provide other forms of support that it
doesn't have to provide itself. That, when we move finally
to that (unint.) of dependence, that's going to give
us much more flexibility to meet the kind of challenges
we're facing in the future.
But I think there's a broader point here. You talked
about if you have a good hammer, everything looks like
a nail. I think we have to diversify our tool box, I
don't think the answer in an era of national security
crisis is necessarily just throwing money at the military.
And I'll give you one example, I mean when I think
about my list of things for to deal with terrorism,
an eighth candidate I would nominate is really trying...
taking aggressive measures to keep weapons of mass destruction
out of the hands of terrorists. Now that's the... the
military instrument is not the best instrument to use
to do that.
But there are threat reduction programs for securing
loose materials, nuclear weapons, biochemicals, and
so forth that we really need to be pursuing on a much
more urgent and widespread basis. So we need to start
thinking about national security spending in much more
holistic terms that don’t just equate national
security spending with pumping up the military, but
look to diversify our tools and really match tools to
problems rather than trying to make everything look
like a nail.
MS: My apologies, we've been give a note from on high
that says we'd like to finish by
RB: To just speak up on what Michele said, think about
the issue of peace keeping and stability operations
and ask yourself, we have a requirement for police,
we have a requirement for governance and we have a requirement
for economic policy. Do we want to give those missions
the training of police, the creation of civil administration
and justice systems and the ability to create new economic
opportunities in failed states to the military as a
Or do we want to establish a different group of people,
maybe in a different agency that will be responsible
for that and recognize that just like the military,
they will not be engaged in active operations every
day. They will spend a lot of their lives actually training.
JL: A very tall hand is back here.
Q: During the last few months on national security
issues, we've begun to see the re-emergence of the Democratic
wing of the Democratic Party. To Congressman Leach,
will we be able to see the re-emergence of the Republican
wing of the Republican Party in the future? [APPLAUSE]
JL: Well first let me just stress, we are confronted
as never before with real American dilemmas that have
nothing to do with the political parties. Now the political
parties are the manner in which we define leadership.
But whether or not we've made the right set of decisions
in intervening in Iraq, and I happened to have voted
I will tell you we're now in the position of trying
to say how do you proceed from here in the most coordinated,
collected way possible that has nothing to do with Republican
wings and Democratic wings. In primaries this gets emphasized
as we look at elections we see differences in parties.
But I think that anyone that looks at this as anything
more than an American dilemma makes a mistake.
Now it is true that there is a conservative versus
moderate wing in the Republic Party. There's a liberal
versus moderate wing in the Democratic Party. Of the
10 wings in American national politics, the way the
structure now works is the conservative wing is the
pre-eminent wing of the Republican side, the liberal
wing's the predominant wing in the Democratic side.
And so philosophically there's a lot of differences
here and on the other hand in foreign policy it's not
always clear-cut that these wingisms apply. I mean,
because you can have a liberal and a conservative concur
if you look at the votes in the United States Congress.
Clearly there's support from the very strong liberal
side of the Democratic side for what the President is
And so I think we've got to get out of that exact
bind in terms of looking at elections. I would add just
one minor thing because it was part of the prior question,
I am really impressed with the professional wing of
the United States military. There is no more trained
group of people in America today and if you ask for
a way that's restrained in foreign policy, it could
well be the professional military in contrast with civilian
And I take that over the last 30 years under Democratic
and Republican leadership, the military has been absolutely
contrary to the intuitions of the American people, much
more restrained then the civilian leaders. And that's
a very interesting phenomenon that I think we ought
Let me go, we'll go one more question, let's go to
a lady who has her hand up please.
Q: Thank you, all the panelists today and yesterday
have talked about some our priorities and the tools
we have, and talked about the military being relied
on too much, intelligence should be better for diplomacy.
I mean, why didn't we know the French were going to
do what they did?
It's maybe as important as knowing where the weapons
of mass destruction were and as the head of INR which
was the only part of the intelligence community that
seemed to have gotten it right. Jim Steinberg also worked
there. I'm very much proud of the people who were not
part of group think. So I think it's important to have
that recognized too.
Why don't we have the State Department put in charge
of reconstruction or at least of some of the money?
Why is the Dov Zakheim [Undersecretary of Defense] in
charge of auditing how the Defense Department spends
it? In other words, is there something we can do now
or do we have to live through what we're going through
with the old rules and only put out papers which tell
us at some future maybe it'll be better? [APPLAUSE]
JL: Does anyone want to answer that?
MF: It's a very good question and I think at this
late date it is very difficult to make major course
corrections that will have effects on the time scale
that we need them. But that said, I still think the
mission is under resourced. We don't have enough capability
there, military and civilian, to provide the security
foundation on which reconstruction can proceed and to
expedite reconstruction on the kind of time lines we
There’s a window of opportunity, some people
talk about a window of opportunity, a tipping point.
But there's a limited period of time that the Iraqi
people are going to support us or at least stay on the
sidelines. At some point you'll go from having the jihadists
and the Saddam supporters you know launching their attacks
to actually having popular support and discontent.
Having said that, I have a personal belief that all
of the logic in this town is you want to slog through
and show that you've got longevity and stamina and that
logic is really truly open to review, in my judgment.
I think if you set a policy of a precise time table
for disengagement that is the only way to avoid being
"pushed out" from the perspective of others
because it looks right now as if all the trends are
towards terrorism, all the trends are towards more popular
discontent rather than more popular support.
If you thought the reverse you would say, slog 'til
the nth degree. My own sense is that if we announced
the mission would largely be accomplished by late next
summer, announce a time table withdrawal, announce we
have no interest in forming military bases in Iraq,
no interest in control of the patrimony of Iraqi oil,
move towards internationalization on the civilian side
immediately and on the security side by late next summer,
you then can say that America accomplished the disengagement
of Saddam, the rebuilding of Iraq.
And we're committing and the Congress has voted $87
billion, $20 of which is for civilian assistance. That
is rather substantial in that size economy. And you
know up front that assistance, you then have a circumstance
that you de-Americanize the dilemma and place a great
deal of burden on the Iraqis to come together in their
Now the downside is that's a short period of time.
The question though is if you take a longer period of
time, does the situation get worse or better? And based
upon the last three to four months of clear indications
of direction, I would say it's going to get worse and
therefore the abbreviated time period, the announcement
in advance of the time table strikes me as the bold
new imitative that this government ought to be considering
at this time.
Now that is absolutely contrary to group think and
frankly a lot of the thoughtful critics of this policy
are looking for a longer timeframe. I think the shorter
the better. I apologize, we're under instructions from
note givers to me of whom I do not know who they are,
but I'm told they have great authority.
And so let me thank our four panelists, we really
have brought together.
BT: I just want to go on record to say that I respectfully
disagree with the Congressman on this issue.
JL: General that's appreciated and I assume it's probably
four to one up here with you in the majority. So I have
expressed a perspective that's a little bit different.
In any regard, thank you all very much and thank you
for coming. [APPLAUSE]