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tv   Reagan National Defense Forum Discussion on Defense Spending  CSPAN  January 24, 2022 10:25am-11:25am EST

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hats and ship models for military operations, and he is always dressed in his trademark dark suit, black rimmed glasses and a bow tie. >> lance geiger the history guy on this episode of booknotes+. booknotes+ is available on the c-span now out or whatever you get your podcasts. >> washington unfiltered. c-span in your pocket. download c-span now today. >> military officials and defense experts talk about budgeting and developing a modern military to counter foreign adversaries. hosted by the reagan national defense forum, this is an hour. [inaudible conversations] >> stand for a photo.
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[inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. thank you for joining us this afternoon. it's truly an honor and pleasure to be with you. i'm an editorial writer for the "wall street journal." i'm joined by these distinguished gentleman here, and i first want to let everybody that we are taking audience questions and would love to get your question so you them in on the app or on twitter, and they will be deemed to be on the skype at and i love to some of those so please feel welcome. so today we're having this budget discussion at a very influential moment, which will get to shortly but i do want to start out a little more broadly i want to go down the line and i
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want to know what is your top priority for the defense budget in the coming years? i let yours? trip with the question how you like but i want to know what is your core priority, what you focus on come what must the country do over the next five years? with that like i said we are across all their talk about the china challenges in the pacific but here weth focus on the researches that will ultimately back up that challenge. chairman smith we will start with you. what is your top defense spending priority? >> first, my top defense spending priority would get the appropriations bills done so we actually spend the money. i don't -- [applause] i i don't really mean that facetiously, because it's really important. we are trapped in battles over 1000 different things that the basic running of the government continues to be enormously important. we've got to make sure congress functions to do that, because i cr at $740 billion is worse than
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a full appropriations budget at 700. don't want to alarm all of you out there about the 700 number but my point is to actually have the ability to do the appropriations normally is invaluable. as anyone who works in this business will tell you but beyond that the other huge priority is innovation and updating and integrating eye weapons systems so they're e survivable and information systems are better. that's what war fighting is we have seen it alloi across the globe. however you want to put it, the idea of making sure our systems are more survivable, and are protected, and more clearly and easily communicated with one another, that's the future and we have to get to there as soon as possible. moment, i would sae priority is to avoid the extension of the cr. you can only have a year-long cr
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and that would be devastating. let me get broader than that. we need stability. one ask i have of the congress is to allow to require -- retire airplanes to free up the resources. the secretary of defense has talked about responding to what chinese is doing with their military modernization program. it is an anchor holding back the air force and we have to get rid of those aircraft's so we can get on with modernization. >> you will find unanimity on that we need appropriations bills instead of seat -- cr. it handcuffs the department and i'm disappointed we don't have
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the leadership decisions on a bipartisan basis to get that done. i would say my priority is that we come to grips with what we are going to have to do really through the life of this and in a 10 year timeframe, which is not only to do the rdt&e, which is essential for are the reason said and for which the secretary went on. by the way, we cochaired a task force for the reagan institute. we don't win the battle for innovation, we do not win. that is clear. we have to have a force through the racks of this decade -- rest of this decade. the problem is we have not recapitalized the force since the 1980's. we are using the inventory created during the cold war years. this began in the 1990's. my career has gone through this whole thing.
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i think we need a topline increase. jim matta said a three to five percent increase. depp sack was on the strategy commission. if we have that by fiscal 2023, we would have a topline from 70 to $170 million --$70 billion to $170 billion. with the additional money, the secretary said i would accelerate. i do think we have to invest in shipyards to compete with china in particular, in terms of naval
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strength and we don't have the shipyard capacity. i would buy shifts -- ships. we have to invest in personnel and buyback readiness. they're doing what we wanted them to do, transforming the marines. one priority. one priority. when you are first fired and you increase the topline -- >> from a defense enterprise point of view, military-civilian leadership, congress, the most important priority is to take advantage of the opportunity still accelerate commercial technologies into the enterprise and do it to enable rapid capability developments along the way of development platforms and programs. i think that is opportunity.
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there will be modifications to the budget and if the chairman says we can do that effectively, i think the party will go after it. >> karen smith, what can wait -- chairman smith, what can we expect from congress over the next 30 days? what confidence do you have we are not heading back to the continual desk continuing regiment -- continuing resolution future? rep. smith: i will give you the bad news and the good news. the bad news increasingly is we have seen congress the very difficult. it is more individuals than collective action. everybody has their priority and their mission is to force the priority, whatever damage is done. there is not as many people in congress focusing on knowing we have to pass an appropriations bill and raise the debt ceiling. we haven't mentioned that but that would be a catastrophe if we did not.
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increasingly, members of congress -- there are too many focused on being celebrities in -- instead of legislators. they are focused more on winning the message of the day than they are on the hard work of getting it done. i'm in the middle of that, trying to negotiate the ndaa. if i clear one screen, i got to have this, i gotta have that. we have to get the work done and increasingly, the country is rewarding that type of individual approach to legislation. you can blame it on congress if you want, but we are the ones electing people acting like that. marjorie taylor greene raise $3 million in the third does first quarter of this year. some people like the approach, right and left. there are still a lot of people
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who do understand all of that. we have appropriation bills and have to pass the ndaa and raise the debt ceiling. we have the skill set to get it done but it is difficult because we try to do it and if i am against that, i will bring these people with me and you won't have the votes to bring it down. cut the deal, come back, and everybody says good. they're gone. we have to bring these people in. it is a 50-50 call. the most important thing is between now and february 18, to get all of the appropriators in a room and actually start negotiating. we cannot start negotiating from agreeing to everything i want. we have caucuses. we are not going to get what the caucuses are asking for. we do have to at least try.
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i would say in the next 30 days, the issue is now february 18. . we know what we have to do in the decision is whether we can do it. >> what are some of the priorities that would be a danger for another continuing resolution? rep. talent: they are across-the-board. one thing that is on the table would be a pay raise or cost-of-living increases. that is not fair to our air men and anyone else in uniform. we have a number of programs that need to scale up our nd. we have production programs that we need to scale up to get more efficient rates. we just need to move forward some programs. one of the biggest problems with the cr is you move time. time is not a recoverable asset. you can't get it back. we lose the time, facing challenges. secretary alston talked about
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the rates for military modernization and the introduction of innovation into the force. we heard a lot about innovation and the importance of that. we cannot move forward and you cannot do the start. we cannot start with things we don't have funded currently so it is a devastating outcome to have that impact and we need to do everything to avoid it. >> a year ago, there was a report from the commissioning on national military safety connecting the dots between revolutions and preventable accidents. are you concerned about the dynamic if you go back to dysfunctional budgeting? rep. talent: we were doing what we could to manage what we had to avoid that thing. try to keep it as highs we could. we have cost-of-living increases in those areas.
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there are risks of things like safety associated with that. 9 >> you looked at readiness closely in congress. how would you rate it where we are today purses over the course of your career? rep. talent: after the sequester and everything sense, secretary panetta was here and said it would be like shooting ourselves in the head and it was. because of the way it happened, it was terrible to take that much money and there was no way the department could get out of anything except current readiness. we already had backlogs in trade and maintenance depot, all the rest of it, so everybody took an enormous hit. jim matus i think was able to buyback readiness. from what i understand, about two thirds of the army's brigade teams are fully ready.
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the secretary can speak for his service and he has valued that but it was in very bad condition a few years ago. the marines are moving ahead with the transformation. i'm concerned about readiness. we don't have the navy here but certainly the outward sides are not good with what we are seeing in terms of the accident. i am concerned about the reputation it projects and what may come, a near -- maritime theater. we have to continue working on readiness and we can't recover from losing 500 -- $500 billion to the budget projected over the course of about six to seven years without having enormous knock on effects. >> i want to talk about the navy
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but before, how does the budget dysfunction affect your planning cycle? how do you think about that? >> it makes it difficult for us to pivot to the priorities secretary kendall and the chairman have talked about. three of them i would point to is one would be hypersonic's. we expected an increase in hypersonic r&d investment and preproduction that will not be able to happen. as you said, losing the year in that race with china and russia is unaffordable. there is an anomaly to be had if that is the case. the second thought is important is modernization for the f-35 is we need to start now to make sure it is done in time for the increase that will come down the road so if we can't get an increase in the budget at least by transitioning, it will be a
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year-over-year lose that is essential to competitiveness. a third one i would point to is man operations. there is no funding vehicle craft today. those one of the areas i think we can draw these digital technologies and get rapid capability advances but if there is never any way to allocate funds to that because there is a cr for yet another year,. we. will be behind as well in that area. those are three i can think of after that. >> secretary kendall, you would like to retire aging assets. what do you make of the criticism and invest strategy means to the air force -- leaves the air force extremely vulnerable over the next six years, what analysts are calling a window? how does the air force plan to manage that vulnerability? >> we have a number of assets
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when i first came to office. if it doesn't run in china, why are we doing it? our assets are required that were very useful in sounder in -- counter insurgencies but are not threatening to china. we have to refocus -- the secretary went on about the chinese threat and the challenge it poses. what i have watched for over 10 years, and it goes back 20 years before that, is china's modernization, which is focused directly on defeating american power, and they have added since the first gulf war and required high-value assets, of which the numbers are fairly low. we had to respond to that. time is our enemy. so is the reluctance for resources and places used to do the things to combat that threat.
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assets are things like reverse, some c-130s, some older tankers, e-10s. these are all programs with great value. they're aging and their utility against the pace and challenge is limited. we have to make changes there. what i encountered as i was coming up for confirmation is i would talk to senator after senator who would talk about how much they understood the threat of china and the next senator would say "don't touch my aircraft in my state." we have to get a common understanding of the seriousness and a sense of urgency. i don't think we have enough of that in congress right now. >> how would you advise your republican colleagues how to think about that question about the need to modernize but also the need to be ready? >> we keep coming back to what
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is the elephant in the room, which is that we are not able to prepare for all the threats in the country. having sufficient funding is not sufficient by itself to do what we need to do. it is necessary but not sufficient. all the great things secretary kendall is doing over his career for a number of years. what industry is doing is tremendously important but we have to have the funding and we don't. it is one thing to make hard choices and it is another to make selfish choices where we decide to guard against one threat but not another, because we don't have the funding to build the capacity. i just have to say, you know, you can import 10 pounds of potatoes in a five pounds sack.
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they can do 10 pounds in 8.5 sacra nine pounds sack. we will have to get funding up. in the meantime, it is a difficult choice, because the secretary is right. china is facing threat, a maritime domain, a different kind of warfare, certainly the counterinsurgency in eastern europe. at the same time, bob gates said we have a perfect word -- record of producing the next war. we have never been right. is 100% wrong. and i always think, if one big threat is thinking you only have to guard against the greatest threat, because the enemy or adversary has a choice. i'm not answering the question. i suppose if i had to do it, china would get the money. for heaven sakes, get us airframes, not five years down the road. get the frames now.
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>> first of all, when it comes to the threat environment -- number one, it matters how you spend the money. we don't really talk a lot about that. we talk about how much more we need. one of the big things the pentagon needs to do and in this chart you haven't put up yet that we can see -- i don't know if they can see it --tells about where the american public is out on where we are spending our money. basically, that is too much or too little. infrastructure, education, health care, border security, it is 61% say we are not spending enough on infrastructure, 58% say education, 56% health care, 47% border security, 27% say military. we have a problem in the country with not really agreeing the
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most urgent thing we are facing is to spend more money on the pentagon. we have to ask ourselves why. why does the public feel this way? two important reasons are the spectacular amount of money the pentagon with the help of congress has wasted over the course of the last 20 years. when you look at a variety of programs, they have not come in where they were supposed to come in. i'm not supposed to mention specifics but this is important so we have to. you want more money? you can't dance around with that. the fact that that program is $2 billion over budget and did not deliver, this stuff happens. we shouldn't talk about that. the public sees that, man. they don't care about you and all of us. they tell us we need more money for the pentagon and i just read a story about the sustainment cause and f-35 -- it is a hell
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of a lot higher than they should have been. the tankers we were supposed to deliver were crazy over budget. future combat systems became an epic disaster. you know, maybe if we actually cleaned everything up and fixed it and did it as sufficiently as it can be done, and i argue with my constituents all the time about this that it is not as easy as it looks. okay? it is really complicated. we are trying to have a system that can survive. there is not a single person in this room that if you were asked honestly, even with all the difficulties, couldn't make it a hot -- a hell of a lot better than we have been doing, wouldn't you say yes? we don't talk about that that much. if you want to try to get better, you have to convince people we are trying. step #1. number two, there are increasing numbers of people in the country on the left and right who look at the rest of the world and say, "what are you doing?
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china is not our problem. i am worried about her infrastructure, education, health care. we spent 20 years in afghanistan and all that money and lives and i got one for that?" please understand i disagree with those things. i will sum it up simply. the world is a better place, in my view, if the u.s. has more influence and russia and china have less. you don't get there unless you actively engage and have a robust military. we, in congress, are elected not by you so much but buyer constituents. if our constituents look at it and go a don't know what you're talking about, you're going to spend that money. you will spend it really well. #2, what we're doing in the world matters. we are not making the case. we are arguing about having tenney percent -- 10% -- wha tever. the country is going, what the
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hell are you talking about? we, in congress, have to deal with that. you have to fix those problems before -- everybody and everything they do in life say they would like 35% over inflation but you have to deliver that the american public is going to support it and congress will support it. >> in that case, does not undermine a spending bill on other priorities? rep. smith: let me say this. i have said this to my constituents, who are up in my chops about supporting a 5% increase. i am in a 70% democratic district who would be on the 26% side of the military chart. i support the 5% increase. i said we just spent $8 trillion in the last year on everything
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but defense. i think we have a good argument. on that case, it is undermined if i say we don't have enough money to spend on defense because we spend all this other money. but you have to make those other two points. if you don't, we will have a hard time getting there. >> let's get back to the comments about the budget size and different elements of the budget. all budgets are an attempt to balance -- there is no question about that. aggressively, it is an increasingly difficult challenge for us. it's not the only problem we have. you talked about ukraine a lot downstairs a few moments ago. there is still a good concern about countries like north korea and iran. those problems will not go away or be ignored. every president i have ever
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watched or had experience with for over 50 years in national security has always submitted a budget to the congress that he thinks is adequate to secure the nation, to do the things we need to do. all the years we ran with syquest ration under obama, president biden will submit a budget. i guarantee that. we will deal with those other challenges i mentioned, but we have to be allowed to make changes. the numbers are important. the budget in 2022 what's below what the administration planned to submit, 1.5%. whatever money was appropriated, we will find a way to spend it, hopefully beneficial to national
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security, but 1.5 does not move the needle. we have to orient the money we get to problems that are more severe. that is what we will have to have it for dealing with threats we are confronting now, particular china. >> you have a background in this process. what you think about the idea lockheed might be able to improve business? >> it is flexibility. that is within and across programs. i can give you an example. there is a basic problem. there is an advancing threat. there is no denying that. it is multi-front. we are in space and cyber. there will be a flat budget
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environment, and that drives the efficiency argument. how can we get more efficient with the budget? what we have been good at has been applying physical or newtonian world technologies to the requirements that are designated by the defense department and delivering programs, products, systems, and platforms. i think we need to turn this process on its side and have a more objective outcomes where we can compete on that, but have flexibility in how that goal is achieved, rather than very specific requirements on how to achieve it. that is one place to add flexibility. the second places reallocation within the services, and maybe have the combatant commanders have some flexibility solving the problems. what we are finding in the year
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and a half i have been out that the industry, we have been demonstrating some interesting capabilities that were cheap to put together. one quick example is we can tie together a bad missile system and radar and a fire control system the navy has onboard ships already, and network, and bring a network effect of those existing programs which improves the defensibility of the fleet. we demonstrated that. then we packed it up after everybody loved it and took it home because there was no program for it was no funding for it. they will advocate for this, but it is in the process, so more flexibility is a key thing. >> the panel is
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budget-based, so how do you put that in its proper role where we decide first the strategy, then let the budget flow downstream from that? i am open to anybody's thoughts. let's put it to secretary kendall. >> it is one of my favorite topics actually. we allocate resources to the strategy. you heard from secretary alston what you can expect in the strategy. there is a strategy that is already out that the general pointed to. president biden has been clear about the challenges. we have been working on this for the last few months in government and before, how do we align our resources, planning, but balance risk over time. when thing is -- one thing is
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the way risk are changing and how we need to think about how we deal with current problems and current readiness, which is a priority, and support combatant commanders, and make investments we need for the increasing whiskey world we live in. i don't think anybody says the world be less risky in 15 years. part of the planning process is understanding that. in the pentagon, we are working with strategy in parallel with the budget. >> many have heard me pontificate about this. it's not strategy or budget. it is both. there are finite resources. most of my time is around groups of people the first thing they try to do is convince you money should not be an object with what they want. i can understand that, if you're
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coming from that perspective. i don't have any sympathy for that outlook, because we live in the world of finite resources. you have to deal with both. i have often said this, i had a vc said i have not found the entity you can't cut 10% from and get better at what you're doing. there is something to be said for understanding you have finite resources in the forcing mechanism you have. gentlemen, we are out of money, now you have to think. it's not just a matter of giving me that. you have to a balance that. arbitrarily if we could cut 50% of the requirements, that would be in a norma's improvement to efficiently spend money -- an enormous improvement to efficiently spend money. you have to be flexible on how
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you get there. that is the single most important thing we have to do to get to that place where we are spending the money better. >> do you want to go next? >> this is a question about how the department spends money. i did it mostly when i talked to republicans, although everybody will raise it. one of the things i say to my fellow republicans is we are the ones always think that the government cannot operate as efficiently as the private sector. that is a classic republican theme. i think it is right. you tell the department we will not give you the money you need until you do it like walmart. they will never do that. the response to bureaucratic and political dynamics, those limits, it is pretty good. this is an agency that for 3.2% of the nation's gdp, the number of missions the air force is capable of performing at a
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moments notice, moving forces, the movement you do every day, every one of the services all over the world in a contested environment, and the reality is, i am on the u.s.-china commission to the congress, standing commission on the chinese-american relationship, and we did a report last week, unanimous, totally bipartisan, and china is at or near the initial invasion capability for taiwan. every secretary for 27 years has devoted himself to reforming the pentagon. i am all for it. it is not going to change the basic issue. we need to do a lot of different things, but in my opinion, we
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will continue accepting risks to the homeland of vital national interests unless we the emphasis on innovation and modernization. i did a chapter, we get a report a couple years ago on china's advanced weapons programs . msi think it's tremendous we're doing that. if i had to guess i would continue that but we also need holes in the water and airframes and i think we need to now >> i want to respond a bit chairman smith, comments about waste. i spent a good deal of my career trying to make programs execute efficiently. and i'll give you an analogy. the thing that we come to get criticized for most in the defense industry and government is under development programs. our average development program under runs by 25 percent .
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the world programs overrun all the time, it's just not visible because people are telling you about that but it's evisible when the government does it. and that number down to 10 or 15 percent. we did drive it down to a certain degree but what you're doing when you do development is coming that's never been done before and we have a tendency to ask our industry partners to do very hard things that have never been done before and then we give them, we asked them to bed against each other to try to tell us if they're going to do it faster than anybody else and cheaper and we get the contract to that person so we have a system that's set up that that's the inevitable result. we don't want to stop asking the industry to do hard things because we need those things but we you needto be willing to accept that's what we're going to get when we get that kind of thing . i get comments from the hill
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about waste and so on and i also get a lot of comments that say we're not taking enough risk, why are you taking more risk when we're having 25 percent overruns, i think we're taking a fair amount of risk. >> one comments. i agreed by the way and we haven't talked enough about the second point i made about howwe public to agree with this t. but if you're consistently running 25 percent over, what is the estimate upfront. i think the answer to that question is because want to soccer us in. you know, and not you, sorry. but a fair number of folks in the audience in the defense contractor world like to do this and if it's going to be that high a number, you're not 25 percentover it's like the airlines .if you keep saying you're going to show up at 10:00, why not just say we're going to show up at 1030 andat least you have the expectation . and it's not about the top. >> i agree with what the
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chairman was just saying but a couple of things. we've had an enormous consolidation in the defense industrial base. it's fragile and it's frail and i agree think we agree we need to do something about that and if you'd fewer competitors, less competition prices tend to go up and you have supply chain arissues that are a huge problem but every time i looked at this, sometimes i wrote what i thought was a goodbook about it or somebody that's been successful . the way to get the procurement and acquisition, the best hope you have of getting good programs is in july's authority goto that secretaries and chiefs. tell them to come up with good plans for the things they want to build and hold them accountable. you need a tight chain of authority. you have to many desks having too much input and it has to be i think the chiefs and secretaries through the osc
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of course. and then to the congress. and get good people like secretary kendall. give themthe authority and hold them accountable . that's what john lehman told me. >> were going to go to a gentleman who's been waiting, and in turn. >> to the senators! if you give that flexibility and authority to a small number of people we will be able to go about things in a different way. right now our industry response to rfps on products and platforms and it's very specific programs and narrow scope if you will. what we're doing at our company and i don't know if it's the realm of the possible but we're going to try is to keep doing that and being good at it but also turn ourselves on the side and say we will map out the missions we think are important to the department of defense and we will try to
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understand how we can network existing platforms together in order over time to increase mission capability. osthat may cross services and it may cross allies. it may cross to existing development programs. but were going to try to come up at least with we've got 14 missions whereafter. we got three of them we think close to done. but if we can address the mission capability improvement versus give me a new or better product, i think you can accelerate change like general brown is trying to do and do it more efficiently and the last footnote i'll put on this is when i go back to my old industry i've had great success in talking to ceos about working with us to help do that. to help insert their it and accelerate their technologies into mission solutions for our customers and they also tell me thank you.
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i don't want to deal with them directly by the way because there are one or two percent of my revenue or three access and i'm not going to set up a system that it takes toitcomply with the rigidity of that process . so we think there's a way to do this by mission. but it's going to take a lot of change on the part of government, congress and industry to do it but we will move out and see if it sticks . >> i want to move on to a couple more subjects but do an audience weston that came in for representative smith and if you talk about the need for compromise to getthe appropriations bills done what was one of your priorities that you gave up this budget cycle ? >> gosh, about 1000 of them . good time for that question but i can't get into it. if i tell you what i gave up the deal is going to come up. we're not supposed to
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announce outcomes before everyone gets to see it and if i told you that my phone would light up with 100 desperate phone calls telling me to change my mind on what i gave up on . i hate to do this but in this moment meanswering that question is just professionally hazardous . ask me in a week and i'll be glad to give you the list. >> i know you get exercise in discussions about a larger navy site and i want to hit that topic i. you've been sort of critical of some of the more ambitious plans for a larger navy and we're dealing with maritime challenge. conceding your point that the types of capabilities matter of course and it's not simply a numbers object, what do you see as the appropriate size and character of the navy and what is that going to cost ? >> my main focus on that criticism was going to try to move up to that question . i don't pretend to know what theanswer to that question is . i have some ideas but others do as well. it's just that every time we did one of these studies the
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deal was we got to have a big number so we look ambitious and that would be a little bit intellectually insane. we need capability and i'm not saying you can build a home 100 ship navy and those ships will be so magic they will have all the capability you need. we need a certain number but so much of the discussions, 355 , 355 . and we can debate the relative capability of the fcf but there is a certain way of thinking out there that the lcs was invented to meet a number as opposed to meet a etcapability. that would be an excellent oexample of why i was so exercised about the fact that we kept obsessing about the number so let's talk about the capability and i thinkthe point secretary kendall made about does this scare china is a pretty good place to start . i will also say and you made the point later that we're not just fighting china l. we had a conversation with the secretary of the navy earlier today.
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ethiopia is falling apart as we speak. we have americans there and we may need to get them out so that's going into a permissive environment . that's what i want the focus to be. i can't tell you into sentences here's the exact capabilities we need but i know the session with numbers is a problem. and i'll tell you we had this debate and someone kept saying we had more chips in the navy during world war i then we have right now. and i'm like, really? that's the point you're going to make? i could take 10 of the ships i have right now and blow that world war i navy out of the water so can we move on from a more intellectual point of what isthe capability we need ? i'm just trying to get us to i' the point of your question and i think by the way many people are very focused on answering it and it's good
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but all these reports kept coming outca what the hell was the number they cannot with a year ago? it was 500 or i forget what the number was and i know firsthand that was driven by the fact the trump administration wanted a big number . so i want to get to the substantive discussion . >> how much time did we have for that substantive discussion that china is building a blue water navy fast and we spent the budget cycle haggling over a single destroyer. >> we don't have a lot of time, that's why we've got to get started . i think the chairman's asked a big question which is what, how should the navy be sized and shaped? the answer at least begins with reference to the missions of the navy which is to win naval battles and support the other services and preferably deterring but if necessary winning battles at sea but also being present, carrying america's ability and presence around the world . if you want to have allies i, secretaries talk about
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integrated deterrence, secretary austin is absolutely correct. people need to see you so you do need numbers. the chinese think numbers are important and office of naval intelligence estimates they will have 425 ships by 2030. and if we do not take action quickly, we will still be at 300. in fact, we may be lower because the navy wants to retire someof the same positionsecretary kendall is in . and i think that's a problem . so i mean, generally speaking , at the end of the cold war: powell estimated the kind of force that we would need and they drove down the cold war force a lot and thought we would need a 451 ship navy and this was in a moment. there were no significant threats. there was no nuclear program.
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there was no iranian nuclear program. there was no rising china, russia was friendly. no global war on terror and he thought we needed 451 ships. but i think no matter what . index you look i think numbers matter. capabilities also matter. this is the right question, let's get an unbiased answer to that question. i'm pretty convinced it will mean a substantially increased navy going forward. >> the last thing i'll talk about is how big a navywe need . if carlos was standing up your talking about how many air forces units, i'd be upset too but i want to talk about the conflict we have with china and what it requiresand i want to second set the record straight because i've been misquoted in the times recently on this . we are in a race if you will with china. it's a race about military modernization. it's a race about quality and
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the capabilities of thethings we have . it's not about quantity. it's not a race to build more battleships than they do for example. they havethoughtfully come after our key assets and bought things designed to do that as efficiently as possible . we need to be just as thoughtful as about what we buy and it isn't 0141. it's not asymmetric situation . one of the things we've been doing is experimenting with hypersonic weapons. they've already bought a great many conventional weapons, crews and ballistic missiles that alone is enough to give us a serious challenge. we need to be thoughtful about this and we need to respondintelligently and it's aboutmodernization . it's not about quantity and i think i need to make that clear . we are in a race with china but it's more of that nature and what we are traditionally would call an arms race . >> i think the digital point of modernization if you will is increasing to its current capacity of what we do have.
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and if you go back to sun tzu's writings and you believe the chinese government still looks at that, they like a 90 to 95 percent success rate before they take action so they will prepare for a long time. do things that are surreptitious and unseen but when they think they got their 90, 95 inpercent they will do their physical attack and achieve their objectives. the goal of got for our digital twin is to try to move the goalpost of when we can get to 90 to 95 percent if you're the chinese decision-maker. we can do that rapidly with some of the digital technologies like connecting space assets to air and ground and see assets to have multiple paths of communications command and control so you can't get just one and blind our leadership . those are the kind of things i think require a lot of change because we're not used the driving mission capability across services, across domains
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multidimensional he e but if we keep moving those goalpost with every tool we have including our commercial partners mmto get them involved in moving those goalpost i think it could have a positive effect in whatever budget environment wherein. >> how are you looking at the threat of inflation onthe air force budget ? >> we will manage our way through an inflation that occurs. a lot of the inflation i'm not an economist but i've spent a lot of time trying to understand economics . the inflation we're experiencing now is being driven by things that happened under covid. it's not a spiraling type of inflation that happens in economies so there's reason to be hopeful about the course of that and we will see how it plays out in the first few months. i have a memory that goes back to remember the hyperinflation we experienced in the 70s and i don't think we will get anything like that . this will be more manageable and we will make adjustments.
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i don't think it's going to get out of control andit's not one of the things that keeps me up at night . >> i want to put up our second slide before we are short on time but we've been discussing a lot today about the lack of confidence in institutions generally and g looking at the three year. >> i've got to say i love this shirt. you have to go a long way to construct a chart entitled trust and confidence in us institutions where congress comes off the best. your ability to do that is greatly admired. >> how take that under advisement. >> i don't believe that. >> we've been looking at this chart at lunch. and if i can get your thoughts here on what the military does. it's roughly 5 percent and some of that has been driven by republicans in february 21 . what is this going to do to your ability to get the
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services and resources they need and i'd like toinknow from each of you how you're getting your position of influence to improve these numbers ? >> if you want to start with me. this is much of my life is talking to my constituents and trying to convince them our government works better than they think it does. this is the central challenge we face is that we have become frustrated for a variety of different reasons with the way government works, the way institutions work and people are rejecting the very idea of working together tosolve problems . we all try to do a better job . be responsive to people, and the other thing is we have stopped educating the american people about what government is, representative democracy is. it also face at this level of expectation that cannot
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possibly be met. blending diverse groups of people and stopping them from killing each other as a starting point in this enormous challenge. people who do get to decide i give up this, you give up that. it's difficult. that's what representative democracy is. we don't teach that. what we teach people about is how to be activists, how to recognize what you have and to fight for it. at the end of theday that's a fundamentally selfish way of looking at the world . what does the person across the street from you want? it you work with them they're just not going to get along. solve this impossible problem which is every situation begins from the premise of let's start here. i'm not going to care about
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what you want. we've really got to start educating people because the frustration you see in that chart, people aren't happy with outcomes . >> i want to get through, secretary kendall. >> senator duckworth and brad smith i thought were elegant about what'shappening here this morning .we have to problems when it comes to trust in our institutions. one is whereunder external attack . we have a former kgb operator running a country dedicating resources to dividing americans and making them distrust their institutions. we've been under attack by the russians in this way or some time and it's been an incredibly effective covert operation. we are amplifying those messages ourselves to a large extent in the united states.
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i wrote a piece for forbes that said president biden if he's elected his greatest challenge is going to be convincing half of americans that the other half are not evil on the destruction of america . we have a large fraction of americans who don't trust democracy because they don't see it working. we're doing this in part to ourselves and it's being done to us in part by people outside the united states. we're they're doing this for the direct purpose of dividing us and turning to other institutions and as these numbers show it's working. >> i agree with everything that's been said especially the chairman! which she made earlier about the fact that too many people in institutions today as compared to when i started and even when he started are using the institutions as platforms for performance without loyalty to the norms and purposes of the institution itself and that's not just the congress. my guess is it's everybody here in this room is
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participating at least to some degree in an institution where that's happening and i'm not sure what we can do but it's a real problem . >> the adjunct to the military and its reputation i think industries here are the jests just keep betting getting better. so cost quality and schedule, keep improving those as we go. not have any outliers as people can take a hook on and then color the military and defense industry with it. >> thank you for spending this time with us and thanks to our guests for coming . >> at least six presidents recorded conversations while in office. your many of those conversations on c-span's new podcast presidential
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recordings. >> season one focuses on lyndonjohnson. you'll hear about the civil rights act, presidential campaign, gulfof tonkin incident , march in selma and the war in vietnam . not everyone knew they were being recorded. >> johnson's secretaries new because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations. in fact they were the ones who made sure the conversations were taped as johnson would signal to them through an open door between his office and there's. >> you also hear blunt talk. >> i want to report of the number of people assigned to kennedy when he died, the number assigned to me now and if mine are not on the list i want them right quick. if i can't ever go to the bathroom i won't go. ipromise i won't go anywhere. i'll stay right behind these black gates . >> presidential recordings, findit wherever you get your podcasts .
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