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tv   After Words Mark Esper A Sacred Oath - Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense...  CSPAN  May 31, 2022 6:57pm-7:56pm EDT

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bathroom i won't go. i promise you i won't go anywhere else to write by these black gates. >> presidential recording, find on the c-span now mobile app. or wherever you get your podcast. >> i am honored and privileged to be here this morning with a former secretary of defense mark esper. i would also say secretary ofmy the army mark esper, colonel retired united states army, served in uniform on active duty, served in the army national guard, served in the army reserve part one of the few people i know that served in all three components of the united states army for a distinguished 20 career. doctor esper ph d, vice president of the largest defense arrow space in our defense industrial base.
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professional staff member on the senate foreign relations committee. orhedda policy on the house armd services committee paid national secured advisor 20 most distinguished editors, fred thompson. a varied career and you brought extensive background to your role as secretary of defense. we are here to discuss your book which is entitled the sacred oath memoirs of the secretary of defense through an extraordinary time. i would like to start by saying that i believe, if i am correct, when you graduated as a second lieutenant from west point you raise your right hand. he said i mark esper dishonest where will support and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. i will bear true allegiance to the same bird i take this obligation freely without mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that i will well ane faithfully discharge the duties on the office of which i'm about to enter so help me god.
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i take an oath, you take an oath to the constitution. is this what you're referring to secretary esper when you talk about the title of the book the sacred oath? >> first of all general thank you very much for that very kind introduction i. in the litany of my resume. is the sacred oath that the second time i took the oath the first time as an 18-year-old freshly cut hair sick cadet in 1982 i took that oath another dozen times or so after that. to me that is what it came down to is my sacred oath as i navigated my way throughout a career but really in the 18 months or so was i served as secretary of defense i often had to go back to what is my oath? and what guided me. the principles of west appoints motter, duty on her contract had asked myself what is the right thing to do thee situation? >> give me a little bit better explanation for that was a great explanation a little more insights.
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you approach something in the book you cult values -based decision-making. you were looking at values. the values add back to the oath tied to honor, duty, country your class had their own motto the use tell us a little bit about that. >> for any cabinet secretary yol have a lot of authority and responsibility. particularly with the department of its 2.000000 people in terms of service members and civilians responsible for operations around the globe it is a hefty job. you have to have certain things to guide you. it begins with the national security strategy. what the president wants to accomplish. at the end of the day it comes back to your moral compass and those principles that guide you. and for me and many of the situations where i did not have sufficient guidance or had to sort the situation myself i went back to those core values. what is important for national security? or what is important for the institution of the defense department? or more so it's important to the
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institution that we call the profession of arms those things are very important to me. : w : : that in our country as can as compared to many many others. we understand the role of the military and society and that that the military takes its guidance from civilian leadership, but there were a number of times >> he takes it from civilian leadership but there were a number of times when there were decisions that you do not agree with any were talking sometimes to the president and sometimes to the senior people in the white house you actually said it is in the both my oath is to the constitution, to the individual and talk aye little bit abou that. >> when the number of occasion and locations and probably not the first event secretary can remember two things were people propose ideas that you just think are wrong or inappropriate my job is always to pushback and if it is the president, offer better ideas about solutions try to meet his intent, and get to a
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better more enduring place that is best for the country a consistent with what the president is trying to as i becomes role in as i think about it, he always got to go back it wason my health my office to the constitution and not for any of us to a president or to a party or two in, it is to the constitution and i think the reason that what we have a senate confirmation process is that congress and the people that we represent they want to note that iss what is intending to adhere to in this one promise was confirmed 90 - eight in july of 2019. >> when i college college that defense night at the on the book title he, nearly impossible job secretary of defense, and austin thousand 28 secretary of defense humor the 27 john's book was written before your tenure so you covered a number of your predecessors but he talks about the job ofhe running the largest
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most complex organization in her own federal government and i would argue in the world you talking about one - 880,000 reserves and 750,000 civil service employees, and 750,000, contractors0, and 5000 locations worldwide and you said is really nearly impossible and you talk about how you had some extraordinary circumstances that you were dealing with leon of those that your predecessors had to deal with and you had a global pandemic likes of which we had not seen in over 100 years any other point in place, operation warp speed i would like to get to have any were dealing with words in the ground where our troops were and harm's way in iraq and afghanistan other areas and your had others concerns about you know withering this troops from europe bringing the troops back from syria and talk a little bit about you know, your title extraordinary times but frankly, i think the title is nearly impossible times would probably
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apply when you think about all the things that you had to deal with some of the challenges because you talk about the commander-in-chief in the book and you said that he was innocent and unpredictable and unprincipled and if you are having to make decisions to deal with all of those issues without person was your boss. >> no question about it tells about as big a forcible it is great job in many job we have to rely on the people below you to freely deliver and integrate crew about civilian and military leader to do it but when you think about the scope of it, one hand you have to be a diplomat in statesman engage in foreign policy and if you have to run the department and are responsible for the combatant commanders give them direction how the functional the government military forces and you have to give guidance to the service secretaries and she's about how to prepare for the future and how to organize the to buy and equipment then of courseho in response ovr schools hospitals child development centers had the health and the welfare and adjust service members and
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similes but i think 10 million other dependents who resigned in the and so you have all of that and then some of that, as my tenure coming to him and demanding job regard us but we do face the first global pandemic and 100 years and we have the more in afghanistan and we have syria and the aftermath of the exchanges in the conference it with iran and that, civil unrest anyone top of that, all of the other things we face and really demented time and quite clear very proud of what my folks were able to do during these very challenging times in 2020 how we navigated all of this to both defend america progress support america help either like you said, covid-19 warp speed and recall that we had 20 and 30 and 40000 people, army of doctors and nurses and others, deployed in cities across the united states heading up field hospitals in the javits center
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for the largest hospital in the united states to deal with covid-19 many of the service members, critically the national guard left home and to restore lives to treat their own fellow americans a monumental time. >> when governments are incapacitated a large geographical area because with running only one out in our culture they can do it this thed department of defense how we do it hurricanes we do it for fires we did for the civil unrest and we did for covid-19 and because you were secretary have the harmony, you and you knew the head of the army command general and when it came time to put operation corp. speed into effect, you're very talented scientific medical experts my understanding and i had the opportunity to work with them a bit pretty going to have them get ready for the confirmation it also for his testimonies before the hill it was pretty much a deity operation my understanding is that it really go at warp speed because people predicted we never would see
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usable vaccine for years and years and years, talk a little bit about that and what was accomplished by operation warp speed the personnel from the department of defense that were pivotal for that success. >> we are so right about this paper small, let's talk about outcomes and it was probably the greatest public-private partnership in u.s. history and probably, you know, in some ways on parallel with thee apollo program and i will tell you that there were a lot of skeptics is that you will never get a vaccine was sufficient and because he health and type take five - ten peers and yes, this combination of beauty, and hhs, i was able to talk with allie cesar and we delivered in less than 12 months in less than eight months and to the vaccines with 90 percent plus efficacy and you andhe i would not be sitting here together without facemask it was not for those vaccines but to go back to where we began from yes the general benefit army command where we
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were making sweeping changes in the army and i stood up army futures commander way to kind of break the acquisition gridlock and so that we can modernize the army from the reagan era, at a guess and i quickly learned was a selfless andla team player who what is duty first and was want to give up part of his organization for the better good of the establishing the seat and i told you a lot about him so when he came time in the spring of 2020 come to set up warp speed, and a deity responsible for the logistics of a really, the distribution ofut manufacturing, and peace that altogether, and general market really but gus was the right guy i look he was about ready to retire and came back and he extended his active-duty time any were 24/7 and deliver for the american people we have a sheriff pickups by the time i think the president biden was inaugurated in january, we were delivering over million doses ot the market people just a
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tremendous effort and he enter counterparts and hhs deserve a lot of credit. >> amen i enjoy talking because in came from an italian back on like i didom so we talk about a affairs lives come from italy and we like to eat spaghetti and meatballs and so he was just a great leader encompass much as talk a little bit about this because i want to get into the series of questions that the role of the secretary of defense, the statute that governs the department of defense isit primarily bounded d title x of the u.s. code that was updated in 1986, how is privilege to be the subdirectory of the armed service committee when we passed what is now known as the - that make sure that we had total civilian control over military and reporting title x do everything in the department of defense and is subject to the authority how the direction and the control of the secretary of defense i was your understanding of your statutory authority some approximate global, i learned the goldwater nichols, all of the way my career in the army and of course it was past your
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that i graduated from west point in the secretary of defense has all of the authority there only two people infected, any tar notice executive all u.s.ab tros erotically it is the president of the season secretary of defense oh every couple of weeks i waser assigned to those orders and the chain of command runs from the president, to the secretary of defense to the combatant commanders when a series of geographic and functional combatant commanders and what a lot of people do not understand in general mark milieux to try to educate our callings about this is that the term in the joint chief of staff is a statutory advisory to secretary of defense and to the president and that is the role that he is responsible for and he did a great job for me think he served the president well also but that is his role sonic mandrel, not an operational role and so understanding those roles in different people play, that is critical in any of the service chiefs and service secretaries who are also located. but not in the operational mode but in terms k as you know from title x, equipping and
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organizing the force, a force that the then handoff to the combatant commanders who deployed an employee that's an important distinction. >> and is ahead of the army, you were subject to the authority directly control the secretary matters which army chief, was in one point mark millie was subject to your authority of the direction and control so the point is in the famers of the goldwater nichols wanted make sure that we had absolute civilian control of the military and like you say, there's only one person other than the commander-in-chief and by the s way, you have to go through the secretary of defense for the horrifying commensal there is number of incidences where never times when there were suggestions made to the war fighting to me is when the comes to mind in the book is frankly the concerning me with someone that is really in this area, you mentioned in the book that at
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one point, some suggested by some of the senior staff in the white house, that we move to 50000 active duty military to the southern border to help protect the border and perhaps people in department of homeland security were also involved in the u.s. northern command which is one of the war fighting commands, by rumsfeld after 911, whose mission is toed protect te united states of america alliance mason airspace and some of the s sea space in northern command actually started planning for that operation and based on suggestion by sanford at the white house that had no authority to do so and you secretary of defense chairman oi chief, did not know about and tell me little bit about that situation - sure worry yes that one of our war fighting commands would be acting on the direction they did not come from the secretary of defense. >> by recount the story women the oval office and stephen miller, speaks out from behind me and said, we need to set a million troops to the border to
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date with caravans coming from central america and i think he i was joking and i turned around and presses again and i say i don't have a quarter million of troops to deal with the nonsense and the dhs can handle it and he has suggested that they were working on it and i came back to the pentagon a day or so later pulled general millie aside andn i told them to check on it make sure that nothing is going on to her surprise, there was finally happening a and i think it was layer loving manner and deity likely thanks for all the news guidance from the white house i don't know exactly how it flows that was my assumption has shut it down really because i was completely foolhardy and was out the right way to address the problem we have a problem on the border, the border security we need to know who is coming across with your bringing the solution it was a quarter million troops which i didn't have to begin with those getting the dhs the officers the material and the resources the need to do it shut down really doubt that if anybody deity dhs
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or whatever has a problem, come see me with it is again nobody was going anywhere else i signed the deployment ordering new is not about cindy a quarter millin troops to the border mill had some to seller you thousand just like president biden has today another outlandish idea sof in m that area. >> active you interactive duty military guard and reserve recall effort covid-19 and they did a variety things and to operating medical stations and handing out supplies and things of that nature, and we call that event support for civil authority in their of things in the book where you basically because of the civil unrest, the work requirements for military to perhaps be a participant in one thing the people should understand for example, how this 250,000 active duty the border they have no enforcement authority and now the president can declare certain national emergencies and perhaps the guard actually national guard
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can actually exercise law enforcement so talk a little bit about some of the civil unrestho situation that you had to deal with and how you saw the role of the active military compared to that of the national guard. >> in was fortunate in that sene of base myve experience was serd on active duty in the guard and so i have a good understanding of what not just the roles and responsibilities would be but the training and the equipping it with the canoe is in the guard for example and low, you are right, when it comes to someone was on there is a role national guard possibly to support the law enforcement that was the important thing that i tried to enforce the present alongside attorney general williamhe barr but law enforcemt should deal with civilth unrest but they need support is the role of the governors to make that determination and if it's in the capitol then of course, the president from his chain of command to can do that but my deal was you should always be
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last in terms of consideration the news guard because of the authority say how you know after the walking we made to the park which was a mistake for me and certainly i know general he feels the same way, that night, i directed it a mental be prepared to send out midafternoon the next ava basically said look, we have a role in providing support to the 30s prettily and civil unrest because house of right now i believe in law and order, and i believe it that americans should have the right to exercise their first amendment rights so simply and protest and petition, and fortunately, people in a out who were doing violent things and denying people that peaceful right as we have that and i want to make sure had right to safeguard americans rights to protest the government but at the same time, a political organization and stay away from being caught up in the politics of his moments and that's a tough thread to weave as you go
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through this day by day became in mind, and we have the tragic murder of george floyd, hundreds of cities work civil unrest was happening and you have to give people about room with to express themselves peacefully about what they see is injustice. >> and you felt like you created it right now is even though people who maybe wanted you to go but there and using active duty troops and a couple of anecdotes in their people makint possessions about things that wt would not do which she was her fellow americans and things like that but did you feel like that in the areas where you got pushed that you were able to implement the correct balance between lawaw enforcement it in the role of t a military putting we national guard. >> i think in terms of outcomes, if you look at it we got it right at the day, the law enforcement has led, argue internally that this should be local law enforcement statement in federal and if you need to
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guard, you started all of these incidences, the guard performed its mission of taking federal buildings and federal activities on the mistaken reporting's coming out of the day in the subsequent days was somehow thau the guard use violence and shot pepper falls and rubber bullets know that having the profoundest mission in the state in terms of protecting those institutions activity so is very proudad of them had on anyone day, during the summer 2020, yet parchments out in the streets after taking the federal facilities in american price to protest another group g of arguments in hospitals taking care of the fellow americans who are dealing with covid-19 and other guardsmen out deployed now spots are in the world and even then you hadir guardsmen dealing with wildfires in california and flooding in the midwest, just for the tremendous time for the national guard and i think it was - >> you know from your own service in the army service guard salomon we have had over
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1 million members of the national guard and reserve mobilizing and avoiding overseas or at home and they get demobilized and to bargain for the taxpayer because you don't have to put in place on the structures as you have to do for active duty troops that are on through city five days years of the gardens that reserve unit, he made the point, they are optional and operational very different from the strategic reserve and they work and think of the cold war and you see them on the frontlines every single day and i know the american people appreciated that the leadership and one thing in that area and i am going to read for my paper because because of some of the concerns as you had commune general milligan chairman of the joint chief, establish what you called for else, no unnecessary or snow teaching peace, the t politicization of the unity and no misuse of the military new address that with the guard, and so how were you able to deal with these concerns and handle the decisions you didn't agree
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with and the plan to remove the troops from germany although you put in place an alternative. and withholding of aid from ukraine it finally did get over there and blockaded in venezuela, activity with iran, and suggested called up retired of sayingthat because the things that people didn't like and what were you prepared to do if there was case when there was a redline they were crossing were not able to support it. >> a lot of the questions are one of the things that i wrestle with a lot and go back to the book sacred oath but part of that is article two predict "a sacredoath-memoirs of a secretary of defense during extraordinary times". >> in your also found to these orders hannah in many ways i was fortunate because president trump really i issued orders for the germany case sequentially, and terms with their assistance obligated to do under law because congress appropriated income i would be me at times me and don walton or john multi and
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vaulted mike pompeo and i and i and eventually habitable unlike later i at least went to the media and why he was holding up but that was not the case work my duty was to go back in potion press i think every possiblee argument that he could to get that release and talk about in the book and in other cases with you know me tell when the case where i got the written order to withdraw the troops in germany, my game plan was to really get mymy commander now were talking about the component commander and i gave him a series of principles and i wanted to do some planning often i would reassure her allies to russia daycare the troops and five things and he came back with a pretty good concept that a thing of the day, the president's direct order to withdraw troops, and the same time allowed me to take us troops that we've withdrew from germany and consolidate them in other countries, were eventually push them forward closer to russia r which met these principles i had
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to find this reassuring her allies with russia i thought that it was a very clever idea put forward by the combatant commander and i endorse it handed to get to the present and he knew exactlyt what we were doing everything about what he wanted. what we camee up with at the end of the day m was a workable solution in the presence and tempo for me to do it in a way to make strategic sense to bolster our presence interrupt that deserted the russians a look where we are today, i wish they would've followed the plan because we would've had more troops in romania and poland. >> are expanding our troops and one of your first trip semi went over to nato to reassure her nato allies will actually humor them on the spot in even when you and i were working on the hill together, our buses were saying the o nato allies on the fair share so that was a legitimate thing for the president and you are a big supporter of nato and i think today, nato is more
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important than ever and would that be our assessment. >> look yes, i do i serve nato army officer and urethane 1990, and on to brussels before i was confirmed the present my name forward, i said publicly happily to nato washi important but is what where president trump is right they need to live up to their obligations and i think at the time only six or seven countries was living up to 2 percent gdp commitment and he was right insu germany in the wrong for supporting nurturing to so c i also have those messas as well and so i think unfortunately ukrainians are paying the price for everybody not beingh on court enough or where you enough t about russiai think that hopefully now we will see more nato countriesmi meet those commitments. >> was talk about russia because frankly one of the things that you did early on as secretary of the army, we had a new national defense strategy had not been
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one of the number of years as you know from your service policy from other jobs, that's a fundamental document for the department of defense and the decision-making process which is being reviewed by congressional commission the planning programming budgeting and execution which is how the department puts the decisionhe into monetary factors have become the budget may submit to congress is guided by a bunch of documents on one of which is the national defense strategy which should flow from the overall national security strategy. when madison took over you spent a lot of time and came out with the national defense strategy that was really revolved around what you called great competition and your peer competitors in china and russia to more limited extent northth korea and iran and global terrorism and of course russia was sent reason china was a centerpiece, and talk a little bit about what you did as secretary defense to ensure the
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national defense strategy is not just a bunch of force a look at what is happening now and so basically is doing some of things and new strategies of what will happen if we did not detour them that i'm going to go to china next then let's talk about what you did as secretary of defense to try to implement that strategy and i would like to get your sense of where you feel it is today. >> a look i thought it was a solid theco strategy i think ths is another accomplishment of the trump and ministration that one of the things i did first time ever consolidate u.s. government you that china is strategic sorry i thought it was important critically the years that i work in the china issues and so with that said, my sense as secretary of the army was that it was not being implemented it as i came into secretary of defense, what i told others and chain of command and when i sent to the congress and the senate for my nomination was that i would make implementations of the india's national defense strategy, my
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priority my top priority within a couple of months, taking office in july 2019, the senior conference about everybody in an civilian and military and leaning heavily on my civilians i draft of what we called the ten objectives that would be the implementation of objectives by which we would implement the ideas so everything from defining china's threat to new operational concepts such as immediate reaction forces need to update all of the work plans and he goesab on and on and on aboutge the object is because wn you're leading a large organization like deity 2.000000 people i can't and tell everybody what i want them to do so you do documents and such as implementation plan and by which of what you do and you supplemented by visiting the commands and people onng explaining and emphasizing energy and checking on it and made that parts of my weekly duties that every week to check on when the entire team assembled and how are we doing
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in terms of implementation and what ween need to make changes d tweaks and adjustments etc. i think we made a lot of good progress on. >> so everything actually under title to this s supposed to flow from the requirements of the war fighting commands another words it said that secretary ofl the army, you will organize and train and equip and support the requirements of the war fighting commands and you talk about the contingency plans, did these commands, there a lot of them, central command european command, indo pacific amendment did they make the adjustment in their contingency plans to take into account china the threats and russia in the nds before he left. >> we had begun reviewing all of his plans china russia for plans to make sure that the demands and requirements of the combatant commanders actually met what weid can provide that t did not then why aren't the services adapting for the acquisition system adapting t to that and why were we budgeting it for those resources or organizations they needed and that is really the meat and
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potatoes of that is making sure that if sound more plan the bc intent of the commander-in-chief, and his policies and that you have budgeted and resourced to deliver what the combatant commanders think they needed of course part of my job was getting into the plans and second-guessing the combatant commanders and understanding what they were doing and making sure they met the policy as we are trying to achieve the became a weekly function for me to kind of good go through that in detail not just with him but look these s days we recognize e national press strategy said this was power accommodation of the global scale comes when you think about it i was russia china, just cannot be in the end of pacific and you have to think aboutew engaging in that latin america high inr the middle east or maybe somewhere on the european continent were at least packager resources from those places to do so for me is important to have all r the othr combatant commanders in the room for tingly people northern command because they had to defend the united states transportation command which is functional command that would
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provide all the hardware aircraft and tinkers etc. keep the fight going and you got help all of those people in the room to understand the plan place with the combatant commanders was requesting. >> is a several hill decades ago, you actually got people focus on china and you started to talk about it and worry about china patient on the china commission i remember the peak of the cold war, my daddy was 1938 graduate serving with iathens army in europe as we we worrying about the cold war, serving on the set he would say, so don't forget about china and i'm like what the heck are you talk about hisea russia and his roommate was a chinese-american he learned a lot of recent china works to get after us china imitates them a thousand years from the going to take over the united states and frankly and the nds and genetics in recent china is a pacing threat that he look at china they are on the mark militarily and economically in a more diplomatic post in iran are in the world and the united states and the thing to
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me that is most areas there on the march technologically in many areas ahead of us technologically and frankly, some of them are military areas in some areas where still ahead and and of course are threatening taiwan, some talk a little bit about what more needs to be done in square we have not done all we need to do in china. .. a military threat. so talk a little bit about china. you've hit all the key points. this is why they are the greatest challenge. we face in the 21st century, and i've been studying them since at least 1995 when i was an army war planter working the indo-pacific or the pacific command at that time profile. i was responsible for that portfolio. and so yeah, look there they are the greatest threat we face because of all these things the political might they bring their long term planning. they've told us they've written about it right by 2035. they want to have a modern military and by 2049 they want to dominate at least the western. they're pretty modern military today. they are we can when we can talk
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about that particularly when it pretty modern military today. we can talk about that particular when it comes to the navy. look at there on the march we are spreading money around the world to bind the country to their road and that should be talk about the economy unlike the soviet union i grew up in the cold words you did as well. china possesses the second-largest economy at $16 trillion the russians never have that. and also as you say the chinese have a lot of great technologyg they are continuing to grow o that. a lot of time it's on our backs are stealing our intellectual property or plans the fbi'sag talked about every 12 hours the open up an espionage case against the chinese government but we need to be very concerned. we are not in a position to fully deal with them. and getting many of our allies
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on board with that concept. need to keep pushing that direction brickwork there is bipartisan support on capitol hill bait recognized this want do something about it we don't get ourselves in the situation he got into with ukraine. we need to beefor up the state department we met the solomon islands are signing a security groom with the chinese and pacific island countries with that is terrible we need to overturn that. beef up state departmento department of african where american diplomacy can help grow it in terms of dod we need to modernize our military make these big shifts and how do you fight the indo pacific. that is going to require more defense spending. know a lot of people don't want to hear that. we are making this transition from what i call the reagan cold war military lease for t the ary
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that was built up to a new type of military that can deal china 21st century. but is why the u.s. navy is trying to make that transition. there are all of those things and we need to bring all the allies and partners aboard as well. they cannot be focus their own front yard. they need to focus on what is happening with china for the other thing to his china eek its way into these un organizations are trying to seek control of united nations bodies. in the w.h.o., need to be very conscious of this and come up with a national game plan to deal with it. >> will be talk about spending more money paid one of your efforts at reform was quite notable in one of the reasons you need reform and you know the second book titled the ever shrinking fighting force i point out how we are spending more in constant dollars to conflation up in the peak of the reagan buildup which was quite significant for you were a part
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of that part yet we have 1 million less active duty the army's 50% smaller the navy is 50% smaller 50% fighting units. we have got to increase we got to cover inflation bread we've got to cover the modernization but if we don't get more bang for the buck were not going to the kind of capabilities you talk about to beat china. you start the army night court which was an effort at reform secretary had three which was strengthened to strengthen and increase and reform the military. we had c the fourth want to want to talk about in a minute which is to carry troops and families. with the squeeze the budget with god get money for modernization for the product to the secretary of defense. one thing shehe took on we never did it in the congress part i wish we had. few if any of your predecessors
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took it on for this article the overhead of the department of defense. if you look at will call the fence widest spending, people argue about these numbers were dod will admit it 17 -- 20% but if you add in what is called thn classified spending on the big defense agencies almost a third of the budget was spent on the fence widest spending not on the tip of the spear. sorts one defense agency the national security agency we have 28 these agencies are a large behemoth logistics agencies. worldwide grocery chain for worldwide dependent he started to take that on because you say some of these things are bigger businesses yet are not run like a business. you try to bring reform to the defense agencies. the probably left before you could really get what you wanted to get done. talk a little bit about how we need to reform what we are doing
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at the pentagon for don't get me wrong i make a little bit of a longer question as you said in the beginning of your book you gave credit to the men and women active duty, guard reserve, defense civilians, defenseve contractors, research develop it, they come to work in the pentagon every day to do the very best job they can. secretary of defense, bill perry said arnold bede cap bad process meet with people every day and dod we sell a lot of proliferation of bad processes. which we tried to reform. talk rar about the relates to te and massive defense agencies request so much to go after break document secretary of the army late 2018. for the statement of where i want to take the army. general milley fully supported me on that cosign the vision statement we put out. but i knew it making that transition in terms of reorganizing then. force, and nw
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talent personnel system new equipment to deal with the china and russia we saw ahead i would need t more money put as much is goingg to back to carson after that i felt the end of the day because president trump was really good in terms of giving us extra money and you at the end of the day we had to do a lot of our own internal work get rid of the fat if he couldn't make hard choices that is where night court began. we introduced art six modernization parties for the army which is everything from soldier long-range precision fires by new take billions of i dollars. the t team first presented the budget i didn't see it in there. called him back and said i went all 500 plus programs are ranked ordered one to 500 paid by the way the 34 so programs that weri building the army modernization on had to come first. what that ended up doing his people came in through a series of meetings of the chain of over 50and i spent hours will bring program after
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program cutting, trimming, reducing at the end of the day we freak out over 40 some billion dollars cut 186 programs. my view was weak cannot control i can control. take care of myself up to my own handiwork of the department of the army to deal with that. we were able to find that much money to reinvest in the army. the army futures command not long ago they told me right next year by 23 on the 31 programs. it's additional production et cetera. it is a great achievement i trip that to the entire team at the time to your next point they are talk about your building this budget aggressively for the army cutting into it, going hard, prioritizing and reprioritizing rid of one public at a bill from ost they say you have to chip in two or $3 billion to pay for this or that part but really got
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me angry. i was complaining why annette couldn't get an answer to pay my bill. i now have the budget found that what was gone the fourth estate that you call overhead is something that consumes i don't know over $110 billion a year. it's a couple dozen agencies. what they were doing that all of omtheir programs and activities but some i said work with the combat command they would levy services.he they were not subject in my view to any supervision or oversight or checking to see if it was consistent with where the department was going. i clampdown onf that. we put in charge of the fourth estate on budgetary stuff so could not grow personnel. they cannot make budget demands and cut it back. but ite was a big accomplishment for this more work we need to do on that but we need to be subject to that. if deal folly of the growth that happens out there.
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it's a big support of three -- 5% a no growth. we also officers have a duty to the american people to be good stewards of every single dollar print even though we are getting additional cash we still got to go back in there and get rid of the excess the fat, et cetera et cetera but we have to do good audits for that it's really the hard work of the department. frankly it's not going to get done with the secretary of defense gets involved. that is why put a lot ofui personal time the deputy secretary of defense and i think in the two-month period in august and september found a five, six, $7 billion we could immediately cut and put back into war fighting for some people said that was not enough. for me that's a good start for a the time he put into it. >> look these important organizations. the point is we need to get more bang for the buck out of them just like you get more bang for
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the buck out of the army. secretary of the army you had the army by the stack and scribble something we understand his military boxes secretarytl f defense is a bit harder to get control of some these organizations. we do have the world's finest military want to keep it that way and there really three reasons we recruit, retain the best people and their families want to talk about that in a minute. we give them constant realistic training we also from her industry given the best technology they are never in a fair fight you worked in industry. how important is the defense industrial base and thehe technologies secretary of defense reprioritizing to quantum, 5g. how important to our country and our economy is keeping the focus on the cutting edge technologies? particular whenn china we know there had ups and hypersonic but some people would argue we are there ahead of us and ai others say not so much.
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in the form of vice chairman set is still an open book and quantum it's very important. talk about the importance of th' industrial base pay. >> before i do so i would add what is important is how it powered noncommissioned officers producing this play out on the battlefield in ukraine versus russia how noncommissioned officers the strength of our y military. i served many years of the defense industry gave me goodo insight into what makes them function into what incentivizes them and also in terms of how they operate bears able to leverage that a good deal as i came back to be secretary of the army in secretary of defense i would meet weekly with industry to find out how could we approve how can we do better. it helped when i stood up army futures command in terms of how we craft that. they need predictability. one of the things we set d out o do weeping myself underya secretary ryan mccarthy the two army senior leaders was to put predictability y into at the ary wanted and not change it.
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if you can get predictability you put money behind it industry will respond and they will innovates. i am proud to say it's 202020 to four years later in terms of modernization that's key in terms of signaling to industry but to the army where you're going. i tell you since i left the service i'm working more in venture capitol i am on a firm called red cell doing interesting work. i wish i knew more about that ecosystem. that is really where innovation happens. some of the company founders, innovators are doing cutting edge work. how do you get those really small innovators and founders before it dod senior leadership. so we can make the big bets just like venture capitol does on cutting edge technologies that will allow us to leapfrog the
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chinese if i could do it all over again i will be meeting with those guys at least quarterly to make those big bets. again the problem with acquisition and dod is so bureaucratic willing to make those big bets willing to kind of get some of them wrong knowing if you get some right it will really make a difference thaton is the key. >> that is so important. i think congress to give the dod people to give it risk but we need to get the dod lawyer sought the senior leaders meett with some these cutting edge industries. not thinking it's getting them an advantage protect the silicon valley and these commercial firms they get so frustrated as you will know they tell you the same thing of dealing with the bureaucracy. the leaders at the top if you look at now work in the army, heidi hsu is in the technology department of defense. the dod who followed david
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norquist they want this technology and our government. they wanted for our military but the bureaucracy is in encumbrance. you are spot on with adequate that's why put often futures command even today sit on the board of small companies and they sit in this valley of deata for 18 months. and they just cannot survive if you are a company of 100 or two at her people how to make it through? even though they have cutting technology. >> your d acquisition did a wonderful job she's been followed by bellis and his confirmation hearing we have got to get back to hop production line. there is an incentive it by the leaders both in your tenure in the current tenure to do this we just have got to get around to bureaucracy. this book is not all about donald trump people want to portray it that way it's about my tenure the whole chapters and barely mention if at all how do
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you innovate how your reform? lexus is critically important. tedonald rumsfeld leon, ash carr have written books these are all important to learning organizations for the few organizations and government is always striving to do better. this is a bible for not just the war college us but for people in industry to look at the things we need to fix it.di that is going to be my last question. i wrote the book for three audience was the american people in history the next two were people in government and it dod. i have referred many times all my predecessors nearly all have written books. i would go back read their books and h understand how they did things or lessons learned it just like you are saying. >> you were a military family we added to the fourth priority toc the military family spouse, child care 1970 through the
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draft was in vietnam president nixon as the former secretary of defense not bob gates to do a commission he said look we should go through volunteer force we've got to fix three things though the retirement system the promotion system and pay should be based on skills and performance not timing grades very few of those things have changed. but we do have a volunteer force it. in 70s that almost went under. we did not pay enough attention to the family. nowadays if you do not have child care, if you don't have programs for spouses to get employment you're going to lose the best and the brightest. you had that is a real priority. tell us why and what you did? >> when i entered active duty as an officer in fort campbell it seemed to meet most folks were not marrieded and had kids. but over time that changed. now what you have us folks are married there often married to military spouses. in today's society most spouses
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work. and so what i find with the old adage to recruit the you retain the family. i just talked to many places were talking the top and not doing enough to deliver on that. how do we fix the employment systemco for spouses? how do we go after recognizing certificates? as you move from state to state the spouses were having a hard time getting hired because they did not have the proper credentials we try to work either by ourselves i worked a lotecec with my fellow service secretaries and the hill to i break that down. as i went after childcare ies found the biggest problem and our childcare was not necessarily spaces it was the fact they're often only three quarters of failed because our hiring system was not up to the task we went up to tackling that. then there are a myriad of other things i described in the end about the nature of the military and the bureaucracy we are telling families you cannot come in unless you're properly
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dressed. and as you know my wife and ii m served 21 years but she was with me since as a young lieutenant. she saw michael off to war. wheat pcs of multiple times to europe, back to europe with the united states very dealt with childcare, we dealt with all these things she was an incredible help to me i would pick up these ideas as she met with spouses as we go on the road. one of the complaints is why can'to i wear fitness gear and the bureaucratic resistance the sailor the airmen the marine may have signed up for the military but the spouses didn't. oit was a family business not make it on the silly difficult on what is the strength of the u.s. military at this point which of the families that support our service members. >> at the same in other parts of america but you got very frustrated withi that priority. i could see where the acquisition system wouldrt
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frustrate you fix the fourth estate but frankly this is such a no-brainer about the families. what made it so frustrating i lived at my wife lived it to her commissaries that the stiff resistance. if it's aun responsible of them fix it. a i found an unwillingness to fix it i don't think it was coming as much as ingrained culture of the military. i sit at the end of that as a look i've had enough. gwen have to do is secretary of defense should not have to do until military families yes you are allowed to wear fitness gear, leisure gear if you will into the px and commissaries and stuff likeke that.t it was a small thing but an important thing for our f families. every day i went and i kept our families in mind as i dealt with all of thesend issues. >> we are getting toward the end of our program.
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sibling control the military we talked about that part is soss fundamental to your moral compass that you adhere to the constitution maintain what you call civilian control of the military. one of the areas we've had as we've had somewhat of a controversy. jim mattis had to get a waiver from congress to sir because heg had not been retired long enough and same thingre with the secretary austin he personally i've never been favorably retired put in a tenure provision now it's back to ten years. you've been secretary of the navy you admire both of those individuals. you and i both admire them. frankly and you think we ought to have recently retired military people service secretary of defense? lexa may begin with this muchh y hometown boy count hero is george marshall who secretary of defense in september i thinkit 1950s called back by truman up the failings of the military in korea. he did not think it made sense for a former retired military
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officer to be secretary of defense but did it nonetheless. to answer your question directly no i don't think so. that point of ten years made sense. it has nothing to a secretary at mattis or secretary austin it has everything to do with making sure you have a distinct difference between that military culture and the civilian tif culture. they're very different skill sets. doesn't mean you can't be successful but having that separation makes a big s difference. i would support reinstating the moratorium. we have enough good people out there that are civilians that can fulfill the role secretary of defense to do that. it is critical i have a whole chapter bright outlined some of the problems i saw coming in as a civilian secretary i did not think the civilians are being used enough. i a had to forcefully push into the work planning and review process there are other areas i
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got pushed back from the brass. i had good civilian secretaries and good civilian leaders were able to push through that and c pull some of that control back. as i talk about it and the conclusion of the chapter this is something i think congress needs to relook. >> it's very clear for my conversation today, secretary esper it is very clear from his truly remarkable important book. it's in clear from your entire history and your entire experience you did bear through faith and allegiance to your oath to support and defend theno constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. and i know as i speak i know everybody that knows you i know the american public appreciates what you did the service with your family again i think you have a lot of valuable lessons to convey to the congress, to the american people continue to work and support a strong national defense would be greatly admire you and i thank
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you. obviously we think c-span for giving us this opportunity to spend so much time allowing you to talk about things that are so important to the future of our country pray thank you very much for a quick thank you very much i really appreciate that. up to date on the latest in publishing tv podcast about books plus a best seller list for insider interviews you can fight about books on c-span now our free mobile app or war effort you get your podcast. >> c-span brings you an unfiltered view of government. our newsletter word for word recaps the day free from the halls of congress to daily press
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