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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  June 29, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EDT

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by 2014 it still looks just about doable. the rush for the exit could end up delaying the very thing he's hoping for. i'm hoping that summarizes the views. admiral mcraven, do you believe the united states should have a residual force in iraq in order to assist with particularly the special operations functions and intelligence. >> would be mutually beneficial to us and the iraqi is it in fact that was the case. obviously it remains to be seen whether the iraqi is will want us to stay past the intended to draw down time. there's a small and soft presence there i think would be advisable. >> if we look at the recent u.s. casualties, the situation at least in some respects has
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literally shown some deterioration would you agree? >> that appears to be the case. >> do you believe we ought to have an enduring military presence for example airbase in afghanistan and everything that i know and here is president karzai is very interested in such an arrangement. >> we would have an enduring military relationship with the afghans. it would be negotiated and ultimately the missions and rules and functions would be determined i think remains to be determined by discussions with the afghans and certainly our own discussions and determinations. with regard to a permanent base i don't believe we need a permanent peace in afghanistan we can conduct operations over the long term from the shared
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based in concept. >> i guess to get into the semantics now, the base concept is fairly agreeable. this committee has shown serious concerns about the cost and policy of the base realignment. i hope you will work with us closely on that issue and we are going to ask for a sort of pause until we can get an evaluation. my question though is that there's been recent public reports about a north korean ship that was turned around that we have had materials which would have had some press reports or have some perhaps nuclear technology on board and headed for burma turnaround by the u.s. and headed back to the
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north korea can you tell the committee about that? >> i do know that there's too united nations security council resolutions, 1718 and 1864 the purpose is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction from the north. i believe it is very important that we continue to monitor that carefully and it needs to be dealt with in my whole of government approach. >> thank you. can i say congratulations to the three if you and you make us extremely proud that the united states is blessed with such leadership and dedication and sacrifice and that includes your families as well. >> thank you, senator mccain. senator lieberman.
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>> thanks. i would just pick up where senator mccain left off and say that listening to the opening statements the three of you made and hearing that respond to trim 11, senator mccain which i wouldn't describe as softballs i think the cumulative effect is that you are an impressive group. today i think you've shown your intelligence and your records speak with extraordinary power to a career of patriotism, bravery and leadership capacity, and you remind us how every american has to be grateful to you and everyone else and all you do every day to protect our security and freedom so i think you very much for that. general, i want to get into the decision that the president made last week about and announced about afghanistan and just ask you this question.
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as i understand what was announced, one way to look at it is that this year we will withdraw, this calendar year we will withdraw from afghanistan 10,000 of the 33,000 troops we surf as a result of the president's decision in december, 2009. next year we will withdraw the remaining 23,000 by some time in september. but here's what i want to ask you. my understanding is that within those parameters of this year and next year, and you as the commander will be given latitude to determine both the pace of the withdrawal that will begin in july, and which of the forces are withdrawn. is that correct? >> that's correct, sir. >> the second question i want to ask is in your response to the question submitted by the
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committee, used the and i quote, we will constantly monitor and assess the situation on the ground, and should determine the situation has changed, i will so advise my chain of command through the proper channels, end of quote. so my understanding with what you are saying is that if and as we go through this hearing to next year you find that the pace of the withdrawal is having an affect on what's happening on the ground in afghanistan that you think is really - and exercise authority to report that a purchase of command, and if necessary, hypothetical, to ask the pace of withdrawal be slowed down. >> when i take command of isf i'm going to monitor the operation conditions constantly not just as it relates to the drawdown of the force is with
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respect to the surge through the entire period i command during the campaign. and it is my responsibility to the chain of command in chief to insure should i be concerned for the progress and execution of the campaign isolette vice the chain of command with a forthright advice and it's an important responsibility, sir. >> i appreciate the reassurance and admiral mcraven, with regard to afghanistan, obviously the special operation forces have played an extraordinarily important role in the counterinsurgency strategy that we are carrying out. there was a significant success. is it your expectation as the drawdown of the forces overall pursuant to the president's decision last week goes forward
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the the special operations forces are likely not to be a drawdown in the number? i think you know what i'm asking. >> i think that remains to be seen, and again, if confirmed i will work closely with the general allen to take a look at what the right balance is for the special operations forces. again, we've got to strike a good balance between the conventional peace and the various elements in order to be successful. >> i accept that answer. my own sense is the numbers drawn down it may be the special operators and a special operating forces are going to be even more critical so in some sense not to the last, but you would want a critical mass as this goes on. general, do you have an opinion going in about that? >> i do, senator.
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we are currently engaged in a comprehensive military counterinsurgency campaign of which counterterrorism and the role of the forces play a very important role. as the campaign continues to mature in and we look at the progress on the ground, we may see their role may increase as time goes on within the context of the counterinsurgency campaign. and it was more than simply direct action or start operations. it's to the sec to allow but the capacity as the admiral mcraven said with respect to the afghan security forces but also playing a vital role on the ground in the store will shred of the afghan police program and the stability operations program. and all of that together constitute an enormously powerful contribution by the special operating forces to the campaign today, and we would see that enduring contribution over the long term out to 2014. >> thank you. general sermon, arguably will be
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assuming the command in korea at the most dangerous time in quite awhile, and i say that based on the continuing provocations by north korea of our allies in the republic of korea by the statement the president public of korea made that if there's other provocation will be the response and measure from south korea or allies, but also because we are watching a pattern of aggressive behavior by the people's republic of china in the region generally that is quite different than we have seen for a while really staking claims to territory in the kind of sovereignty, extended sovereignty we haven't seen in quite this way. i wonder going and whether he
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would give your reflections on the state of mind of the leadership of the two countries that most worries me. very different obviously. one is north korea and the people's republic of china which we have an ongoing comprehensive relation to we try very hard to manage in a constructive way. the north koreans and no different place. >> i've had the same concerns going into. i believe kim jong il is an unpredictable leader and antagonize through the coercive diplomacy to protect his nuclear capability and there is a vitre rating economy is a food
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shortage, so i think he will continue the cycle of provocation and it's important for us to work closely with the republic of korea. the military to counter the provocations and in a responsible manner and to also meet in the relations in china and to work with the admiral as the commander to ss dhaka security posture and stance particularly on the peninsula. >> thanks to the three of you. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, senator lieberman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i first of all want to say that we are blessed and grateful to have the service of all three of you for the country and i want
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to thank your family is an old that served under you for what you have done, and we have a great confidence in all with your qualifications. i wanted to ask the vice admiral mcraven in your evidence policy questions, your asked what are the weaknesses and shortcomings in the current effort to combat terrorism in insurgency in afghanistan, and in one of your answers, you said the weaknesses and shortcomings a rise of from the strategy or the efforts of the soldiers, marines, air men and civilians on the ground, of the diminished resources, lack of long-term commitment and any decrease in international assistance. vice admiral, can you elaborate for me what you meant by that statement in terms of the concerns about diminished resources or lack of long-term commitment? >> yes, ma'am. this is basically focused on
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what we refer to as the enablers. so for us the special operations that continue to be successful in afghanistan is going to be a function of ensuring that we continue to have the airlift we need and the support, the fixed-wing support of the audience are in terms of the unmanned uav. that is the aspect of the support that is critical now and for the long run for the special operations to be effective. >> and does the president's recent withdrawal announcement in your view impact the lack of the long-term commitment of the issues that you've raised? >> no man i would contend it doesn't direct soft directly it is a function of how you balance the winstrol and in discussions with general allan i will make it clear that as general allan look said the withdrawal he takes into consideration the enablers necessary to continue
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support special operations across the battlefield. while it is not just about the deduction piece which is important, and in my former role as the jsoc it was important but that support the broader soft fur to afghanistan. >> are there any other concerns you have about the diminished resources and based on what you highlighted in your statement that we should be aware of? >> no man. the two primary ones are the airlift support and the audience are support. >> thank you. >> the fighting season in afghanistan is roughly from april through october, and the president has decided on september, 2012 on the deadline for the withdrawal in the surge forces. is there in a strategic
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operational or tactical advantage to the september deadline for the withdrawal during the season as compared to wading through the fighting season? >> senator, i think the value of a second fighting season as was expressed by the chairman and general petraeus in the testimony last week is important, but as general petraeus said in his recommendations, those recommendations are forwarded to the central commander and secretary defense and the discussions which ultimately generated the president's decision account for the president's unique role and position in terms of his national security views as president of the united states and the commander in chief. and so he has made the decision at this juncture with respect to
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when the end of the drawdown of the forces should occur. we support that decision. we will implement that decision and are in the planning process now, senator, and as i said before to senator lieberman it is my intention as the commander to monitor the progress. the operational environment and the progress and the situation with respect to the accomplishment and to the campaign plan. should i become concerned that our ability to accomplish those objectives are threatened, i will ensure a gift forthright and prompt advice to the chain of command. ..
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>> not just about the forces of the presence of the u.s. forces on the battlefield. even as those forces come down, we'll still have some portion of the surge throughout most of the fighting season. we'll have the 68,000 that will be consistent in their presence, tens of thousands of isaf forces, 50,000 more national security police and army forces and some 20,000 or so of the afghan public protection force. they will all be joining the fight, they will all become part of the process during that
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period of time. so again the president was presented recommendations by the commander of isaf, forwarded by the central command commander and the discussions were held in the white house and the president applied his view. ultimately, the president of the united states and the commander in chief, and made the decision. >> i appreciate that, general. and i understand that you didn't participate in those discussions. but their recommendations were different than the ones that the president adopted in terms of timing after the fighting season; is that right? >> the chairman said the president's decision was a bit more aggressive than what was recommended. >> one the concerns was a more aggressive recommendation, of course, is as senator mccain has outlined, given the progress that we've made in afghanistan, that that progress -- we could see a regression of that process; is that right? >> well, we're going to take
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advantage of the opportunity between now and the end of the year to assess where we are with the progress of the campaign. we have made really spectacular progress in the south. i wish all americans had the opportunity to see the great work that has been done by the forces at work. isaf forces in the south and southwest. working to consolidate that progress and at some point take other actions which i won't get into the great details here. we'll take other actions as necessary. the president's decision will be accounted for, obviously, in the planning that will go forward. and we anticipate that we will continue to achieve the objectives of the campaign. but we must account for the decision that is the president has made and will go forward with those -- accounting for those decisions will go forward with every intention of accomplishing the objectives. and we believe that can be done now and we're moving forward with the planning with the isaf
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staff now. >> general, i want to thank you for your testimony. my time is up. but you had the opportunity as a new senator to go to afghanistan in january. and i was very impressed with the progress that has been made. and i guess i would share -- i remain concerned and appreciate the challenges that you face with having to withdraw a significant number of our troops during that fighting season. thank you for your testimony. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, ayotte. senator udall. >> mr. chairman, thank you for your presence and i want to associate myself with the remarks of my colleague on the results of your service and acknowledge the families that are here and wonder americans. if you could turn to you, i know you are going to have some challenges. you've got a leadership record that's exemple re.
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let me turn to the success that you had and we are in anbar in iraq. you reached out to an operation that was hostile and worked with them to turn their focus to al qaeda and the elements of terrorism that had really created enormous chaos. and in the process, the coin doctrine was validated. i don't want to imply that the two countries are alike. but could you talk about the primary lessons that we learned in anbar and how we are going to apply those lessons in afghanistan? >> senator, much of what was accomplished in the anbar providence, needless to say, much of it was accomplished on the shoulders of the sacrifice of many terrific soldiers and marines and sailors and airmen. we honor that service and their sacrifice and having
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accomplished that remarkable outcome. what was accomplished in the anbar providence was really the result of a comprehensive, civil military counterinsurgency strategy. it was a strategy that leveraged every aspect of what military capacity could be brought to bare in the battle space, civil affairs, conventional military capabilities, advisory capacity to build the iraqi police, the iraqi security forces of the two divisions of iraqi infantry that we had. special operators who worked both as advisors and mentors. but also the term black soft, the strike forces that would enter the battle space to attack the insurgent network. we pressurized the network constantly. while we were pressurizing and shredding the network and bloodying their capabilities, we worked very, very hard to build the capacity of the iraqi security forces, both the army, and we went from 4,000 police to
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almost 30,000 police in the year we were there in '07 and '08. all of that was complimented by a comprehensive plan with respect to civilian outreach as well. usaid resourced three embedded prts and resourced our prt, our prudential prt. and i believe that the wise outreach to the shakes in -- shs in the tribe, and the outreach to the stabilization and governance project, where the governance had been completely shattered as a result of the al qaeda and the efforts, that comprehensive effort paid off in the end. it built up governance which had the capacity to stand up on it's own two feet and extend the writ of the prudential government out into the districts and down to the municipalities and even to
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the tribes. it incorporated the tribes into the solution, rather than have the tribes be on the outside of governance and part of the problem. it ultimately built the capacity for the people of that providence, the people along the river, to ply their trade to engage in economic development and that in conjunction with the persistence governance all overwatched by u.s. forces, but eventually over watched by iraqi security forces provided the trade space necessary ultimately for the persistence of government and the mess that we've seen in the aftermath to the anbar providence, sir. >> let me jump to afghanistan in that context. we've been talking about the withdraw numbers. and the concern that some have about the effect on the fighting season next year. i know we have full compliment for this fighting season. do you think you are going to
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have to shift to counterterrorism model or can you blend the two strategies -- i know we throw the acronyms around casually. can they be implemented simultaneously in different providences, depending on the need of those populations and the strategy that you have in place? >> indeed, senator, it's occurring now. there is an active counterterrorism capability that is under way within the larger counterinsurgency to campaign. and as vice admiral raven knows so well and our task force commander in the central command, the capabilities of those strike forces have really been spectacular in getting at the enemy's network. as well the use of sov as i mention will have a role of developing and supporting the training of the afghanistan special operators as well as facilitating ultimately the
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mobilization of the populations in the key villages where the afghan local police are being expanded. so to answer specifically your question, we would say there will continue to be a counterterrorism dimension to the overarching counterinsurgency campaign. and as time passes as conditions in the battle space evolve, as we approach 2014, and as we define our long term relationship with the afghanistan, we may well see that the development of ct will become even more important as time goes on. there will be an important role here. >> would you talk about reintegration. do we have enough formal structure. there's been statements there's more we could do, and we've sent mixed messages to the fighters and taliban that want to come out. >> reintegration is essential to
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a counterinsurgency strategy. it helps to decompose the base of the insurgency. the afghans ultimately will be responsible for reintegration. it is their program. they are responsible for accepting the fighters and reintegrating them back into afghan society. so that effect, the afghan peace and reintegration committee has been formed at a national level. there are prudential peace committees that have been formed throughout the country. and in the process, we are working closely with our afghan counterparts to facilitate the reintegration process which ultimately is that local fighters and many of the fighters are, in fact, close to villages, close to the homes, local villagers who desire to leave the insurgency and become part of the future of afghanistan will put down their
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weapons, renounce violence, sever their ties with al qaeda and the insurgency and become part of the solution. become part of the peace process. and in return, the village elders and the village benefits ultimately by bringing them back into the fold and through the use of funds which are cycled through the afghan government through the peace and reconciliation committee counsels project are performed in the villages which benefit everyone and the quality of life improves for everyone. so the village leadership vouches for the young fighter who has come off of the battlefield. they embrace him, bring him back, make him reintegrated, the whole vimmage -- village benefits as a result. with what we can do better, we are just getting started. the infrastructure within the afghan side is really just beginning to gain purchase at
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this particular time. and as we recognize as a persistent shortfall in afghanistan and a number of different areas the ability to flow resources from the central government down through the providences and ultimately into the projects for the reintegration program, that is the challenge at this particular moment. i know that our civilian colleagues are working very closely with their afghan counterparts to improve the ability to get this money on budget and get it flowed and the expeditious manner to take advantage of the opportunities as these fighters come off of the battle space. we're at about 1900 soon of those individuals who have formally reintegrated. there are about 3,000 in the pipeline. so getting this process accelerates has the effect of providing another operate if you are a fighter. you can fight u.s. or afghan
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forces and be killed, be detained, or put your weapon down and become part of the future of the afghanistan, be reintegrated into the village, and the village will benefit. i think that's a stark option. >> thank you. my time has expired. i look forward to working with you on this issue. this is the key element to bring our forces home and successfully concluding our operations in afghanistan. >> thank you. senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first let me thank each of you for your service and your willingness to accept the new challenges. general allen, the people of maine have paid a heavy price. our state has suffered the highest rate of casualties of any state in the nation. we've seen lots of discussion at
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this hearing and others last week about the number of troops, the pace of withdraw, and the timetable. but i have for you a more fundamental question. and that is -- is there any number of troops that can ensure a stable afghanistan that is going to be able to take responsibility for it's own security given the safe havens and turmoil in pakistan and the lack of confident central government that is not plagued by corruption. in other words, are these such insurmountable obstacles that no matter how many troops we have
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for how long and how brave and skilled they are, are those two facts the safe havens in pakistan, the corruption and incompetence of the central afghan government insurmountable obstacles? >> senator, i don't believe so. there are challenges. there are significant challenges. those have been explained by the current isaf commander and the chairman of the joint chiefs. i believe the campaign as we currently envision it's unfolding has the development of the afghanistan national security forces to be in the lead of the security at the 2014 as an objective which is obtainable with u.s. forces in a strategic overwatch position. your question about the safe havens? it complicates the process. there's no question about that.
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we would recommend to our pakistani friends that they take those measures that are necessary to reduce those safe havens. because in many respect, the safe havens are not only safe havens that generate the opportunity for those insurgents to attack in afghanistan, but the safe havens that provide the spring board for the assault directly opinion the pakistani government and the pakistani military. so we will encourage and will continue to encourage our pakistani friends to bring pressure to bear upon the safe havens. it's not just good for the outcome of our strategy and for the president's vision on the outcome in afghanistan, it's good for pakistan as well. i might add that our relationship with pakistan while strained at this particular moment, there is a bright spot, frankly, in the many different facets of the relationship that i will touch. and that bright spot is the
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tripartied planning committee. they go through the process and sit down to how conduct in a way that limit the operations across the border. there is a bright spot in that regard. i think it's an opportunity for us to continue the contact to leverage our relationship with pakistan to emphasize as you point out correctly, senator, the difficulties that these safe havens provide to the accomplishment of our strategy, but also how they endanger pakistan as well. to that part of your question that relates to corruption, and incompetence, we been partners with president karzai for a long time. and in the course of this long term partnership, and in particular on the last couple of years, we have seen our civilian colleagues operating within the context of the civilian surge
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which accomplished president obama military surge that provides efforts to increase capacity within the afghanistan government within key ministries to provide better, predictable, uncorrupt, governance. that process has been accompanied by activity within the the -- within isaf, the formation of task force, which stands for transparency in dari which is supported by task force 2010. which seeks to get at corruption and difficulties associated with the contracting that can create additional corruption. as well as task force spotlight which seeks to control the evolution of private security companies. there are -- there are a number of measures that we have put in
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place through the civilian surge with our colleagues in the embassy through ambassador eikenberry and as well as ambassador crocker with the task force associated with corruption that seek to build both capacity at the same time we address the particular issues associated with corruption. and so today we do face the dilemma of the safe havens and today we do work with an afghan government that can -- that embraces the desire ultimately to reduce corruption and increase competency. we'll remain in close partnership with the afghan government to get at both of those issues. and we will continue to work with the ansf. even if the safe havens are not reduced, it is our strong desire and hope that in the end as the afghan security forces ultimately take to the field and the numbers that we anticipate
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with the capabilities that we're building into those anst forces, they will be able to provide the cover for afghanistan so it can have a secure and stable future. >> thank you. >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you, senator collins. senator reed. >> thank you for your service to the nation and the family service and the service to the army, to the navy, marine corps, and admiral raven, on the u.s. air force. you can get all of the principal services in. thank you, very, very much. let me begin with general allen. you talk eloquently in response to senator collins about the need to work closely with the pakistani's head. you had the occasion to meet on a regular bases yet or do you intend to meet on a regular bases with general and the counterparts in pakistani armed force? >> senator, i have met on a number of occasions. it is not a relationship yet
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that i hope to develop. it is, in fact, the intent for general petraeus and i should i be confirmed to pay a call so that the relationship that he has enjoyed with general kayani can ultimately be passed to me. so it is my -- i look forward to the opportunity to work closely with general kayani and the senior pakistani military leadership. and in partnership in the context as i said before of the tripartied planning committee. we have so many objectives to work together. i look forward. >> i think from your comments, general, from both sides, their perspective and our perspective, it is a complicated and sometimes frustrating relationship. but it's a relationship that's essential to our continued operations in afghanistan. so i would commend your efforts.
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and urge you as general petraeus has to establish lines of communication to the leadership. there's anothers aspect too that you've touched upon and that is the development of the afghani national security forces. they've made progress in the last years after seven or eight years of the sits and starts and not particularly impressed with. i think over the last few years, we have momentum. it seems to be one of the major building blocks of our strategy, our reduction is really almost directly related to their ability to feel competent in forces. i want your comment on that aspect. >> it's central to the strategy, senator. and as we have -- as you correctly point out, as we have developed the real cat in the last couple of years and here i
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must mention lieutenant bill caldwell and his terrific team in nato training mission in afghanistan for the work that they have done. and it's been a comprehensive approach with respect to the development of the afghan national army and the afghan national police. he has put in place a number of training initiatives that are paying big dividends, not just the lease being literacy in a country where the literacy depending on the statistics varied between 10 and 20%. it's not surprising that many of those who seek to be soldiers are police are illiterate. that alone has given the members of the afghanistan national security forces a different feel about who they are and the role they could potentially play in their country. so that plus many of the
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initiatives which are under way and gaining purchase now and transaction leave me confident that our end state, which is an afghanistan security force which has both capability and staying power will be successful in the end. it's not just about ntma, all in in the command and partnered with the units in the field have become also vital to the process as well. the professionalization of units as well as the individual preparations of afghan national security police and army troops in the training pipeline as well, sir. >> thank you, sir. now mcraven, like all colleagues, i salute you and your colleagues for your extraordinary operations. thank you. i think your decisiveness and
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the feel for every level of the concert from the villages of afghanistan and in fact, all the way up here to the more complicated rooms in washington was amply demonstrated. thank you for your service. >> yes, sir. >> let me touch on a point i'm sure has been raised also. you have a force that is small. very select. can't expand overnight because of criteria can't be lowered to accommodate size. it's under significant pressure after ten year. and your efforts in afghanistan and in pakistan are significant. but you also have looked other places, yemen, particularly of concern of the moment, somalia, there's indications of operations there. and just a further point is you -- i think, will be as we go forward strategically the force that's called upon right out of the box if you will which is a
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change. slightly change in strategic thinking. so given this pressure on your special operation command, your comment about what we have to do to give you the resources, are you prepared and capable to expand your operations in a moment's notice worldwide or -- in different parts of the world and i'd appreciate your comments. >> yes, sir, thank you, senator. we are not prepared to expand immediately worldwide. the problem as you point out is that it's very difficult to grow a special operations forces overnight. add mill olson and his capacity as the commander of socom has gone on the record to try to grow the command power of socom about 3 to 5% per year. which i think is about right as well. part of this is making sure that the standards that we have set at our various special operations training elements for the special forces officers and the s.e.a.l.s and the marines
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and aviators remains high. we don't want to come off of the standards. because at the end of the day, the american people expect us to put forward a world class operator. i think it will be difficult. one the greatest challenges we will have for the future is there will be a greater command. as we talk about today, intuitively as the drawdown occurred in afghanistan in terms of the conventional force there will probably be some requirement, additional requirement for special operations forces to cover down if you will in afghanistan. i don't think we know exactly what the size of that will be yet. i think they are going to have to be discussions in myself, and if confirmed and the sec fair to find out what is the right amount of force that is we need to put into afghanistan. as we look out from iraq,
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afghanistan, and across the globe and special operation forces any day of the year are in about 30-80 countries around the world. sometimes in very small numbers. but those small numbers can have large effects in other areas. they are building host nation capacity. and hopefully putting forth those values, those american values that the other forces can see and want to replicate. frankly that allows us to kind of get ahead of some of the conflict in other countries. as we look at hot spots in yemen where you have al qaeda in the arabian peninsula or al qaeda in east al shabaab. we are looking very hard, as a former commander, i can tell you, we are looking very hard at yemen and at somalia. our shortfall as always in the area for kinetic strikes is the isr, unmanned or manned isr. it's a critical enabler if it's
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a direct action mission. however, having said that, i will tell you that both the central command and u.s.-africa command has been terrific on the missions that pop up. so to get to the answer to your question, it will be difficult for us to expand man power. any is going to have to come with an expanse of the enablers. >> thank you very much. my time has expired. let my just say and congratulation late you on a great service to the united states army. i look guard to work with you. you are all very correct about that term. i have a certain hope for all of you, gentleman. thank you. >> thank you very much, senator reed. senator brown. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good to see you all. congratulations to you and your families. general allen, something that's always bothered me is the lack of other countries fulfilling
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their commitment with regard to helping train and get up to speed obviously the afghan army and police. how do you think that the -- with the current shortfall of about almost 500 trainers, the withdrawal of 10,000 troops will effect the training mission? >> we'll continue, senator, to ask our partners for trainers. we're going to continue to work if i'm confirmed through nato and through isaf to the nonnato nations to continue to provide the kinds of trainers necessary and to build the capacity of the afghan national security forces that we all need in the end to accomplish our objective. it is no secret that that's been difficult to do. it's no secret that we have made it very clear that the current commander has made it very clear, the current supreme
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allied commander of europe, and the nato leadership has made it very clear that we need more trainers. and we're still as you are correct senator, we are still short about 480 trainers. and i will continue if confirmed and if i become the commander of isaf, i will continue to emphasize that we have to have trainers in order to bring to bare the kind of quality training that we need in order to get the afghan national security forces. >> is it a higher level to go to the presidents level to go to the other leaders and says listen, in order to get out of here, we need to train the folks and get them up. you made a commitment. seems like we've been making that request forever. there hasn't been a heck of a lot of return reciprocity in providing them. >> senator, i can't speak to whether the president has asked that question, specifically. i know the secretary of defense, this secretary has been
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unambiguous in calling on nato and the other nonnato troop contributing nations to provide trainers. and if confirmed and i become the commander of isaf, i will be unambiguous in that requirement as well. i believe admiral has been beating that drum very loudly and regular, sir. >> what do you think the ratio between trainer and trainee that works? are we at that? how far below? >> i would have to get back to you on that. >> if you wouldn't mind, that would be helpful. how about the flexibility? do you think you have the flexibility that you need to keep the enemy on it's heels and train the afghan security forces from now until the end of the summer, even though the enemy has a timeline? does it affect those two things at all? >> i believe we do have the flexibility. >> and general thurman in looking at your new job when you are confirmed, how do you -- how do you deal with a lot of the
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insecurity over there? it seems -- i mean let's say hypothetically that north korea makes another probe and tries to instigate things. and korea responds. what role do we play. how do you envision that working out? >> senator, thank you. i think the number one point is we have to maintain a strong presence on the peninsula. there's no question based on what i have reviewed that the iraq military has -- is a very professional and competent force. i think the other important point is making sure that all of our plans that we have are of current, they are exercised frequently, and we have the right training programs in place. i think the other important thing is maintaining the
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alliance and continuing the transformation efforts, if confirmed, i fully expect to look at and review our capabilities and make sure they are the right capabilities and we're positioned properly to support any type of aggression. i do feel it's very important to maintain a strong presence with a korea partner and to continue to work close with them and make sure that we are -- we have the right strengths and can counter any type of aggression. >> thank you. and back to you, general allen. i agree with the chairman when it comes -- when he was talking about our relationship with pakistan and -- i also feel, listen, we've given them $4 billion. sometimes we don't know if they are in or out? with us or not? how do you view your role in dealing with the situation, the country building or country, you know, pushback.
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what do you think your role ultimately will be if any? >> well, i think there is a role, senator. the role has been demonstrated by both general mcchrystal and after him general petraeus was to seek ways and opportunity across the border with the pakistani military to try to have effect upon the nature of the border, the safe havens, those elements of the insurgency where we can focus or efforts. general pa petraeus has establid a productive relationship with general kayani. i hope to follow where leverages the role of the isaf commander, we can continue to place the kind of emphasis that we need to with the pakistani government and military to continue to pressurize those safe havens. in the end, it's a decision that they will make. but they -- in my role as the operational commander, i'm going to leverage every possibility that i can for cooperation
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across the border to build habits of cooperation, habits of partnership, and hopefully from there as we continue to evolve our relationship overall with pakistan, this will be a mechanism that can provide a bright spot for additional cooperation later. and i think here is an important opportunity with pakistan. >> thank you, sir. admiral mcraven, you noticed that you said, you know, the -- there's some fraying at the edges potentially with everything that's happening. that's rightly understandable. not like you can all of the sudden press a button and get a special oped guy ready to go. what do you anticipate with trying to do to deal with that problem? >> yes, sir, thank you. admiral olson has done a general task force and has done an amazing job of getting out to the units to talk to the soldiers, sailors, airmens,
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marines to find out what are the stresses on the force? that task force is kind of continuing to gather it's data and information and if confirmed, i will come in and take the recommendations of that task force and aggressively pursue programs that make sense in order to take care of the families and their soldiers. i mean we have to take a hard look at not just making sure this force is sustainable for the next couple of years. what is it going to look like in five years, ten years, 15 years. if we don't get ahead of this and get on top of the concerns and the pressures on the families and the soldiers, i have great concerns about what this force will look like ten years from now. >> thank you, sir. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator brown. senator begich. >> thank you all for your willingness to serve. like many of my colleagues i hope you are all confirmed and look forward to the additional service to the country. first, general, let me ask you
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if i can, i know he has played the operational control of south korea until 2015. if i could give me some thoughts of your understanding how the additional time will allow the u.s. and the republic of south korea to conduct a successful transfer. can you give me a feel? it's been delayed. what does it mean? >> yes, sir, senator. based on what i've been briefed on, it was delayed until 2015. there has been a strategic alliance 2015 that was agreed upon by the two, our secretary of defense and the minister of defense. it was the two presidents that agreed to delay the transition. what i believe is this allowed the iraq military to continue to transform their efforts. they have several transformation efforts ongoing. they are a highly capable and
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competent force. what i've reviewed, there is a time line and a set of well defined milestones through the exercise program that will get us on the road to transition in 2015. if confirmed, i will review the strategic alliance 2015 and those milestones and work close with the iraq chairman and iraq minister of defense and iraq military to help progress them along on that timeline. >> let me also ask you, i know you've heard a little bit of discussion. this is more of a yes or no. but if you want to expand, feel free. you know, the security concerns and fiscal realities that you've heard some questions already on the feasibility on the organization. assuming confirmed, are you willing and obviously going to
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re-examine the plans for the tour normalization and how that will work in the future? >> senator, if confirmed, i will review the overall concept of the tour normalization. i'm well aware of the fiscal constraints we are under as a nation. i'm also aware of some of the proposed legislation that has been perhaps provided. if the ndaa is approveed and i will work very close with the department of defense and the -- this committee to make sure that we're doing the right thing. and make the recommendations. >> very good. thank you. i'll look forward to that as it progresses and assumes we pass an authorization bill, that will be good and we'll have some guidance, hopefully. thank you. if i can, vice admiral
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mcraven, this year the cold weather maritime training facility will be built in the summer. we invite you not in the summer, but in the winter. because that gives you extra points, because kodiak is a great place. how important -- this is broad, you've answered this through the other answers, how important is infrastructure and investment really for the readiness that you need for your special ops? >> yes, sir. i will tell you the kodiak cold weather training facility is kind of a great topic to look at in terms of the effect of the operators and frankly the rest of the infrastructure across sov. right now when u.s. socom was stood up and, passed legislation in '86 and really got going in '87, a lot of the military construction that was in place
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when the money flowed from the services a lot of the recapitalization money for the number of the projects did not flow with that. now 24, almost 25 years into special operations command we have a number of facilities out there that are in need of repair or, in fact, we need new facilities. i know admiral olson has come forth in the hearing and made it clear he is looking for additional support from congress in order to recapitalize the infrastructure. as with any force, sir, i mean our readiness is a direct reflection of the amount of equipment and infrastructure we have to do the job to train with, both in garrison and forward. so the infrastructure is critical to our operators. >> as you review that, assuming you get confirmed, i'm assuming you will share your analysis on kind of where those gaps are and kind of prioritize those based on funding. sometimes around this place the
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funding occurs based on who yells the loudest. we want to look at, i guess, my view would be what's the most critical elements of infrastructure investment that's necessary for your operations to continue at the level you are at, plus obviously growing itself. >> no, sir. >> great. >> thank you. >> you mentioned one other piece. i maybe abbreviated this, you call it the something, something stress task force. >> sure. >> what's the timetable that you anticipate some results. the reason i say this is the readiness of our forces and the impacts on them as individuals and the families that are being impacted because of the amount of deployment and the speed. what's your timetable? >> well, sir, the pressure on the force -- task force that has implemented has been in place for many months now. again, they have gone around the country talking to the special operations operators and their families. having said that, we have had a number of programs for all of the units in place for quite
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some time. the units down to the '05 level to the lieutenant colonel and commander level have program supported by u.s. special operations to take care of the families and the operators. the real question for u.s. socom is: is that enough? i think the pressure on the force task force beginning to look at what ten years of fighting has done, we realize that the current programs are not enough. so we have a number of programs being implemented daily across the force. we think based on the results coming back from the task force, we're going to need to apply additional resources to support the soldiers and families. >> will you share that with us? >> sure. >> my time has expired. but i want to share a question from general allen. you seem optimistic, i don't see general frank with you. i was there a year and a half, maybe longer. time flies around this place.
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but without the corrupt issue from karzai down, how are we ever going to get the system when you talk about reintegrating people back in. i remember the exact piece and the committee and the cash flow that goes through there. but the corruption is layer upon layer upon layer, generational upon generational. give me some thoughts of how that's ever going to get resolved. honestly, it seemed like every dollar that we send, everyone is taking a piece until it gets to the end. there's very little utilized for the services. i will say here as i've said publicly from karzai government on down. he's not exempt from this. so give me your thoughts on how we are -- we are dealing with a corrupt government and a corrupt system. so there's the -- there's the easy question for the day. >> thank you, senator. it is a -- it's a daunting
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problem as you have indicated. but we're working closely with the solutions of government that are emerging. seeking to create patterns of conduct, systems of accountability, the process of responsible budgeting with the the execution of the budget, accountability within the execution of the budget in ways that can reduce these problems associated with corruption. it is an effort with which we will -- if i'm confirms as commander of isaf, i will partner closely with ambassador crocker in his effort and great civilian team. i'll work with ambassador, senior civilian, representative of nato and other elements within the agency to do all that we can to build capacity which holds people accountable, that
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provides and creates systems and provides predictability and accountability within the government. it is a problem, senator. you have correctly identified that as a difficulty and corruption, of course, is corrosive to any democratic process in any hope of the democracy. it is our very strong hope that in partnership with the afghan government, we can get at this issue. >> thank you very much. again, i want to thank all of you for your willing to serve and your families that i know are the backbone to your service. thank you all very well. >> thank you, senator begich. senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to compliment the president for making the elections of each you. you are good choices about the president. this is not so much about getting you confirmed but allows us to understand how we can help you and what the someones are i am completely okay and support the idea of the civilian
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military. but politicians are accountable to the voters, generals are accountable to the troops and command and us in senator. i want to make sure those of us making decision are accountable. if we get credit for the effort, and blame where it lies. that's what we are trying to do. admiral mcraven, is mullah omar in pakistan? >> sir, we believe he is. >> okay. so let's just stop for a second. we believe that the leader of the taliban after the fall of the russians, mullah omar, who indicted bin laden to be the honored guest in afghanistan, who empowered bin laden to attack the country is still in afghanistan? do we believe he's there with the knowledge of the isi and
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operation of the army? >> sir, i believe the pakistanis know he is in pakistan. whether or not there is a -- >> let me ask you this. if they tried for about a week, do you think they could find him? >> sir, i can't answer that question. i don't know whether they could or not. because i don't know where he is. >> have we asked them to find him? >> sir, i believe they have. >> well, i'm asking. i think senator levin and i both ask together today. we are asking the pakistan government to help us find mullah omar who has tried to destroy afghanistan, who has formed an allegiance with al qaeda, and so along those lines general allen, are we certain that i.e.d.s being used against american troops in afghanistan and coalition working in general are coming out of pakistan?
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senator, i believe, yes, we are. >> smart. -- as a matter of fact, we have given pakistani information and buildings. is that not true? >> that's true. >> have they responded? >> no. >> i'm with chairman levin. this has got to stop. let's talk about corruption. have you read the article about the afghan central bank of the u.s. central bank flees the u.s., are you particular with that at all? >> sir, i've read many articles in this conjunction about that issue. i don't recall that. >> i would like to put this in the record if i could. >> it will become part of the record. >> i've convinced that they set up the kabul bank and who was
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set up and used to pay afghan government bills depositing coalition currency, as well as afghan currency. and imf called it the biggest abuse or ripoff of a bank they've ever seen. for the imf to say that, that's something. because they've seen a lot. so i want to associate myself with senator begich. i really do believe they are trying to cover up the karzai government and other people in afghanistan are trying to cover up the extent of the fraud and manipulation in this bank. so general allen, i would ask you to report back to us about the kabul and how it affects our efforts to stop corruption. >> i will, senator. >> thank you. now let's talk about counterinsurgency. as a lawyer, i find the concept
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fascinating. from december of 2009, i want my point of view and the country to know general petraeus and under your command, general mcraven have done a fantastic job from defense to offense. they have been used effectively and we have really put the enemy on the run in many places. my question, general allen, if we withdraw the 33,000 by september of next year, will this still be a counterinsurgency operation? does the math work out? will there be enough people left behind next year to effectively do counterinsurgency? >> i believe it will, senator. >> okay. walk me through that. if we needed 33,000 -- if 70,000 wasn't enough, and we had to add 33,000 to make this a counterinsurgency mission, next summer, how can we maintain
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counterinsurgency if all of the surge forces have gone? have we improved that many? >> i think the surge are a part of the overarching counterinsurgency mission. >> now there are 40,000 request at the president authorized 30. it's been my understanding that the strategy was to go into rc south, and take the taliban on and next summer in 2012, reinvest some of the surge forces east. have we had enough people in rce since december of 2009 to have an effective counterinsurgency? >> i believe that the -- the rc east forces have been conducted. and effective. >> do they have -- counterinsurgency is a math mathematical formula. >> to some extent. >> yes. could you run the math whether
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or not rc east has been resourced to have a program. and also report back to the committee if you take the 33,000 troops out, what does that do to counterinsurgency operations going forward? could you provide us with that information? >> certainly will, senator. >> admiral mcraven, i can't thank you and those under your command enough from what you've been able to achieve, particularly with bin laden. if you caught someone tomorrow in yemen, somalia, you name the theater outside of afghanistan, where would you detain that person? >> sir, right now as you are well aware, that is always a difficult issue for us. when we conduct an operation outside of the major theaters or iraq or afghanistan, we put forward and again i'll defer to my time as a jasw commander the
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concept of operation. and goes up through the chain of command and decision by the president is made for us to conduct a particular operation. always as part of the operation are options for detention. no two cases seem to be alike. as you know, there are certain individuals that are under the aumf. the use of military force. and those are easier to deal with than folks that may not have been under the authority for aumf. in many cases we will put them on an able vessel and hold them until we can either get a case to prosecute them in the u.s. court or -- >> have we decided on a second round, mr. chairman? >> depending on when the vote starts. >> i would like to inquire this into the second round. i don't want to intrude. >> yes, sir, a few minutes each.
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>> to be continued. >> you could finish your answer, however. >> absolutely. we put a guy on a ship. >> yes, sir. the bottom line, senator, is there -- >> how long do we keep him on the ship. what's the longest we can keep somebody on the ship? >> sir, i think it depends whether or not we can prosecutor the individual in a u.s. court or return him to a third party country? >> what if you can't do either one of them? >> if we can't do either one, we'll release the individual. that becomes the unenviable option, but it is an option. >> okay. thank you, senator graham. senator hagan. >> thank you. i wanted to ask a question about the u.s.-afghanistan
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relationship. we wanted to reassure they do not reemerge. though the initial drawing down of the forces from afghanistan is limited, we must ensure that the afghanistan national security forces are capable enough to preserve the tactical gains. and it's important that if we transition to the afghanistan national security force responsibility that they are enabled with the appropriate capabilities such as intelligence, logistics, -- what should a u.s.-afghanistan national strategic partnership look like after and beyond 2014 and what type of training, advising, and special operation forces present should we have there? if any? >> we're in discussion with the afghans. about what the long term enduring relationship will look like.
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in the course of that discussion, we'll ultimately identify the roles and missions and functions which conceivably they could bring to the enduring relationship. i think while much remains to be discussed, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that some advisory capacity will be required. some enabling capacity will be required for afghan national security force operations. some intelligence capacity would be required. both to build the intelligence capabilities of the afghan forces, and then some counterterrorism capabilities to address any reemergence or any potential terrorists hot spot that could emerge in afghanistan in the period beyond 2014?
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: and i want to do everything possible to improve the detection rates and stem the flow of ammonium nitrate from pakistan coming into afghanistan. and i think we need to put serious pressure on the pakistani network distribution of ammonium nitrate. we know who the key facilitators are impacted than.
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they are pushing good -- these caches of ieds date with the ammonium nitrate across the afghan border, which ultimately is killing or injuring troops. general alan, how do you plan to incentivize the back of danny's to control distribution of the ammonium nitrate, particularly given the fact that pakistani military and civilian population to have suffered from these ied attacks at the hands of the packet to any and internally militants? >> pakistanis have recently to their credit issued counter ied strategy will continue to work with them to the capacities to do that themselves with respect to protecting themselves from ieds. i think multiple levels within our government we've got to make very clear to the packet to any leadership military leadership that they continue production of
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calcium ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate for the purposes of this discussion is down regulated, the fact that he gets into the hands of those who would move it across the border, with right to make it very clear to the pakistanis. i personally sent this to the secretary of defense and packet data. we need their help in this regard. they've got to do with the need to regulate production and sale so that it goes into the hands of legitimate businessman. on the other side of the border will continue to posture forces to both detect as best we can, to detect infiltration of those caches of ammonium nitrate that, can't and we will introduce to me that interdictions this year. it is only a part of the flow coming across. so it has to be a joint effort with the u.s. in afghanistan on one side of the border and u.s.
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afghanistan and pakistan on the other side of the border. many different levels of the government we've expressed our great desire that the pakistanis sign a and stand up to the process of controlling and regulating ammonium nitrate in the hands to which it goes. and if confirmed, the commander of isaf, i will continue to add emphasis. >> pakistanis not putting forward counter ied plans. do you know if those are quick >> will get back to you. >> also come in and you have a timeframe at all in with the pakistanis as far as controlling the business is quick >> i do not. >> in your answers to the committees rehearing policy questions, admiral mcraven come you mentioned the e-mails where teams to engage the length of populations, presumably the
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women and children, which had previously been difficult to reach during counterinsurgency operations. can you describe important that these teams to counterinsurgency operations in and, how they're integrated into special operation forces and any changes to policy or law that you might just that make these more effect is. >> yes, ma'am. they have been wildly effect is in terms of supporting our efforts in afghanistan. right now in a special operations mission goes out, we normally take for females as part of the female engagement team with ice. as you point out their role in that particular mission is that we have secured an object to ml speak first with the direct action sentimental talk about the special forces i appear for direct action died after he secured an object to, part of the role of female engagement teams is to talk to the afghan females on target, to make sure
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that there's no one left in the compound, everyone is safe and cheer, that we assure the females and children they are going to be safe and many times will detect the questioning of the females with the u.s. female soldier. and again, that has been widely affect it for us. the special forces could have broader special forces teams that are part of developing the afghan local police and the nato forces using the provincial reconnaissance companies are also using some variation of the female engagement team to great effect as well. they are essentially fully integrated if you want to be operational unit if they go through extensive training. for the female geisha teams back at fort bragg under the off news of the u.s. army's national operations command. the marine corps also has a e-mail allegation team training
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program. went they have gone through their basic training program, they'll come forward with additional training in the unit they are assigned to. once they have achieved the standard will put them forward in the field. again it is probably late in coming. we developed female engagement teams early on in the site here it is a look at them now, they are a key component to our success at the special operations battlefield if he will in. >> jimmy female teens in cotton? >> i know from a jsoc standpoint, with 12 teams growing 1316. >> maintain missile, general said hicks. am i to say you have done a great job as commander of u.s. army forces command in fort bragg and i just and look
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forward to confirmation. >> thank you, senator hagan. senator blumenthal. >> thank you: mr. chairman. i want to join in expressing my thanks for not aeration for your great service to the country, the extraordinary sacrifice and services that the men and women who serve under you and your family and look forward to your confirmation encoding. i want to pursue the line of questioning that senator hagan began on the assumption that the packet danny's are not cooperative because they have not proven cooperatives in the past. what additional measures can we take to destroy the source says of ammonium nitrate that has proved so absolutely and horrifically distract kids to the men and women is there our
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armed forces in afghanistan? general alan, i'd like respectfully to ask you to begin a month at merrill mcraven, if you can follow through with what you expect to happen. >> senator, that an important question. the posturing of our intelligence gathering apparatus, capabilities, isr capabilities, posturing potentially a special operators on the western side of the border to detect infiltration of these capabilities to detect the infiltration of the ammonium may generally along relatively well known route infiltration. the posture ourselves in a way where we can detect and
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interdict that material such as we possibly can. as a feckless senator hagan hagan, we've had some large interdictions this year and it is because they are then explicit plans, explicit efforts being put forward in being pursued to do just that. and should i be confirmed and become the commander of isaf, it is my intention to interdict and stop that flow is the kids fuller. >> thank you. >> sera, to continue on from general trend has discussion, we actually target the networks face of the product itself. now, when the product -- with the nexus of the project in the individual network, weekend for the most part to shut down the
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leadership, but the senior leadership in mid-level leadership in some degree as foot soldiers moving the hma from areas like john men across the border and into southern afghanistan. what we found is where we have focused our effort against some of the hma networks, taliban network stands south who were affected. the additional piece of this and probably better to discuss anymore classified foreignness technology out there that is allowing us to detect hma before it becomes desperate for the critical components are turning to a homemade explosives. i think we need to continue to pursue that technology because it's been reasonably affect israeli on in the testing of it, to testing of it, to to determine where they save and were subsequently going after those compounds. >> i thank you both for those answers. i would like to pursue the offer to learn more about that technology in a different
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setting fma. general allen, whatever additional information your staff could provide, i am planning to be in afghanistan and pakistan towards the end of august on a trip that is designed specifically to focus on this issue. and i would like to be hopeful and supportive through the committee and to the authorization -- appropriations committee entire committee will share that you can develop he not only to take elegy, but whatever resources are necessary to pursue the calcium ammonium nitrate that is brought into a guinness stand. i want to focus on the impacts of the explosive device is that are manufactured with those substances and particularly, general alan, i understand there are no dirty or act gives
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telematics and portals in operation in afghanistan. that number will be expanded by an additional 42 plants. focusing on the impacts of the ieds and other advices, particularly when it comes to brain injury and posttraumatic stress. i wonder if you could discuss not only the use of those resources, but others today knows and treat the posttraumatic stress and tbi that in many respects are among the signature length of this word. >> senator, that's a very important question from the standpoint in the long-term. and as we discussed yesterday, we've come a very long way with respect to our reaction to the effects of blast on our troops.
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as i indicated, the nature of the immediate action that occurs in the aftermath of an attack has given us the ability to not just detect the results of the attack, but to take those medical actions necessary in the immediate aftermath of the attacks that we can provide the opportunity for rest and medical care for those who have been caught in the blast effects. that process has evolved genetically to the extent that today some 95% of those who are immediately diagnosed can be returned to their units. there is some number because of the immediacy of the care that we were able to determine right away that can go quickly to follow and care. i think that process, as i said, has evolved pretty dramatically in recent times.
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of course that follows onto the posttraumatic stress disorder that you have mentioned, senator. what i would like to do is give you the definitive lay down both of how tbi administered the detection for tbi and how the flow is ultimately in the ptsd so we have one comprehensive answer. >> thank you. i want to thank both of you for the very informative and forthright testimony that she's giving today. it's been very helpful and i would like to pursue the additional information that is mentioned. thank you are a match. >> let's try a three minute second round. we cannot get three minutes of questions then. when they first ask you, general allen about the questions of deadlines, but be aware of deadlines for previously said were supported a military commanders i believe. in iraq, back in november of
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2008, president bush agreed to to deadlines for u.s. forces. one in june 2009 deadline for the withdrawal of u.s. combat forces from iraqi cities and fatcat, a december 31st 2011 deadline for the withdrawal of all u.s. military forces from iraq. is that accurate? >> chairman, thank you for that elaboration. >> did they have the support of the military? >> they did, actually. remember the withdrawal from the cities that were quite willing. >> secondly, relative to korea, general thurman, you indicated you would be willing to look into the plans that we have going on for a transformation
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underway in south korea. three major initiatives involving a military, land partnership plan. the cost of those i believe our something like -- excuse me, $10 billion, significantly more than originally not. that's just our share of the cost. can you -- will you -- when you get there, take a look at the current plans to bring a dozen more families to south korea? there's a real question about the rationale, why were bringing more families to south korea if it's a more dangerous place and continues to be a dangerous place. there's also a very large question about the cost, much
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greater than originally contemplated. would you take a look at the current plans and their rationale and cost when you get there and get the full report to this committee because we have now basically put a hold on those plans until they can be assessed. >> mr. chairman, yes, sir, i will. based on our discussion yesterday, i fully expect to make that the number one priority if i am confirmed, once i get on the ground over there. >> also, do you have any facts about the balance -- the decision-making process if there's another aggression, which i think is likely for north korea, what the proper response is to that aggression and with that decision-making process is to the adequacy of the response, but also the personality of the response.
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is that a joint decision by us in south korea? >> mr. chairman, that's a very good question. first off, south korea is a sovereign country and i believe it's well within their rights to protect themselves is a provocation. obviously that has to be balanced. i do know that general sharp has been working very close with iraq's chairman of their joint forces on counter provocation and looking at response is in a joint fashion, but i do expect if confirmed i will look into that and make sure that we are doing the right things because i think a provocation can occur anytime. >> finally, at merrill, on the question of your attention to people you made reference to a
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couple people on a ship. is there any legal prohibition against them being tried before in article iii courts were before a military commission? >> sera come again it depends on the individual case. i'd be more than happy to discuss cases we've dealt with. >> not specific cases, but any legal prohibition assuming its land, having as people tried before in article iii court that they committed a crime against the united states or cram aboard being trained by u.s. military commission? >> not to my knowledge. >> thank you. i think senatora.would be next. >> thank you by mr. chairman. wanted to follow-up general allen on the question of detention. if we were to, for example capture someone like i'm in also
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was yuri and yemen outside of afghanistan, for example, could we detain and at that detention facilities bear? >> we would not recommend that. >> why is that? >> afghanistan is a sovereign country. >> so we're not going to use detention cell at these to detain terrorists captured outside the territory of afghanistan? >> is not her attention. >> following up, admiral, with respect to detention, if we were to capture all that was yuri -- although heery and gather intelligence in detaining him long-term because we thought we needed to underlie floor, where would we hold? >> yes, ma'am, that is a policy
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question i am not in a position to answer from the military standpoint. obviously we can hold al-zawahiri or anywhere al-awlaki in a number of places. it becomes a policy issue and general allen said we afflict a number times that whether or not we do that in afghanistan. but the nature of the sovereignty of afghanistan and concerned about potential backlash from the afghan government, we have recommended not to do that. >> admiral, would it not be hopeful 10 years into the war on terror to have a long-term detention and interrogation facility that would be secure for individuals wearing a together further intelligence? >> i believe would be very helpful. >> as far as you understand it, is guantánamo bay select a table in terms of being used for that type of facility? >> as far as i understand it is. >> thank you very much.
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they wanted to also ask general allen as the deputy commander of centcom, could you tell me if any kyocera have been cold from afghanistan or gannon was a general centcom area of operations to support in libya? >> while i was serving, yes they were. >> could you describe generally what does assets were taken away and whether it had taken any capabilities away from us in afghanistan? >> not in afghanistan. i will get back to you. >> i would appreciate an answer. thank you very much for that. i do have an additional question for you, general thurman. i want to thank all three of you for your distinguished service and willingness to continue to serve our country. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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admiral mcraven, if night race stock -- order to be stuck by the afghan government, how would that affect your ability to be successful? >> sera, stopping a raise would certainly be detrimental to the special at rations asked by of the fight in afghanistan. just to give you some statistics over the course of the last 12 months, the task force i committed over there we conducted approximately two dozen operations. of those two dozen operations, somewhere in the neighborhood had 88% were in fact conduct that night. i think what is lost on a lot of folks is that approximately 84% to 86% of missions we never fired a shot. >> admiral, it's fair to say a 78% of people were detainees come from the special operations missions. >> general allen, if the afghan government consisted of the 2400
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people we are detaining at all in prison under the law of war be transferred to last and control by january 2012, which you have concerns about that decision? >> at commissary. >> would it affect her ability to be successful? >> i think it would. >> let's talk about counterinsurgency. the option that the country is chosen for president of him is to withdraw 10,000 this year, all search forces gone by september. is it fair to say, general allen, that was often at the options presented to the president by general petraeus? >> it is a more aggressive option than that which is presented here is >> my question is, was that an option? it was not. >> so i just want the country to understand that this is not a strategy in iraq are good
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commander-in-chief has the perfect way to do what he did. i just hope that it doesn't undercut what i think will be a very successful outcome. now, perception is reality. do you agree, general allen that when the president announced a west point we'd be withdrawing in july 2011 that created a problem in afghanistan because it was seen by some as america leaving? >> i believe there are those -- >> were letters presented -- the letter sent by the taliban saying america's leaving in july, you better watch what you do, something to that effect? >> account identifier. >> would you agree the lisbon statement in 2014 was very helpful? >> it was. >> my question is, now that we've changed the strategy to withdraw timelines, have we sent the signal yet again of an uncertainty? it needs to be totality and
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commanders are renewed optimism and seems to be some of our allies going to iran and other places. my question is, do you believe that this more aggressive withdraw policy by the president has sent a signal of uncertainty or do you know? >> i think it's too early to tell, senator. >> rating affair. we're all pulling for you. let us know. god bless you all. >> you're in position. you do support that position, is that correct? >> i do. >> it is important that even though this apparently was mark pryor saved and general petraeus recommended, the military leaders of our country supports
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this decision newfield was an appropriate decision for the president to make. is that correct? >> for execution now. >> you thought it was proper for the president to make? >> is the prerogative to take recommendations and make decision and he made that decision and we're executing. >> is something you agree with? >> i agree. >> thank you. you want to thank all of you. i think we probably ran exactly at noon, where we thought we would end. your families are sitting behind you, some of them shivering. and so, they are not just figuratively behind you, but they are literally behind you and the air-conditioning here is her best, just the way you and your men and women who serve a few robustly.
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but dirt challenges are tremendous. the support of your family, you will succeed in meeting those challenges. this committee is very, very grateful for the work you do and men and women within the surf. i can't say that enough. i'm sure it adds to some people listening to hearing to be repetitious, but from our perspective we cannot repeat it enough, so we do that with a purpose so that our troops understand exactly how much it can mean to listen to the american people. thank you again and we will hope to get these confirmations done this week. that is also a challenge in, aggressive schedule, but we're up to it just the way you're up to it. thank you. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations]
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this bill. this is two hours. >> i want to thank senator sessions for his cooperation in arranging this hearing. i think it is an important part of our continuing oversight responsibility. an april 20th lasher, the offshore puerto rico exploited chickering the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. oil gushed from the well for 87 days, releasing 4.9 million barrels of oil. that is almost 20 times the
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exxon valdez oil spill. the catastrophe claimed 11 lives and left thousands of others in turmoil across louisiana, texas, mississippi, alabama and florida. the spill has been referred to as the worst environmental disaster in the united states with oil covering over 3000 miles of ocean, impacts on water and wildlife are substantial. oil contamination kill thousands of birds in addition to many mammals and sea turtles. those who depends on the region master of resources for livelihoods were also impacted. as chairman of the senate committee, i visited the goals and saw firsthand the devastating environmental and economic impacts of the oil disaster. what i witnessed was only the beginning, long-term impacts on the goldwater continue to emerge. under the federal law, bpm partners are liable for the
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catastrophic damages caused by the deepwater arises bill to abolish statutory spill is only $75 million, dps agreed to pay in full and authority commanded $1 billion in advance for the restoration projects. the natural resources damage assessment is the legal process by which the federal aid agency can identify impacts on natural resources, how to best restore them in the cause for achieving the restoration. since the process determine the scale and means of restoration efforts, is critical that it's done right. the water and wildlife subcommittee has responsibility for others the process to ensure it's accurate, thorough, transparent for the short and long-term effects of this bill. my colleagues and i are committed to doing everything we can to right the wrongs that have happened in the polls. laster reinitiated oversight hearings by conduct in an initial hearing, especially in the process for the deepwater residence bill.
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we listen to experts from the field who provided valuable information about the sad two letters. experts your lessons from the previous spill cleanups, suggesting how to max nice process effectiveness and concerns over obstacles to a successful assessment. but evaluating impacts of oil and hazardous substance on the complex ecosystems is no simple task. the process can take years. we come together one year later with access to more comprehensive information and a better idea of the true impact of this devastating accident from the severe and potentially chronic damage to marine life and local fishing economies to the loss of tourism dollars to the damage coastal environment. today's hearing is attended to ensure that deepwater rising nrda process is conducted as accurately and thoroughly as possible and the result in the settlement of fully restores the
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damage the gulf region has suffered in this devastating spill. specifically, will examine where the assessment process currently and in here about some of the damage findings today. learning how damage assessment is taken into account long-term damage effects may only become evident after a financial settlement is reached an understanding whether the assessment process is effectively engaging the public and providing transparent information to the effect that communities. in the weeks following the spill, president instituted a commission of national experts to recommend concrete improvements to various government responses, including damage assessment process. that commission noted deepwater residence bill is a uniquely destructive spill of national significance requires a uniquely thorough government response. the commission is a numerous recommendations to ensure the effect of inappropriate coordination of those federal
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agencies, state governments and others impact to do this though this magnitude. specifically, the appointment of an independent scientific auditors to oversee damage assessment process. they recommended a course of transparency and public engagement in datasharing administration planning and the recommended a human public health impact be explicitly included in this response. today we will hear from a series of wood is starting with our government panel and then people from the private sector to see how well we are implying what the warnings that have been given to us whether we are using what we have put together with the transparency necessary to make sure we have public confidence that we are doing what is right, and making sure that we not only take care of the no damages now, but we also understand there may be further damaged the come store attention that the restoration plans take that into consideration. i want to thank all the
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witnesses for participating and i look forward to your testimony. with that, let me turn to senator sessions. >> thank you. i appreciate your leadership and efforts to stay on top of the nrda process. i do believe it is important in thank you for doing that. i know senator victor, how many hours he spent working on this though as i did and how it impacted ours dates and we appreciate you bringing this forward. during the last year, deepwater horizon is it and, more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the polls, 20 times the volume as you said, mr. chairman, of the relief during exxon valdez. much of that was dispersed to chemical disbursement's to remove more than a day in coldwater belasco. but we don't know the impact all
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of that will have on our system environmentally. for a season, the incident follows miles of beautiful beaches, persuaded tourists from frequenting the area and cause joint economic loss to the region seafood industry. maybe a show mr. chairman to photographs that give a feel for our area from the alabama gulf coast. we were really hammered in the tourist industry. can you about a? this is the condition of the beaches -- public beaches where people live and go for recreation there. it's been cleaned very well. bp people are still there. it's some oil comes up, they will clean it up promptly. now, this chart is that the wildlife refuge area on the
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beach. the wildlife service are uneasy about using equipment to clean it up for environmental reasons. it may have to be cleaned by hand, but this is an area that are not public beaches, but is an area of environmental significance. it shows sort of what it would be like had it not been cleaned out. and i do believe the issue has to be confronted with an effective relationship with the fish and wildlife people to determine out to clean that up. so the tourism industry is rebounding, but we need to look at the long range national resource impact of this bill and the losses associated with the net impact. national resource damage assessment nrda process will play a critical part in restoring the gulf coast. battle straight and governmental
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stakeholders nrda trustees engage in an assessment of damage to the natural resources, including beaches, fisheries, wildlife, water and other resources and takes a look at the loss that occurred. in alabama alone, commercial fishing, related industries accounted for $1 billion in annual revenues before the spill. as we know, this will cut the industry to essentially shut down for a month. unfortunately for shoppers who is the most critical month of disease in may through october. 40% of alabama waters were closed to fishing. shrimp landings decreased by 56% in 2010 compared to 2009. one recent study found that the gold coast to take up to 10 years to recover. that's a significant day we would like to know more about
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that than with the meaning of that report. during the oil spill around 28,000 sea turtles were removed from the turtle massillon of turtle massillon buckled short in beaches and it may be decades before we know the impact that that. we have tried to preserve the turtle population of people on the beach have been doing that for years voluntarily. they watch them and protect them in any way possible. we've had a number of problems. the $1 billion that's been put forward by bp at this point is a good step as you noted. at the final match or resource damage relating to this bill is likely to require billions more. so i'm glad we have representatives at the nrda trustee council with us, including alabamian shattuck.
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thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator sessions. i had the chance to visit with senator vitter and i appreciate his leadership and keeping us informed of the conditions in the polls to senator vitter. >> thank you for that visit and all of your work in banks to senator sessions. we obviously partnered a lot during this tragedy and the follow-up as well as with other gold colleagues. thank you for this hearing, certainly very important here at an also like to personally think garrett graves here's a trustee to louisiana restoration efforts, former member of my staff and a lot can staff with the louisiana delegation now serving as chair of the coastal protection and restoration authority of louisiana. as we are all aware, the deepwater rice into fast your was a great disaster starting with a loss of 11 lines -- 11 of
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our fellow americans hard-working, contributing members of society who left this world far too soon. the incident also resulted in the largest oil spill in history, and incident that pummeled the gold coast and left a significant environmental and economic damage, which is an ongoing challenge. a year ago i was able to work with several of my colleagues to secure funding for a national academy to review the best methodologies for ascertaining the consequences of this bill and make recommendations to trustees for assessing the entire universe of an environmental impact. it very much look forward to hearing all of the panelists about this nas work. to say the work of the nrda trustees is important would be an enormous understatement for the louisiana coastal
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reservation has been an ongoing challenge. it will be one through my lifetime and beyond my lifetime. over the last 80 years, in 1800 square of wetlands have been lost through coastal erosion. the bp spell exacerbated the habitat challenges for fisheries and wildlife, but also provide a significant opportunity to restore investment counteract team is very grave trend in the nrda trustees at the forefront of that activity. finally, mr. chairman, i want to underscore for key points. number one, one of the federal responses to this tragedy by the administration was to issue a moratorium on domestic energy production that continues to be a real permitting an economic
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challenge more than a year later. production fell well below what it should've been over the next year. as a direct result of this permitting is way too high an economic decision in my mind to wreck if i these issues to get the pulse on america back to work rather than, for instance, selling off strategic trolling reserves. number two, and interior departments iron cannons may well be a step backwards for goal fisheries habitat. i think we need to look at that carefully. states like louisiana and texas have been very supportive of programs and i believe even california has recently taken steps to protect critical marine habitat built through artificial reefs around this infrastructure
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when we are trying to recover fisheries in the gulf, i don't think it will be helpful to mandate, removing in many cases premier fishing habitat that is to come home to a plethora of very wildlife. number three, we absolutely need to figure out a way to speed up the nrda process. the i.t. investment and restoration can take upwards of the decade is really unacceptable. we need to figure out how to get bp to more quickly sign off on assessment review in funding. the initial billion dollars for senator sessions mentioned was a good or step, but the continued leverage needs further scrutiny and i would like to suggest my belt that has joined with others on on s. 662, also cosponsored by louisiana colleague mary landrieu, which would require a further significant down payment
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on nrda liabilities. fourth and finally, i continue to work closely with all of michael's colleagues, certainly including senator sessions to direct the funds under the clean water act for this disaster to the impacted area in the gulf. it remains appropriate that at least 80% of those fines levied on bp go towards restoring the golf and golf state economies. i look forward to continuing to work with chairman boxer and this committee in particular to move that will. i believe the market this year scheduled for the week we return after the july 4th recess. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> will now turn to our first panel. the agency trustees play a critical role in this whole process. the two federal agencies post
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the effect that states of louisiana, mississippi part of texas for the two federal agencies play a role in developing an action plan to remedy damage that is done in conjunction with bp, but ultimately decided necessary by the courts. so we welcome the two government agency representatives here. we know you've been extremely busy on this issue since the incident occurred. first we had cynthia dohner commercial director of the southeast region, fish and wildlife, one of the federal trustees said mr. tony penn, restoration division and response, noaa. your full statements will be made part of the record. you may proceed as you wish. >> good morning and thank you, chairman card in the members of the set to many. and since denis, dohner.
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they also serve as department of interior to out there is official for the natural resource damages and restoration process and deepwater rice in oil spill. i appreciate the opportunity to testify about interior departments ongoing work on the assessment notes that recommendation of natural resource damage and weaken the deepwater rice and oil spill year ago. the magnitude of the deepwater rice and noticed those unprecedented in the united states and could result in significant entry to the gulf of mexico ecosystem and that resources. the natural resource damage assessment restoration effort as a result of the historic was built continues to be a high-priority effort for the department service while the response to the oil spill continues, federal agencies and the state make up the nrda counselor working to complete pre-assessment activities and initiated damages. gloucester county programmatic impact statement for potential restoration options undertaken
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emergency restoration projects have reached unprecedented agreement that makes $1 million available for early restoration projects to be implemented before ultimate resolution of the claim. the nrda process focuses on resources, determine extent of injuries and recover damages from those whose hospital in planning and carrying out natural resource restoration act dvds that achieve presoaking dishes. nrda seeks to ensure responsible parties compensate the public for the treatment of this resources. the department works with fellow trustees and independent and responsible party scientist should obtain the best available data to support our assessment of injuries. much of the nrda work underway as part of the injury assessment restoration planning phase. under the concept of assessing injuries by some relatively straightforward, understanding complex ecosystem services provided and injuries caused by oil and hazardous substance
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takes time, often years. the nrda process seeks to ensure an object is scientifically rigorous and cost effective assessment of injuries in her into the public resources is fully address. simply put, objective and review of pollution i. the trustees issued a notice of intent to conduct restoration planning and initiated the process in october 2010. however, numerous pre-assessment studies involving the baseline and preliminary exposure data are still ongoing. the formal assessment studies are well underway in the department expects that any remaining pre-assessment duties will be completed before the end of the year. a fact that resulting from the philip moving forward to independent studies by trustees and cooperative studies bp. currently more than 80 studies
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are planned for the department occasionally been 20 studies involving bird species, loggerhead encamp ridley sea turtles, beach glass and aerial images. so far 24 private nongovernmental and academic entities from several universities are engaged in studies. when the two dozen technical working groups comprised of the trusty agencies are working to determine to quantify impact of those on multiple public resources. the assessment involves looking at both the acute impacts we can identify now and the long-term chronic impact, some of which may not materialize for years to come. all of this is coordinated and directed through the trusty council. one of the actions the trustees to enhance transparency between processes of public distribution of work plans and data, trustees are posting plans on the internet, providing opportunities for public engagement and conducting frequent calls with banners, scientists and others to develop a broad integrated ecosystem perspective as well as reviewing numerous restoration
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possibilities. we recognize the value of expertise sinews leading researchers from academic institutions to nongovernment organizations to the extent practical. in addition, emergency restoration projects have been initiated for loss of resources and prevent or reduce continuing danger to resources. in april, deepwater rice and auto spill signed an agreement to provide 1 billion towards early restoration projects in 2011 and 12. this agreement does not affect the ultimate liability of bp or other entities for natural damages. the early restoration is taking place in parallel tracks of the cessna were. we made a great deal of progress within the nrda framer, complex process involving five states and agencies. the scope and magnitude another impacts resulting from deepwater rice and oil spill are extraordinary not known at this time are working to finish preassessment pays in 2012,
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prepare for litigation and ensure early restoration projects consistent with long-term restoration planning. the department is committed to work with trustees to fully assess the overall impacts of this film a golf ecosystem and restore the natural resource damage. mr. chairman and members of the sub committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify. i'll be happy to answer any questions you have. >> thank you very much. mr. penn. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify on the ongoing. they name is tony penn, deputy chief of the division at noaa restoration. i appreciate the opportunity to discuss the withdrawal on the natural resource damage also known as the nrda. noaa and trustees have worked tirelessly to discuss ecological and human impacts of this bill
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identify restoration opportunities in the gulf of mexico. we'll continue until restoration is complete. testimony today will discuss noaa's involvement in the process of data for the deepwater rice and assessment restoration and successes of the deepwater rice and nrda. noaa linlithgow trustees charged with restoring natural resources by an oil spill. the goal of the assessment process is to determine the restoration in it to compensate the public towards natural resources. the trustees assess public uses of this resources such as recreational fishing, boating, hunting and sinning. the ultimate goal of this i do to implement projects encompass the public for ecological and human use injuries. at the outset of the deepwater rice and spell, nrda according to the federal state co-trustees and responsible parties to collect data critical to inform the nrda peer trustees focused
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on injuries to ecosystem resources and the gulf of mexico. information continues to be collected for potential impacts for fish, shellfish and marine mammals, turtles, birds and other resources as well as habitat, including wetlands, beaches, mud flats, corals on the water column. human use of these resources such as recreational fishing are also being assessed. technical teams consisting of scientists and students federal agencies, academic institutions have been in the field conducting daily surveys and collecting samples for multiple resources, habitats and services. several hundred scientists have been and continue to be involved in the nrda activities. through the deepwater redfin relief and potential for energy, actors have far surpassed any other for single over the as of early june, trustees approved of her 115 plans and collected more
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than 36,000 water sediment, soil, tar ball in oil samples are northern india should hackers is conducted since early may 2010 and many more scheduled for summer and fall of 2011. from the collection efforts, within 21,000 laboratory analyses have been completed and the than 20,000 validated to rigorous quality assurance process. wednesday to clear the process they are made publicly available to the new milestone in transparency. concur but the injury assessment, said three co-trustees implement federal emergency restoration projects designed to curtail further injury to natural resources. trust is preparing an environmental impact statement to identify a range of restoration alternatives they will consider to compensate public erasure says. on april 21, they announced an agreement where they agree to fund early restoration projects. public input for project sincerity begun and will
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continue through the summer. to meet requests from academia, ngos and the public what did i do going action, nrda inchoate histories have data sharing and practices that result in the most transparent damage assessments in history. one of the key actions to assess that were banned and dated during the nrda process. said three updates its application website, allowing users to insert data with an interactive map. on what i've been in an unprecedented amount, macondo and trustees communicate with the public. since the beginning, trustees conduct numerous roundtable discussions and a facilitated stakeholder field trips discussed and observed. part of the programmatic environment on taxing the process, project ideas and public meetings held across the state said in washington d.c.
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the environmental impact is no small feat, but i too assure you i will not relent on efforts to protect livelihood of the gulf coast residents and mitigate environmental impact of this bill. .. and the trustees and if things going to court in a
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contested we get kentucky logger per crew of time but if estimation as to where we are in the process and when you believe we will be able to look forward to an implementation agreement. >> on the process as mentioned we are in the restoration planning phase which includes assessment and quantifying the injuries to the resources and services at the same time we are undertaking restoration planning so we are looking ahead to what can we do to restore the resources that have been impacted. specifically with respect to the injury assessment process, we have come a long way to identify exposure to the resources in the gulf whether they be on view salles on the map with her that turtle and marine mammal fish
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resources, shoreline habitats oyster reefs we have documented there has been exposure to these resources and in the process of not moving from okay yes there's been exposure but we give to go to the next step of what are the injuries, what has been caused by the oil spill that we can quantify that we then try to restore, so we you're in the middle of that injury causality process and again at the same time looking forward to what can we do for the restoration of the resources. >> is there a guess as to how much longer that process will take? >> may i add one thing to what tony said as far as the assessment we're also looking for work at the longer-term impact and how we go forward, and as we go forward each year gives you information, and the overall trying to make sure we accurately count the injured species obviously the more information for more time we have the better it would be.
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the game plan now as to when you believe you complete the phase? >> from my perspective as we know the doj filed suit in this case that included natural resource in december last year, so we don't know what that will mean for the court schedule, but we have to be prepared when the judge comes around for looking at the nrda so we're looking at completing field work this year and next year and perhaps having to be ready for a schedule so the next couple years we have to have good information on what we found and where we are. >> which leads me to the early restoration funding $1 billion there was certainly good news, and i applaud you and vp for releasing the funds of the restoration can begin but it seems to me a billion dollars is a relatively small amount considering the amount of frustration that will be
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required and that early restoration probably is important. can we look forward to additional sums being released before the settlement is reached so they have additional resources to move forward. >> whether or not we need to deal with a billion we have and go forward with of the early restoration project we can do if that billion dollars as we are going along with a parallel path of the assessment and quantifying the injury making sure we identify uncertainty. if we work on a time when similar to what tony was talking about me to make sure we address the long-term and chronic that we are on shore as we go forward. >> i appreciate you keeping us informed. i'm sure we will hear more from the states today they are strapped on resources and the money being made available are being put to good use to read would be an encouraging sign if we can get additional commitment for restoration at this stage so
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if you will work on rothfuss i have one more question for senator sessions and that is this process -- and builds upon the cooperative relationship between bp and the trustees which could turn adversarial it's the nature of the process. we may not have an agreement. therefore it's very important we have an independent scientific base for what we are doing. during exxon valdez, the process set up their own counsel and side group of independent experts. do you have such a process available to you in bp circumstance could you have an independent panel you rely upon? i know you said you seek independent verification is is there a panel that's been put together? similar to exxon valdez? >> this audit panel was put together this time we have the technical expertise and working
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groups we pull from academia and the states and agencies as needed and along with the responsible parties as part of the technical working groups we do have experts in the field as we design the studies and long-term restoration projects connected to consider putting a panel together on exxon valdez? >> we've heard that input from some of or ngo partners. i think in as if memory serves me right in exxon valdez that group was set up after there were settlements to look at how many were being spent post settlement. as said in this case where the resettlement we do have a lot of technical expertise within these working groups and alone working with 75 some academics along with their support staff and we feel like we got a strong technical expertise within the working groups and we can speak candidly with some of the experts we are working with
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under confidentiality agreements >> thank you very much. tell us who's in charge of the process, in other words who invokes the meetings and set schedules and makes decisions under this statute as you understand? >> there's seven different individual trustees that are part of this and at this time there's a new structure put in place for the executive committee that is helping to guide this process. the process was starting at the very beginning of this bill as we were pulled together and have met routinely and regularly across-the-board. as we go forward in the technical working groups and working together as a trusty council but within the council as we go forward on different things we have equal votes as we go forward. >> is the secretary of interior discharged with coordinating the
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group into session? >> as a part of the executive committee cooper shadegg is actually the chair of that committee and is of the lead for helping us put together the meetings. the trustee council what chollet has as i said routine meetings that are scheduled and in the early restoration at the last meeting we had been scheduled additional once a week ago for work and work on the restoration project proposal and process to get them approved >> if you don't report on time it's their fault? >> as i said the trustee has to work together. >> i hear good things about the openness with which the ordering process but i did know he previously stated the noted process will have moved from the planning stage to the implementation stage by year's end that may be more likely by the end of 2012 is a system so
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we share the interest of senator vitter and the chairman we don't want this to take too long somebody needs to make sure the process moves forward. would you comment on that? >> yes, and i think the trustee council that's come in with cooper's leadership has been a shot in the arm to get the trustees organized and focus on some of the decisions at hand. >> i want to suggest we are just sort of a slowly moving through the assessment process. one of the accomplishments is the billion dollars of the early restoration and the new council the it's been formed as focused on identifying projects and looking at how we get to the agreement to get the projects implemented and we will see the restoration long before we would in other damage assessment cases because of their leadership and the focus on getting things in the ground very soon.
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>> i may have been unfair when i said that some of this cleanup hasn't been done by the concerns of fish and wildlife that is the feedback i've gotten are you aware the fish and wildlife service directed the cleanup efforts to stop as a result of environmental concerns. >> i was at the core this month and there's cleanups' going on right now. there are times that the of the asked the cleanup to stop it there is birds that are nesting, things like that, natural resources and things we would want to protect on the refuge but there's a current active cleanup operation going on right now. >> it is a danger of spreading and washing also in the high tide and storms and it's not healthy for the environment or either by hand or machinery i would suggest we might as well
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get on the work in accomplishing that. the other part is fabulously clean and getting a really good report so we are pleased about that. do you talk with local officials along the gulf coast concerning how progress is occurring? >> i haven't myself talked with the local folks, but we have managers on the ground station that the incident command that are talking with the local folks, and working with them on their concerns on how we go forward with the cleanup on the refuge. >> when do you expect that noah will transition from the assistant planning phase to the restoration implementation phase? what's the early restoration? right now we have things going on concurrently during the assessment and restoration planning and the restoration implementation. we've done some emergency restoration action to prevent
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further injury to resources and with the early restoration we are looking to implement some of those types of projects here late 2011 into 2012. >> just briefly, there's some concern that has been expressed to me by people that i respect that live in the area that there may be some hesitation to proceed with the process while the initial response process is ongoing in bp as a responsible party. have you heard is there any legal concern that there might say well, you need to certify that we finished our initial response effort before we go any further with the process? >> no sir, we move forward without or damage assessment of
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the same time the response start it. we are learning from the response and getting information in forming the damage assessment, but we are not be laid at all by the response action. >> good. thank you. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you. first let me welcome ms. dohner. we just had over the weekend the 50th anniversary the university rhode island graduate school of oceanography. the master's degree from shia so, we are pleased person in the following panel so i'm glad to see the university are undergraduate school oceanography well represented in this hearing. the natural resource damage assessment is as light understand stands on a considerable number of studies
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plans approved that identify various problems and explore them. as i understand, they're have been well over 100 approved already, and i understand the relationship is the trustees and pp negotiate to try to define the plants correctly. what is your sense of how that process has been going? have there ever been deadlocks? what happens when there are deadlocks? ai understanding bp is paying for this as it goes, so they have slightly different interests at stake and an interested in how that works itself out through the process. >> i think the process is going fairly well. we have our disagreement on what we would like to see in the plans. there's a push in the pulpit and the trustees and pp. but ultimately, the decision is the trustees on what to
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implement and we feel we need to do to make a distensible damage assessment case. so, in the instances where we cannot reach agreement and we cannot get a signature on these plans and bp to agree to up-front cost of the studies, we would take the studies on our own if we felt they were necessary to meet our need of the case paying for it at that point since they are not agreed what source of funding do you have do you feel that is a restriction on your ability to proceed with any of the studies? >> it doesn't feel that there is a restriction. we have been able to up front cost and impact when become its they are going to fund the studies they don't find those real time. we incur the cost and cover the costs leader. any study we do the trustees feels is reasonable assessment cost we will recover eventually a written signature of the agree of front and a legitimate cost
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we will recover leader. >> and the account allows you for the folks doing the work in the meantime so they are not carrying the cost of the government study? and you're comfortable with that work available -- that creates no hesitancy on the part of noah with proceeding to studies? >> that's correct. >> good to hear. >> thank you, sherman. >> senator vitter? >> thank you mr. chairman both for your work. mrs. stoner, can you discuss efforts that have been undertaken to rehabilitate seafood and in particular the oyster habitat over the last few months? >> sir, i do know they are doing the work to the habitat but as far as the seafood i would have to get back to you on that. >> what brought lee is being done on the of oyster side? >> i know they look to what needs to be done for restoration and the early restoration
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projects that have been evaluated and also some of the work is done under the technical working groups on the impact of the big and i would get back to do with a better explanation. >> okay, great if you could do that followed that with the super. in your testimony, to state that the process allows the implementation of emergency restoration projects before assessment is complete what are the limits on this authority and what is the potential to expand and expedite that authorities we are not back loading everything for eight years from now? >> the emergency projects are designed to go forward and minimize the injury so the long-term injury would be less than what is anticipated. some of the things we have done is short line digitation and going forward with the vegetation or improving habitat
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that would allow them to land areas that are not oil and things like that. the other process, the restoration would be the overall restoration some emergency projects are a little bit different in the early restoration projects as we go forward. >> okay. ms. stoner, if you could briefly discuss the federal and state programs and their significance for the fisheries habitat. >> i'm sorry i'm not familiar with the project so i would have to get back to you. >> one of the frustrations i hear all the time from the fishing community is recreational and commercial or challenges with adequate stock assessment and science at noah. this predates a general frustration. given that there are clear shortcomings in noah's stock assessments, how is that complicating your efforts in this context?
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>> so we are looking at impacts to the resources from both a recreational use perspective as well as the ecological perspective. i'm not an expert in this area. i don't know to what extent we have relied on the stock assessment to do that work. i don't think it's come into play for the assessment on the ecological site certainly we need to know the resources out there and what might have been impacted by the spill. we are working through some of those issues how do we determine baseline, what is potentially impacted. >> i guess that's my question, i don't mean to interrupt, but to get to the heart, you need some baseline. ordinarily a logical baseline to go to would be noah's stock assessments. i think it is universally recognized those are not current
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come up to date, precise, adequate in any way. so, how do you determine a baseline? >> that's a jury good question me and we could always use better baseline information across the resources the we are looking at. in this case what we are able to do is a number of things. we are doing some trials now to determine what's there. it's not ideal. we would like to have been out there before but we can also then simulate what creatures would have been exposed to the oil let different concentrations and look at the potential impact for those species and then think about how that applies to the larger system that was impacted. >> is any of the work being done in this context helpful in terms of the broad stock assessment responsibility? because again, i think it's broadly recognized that noah is leedy heineman and we don't have
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good current stock assessment information. >> that's a good point and we are coordinating with other noah programs that don't do damage assessment work but have other monitoring requirements and responsibilities. we supplemented what they've done and then we have enhanced with a have done so that they can use some of that information going forward. the specifics for the stock assessment i would have to get back to you on what we are doing is feeding into that process. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i want to underscore the point senator vitter made about the baseline assessments on the second panel there will be testimony of concerns about whether we have an accurate baseline i think some of the points senator vitter raised is very much important. i would urge you to this wide range of scientific opportunities that we have in order to try to have an accurate
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baseline to assess damages we could do a stronger job and then secondly, and i think you mentioned this specifically by having another season you will give it more information and you will have more confidence on the restoration plan. we are concerned about the long-term impact, what might be discovered when after the settlement is reached, after the court decisions are finished and the implementation plans have already started to be implemented, and i believe i heard from your prior comments in the assessment and implementation plans coming you attempt to deal with those issues the best you can. would you spend a minute to giving a little bit more confidence that the unknown that may develop later that there will be adequate protection in the negotiations? >> as part of the assessment study as we go forward in trying to set the long-term impact will
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also have to have long-term monitoring incorporated and to the studies and an to the restoration planning and overall to make sure that we are able to with performance measures within the monitoring plans identify any impacts we might not see years from now. sea turtles we might not see impacts so we need to make sure that part of the overall process we go forward. >> we would be protected to make sure that even those discovered leader still would be part of the plan. >> to respond briefly we have had reports concerning the situation and the plans indicated that the stocks are showing more legions when they've been caught them have been otherwise observed some have said it's not unusual. those are the kind of things we
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definitely need to get to the bottom left is that under your review and you have any comment on that. yes, sir we are looking at the red snapper and we've heard reports of the legions. i know there's the research that has indicated the findings of more legion's than might otherwise be expected. as we are looking into that. and developing the city plans the would look at that specifically estimate how long does it take to get that plan developed and executed? >> we can develop plans in a matter of days or weeks. i don't know the status is of that particular plan. i know it's been under discussion and we've been looking at the data from some of the data that we've collected through but not necessarily tied to a particular study plan so we are actively working on that issue. >> we thank you for your attention on this matter and we do think it provides a historical opportunity to
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develop a new base line and look at some new research and to identify ways not only to recover from the damage that's been sustained but also perhaps to manage our stocks and wild life better and make it more healthy so think you very, very much. >> what me thank both of you again not just for your testimony but for your commitment to this issue. this is the second hearing this committee has had on the subject. it will not be out duralast as we will follow-up on oversight as to how the process moves forward. >> while the next panel was coming for what it is my pleasure to introduce a fellow
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member of the alabama bar mr. cooper shadegg. he currently serves as legal adviser to governor robert bentley of alabama. in that capacity he was elected to serve as chairman of the executive committee of the trustee council. so we get to hold him responsible for everything i suppose. but actually, i am a little concerned that i don't think any of our leaders have a lot of executive power pages have collegial power in this process. prior to joining the bentley and a station, he was practicing attorney for the firm of rose and hallwood in tuscaloosa and served as adjunct professor of law at the university of alabama school flock, one of the top law schools in america. i'm proud to say. she is a bar commissioner for the sixth circuit selected by fellow board members and is currently the member of the alabama state bar foundation
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board of trustees, member of the tuscaloosa bar where he served as president previously, bachelor's degree in economics he has from georgia tech and a doctorate from alabama. he and his wife live in tuscaloosa and have four daughters. he's been an associate pastor at the united methodist church. thank you for coming. i also note his mother is a good citizen my home town of camden alabama, little community in a great family, and i am proud of cooper to be serving on this important position with governor rent lee. >> mr. shattuck, welcome. >> mr. vetter? >> thank you. as i mentioned, garate graves as you today as a louisianan trustee, and he also serves as the chair of the coastal protection and restoration of 40 of louisiana.
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that is a state cabinet level position over all of the coastal restoration protection. before that, was honored to have him on my staff serving with me and he served many members of louisiana's delegation of for several years. he was involved in virtually every water resource coastal restoration related bill going through the process while he was here, very able and i know louisianan's interests are in very good hands. >> thank you. >> senator whitehouse? >> i want to recognize dean leinen. as i said it's a better day for the graduate school of oceanography with both a graduate in the first panel and former dean on this panel. he was kind enough to return to the graduate school of oceanography for the 50th anniversary and my timing is
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right and she was actually the dena of the graduate school at the time my wife got her ph.d. in marine science from the graduate school. in any event a good friend during her years as the dean of ryland and i'm delighted to have her here. unfortunately we lost her to florida in the meantime, but there's always hope. [laughter] >> dorcy boesch could have been introduced by senator vitter since the sidley native of louisiana but now i will take the introduction of introducing dr. boesch connecticut and maryland, part of the university of maryland center for environmental science. he's been a personal adviser to me on many of the environmental issues and he comes to us as a member of the president's obama oil spill commission. dr. boesch examined the causes of the deepwater horizon
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explosion and recommended improvements to the federal law, regulations and industry practices to prevent and mitigate the future spills. he has a strong background in biological issues and it's a pleasure to have you here once again before the committee. and we have another from maryland, dr. erik rifkin from baltimore. dr. spiegel is the daughter of the national conservation center which partnered with the marine laboratories in florida in johns hopkins university to study new technologies for measuring all levels of oil spill contaminants. i think this is cutting edge information that helps us to better assess the amount of damage that's actually been done. he's been able to develop techniques that are more sophisticated in determining areas we thought were not affected which were in fact
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affected by the dp oil spill so it is also a pleasure to have you here and also another from maryland on the panel. let's start with dr. boesch and work our way down. >> senators, and very appreciative of the opportunity to testify today. i would ask that revised testimony just changed to include some more specific references. >> it will be in all of your statements will be included in the record. you may proceed as you wish. >> i was actively engaged in their research on the long-term environmental issues in the gulf of mexico -- >> is your microphone on? >> [inaudible] okay i was actively engaged in the scientific issues in the gulf of mexico and impact on offshore development before leaving louisianan as senator cardin indicated to head the center for science devices but it was for this reason. my familiarity with the issues surrounding this bill the
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president appointed me to serve as one of seven members of the national commission on the deep delete could be the deep water offshore drilling. so my perspectives are those of the commission that i will present today. the natural resource damage assessment was not a central -- not central to our investigation and any case was in a very early stage as we completed the report in january. nonetheless, the commission's report does discuss and offers some recommendations concerning the ongoing inertia. the goal of nrda is to make the public school for injuries, natural resources and service resulting from oil spill. these injuries are quantified by reference to conditions that would have existed had the incident not occurred. we've recognized on the commission that establishing such a baseline conditions is challenging not only because of the background data and the natural variability but because many gulf coast habitats have been substantially degraded over
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decades when pressure from the agriculture commercial residential development. to illustrate this launch of degradation i included in my written testimony a simple graph that shows the weight of the wet land lost in louisiana and how it spiked during the 70's when we had a very aggressive program of dredging the canals and but lansford the gas exploitations as well as transportation. the commission recommended the trustees ensure the compensatory restoration under the process as transparent, appropriate, and to the degree possible apolitical by as senator cardin mentioned in the introduction appointed independent scientific auditor to ensure the projects are authorized on the basis of the ability to mitigate actual damages caused by this bill. second, a potential settlement agreement providing for long-term monitoring and assessment of the effected resources for the period with at
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least three years and for enhancement of the damages beyond the baseline. giving this closely as possible to the employees' current principles that underpinned the regulations to ensure the public resources are made whole to the fullest extent possible regardless of state or federal boundaries. the recent agreement to support the early restoration presents a promising opportunity to begin to restore the impacted resources without reading for years for full compensation of the nrda when damage restoration may prove less effective. however, it also presents opportunities for this application and this misallocation of resources. from the beginning, the allocates early restoration equally among the states and federal trustees, disparities, despite the fact there's disparities among the natural resource damages. this potentially if this
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principle continues could compromise the in place and kind principal in a way that can serve the commission. the framework agreement also states that the early restoration projects must be consistent with the pollution act meeting the criteria for the public coal for injuries from the oil spill. to avoid politically expedient approach is that might miss the mark in terms of compensatory restoration for independent scientific officer or a review board to insure projects are authorized on the basis to mitigate actual damages caused by the bill to the degree possible would be prudent to the scientific audit could also independently evaluate the degree to which the natural resource damage of sets to be credited against the damages due to the responsible party for the projects measured, calculated and documented using the best available science to the end of the prisons bill, as i mentioned
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on top of longer-term degradation of important habitats and resources in the northern gulf of mexico and putting off the coastal wetlands as senator vitter mentioned the recurrent so-called dead zone, the fish populations and endangered species. the commission identified that the restoration effort that is grounded in the responsive to the regional needs and public input would be very consistent with the recommendations that the secretary of the navy made earlier last year. the commission recommended that congress dedicate to this purpose 80% of the clean water act penalties as senator vitter mentioned earlier, his discussion of the legislation the gulf ecosystem restoration task force chaired by the administrator should lisa jackson and mr. graves is developing the gulf of mexico ecosystem restoration strategy due in december, 2011.
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legislation to degette the fund and established the council to administer them seems to me at least to stall in congress in part because the lack of consensus among the gulf states over the scope and permissible use of the farms, and once again come allocation among the states. as senator vitter announced some r gup will take place as a sign we will see progress on that. the oil spill commission in looking at this issue concluded it was most compelling from the natural perspectives the application of the fund is focus on the ecosystem restoration, and that we argued that the criteria should be national significance, contribution to the ecosystem resiliency and the extent to which the natural policies such as flood control the oil and distillate, agriculture, and navigation directly contributed to the environmental problems and require the restoration to thank you very much. >> thank you dr. leinen? >> thank you mr. chairman and members of the subcommittee.
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my name is margaret leinen, the vice chair of the gulf of mexico research initiative research board three by illsley provost for the environmental initiative for the atlantic university and executive director from graphic. my remarks today were prepared by dr. reva call well, chairman of the gulf of mexico research initiative and one of your constituents, senator cardin. may 2010 bp committed $5 million over it in your period to create an independent research program to study the impact of the deepwater horizon oil still on the gulf of mexico. the program known as the gulf of mexico research initiative or gri is directed by an independent research board. the research board is responsible for identifying of the research priorities preparing a request for proposals, enabling an open and
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transparent process for review selecting proposals for funding based on that review and reviewing annual progress for the continuation of funding. although the gri was announced in 2010, it was not until march 14th, 2011 that the master research agreement was signed it. that agreement between bp and the gulf of mexico alliance provides the operational structure or the gri. as stated in that research agreement, the gri is an independent research program and separate from the natural resource damage but of -- damage assessment process, and bp agrees that the participation of the alliance in this agreement shall not result in a credit against our defense any claims for natural resource damages or assessment costs. so we are independent of nrda. the objectives are to study the
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impact of the dispersed oil and the ecosystem of the gulf of mexico and affected the gulf states. in a very broad context the fundamental understanding of the dynamics of these events associated environmental stresses and public health implications the gri will support the development of improved oil spill litigation, oil and gas detection characterization and remediation technologies. ultimately the goal is to improve the society's ability to understand and respond to even this like this and to understand the effect on the coastal ecosystem with an emphasis on the gulf of mexico. we have established and are implementing peery viewed competitive grant programs that will support research that advance this understanding in five areas. first, physical distribution, dispersion and delusion of
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petroleum of constituents and associated contaminants such as disbursements under the action of physical ocean a granite process and tropical storms. second, the chemical evolution and biological degradation of the petroleum disbursement systems and their subsequent interaction with coastal open ocean and deep water ecosystems. third, environmental effect of the petroleum disbursement system on the seafloor water column coastal waters, beach sediments, wetlands, marshes and organisms that signs of ecosystem recovery. technology development for improved response mitigation detection, characterization and remediation associated with oil spills and gas releases and fiscal fundamental scientific research integrating results from the four other themes in the context of public health.
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the research board has released to requests for proposals, which we call rfp one and three. we anticipate issuing another request for proposals later this year. the first of these are announced april 25th of this year. through this program, a minimum of 37.5 million per year will fund approximately four to eight research consortium to study the effect of the deepwater horizon incident. it is anticipated that each agreement will be for up to three years and will range between 1 million to 7.5 million per year. the research will be conducted through these consortiums and must address one or more of the five areas that we've described. the proposals are being accepted until the 11th of july, and we anticipate announcing the result of this competition august 30th.
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the second rfp would be for funding smaller research teams. it will focus on individual investigators with up to three co principal investigators. a maximum of 7.5 million per year would be available for those grants, and earlier this year the research board recognized the need to provide short term or emergency funding to sustain some data collection that had already begun over the summer. on june 7 to be announced the availability of $1.5 million of emergency funding and are conducting an expedited review of proposals that we have received. we anticipate announcing the results of that competition at the end of this week. so, the gri supports research that contributes to our understanding of how the gulf of mexico was influenced by the
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deepwater horizon oil spill and how this rich and dynamic environment is recovering. this information will undoubtedly be useful and informative to the nrda program, and we expect it to provide valuable insight for the long-term analysis to the ecosystems since it lasts for ten years. thank you very much for the opportunity. >> thank you very much, doctor. dr. rifkin? >> thank you, ranking member sessions and remaining members of the subcommittee, very much for inviting me to testify today. on july 27 def 2010 approximately one year ago, the national aquarium was invited to testify before the senate subcommittee on a hearing titled assessing natural resource damages resulting in the bp deepwater horizon disaster. at that time, i emphasized the importance of independent research to address concerns related to our ability to accurately quantify potential
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chronic damages to natural resources in the gulf. the rationale for this was and still is based on the concern that the current gri tecum nrda was using the approach which adequately measures small quantities of petroleum contaminants which could of chronic and tax on the a leota, and this is important because small amounts of contaminants in the water and in the sediment for water three process, by the concentration whereby you magnification can increase exponentially. more specifically, in my testimony and the written testimony of the other researchers on the panel at that time, suggest device is called passive diffusers can be used to measure low levels of petroleum in order to accurately characterize the ecological risks and impacts. since the last hearing as senator cardin mentioned earlier the conservation center and collaboration with the laboratory and johns hopkins university, has deployed sophisticated petroleum
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contaminate samples deployed by the usgs a decade ago and these are called -- excuse become semi permanent devices is the acronym for which is spmd. these are virtual fish and provide unparalleled data on low levels of petroleum, contaminants in the water column and sediment pour water on the data necessary for assessing the chronic impacts. by using these we are able to measure low levels of individual pah and in the water impacted by this bill. our preliminary finding supports the detention the data obtained by the devices would incorporated into the concentration models would provide a far more accurate assessment of the nature and the extent of the damages of the gulf and the standard approach of using grass samples for water and sediment. samples came from impacted areas off the coast of louisiana, mississippi, alabama and florida.
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a number of months ago we had an opportunity to meet with representatives from the environmental protection agency so that we could share our preliminary results with the agency and of teen advice and guidance from the research scientists. at our meeting and in subsequent conference calls, we support the view that there was value in using these diffusers to monitor levels of these so-called pah. incorporating the technical suggestions we resigned our method and once again deployed these devices in louisiana as you all know. the result of this effort should provide value which can be used to model the concentration of the contaminants in the food chain, procrit empirical data that can be used to ss and quantify the chronic damages and reduce the level of uncertainty when assessing the chronic damages from exposure to oil from the peace bell. the ramifications of the findings should not be underestimated. the vast lardy of water and
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sediment samples obtained have resulted in the concentrations being reported as non-detected. that is below the analytical detection limit, it equates to zero. so the assumption is made that there are in significant damages to natural resources. however, the value below the detection and predetermine the benchmark value from the samples doesn't mean that spmd are absent present levels which are not harmful. the pravachol supports the use of the benchmark values as a basic determinant for the concentrations are organic contaminants constitute an ecological risk. however the benchmarks are not meant to be used or are only meant to be used for screening purposes only. they are not regulatory standards or criteria. benchmarks' cannot be delegated for sites and situations. it can be defended only in terms of regulatory precedent and while the epa and other agencies
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provide broad guidelines for the assessment of the benchmark endpoints, specific plans are not identified. a meaningful nrda must be able to have economic models to accurately assess chronic damage and injury to natural resources in the gulf. this perspective should certainly apply here given the magnitude and the scope of this bill. in light of the preliminary findings, there are reasons to give serious consideration to expanding these diffusers and impacted areas of the gulf as soon as possible. this will increase our ability to assess the causality between the release of oil and the resources and lost human use of the resources and services. thank you very much for your time. >> thank you, doctor. mr. graves? >> i appreciate the opportunity to be here. i serve as the chair of the council of protection restoration of 40 louisiana, the state agency created after hurricane katrina to be the
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single state entity charged with coastal sustainability. hurricane protection and other coastal resource issues in the state of louisiana. mr. chairman i think it's important to provide background for the conditions in coastal louisiana prior to this disaster occurring. going back about 80 years ago the federal levees put on the mississippi river was the primary cause of 1900 square miles of the coastal wetlands and these are jurisdictional wetlands just like you or i would have to get a permit for impacting. there's been no mitigation done for the 1900 square miles lost today. in addition of the last six years we've been infected by hurricane katrina, rita, gustav and like that took an extraordinary toll on the state. i tell you that because it's different than the other 35 coastal states and territories in the country. it's a very fragmented coastal area with a lot of nooks and crannies. if you measure the shoreline
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from mississippi to texas, you get about 800 miles that you actually measure the actual title shoreline it's much closer, about 8,000 miles. so, very, very different coast line to protect the area from oil is an extraordinary challenge. at the same time, this ecosystem is very productive. u.s. fish called the most productive ecosystems on the continent. 90% of the marine species in the gulf of mexico are dependent upon that estuary in louisiana at some point in their life for survivability. 98% of the fisheries that are commercially harvested in the gulf of mexico, again, dependent upon coastal louisiana wetlands and unique estuary where 90% of the fresh water that flows to the gulf of mexico comes through our state. at the same time, it is home to 5 million -- 25 million songbirds and is the largest habitat for migratory songbirds waterfowl.
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so again, the reproductive area. home to 70 rare threatened and endangered species and the coastal wetlands we've lost play an important role of just in terms of ecosystem services but also in terms of keeping a buffer of it in the gulf of mexico and the populated communities. we saw the impact of that after hurricane katrina. on the economic side, mr. chairman, if you look at the five gulf states that the gdp of those areas if we are compared to a nation that would comprise the seventh largest economy in the world, so much economic activity ongoing. coastal louisiana alone we have the top 515 person approximately 20% of the nation's water board commerce comes through the ports and river systems which is hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and at the same time, this area produces approximately -- produces or transfer approximately one-third of the oil and gas consumed in the united states. so from an economic aside, the gulf coast, coastal louisiana is very important.
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the we've had these challenges, historic challenges and we've been able to make progress in recent years, louisiana made unprecedented investment to restore the coastal wetlands and as a matter of fact the geological survey indicated that it appears we've created a price of the two square miles of land while the historical loss rate has been from 11 to 16 square miles on average of the last 80 years. in the last three years we have created up to 200 square miles so we are making progress. this oil spill cannot the worst place because the productivity of this ecosystem and a can of the worst time because we were rebounding with that reverse, we reversed a loss of the trend. it had been ongoing for decades. to give you a few statistics, 92% of the moderately short lines rehnquist louisianan and even today, 100% of the -- over 99% of the moderately come 81% of blight and about 96% of the
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very light short lines in coastal louisiana today. over 60% of the marine species diverge, the mammals from the fish collected, there were injured, sick during this bill collected in coastal louisianan. succumb incredible impact in the state. i'm grateful to the response of the nrda side very quickly. bp is to be commended for coming to the table with their checkbook. it's a very important thing to keep in mind. taken to the table with tourism fund some seafood safety marketing funds and we very much appreciate that. i want to paint the box we're in today. as you very well know better than i do come of this country is facing fiscal challenges to read our state is facing fiscal challenges. there's a $1 billion cap on the light of the trust fund to fund the oil spill response activities including $1 billion cap. we are over $900 million of expenses from this disaster so far, and so the only force of
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money for us in this case is bp. it's the only source of funding to a large degree to fund response, nrda operations. mr. chairman, i think the creation needs to be flipped over. i think the public should be in the driver's seat by being able to control check but you can control what is in the work plans, how the nrda assessments are conducted. the timeline of the assessment perhaps losing access to the data because of the negotiations on going with fees' work plans. bp, at the same time, hired army attorneys of marketing firms, puerto rico campaigns, lobbyists, scientists, consultants and other experts and we have to compete with that. so the states to cut the federal government does come and as long as we are not providing access to the funds needed to truly put up a strong case for the public, perhaps it provides a situation where the public resource from the public trust is not properly
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represented and that equation needs to be entirely flipped over. three other quick points. i think it's important the question and i know senator sessions you have an extensive legal the crowd. one other situation do you have where the defense is allowed to govern or rein in the plant is in terms of the activities they carry out to exercise the funding, exercise the governance of the funding? i don't know of any other scenario. the process does take too long as has been noted, senator better yet final legislation for the down payment. i think that's critical. our citizens have already been victimized, the economy victimized and allowing the ten or 15 your process for the recovery of the ecosystem and those natural resources is unacceptable, and for the statutory content to allow for that i think that that needs to be revisited. we need to have accurate science. mr. chairman and based recovery upon that, but at the same time, we can't allow these resources to sit in the state for decades.
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it's on excusable to the public. the last statement i know this committee has jurisdiction on the clean water act. i represent the states and singing we strongly support the recommendation of the natural commission. the victory and others have recommended the funds be returned to the gulf states for environmental uses. i don't think it's appropriate for the government to profit from the loss in the gulf coast. thank you. >> thank you very much for your >> thank you, chairman carvin, ranking member sessions, members of the subcommittee, for the opportunity to speak today. thank you, senator sessions for the most gracious introduction. i won't bore you with the statistics for the significance and size of this bill which we all know too well suffice it to say it was unprecedented. it has impacted five states along the gulf coast and the gulf of mexico itself which is one of the united states greatest resources. impact to the gulf and put
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commercially important aquatic life and endangered or threatened species of turtles and marine mammals, habitat use, migration patterns and the erosion and most significantly the loss of use of the resources. the gulf is an essential habitat for countless species of fish and shellfish contains numerous species of marine mammals many of which are protected or endangered. turtles, marshes that provide feeding and nesting habitat for offshore, near shore and marsh birds and the presence of oil in these habitats may lead to decreased habitat use in the area alter's migration patterns come altered food availability and disrupted lifecycles. they may also cause plants to die, routes to stabilize the soil and thus lead to erosion. and this is not to mention the loss of use of these resources which for alabama like many of the other states along the gulf coast is a significant factor.
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travel related expenditures and just one of the counties has been reduced by $500 million as a result of the impact of the oil spill. commercial c2 landings as senator sessions pointed out are down 50% from 2,009. the response to this bill from the natural resource perspective has also been unprecedented. the nrda trustees secured a billion dollars from bp for early restoration projects in the gulf. the fact that the trustees and the responsible party has even attempted to address early restoration of the magnitude is extraordinary. the early restoration alone is larger than the entire restoration process for the exxon valdez spill. under the framework for the early restoration, each trusty, the five states and the department of interior will select and implement $100 million in projects with the remaining $300 million used for projects selected by noah and the departments of interior for the proposals submitted by
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the state trustees. this agreement would not have been possible without the combined and concerted efforts of all of the trustees working together. with so many resources and agencies involved in this daunting but incredibly important task it's essential to ensure continuing cooperation and coordination to guarantee that restoration of the natural resources is carried out the benefit of all both from an early restoration perspective and from the long term benefit of the gulf as a whole. in order to manage the early restoration process these and continue the assessment that's been ongoing for some time, the trustee council has formed an executive committee. the committee is made up of representatives from each of the trustees. we've also created subcommittees dedicated to specific tasks as part of our charge. each of which is represented by -- each of which is chaired by the representative of the trustees. the executive committees and the committees themselves will work together to make sure that each
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trustee is represented in an equal and balanced manner to ensure the premiere goals are achieved. the resources and process and early restoration project selection present many challenges given the magnitude of this disaster, its widespread impact and the number of parties involved. each state was impacted differently and ought of unique priorities for the needed restoration as me each federal agency. even within a state or agency there will be different approaches and ideas about how to meet these needs and achieve these goals. after all, restoration on this scale has never been done before. all of the different perspectives and ideas have the potential to lead to many disagreements over how best to assess the damages sustained and to spend the funds to restore the natural resources. ..
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in fairness for the common good about what we will be challenged to eliminate disputes based on boundaries and maintain focus on the ultimate goal of restoring the gulf of mexico's natural resources and hope the possible hearty response of. but we have created an experienced a president to allow us to accomplish it that. from the beginning of this disaster is essential to federal government work together to respond the cleanup process if we could. we begin the monumental task of the fence teenagers to her need
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for cooperation became pronounced than we have done just that. obtaining a billion dollars for the rest duration projects that standards were ability to tackle obstacles and 6894. the cooperation between both sides take this unprecedented cooperation and support between the states and federal agents these is likewise an unprecedented in the meet continues. we simply must remain united against the response will party to see that the damages caused by this or are indeed correct been restored. the communication and cooperation has been continuously collect for the restoration projects. the full extent of damages to the resources is not yet known all agree there must be a nexus between that was built in the projected in the project. cooperation is not only necessary for the selection of the hijacked, but implementation is slow. it might to report the processes
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going well. we challenged ourselves to family demanded timeline. our plan is selected in the national center the restoration project in july of this year. even assuming restoration project you select it, negotiated and implemented, decide to process will continue to determine the full extent of resources and our long-term restoration plan. as far as i said must bastardization of this success. we have secured an historic sum of money with the mayor of the tragedy which created the ss and the monumental task continues as to what will undoubtedly result in the most widespread and thorough analysis of a significantly large doses to assess ever been attempted. although this is unprecedented. we rest assured the success was to continue such cooperation between the federal government and olives the luxury.
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everything that made this process will create a president by which cooperative efforts will be possible. >> thank you, mr. shattuck. since i'll be sharing a major blow therefore by definition be her till the end. modern not exist, but my distinguished ranking member to make question and will allow you to to precede. >> thank you. mr. chairman, we done this before the judiciary subcommittee unit participated in its ranking on shared. mr. shattuck, thank you for your comment. i am pleased to see the emphasis on collaboration and cooperation and openness in the process. the only flipside of that claim is somebody in charge and can we
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make sure it happens on time? the party selected projects that would commence before the year's outcome is that correct quick >> were in the process of projects. we hope to have been selected by the end of july to be an demented before the end of the year. the mac in ed trustees, do they vote individually? affect how the decisions are made? >> yes, sir. each trustee, one from each state, one for a noaa and the department of interior noaa and the department of interior noaa and the department of interior. we'll move forward with negotiating with assets for those projects. >> a fundamental question on the fed to process, to what extent do you can to do the trustees -- to what extent do you consider that the process to make the region entirely whole or is it
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just a part of a aquatic >> it is just a part unfortunately. it addresses only damages to our national grease versus and that's a fun. the damages of alabama houses income of her example, are much greater than that though many damages be sustained or tag to allow for national grease versus a loss of use of natural grease versus a visit to process this address economic losses for individuals, businesses are the data itself. do not i know governor mavis was very clear on that in his report, which is really dealing, i suppose, more with the oil spill i cannot damages but eventually had to be paid under the oil spill act, the team noted this section outlines a proposal for congress to create any new off coast under the act
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and which would work to facilitate environmental restoration and economic recovery and attempt to the health issues the. is that what you understand? that will be the next project that can be going on in contemporaneously with this project. be my guest, sir. we hope congress will come later giving the state says mr. graves pointed out some 80% of the funds in my soul ultimately be assessed to address all of the losses, whether environmental or economic. in fact there has been some language of the legislation i've seen proposed giving states a certain proportion might date. most of the money icing on the legislation will be based on overall process. is that what the legislation say
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. >> this accident should not have happened. i feel very strongly that the responsible party no matter where the subcontract to her were responsible for damages and they are responsible to the last dollar of their corporate existence as far as i can turn. i think they've moved forward in this $1 billion they think were not legally required to produce this in. is that correct? >> i thought that was a positive step on their behalf. i sustained an unprecedented damage insides that this will
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end i would know that i am very unhappy that there is not the kind of capping mechanism already can start date, that you would not be welcome in the would have had to shut this thing off shortly to happen. mr. radley on the part of the commission, mr. rifkin, was that the commission usurp done with mr. riley? will come me testify. month or so ago that there now has been designed a cat that can be put up over any blowout late day sun that would any matter be be able to capture that. is that your understanding? >> yes, that's correct. there are two industry groups that develop that capacity.
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and if you remember the controversies over the permit for reoffending the deepwater chilling, a large part of the demonstration to meet these requirements was to demonstrate that they have this deep water containment capability. selected those two groups develop that they have the capacity of side effect. take the assessment was at that point granite but permitting. >> that had the capacity. we have 90 we have 90 a, almost 90 days the pouring the really thing most concerning. mr. chairman, i do think they've
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learned a tremendous amount from this process. the united states is benefited dramatically and production of oil gas from the polls. any the oil and gas for our economy, jobs and growth. i hope that we will be able to continue it. we have learned from how to remediate me think we've learned how to use top if it ever were to happen again and frankly should not have happened the first time. but i do believe we have the capability now to shut it off. hopefully the gulf coast area is ready to go forward in the future. we want to fix their economic problems that have been severe and will want to look at this as a not virginity as they know you share nfs meant, a baseline and future projection for a more
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environmentally positive environment on our coast. thank you for participating in allowing me to participate in this hearing. >> thank you messenger sessions. >> really think learned a lot from this incident from the status of our baseline research along our coasts and oceans. senator victor was very eloquent and violet on the subject of how far behind we are in the stock assessment and how dated most of those are in areas in which coastal flooding and weather event and increasing social novels and all of that arafat and what can happen along the shores and to develop -- development capacity when these to be taken we seem to be way behind on later such studies.
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her physical oceanography we seem to be -- have a far from robust baseline in terms of current and temperatures. if we are going to address the issues we face the longer it goes, how much do we need to improve our baseline and awareness of what is going on out there and what are the best methods to do it? upper right across the table. this is a generic question. dr. boesch. >> i couldn't agree kumar. we need better information batter ocean to make good decisions about it. since the commission did focus on the goals, i make just a few comments. first of all, we were shocked to see that it industry moved into deepwater over the last 20 years, really quite spectacular
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new technology. it was not the investment where government and understanding that environment. so at a time this is taking place, the investment in studies of the gulf of mexico environment were actually declining. to redress that, we recommend not only for oil and gas development, but for all kinds of energy developments around our coast, whether it's oil and gas in the alaskan arctic or wind power in the atlantic, we should have a capacitor capacity since we were just talking about energy issues to understand the environment. so our recommendation is that there should be a really modest fee if you will, recognizing the federal deficit problem to the industry, much like it would have a severance would pay for appropriate regulation in this daddies to support that going forward so you would have a project will support base to
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sustain those studies. one final a nasty note senator whitehouse, there is a great interesting move around our country to create a notion of serving as them where stemware became continuous use modern technologies, monitor the state of the ocean. if any part of our national ocean needs observing system, if the gulf of mexico with great economic engine in oil and gas production, fishing, and again we have reached thursday with an industry in the infrastructure, all the platforms that exist to have a first rate, innovative observing system though office decisions going over. >> thank you,.jerry. with respect to the adequacy of our current research-based and much you'd recommend. >> well, i think dr. boozman has spoken eloquently. i'll branch out a little further
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from there. the lack of ability to understand not only conditions as they stand today, but also the processes that evolved over decades is a real hindrance to our ability to make decisions, whether it is the decline of the winter flounder in rhode island or the increase in diseases that humans get their pc in the wild dolphins in florida we have very little ability to go back and understand what the causes of those features are. when you compare this to whether, we understand how much changing weather influences the economy, but i think we have it realized how much that lack of knowledge and lack of big
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ability about the oceans affects our competitiveness, ability to use resources wisely and our ability to prepare for the changes will see in the future. so, it is a need for baseline. if the need for understanding evolving processes as well. >> i will follow up on these questions with the remaining witnesses, but my questioning time at this point has expired and our chairman has returned, so i will yield to the chairman and perhaps the chairman would give us another round afterwards so we can can tinea this line of inquiry. >> let me thank senator whitehouse. i apologize for having to leave. we have this gem: nomination on the floor of the judiciary committee. so i added to that debate a little bit on the floor.
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i want to continue on the baseline issue, but i would like to get a few from mr. graves and mr. shattuck s. two what are you believe there are adequate resources available to u.s. trustees to get the type of independent technical support to make the type of ss men that we have confidence that the best they possibly can. the baseline at the very difficult challenge. no one denies that. but having resources available to get the independent type of verification review and technical assistance to me with the very important. deeply trustees have adequate resources here? >> well, there's never enough research is just to be honest, but i think that -- i don't think we've been impacted are
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the process has suffered in a dutch mental way at this point and part of that is the economic incentive bp has to see this process is funded, which sounds counterintuitive, but i think vp wisely has determined that this they do not fund it at this point, they are going to pay for it in one run in a cost even more. so as long as we have the economic incentive, we both benefit in a way because studies are done. but who knows. we aren't finished yet and it could be at some point we are hampered by lack of resources if bp decides to cut them off. our state of alabama has strapped financially. are in dire financial straits and we don't have the capacity to sponsors studies at the gulf of mexico area and resources we have on there is simply not fair.
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>> mr. chairman, i would say i think our resource issues, and just the layout under the current statutory confines for how this work if we wanted to assess the impact on redfish in the gulf of mexico, we have to develop the work plan for how the assessment would be conduct it and go present at two p. p. and then there's the negotiation process. i'll embellish this to get in a tearful 50 go through. during the negotiation we can say we don't like the area you've chosen. you ought to go to west texas. they say well, if you want the money, you need to do it unless texas. so you're in a very difficult situation because of the box i try to describe her they were mr. shattuck discarded there's a billion dollars cap on it will spill liability trust fund were close to hitting and so bp is the only funding source. if you want access to those dollars, you have had the
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negotiation and i have to agree to fund it. >> doctor trained doctor trained to come it seems your come it seems your recommendations for do with that by suggesting meanies to be this independent scientific auditor available to verify that in fact we are using independent judgment here. elaborate on that and whether you think we are implementing a recommendation. >> i think having such independent assessment is valuable for a number of reasons. first of all for the public confidence that everything is being done all the way around. secondly, as we begin the restoration effort, there is going to be a requirement to make sure it's mr. shattuck indicated that this nexus between the damage restoration to the degree possible is there and that is -- having the
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independent evaluated and judged as importuning because a matching message indicated their feisty speech with her independent -- their unique problems and it purchased a restoration of sign. the end of the day they have to meet that standard. so that' it becomes a problem is we want to court the adjudication of this, not only between trustee and responsible party, but by third parties who make hypothetically coming in a well, the money bp gave you was that used to redress this damage. it is used for some other way, so it should be counted again the amount bp is responsible. fraught this reason, the most important reason is to make sure what we do with restoration this affect you this week be. that independent evaluation is
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important. you asked the question to the agencies and they do have lots of technical experts. of course the technical experts work for people within the agencies. having someone independent, a group in the pen as real value and accountability to the process. >> are just absurd this is a similar issue that came up at our first hearing that the process of self has an inherent conflict because the funding source and the desire quite frankly to have a cooperative relationship with her responsible party. he can save time and save uncertainty and get existing. on the other hand you need to have the independence to move in directions you think you need to. mr. graves can you raise a very important to us to the selection of this site is critical to the assessment. so i'm not sure we've quite cut me a. i think there is a real commit it on behalf of trustees to get
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independent scientific information that the funding sources and processes of his challenging and you don't have the adequate design of permission, it's hard to make an accurate assessment. i think dr. rifkin come you're provided with substantial upon technology new click to see ba is at least using the information you've made available and i hope you will be successful will be able to get an accurate assessment of the current image. have you had any further indications from bpa? >> first of all, i'd like to see the methodology where he is and was developed by the usgs agreed to kick out and has been used by agencies for many years. but this is a uniquely scientists came up with recently. it is however not being used as part of this have to process. epa has acknowledged the value in using these devices.
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since everyone is talking about sending, it's difficult to obtain funding, either from bpa or noaa or other organizations that were in a position that would have limited data which will be much to kate at insignificant. what is current they been used in this have to process and very significant and attempting to quantify chronic damages in the fault. but again, very limited on what we can do because of lack of funding. >> senator sessions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity and i don't think i have another round of questions. i believe it was an excellent panel. it is indeed an excellent panel. we are beginning to have a congressional response to the damage the gold at 15. we work our way through that, hopefully sooner rather than later in a thank you for the
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leadership. senator boxer, are chairman of the full committee has also given a good bit of her time and attention and her leadership can help us lead to a successful conclusion. >> i concur the. i think it is focused from the beginning and try to get the right and down into nevada's quickly and completely as we can. senator boxer has been encouraging to set committee chair to move forward on the issues. another white house is >> i want to give remaining but stitching to answer my earlier question which had to do with what i perceive to be the inadequacy of the baseline research and if you agree that is a problem, what can we be doing nationally to improve it. it can, not just specific to the calls come up including the coast. >> first, the question if i'm not and it is a difficult, complicated issue. a sign for an attack such as
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sarasota bay is different than the baseline currently on parts of the coast of louisiana and alabama because the previous post. my point of view in order to gain adequate baseline, which is critical, the right information needs to be obtained periodically and monitor periodically so when is periodically so when is comment that baseline is there. it's, the baseline is there. it's too late after the one today that's about where i was doing. really strange is kind of defense in place for this bill hasn't existed, which in fact is not scientifically useful because that is not the area were going to be looking at. so i think the agent he is responsible for collecting data shares speethree any to continually develop and monitor certain water bodies such as the gulf. if there is an utter disaster this would be available before
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concerns after this post though. >> thank you, senator. i often pretend to be experts in various fields of my job, but i certainly know the limits of my expertise. if i were asked a question i think one of the first things i would do is e-mail mr. boesch and ask his. if it's okay with you, i prefer to respond in writing. >> sure. and i am a scientist either, but i think there is a finite. you know, disasters like this give us 2020 hindsight vision in the would've been great to have a better baseline, but we have to work with what we have. and what we learned there would be great to have the work since the baseline study throughout the country just in case something like this happens again. again, i know you will battle it limited research says they reenters assignment islands of how much can we afford to do verse addressing more immediate plans and that is a risky
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endeavor, one that economics might enforce upon us. >> and clearly a good deal of this research is done at the state level to write in rhode island to be the coastal resource management count votes for instant. and states find their budgets slaughtered. it's hard to imagine this will improve and the environment in the connect cuts. we need to find new and lasting forces of sending so we are not as ill-informed about the actual status of the ocean and kos and in many respects were flying by and and i appreciate the
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testimony of other witnesses. the only other points i would like to raise briefly hasn't come up yet and i don't know if it is a problem. there is a concern when you get to a major incident like this and you have a response to the parity that is pretty evident and there's a lot of money at stake, one of the first things they do is go in and buy up all the science, put as many scientists as they can under contract with whatever it takes to get them and then they can go out which ones they want and the other one they thought about their science more or less. have you seen that a problem then is that the to attend to? think it's a good and mr. graves for that. >> senator, that's the an issue. everything we were interviewing back in may to some of the consultants and other experts, many were conflict without, either by pre-bell contracts are certainly a big rush by the
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responsible parties to pick those folks up in it is absolutely been an issue. thankfully one of the major areas where it will to recount an agreement with the federal government. but i think it is an issue. >> again, let me thank all of you for your testimony and work in this area. this is a continuing interest to this committee and its oversight responsibility. you see we've got to get this right. the stakes are very, very high for all of us. it affects our entire country, not just that directly impacted regions. so we've got to get this right. we need to learn from how we handled previous environmental damage areas and we need to make sure that we can justify the process at the end of the day has been in the best interests. one of the encouraging signs,
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let me just point out the point that you raise, dr. boesch doublet than the long-term issues looks like it is moving forward their sensitivity that the final assessments include monitoring to make sure that we carry a the intended restoration make the. looks like we've made progress since their first hearing on the issue raised immediately that the ecma for a long time to come it may not be quite as well defined by the time agreements are reached. seems like a sensitivity among trustees to make sure kludged in the long-term solutions. let me again compliment all of you for your work and i look forward to continuing to work with you. but that, the sub committee will stand adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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