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tv   Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts on The Last Warrior  CSPAN  May 31, 2015 6:15am-7:26am EDT

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>> i think i should be the last question from me and it is time to get questions from the audience. >> thank you very much gentlemen. [applause] >> "the last warrior" will be on sale outside and both men will be available to sign copies but we will open up for questions.
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i have a question. can you comment on one of andrew marshall's first positions, our first tasks within the white house in evaluating cia intelligence reports for president nixon? >> president nixon and henry kissinger were very unhappy with the kind of foreign intelligence that was coming into the white house when they became when they started working in the white house your andrew marshall had a long history of dealing with intelligence agencies and intelligence both for the air force and later with the cia trying to improve the quality of the analysis of it. but it was natural for kissinger to bring him into look at the quality of the intelligence coming into the white house. as i said earlier that
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eventually led to a reorganization of the intelligence community. but as andrew recalls one of the things andy started doing was reading a daily brief from the agency looking at copies and one of the things that simply merged was nixon would tend to write notes and comments on those. and as marshall looked at them over time, he was doing in initial study for kissinger it became apparent that there were fewer and fewer comments from the president, and one of the two was the implication that nixon was sufficiently unhappy what he just stopped reading the things, which made a strong case for drawing to reshape the community to provide intelligence that really was a doomed or dealt with the interests of president and his national security advisor. >> that's almost hysterical
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because marshall goes to the cia and a daily intelligence report was sort of i mean that was better premier document. the president will read this and, you know, so marshall says, you need to do something different. the answer was this is a premier document. this goes to the president. the president isn't reading it. were saying it to the president anyway because that's our pride and joy. marshall says why don't you find it would is interested in and give them intelligence on that. for example kissinger was intensely interested in personnel profiles of the people he would have to negotiate with. what are their hobbies, what are their likes, or the risktakers what's unique about this for some going in negotiate with? the cia, we don't worry about this, but you do. you know which ought to be worried about the viet the thing is in crises the cia but often
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emphasized intelligence a kind of pushed it toward a quick sort of safe resolution of the crisis where's nixon and kissinger wanted to look at all options because talk about the whole deal with the arabians today. they were looking at okay they were making a short-term aim by resolving it the way you provided me with information and analysis but is there a lot of long-term pain that will be involved? weser pushed the problem down the road. it's a worse problem five years from now. nixon actually had the nsa staff was providing in with the stuff he was reading by the time so they were doing a workaround before the intelligence reform. cia tried to make an effort to find what the president was interested in and provide him with intelligence on that but it's a testimony to and a
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sense, i don't want to say belligerence but just certain bureaucracies to give the president what he simply asking for. >> some of the things that associate with these kind of issues were just almost comical in retrospect. and 73 they started the first national net assessment under andy's organization under the in a secret was to compare the u.s. and soviet ground forces. one of the findings to get out of it was the soviets had no weaknesses. in particular every six months they would bring in a new cohort of conscripts, and the official dia position which they had thought was nonsense was basically a didn't the fact anything. come on. you bring recruits in conscripts, half of them don't speak russian, they're not interested in the soviet army and you tell me it does not
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affect readiness? it just blew your mind. >> they would serve three years in the military. this is si so i have people who premier for three years, and they eventually for three years to getting to know each other for three years. all of a sudden they rotate out and i get new conscripts, starting from scratch, a bit of oversimplification. so this unit of conscripts that just asia is as effective as the people who have had three years of experience? give me a break. but this was the stuff and later on when i was working for the secretary of defense much to marshall's displeasure, we got so fed up with the stuff we're getting from intelligence community that actually told the second of defense you'll get better results just by going to net assessment. that office of 15 people as opposed to the cia and ask them
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for their opinion. marshall thought it more important things to do at the time and try and compete with the cia over things like that. he was right. but anyway that's how bad it got in some respects. >> we have a question right over here. >> during the 1960s secretary of defense robert mcnamara emphasized uninsured destruction as a major means of deterring nuclear war. we would target the soviet union cities and its economy as a means of threat. on january 10, 1934 secretary of defense james schlesinger caused a stir when he announced that we would be moving away from this emphasis, that are
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targeting would not necessarily be aimed at cities and the soviet economy. was marshall, did he have an input into the decision? >> to my knowledge marshall did not have input into decisions. the story goes back really to the beginning of the kennedy administration. a single integrated operations plan which is the nuclear attack plan that was for execution against the soviet union and other communist countries and basically kennedy comes in, his advisors mcnamara and so on and i find that it is basically a spasm attack. throw everything at them except the kitchens and.
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kennedy was promoting the concept of flexible response. i want options, i want an option other than do nothing or armageddon. so kennedy and mcnamara, they begin to press the military to come up with flexible nuclear options. the problem is by the time nixon is in his second term we still love of flexible nuclear options. and your attempt is an attempt to actually begin to realistically provide such options. one rationale for that was one come and can this was very deep, complicated, arcane topic but one point was they begin to realize that the this is almost like "dr. strangelove" movie go the soviets are building a mine shaft but they are building deep underground bunkers to protect
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the leadership. we won't have an option to make sure the leadership, no matter what happens we will take out the leadership. there's no plotting a nuclear war because you all are going to survive. i don't know if the river the end of that movie but is really weird. again, the idea was do we want to wipe out china just because we are at war with the soviet union? of these sorts of considerations. and what they're trying to do is they want to make sure there's no way the soviets can use nuclear weapons neither spasmodically or the threshold that allows them to get an advantage to encourage them to think the consummate use these weapons and use them effectively, and have some kind of political gain out of them. >> that's also the case that if you go back through a detailed history of the single integrated
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operational fire which was our nuclear war plan, it never was purely cities or soviet forces. if you think about it, a lot of the soviet strategic forces, you might want to attack, were located in popular areas. so you're kind of getting a twofer, if you will and both target categories persisted over time in the siop, kind of independent of what decisions were made as secretary of defense for the strategic standpoint. that's not widely understood but i think that's the reality of the system. it also illustrates the difficulties of sitting in the white house or in the national security council and making sure the system down below you really does what you directed it to do.
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that's a major issue and strategy within any government. >> we have a question from carter johnson a student from pitzer college. >> no extra credit, sorry. >> in today's thought i think we can agree that ss who plays a crucial part in understanding defense and security. under which president do you think that net assessment was most beneficial or utilized? >> aside from jim slush ensure it was sort of joined at the hip with andy marshall on these issues probably harold brown was the secretary of defense both understood what net assessment was all about this book as its long-term value. perhaps any other secretaries of
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defense. i mean, that was part of the carter aggression so initially it was the hope we could do something even somewhat similar to what occurred in terms of unflinching this and extending it -- your hand. if you talk to harold brown he would emphasize that you always raise questions that point to broader strategic issues that did not fit down a provider perspective. just a virtually nonexistent from all other parts of the pentagon and the military bureaucracy. so you got a different perspective in talking to thank you than the joint staff and the service staffs. this, trying to put our
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strength, weaknesses and exploit them overtime was really essential to the net assessment enterprise. and as andrew has always suggested, if you're in the military service you want to say the least you can about your adversary. and blow up the threat when you start going to congress to try to get larger defense budgets. i mean, it's just human nature. that's what this -- is continuing even today unfortunately. >> there was also defense secretary marshall actually did not much of an impact on. i remember i worked for secretary weinberger and when i left that office i went to work for mr. marshall, and so weinberger had left the pentagon and if you could do think there's this hallway of their portraits of all the former
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defense secretaries and the day came when they're going, there was a ceremony they're going to unveil weinberger's portrait. marshall wasn't invited to they didn't have a good relationship. they're going to pick up the flags and the chairs and so finally we are in the outer office and marshall is there and what my colleagues said to him are you going the weinberger ceremony? and he said very uncharacteristically i would go if they were hanging weinberger instead of this picture last night so it wasn't -- everybody appreciating what marshall had to offer. the other thing i would say is no matter what happened in terms of the ups and downs of the relationship with the defense
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secretaries, two other things really stand out. one is his mentor the people at the impact it has. in 1957, marshall suggests a topic and then zipping profiled which ends up winning all kinds of book award from medal of freedom from president bush i think in 1990 and it fundamentally has us rethink intelligence reporting in circumstances under which will be attack. a few months later there's a book by graham allison which fundamentally, we thinking about rationally or are there other factors at work. allison goes out of his way to andy marshall when he was the guy who gave the insides to think about this restructure. that are professors at ivy league schools, the people in
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the business communities. if you read one of the deans in business strategy who teaches at berkeley and ucla this strategy, bad strategy. talks about marshall and a marshall, if you like the business world, marshall -- and so of course people like barry watts and myself there is in this sense is mentoring he has done and one of the votes of the final chapter is somebody would ask bush what he thought his greatest contribution was and he said it's the people i think i've helped along the way to have an understanding of how to do the analysis better and so on. so it's that, any other thing i was is whenever defense secretaries start to grumble about maybe this guy marshall some sectors of defense they want to be politically correct
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answer. and whenever the issue has been raised, it was raised once in the late '90s, raised again some years later, it was remarkable, the last time it was raised three republican, three democrats said you were crazy if you question what those guys trying to do to help you. republicans and democrats all sides of the aisle in congress, it is estimated me where things are so politicized that you held this individual who is enormously respected by the academic community, the strategic studies community, the former defense secretary said both sides of the aisle in congress, everything that the remarkable accomplishment in itself. >> a question towards the back row. >> you alluded to in a comical
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way, has anyone ever bought a russian computer. what i'm wondering about is during this period of time and i don't know if you can put a percentage on it but how much of a russian research and technology was databased, and how much would be called industrial espionage, stealing u.s. technology? >> gee, i'm not sure i can give you a percentage. it's sort of the case if you read cia assessment not withstand the things we said at the agency, where the soviets were in high speed computing technology in the '70s and '80s. are generally the assessment would suggest they are eight years behind us 10 years behind us. if you think about how fast that kind of technology has evolved and moves even just being for five years behind is really
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significant. >> they were stealing as much as they could from us. there was a huge scandal in the late '80s toshiba and a norwegian firm involved and it basically was -- i'm not a sports car in the world. it had to do with ball bearing technology, something with ball bearing, just rolled around, evidently have a lot to do with submarine quieting. toward the end of the cold war we were really starting to run into problems because the soviet submarines were getting very much quieter and a big edge we had work the lost apart because of industrial espionage. so what they couldn't do on their own -- they are fantastic in terms of the basic sciences and mathematical theories and so on but they couldn't get once they went beyond theory cannot be applied and how they manufacture it, these guys just couldn't compete, particularly got into the area of information
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technology. so sensors coatings, all these things that become products, these guys were really struggling to try and adapt to that. so they were trying to steal what they could. >> we have time for one more question. >> yes so the basis of this question comes sort of from taking the class of global security. in the beginning we focus on more traditional global security threats, particularly in regards to the rising powers of china and whether multi-post this will increase in stability or however we have transitioned to more nontraditional security threats. so in the conclusion of the book particularly on page 250-251 --
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[laughter] >> according to this a lot of questions that net security has been applicable to addressing and trying to comprehend in effective ways. a lot of these are in regard to his the soviet union also to china. so the question from that long introduction is particularly with regards to sophistry and the less traditional more abstract threats. you think netsuke whether place in addressing and quantifying them or how do you think you'll have to adapt in order to deal with less concrete threats? >> what do you think? [laughter] >> all right. when the revolution in military affairs that started in the early '90s andy wrote an interesting memo in 93 i think it was he talked about long range precision strike being one of the things that might emerge over time.
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the other with what he called information technology. i will just tell you the office of net assessment has tried at least three times i can think of to try to do an assessment of the information warfare information operations area. and the assessments frankly failed, and they failed for a very specific reason that it ultimately prove impossible to try to properly constrained the analysis because if you start talking about information stuff you may go off down -- you may look at assessing speeds, i mean goes in so many different directions. now actually the summer study that anticipated for this coming july is about the role of information and position strike. and hope it is that will constrain the topic enough to where we can make a little
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progress on the long-term implications and kind of assessment you would need in that particular area, but this is just been escorted from start to finish and very hard to contain in a manageable way. >> along those lines, there's a paper from yum back into late 90s the kind of addressed the question how much damage -- [inaudible] there's a graph that starts out in roman times and it's pretty flat through the middle ages and so on but bend the curve really starts to sweep up for the last 20 years or so. it's things like cybercom things like robotics and unmanned aerial systems and so on access to biotechnology and the biosciences.
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and so one of the problems in net assessment in this particular area, particularly if you're talking about cybercom you could have a lot of competitors, you could have hundred of them. you could have competitors that you don't know. so again, there were at least three attempts to start to put your arms around it is but it has proven to be very difficult. there's also a huge attribution problem associate with cyber warfare in terms of identifying too high degree of confidence just exactly who attacked you. so there's that aspect of it. they are is concern about catalytic war so that you do crisis between two countries and all of a sudden one is being hit hard by cyberattack and it assumes the other countries on its rival but it could be a third party. so you that kind of issue. you have an issue of the iranian to get a nuclear weapon and overtime they built up an arsenal like the north koreans
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are doing, missile flight times between issue after rent are about five or six minutes so early warning is you know and that's eyelash. the problem ishat happens if you are the issues or if you are the iranians at some point, do you have confidence that your early warning system isn't being corrupted? ecosystem isn't telling you a the israelis are attacking you you've got to launch a counterattack, when, in fact, it is just cyberwarfare say you're under attack when, in fact you're not. so how do you begin to cement this problem? it's a bunch of problems. is the challenge. it will be interesting, marshall has retired and they are scheduled to pick a new office for the record sometimes and. it will be interesting to see how they can to address that problem but i would tell you it will be don

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