Based on your experience during your tenure as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, what recommendations, if any, do you have for changes in the duties and functions set forth in sections 152 through 155 of title 10, United States Code, and in regulations of the Department of Defense, that pertain to the Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the organization and operation of the Joint Staff in general?
I recommend Congress adopt the Senate's FY 17 NDAA proposed change to section 113. The change would allow the Secretary of Defense to delegate to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff limited authority for the worldwide reallocation of a limited number of military assets. Any reallocation would be on a short-term basis and be consistent with the Secretary’s policy guidance and the national defense strategy. The proposed change would allow the Chairman to better assist the Secretary with the global integration of military capabilities to effectively address transregional, multifunctional, and multi-domain threats.
What do you consider to be the most significant challenges you expect to face if you are 2 confirmed again?
In today’s extraordinarily dynamic and complex world, the United States faces simultaneous challenges from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and violent extremist organizations. We have made significant progress against ISIS in Iraq and Syria but much work remains to be done. We are also in the midst of a critical transition in Afghanistan. While dealing with these pressing challenges, we are faced with the need to modernize the Joint Force. Over the last decade, sustained operational commitments, budgetary instability, and advances by our adversaries have threatened our ability to project power and resulted in our loss of advantage in key warfighting areas.
In your view, what is the nature of the threat posed by Iran?
Iran seeks to reduce U.S. influence and become the dominant regional power in the Middle East. Iran tries to achieve its regional objectives by projecting power using proxy forces, supporting Shi'a movements, and promoting pro-Iranian elements throughout the region. Additionally, Iran attempts to deter U.S. action by developing conventional weapons, including advanced missile systems and a more capable naval presence, could be used to threaten the Arabian Gulf region and Strait of 10 Hormuz in the event of conflict.
What is the role of our Armed Forces in countering Iran’s proxy networks specifically, and Iran’s malign influence more broadly, throughout the Middle East?
The role of our Armed Forces in countering Iran's malign influence throughout the Middle East is to support diplomacy, assure key allies and regional partners, and to build partners' capabilities so they can defend themselves against Iranian destabilizing activities. Throughout the broader Middle East, the U.S. Armed Forces maintain the plans, posture, and preparations to assure our partners and respond to Iranian activities and/or those of its proxy network that threaten the interests of the United States.
In your view, is Iran complying with its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)?
The briefings I have received indicate that Iran is adhering to its JCPOA obligations.
Do you believe that the JCPOA has decreased the nuclear threat from Iran?
Yes, the JCPOA has delayed Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.
Since the signing of the JCPOA, do you believe there has been any change in Iran’s malign activities?
No, Iran has not changed its malign activity in the region since JCPOA was signed.
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