Global Security Forum 2016: Plenary III - National Security Priorities and Challenges for the Presidential Transition
December 1, 2016
KAREN DEYOUNG: Good afternoon. I’m Karen DeYoung. I write about national security for The Washington Post. And thank you all for being here, and I’m very pleased to be here. And we’re really honored to have with us today former Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan to talk about national security priorities and challenges as we head into a new administration. I don’t have to tell you, but I’ll go through just the highlights of his career. As you know, a former U.S. Army officer and FBI special agent. In the House, Congressman Rogers served as chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he built a lasting legacy through his work on all aspects of national security policy, from cyber to counterterrorism to oversight of the broad intelligence community. Since he left Congress, Congressman Rogers has been a commentator on CNN and a syndicated radio host, and he is a widely-sought expert on any number of security issues. And he also, for a brief shining moment, led President-elect Trump’s national security transition team. So I don’t want to let that become an elephant in the room, so, Congressman, I’d like to start by asking you to talk a little bit about it, if you will – how you came to that job, why you left it, and I don’t really know how well you knew Mr. Trump beforehand, but what you learned through that process about his priorities and how he’s likely to approach them.
MIKE ROGERS: Oh, look at the time. (Laughter.) Did I – (inaudible) – this? Oh my God. How quickly this went by. So two things. And one thing I think Americans should know about these transitions, that it started long before the campaigns came to a conclusion on November 8th. So in 2015, Congress passed a law that basically set up an operational status right after the primaries so the Republicans and Democrats would have transitions to begin what is really a monumental task, if you think about it: over 4,000 appointments in 73 days. So think about all the vetting and all the policy changes, all the policy review, all of the legal analysis that has to happen. So what happened back in June is Governor Christie called me and said, hey, would you mind heading up this national security portfolio. This is an all kind of a volunteer operation, but we want to get ready for November 8th for the Republican candidate, should he win – which, obviously, he did. And so we went through the entire process, and it is a very organized, professional process. The Democrats did exactly the same thing, one floor up, and you can imagine the elevator rides were pretty interesting. (Laughter.) They were on the 8th floor, I think, we were on the 7th floor, or something like that. So, in that process, our goal was to hit certain metrics to make sure that all policy review is done – short, two-page kind of policy reviews; all of our longer policy reviews in each shop – so the economic shop, the domestic policy shop, the national security shop. I had the national security shop. So we assembled people to try to hit those goals. We didn’t have a relationship with the campaign at all, really – a little bit, but not much. And what we would do is try to take statements – so, when the president now-elect was candidate Trump giving a statement on national security, we would take that speech or that statement and say, all right, how would we fit that in? If we were tasked as a part of an administration to try to accomplish the kinds of things he’s talking about, what would it look like and how would we do it? Those were the kind of exercises we were going through to prepare for November 8th . So, on November 8th , as you can imagine there’s a merger and acquisition. The campaign now assumes control of the transition, and that was about the perfect time. If people were going to move on, that was the right time. They wanted the national security portfolio up in New York. It made a lot of sense to me. We had hit all our numbers, and we handed them binders full of good work, including names, and we had assembled lawyer teams to do the vetting of individuals to make sure that they could pass the standard to become nominated for the – for the role. So at that point I shifted it off and, as my wife said, my hobby and volunteer time was diminished greatly. (Laughter.) So she was pretty happy about that.
MS. DEYOUNG: (Laughs.) Well, I want to get to the last part of that question, which is what did you learn about priorities and decision-making looking ahead to the new administration?
MR. ROGERS: Well, first of all, it’s the greatest academic exercises I think I’ve ever been through in my life. I had never done anything quite like that where, again, you’re thinking of the largest organization in the world and how complex it is, to have a complete stop-to-standstill kind of an operation. We had two very different presidents, one handing off and one accepting. Imagine the task in trying to change that into the direction of the president-elect. It’s just a huge concept. It’s hard when a president goes from party to party, let alone party to other party. I mean, it’s just a huge, huge, monumental task. And the priorities are – the general priorities in the economy are the same. It’s the principles of which you apply to solve those problems in many cases are very, very, very, very different. And so, how would you apply these different principles to solve the same kinds of problems that both parties look at? And that really was the fundamental difference on the priorities. And again, I didn’t see the economic side or the domestic policy side; that wasn’t my gig. I looked at the national security posting and how we would either advise the president-elect to change. And they could either take all or little or none of the recommendations that we put together over those six months or so.
MS. DEYOUNG: Do you – you’ve talked about how a new administration has to hit the ground running, and also –
MR. ROGERS: As close to running as you can get.
MS. DEYOUNG: – how there is – you know, there’s a danger in the sort of vacuum in the chain of command, or a breach in the chain of command. We’ve got lots of issues that are moving very quickly now. As we watch the president-elect assemble his team of advisers, before we – before we get to any specific appointments, he said several times that he is his own best adviser. Once he was elected, he was offered intelligence briefings every day, the PDB, and I think recent reports that I’ve read is that he’s only actually done it three times since he was elected. To what extent do you think this talk about trusting one’s own instincts and really being somewhat dismissive of the intelligence community is something that Mr. Trump will be able to stick with? Is it advisable? Do you think the system itself just ensures that that’s not really what happens?
MR. ROGERS: Well, the national security apparatus of the United States is huge. It is just mammoth. When I was chairman, the 17 intelligence agencies’ unclassified budget was about $75 billion a year. That’s just the intelligence collection posture of the United States. Now, that happens to be both civilian and military intelligence collection operations. It’s huge. I mean, that’s just a huge – that’s bigger than most countries, and we spend a lot of money on a lot of different ways to try to collect information to give to policymakers to make good decisions, and in some case(s) take care of bad actors around the world. So, given that, the team that he put together – if you noticed, he announced his national security team pretty quickly. So I think he had a good understanding that that was something –
MS. DEYOUNG: Parts of it.
MR. ROGERS: Pardon?
MS. DEYOUNG: Parts of it.
MR. ROGERS: Well, important parts of it. The national security advisor I argue is probably the most central position, and that has to be somebody that has a strong relationship with the president. You are basically joined at the hip most days with your national security advisor because that’s the collection point of all of this mammoth information flowing into the White House. So there’s national security advisor, there’s CIA director. I think they’re still in conversations about the DNI. And I think they might even look at what they want the DNI to do; it may change a little bit in the next administration. I don’t know that for sure, and again I’m not speaking for the transition or the president-elect. We need to make that very clear. And so I do think that that part of it starts to consume how you make decisions. It is so huge, so monumental, you need a team around you that is filtering this information as much as the president himself is going to filter this information. I think that’s already starting to happen. I can see that starting to develop. And there’s another piece of this that kind of goes missing. They’re called landing teams. These are the folks that will show up at the agencies, and they started doing that, it’s my understanding, about last week. So these are teams that we had recommended. They had changed some of the names and vetted some of the names. You have these teams that will go in to the Defense Department, to the State Department, and all of the agencies across the government, and start getting ready for that transition, including making sure that the information flow – and there’s an understanding what the threat matrix is, so that on January 21st – and really, if you think about it, somebody just throws the keys on your desk: good luck, Mr. President. That’s the way it happens. So all of this is designed to try to iron that out a little bit so that you have some continuity across these agencies. I think all of that is happening now. You don’t see it. It’s not nearly as fun as watching the parade of people at Trump Tower, right? That’s a lot more exciting to watch on the news. This is the real work of getting ready and prepping to be president of the United States. All that work I can tell you is happening now.
MS. DEYOUNG: I’ll just – I’ll just put in a plug for the watching on the news. That’s the only window we have, is to watch who’s coming and going. And I agree with you it’s kind of a circus sometimes, and perhaps doesn’t reflect the seriousness of purpose.
MR. ROGERS: But it’s a nice place. If you’re going to have it, it’s a nice place to have it. (Laughter.)
MS. DEYOUNG: Well, you know, you talked about the importance of the national security advisor having a close relationship with the president. If you look at somebody like Mike Flynn – very senior, respected military intelligence officer, ran into some problems as head of DIA. He’s been extremely outspoken since his retirement, said that Islam is a malignant cancer, that it’s a political ideology rather than a religion. A lot of people in the intelligence community have objected to that, and even some people in Congress have not been that happy with him. You look at Mike Pompeo, a congressman who’s been named head of the – of the CIA, obviously he was on the Intelligence Committee under you. He was also a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi, where he was very outspoken and was coauthor of a report that took exception not only to the conclusions of the – of the Benghazi Select Committee, but also to the Intelligence Committee report that you – that you headed. In addition to General Flynn, there have been mentions, secretary of state, secretary of defense, military officers. And I think Trump said in his interview with The New York Times the other day that he thought it was time for a general to head the Defense Department. It’s not the first time that military – retired military officers have been appointed to Cabinet-level positions, but I think it’s the first time we’ve had so many of them up for it at one time. As you look at the – at the concerns that have been expressed both in Congress and in the intelligence community, I wonder if you can sort of interpret these appointments so far. Are we headed for some sort of clash between them? Does this all tend to work out in the end, as people rise to the occasion and see – kind of become less political as they’re faced with issues and that? How do you see this? You look at – Senator McCain’s been very critical of some of the things that not only Presidentelect Trump, but other members of his – of his transition team have said.
MR. ROGERS: I think the weight of the responsibility of these jobs begins to take over the day you walk through the front door. These are big, serious, high-consequence jobs, and I think that matters that you have people who have had a measure of success in their lives to be able to handle what’s coming at them. And I do think that changes people, and I don’t think that in a bad way. I don’t think they change their principles. I don’t think – I don’t believe any of that. I just think the nature of the work itself fundamentally changes the focus. Remember, if you’re in the political arena, you’re going to talk about political arena things that either highlight your philosophy as opposed to someone else, or not. When you’re in a national security position, that’s irrelevant. George Schultz, I think, said it best, the former secretary of state, when someone asked him about why maybe his foreign policy is different from his boss. And he said, well, that’s funny; I don’t have a foreign policy anymore, I have my boss’s foreign policy. And I think you’ll see a lot of that start to happen, right? I don’t care what – if it’s – if it’s Romney or some other secretary of state, everyone wants to find the clash that happens, right? That’s the exciting thing under the – any new administration. You know, I think you’ll find that these people understand that the secretary of state doesn’t get to have foreign policy anymore. They implement the president’s foreign policy. They can advise and counsel the president – and we could encourage all of them to do that, and they are doing that – but they don’t get to go out and do it on their own. That fight happens in a room somewhere, and they’ll wrestle it out. And when the – when the door opens, they’re moving out straightly to get whatever the U.S. position is, based on the president’s guidance. I think all of that’s happening. I really do. And I think, yes, it’s – you can take – you can parse a career’s worth of language and find some pretty awful things, I’m sure. Except for me, of course. (Laughter.) Boy, this is – you’re good. This crowd over here, we got to – (laughter) – we got to work on you all. And so I just worry that you can’t condemn these folks. You have to give them a chance to do the jobs at which they were appointed. I think that’s really important. If six months from now you – you know, America decides that ain’t working, I’ll guarantee you the president won’t either. But remember, Ronald Reagan did something interesting too. He had basically three chiefs of staff. He had this kind of weird arrangement when he got there. And about three months into it, they all realized, you know what, it’s not going to work, and he adjusted just fine. And I think this – they’re going to experience the same kinds of changes, pushes and pulls, as they go into the administration. You’ll find some things that you see today that won’t be there three months from now. I passionately believe that. And, you know, it’ll be just this going through the process – you know, pretty easy to plan to be president; it’s not easy to be president. You know, I think every president ever elected has said that. And so that’s the process you’re seeing happen now. It’s a maturation that I don’t think is bad, it’s just what it is. It is adapting to the weight of the national security threats that are facing the United States, and I think those kind of comments will be less important in their lives than the work that they’re about to embark on on January 21st .
MS. DEYOUNG: And the – assuming that some more military people end up in the national security top tier, should that be something to be concerned about?
MR. ROGERS: I mean, I’m not – I would normally not give advice to have a general walk into the civilian job of secretary of defense. However, I think there are exceptions. And I’ll tell you, I think General Mattis is an exception. If you’ve ever had the privilege to know him or get to know him, I don’t think he has a TV in his house, but he has 10,000 books – and those are just the ones that he kept after he read. They guy is brilliant. He’s a brilliant strategist. He’s a brilliant tactician. And the guy is a fierce warrior. He’s an internationalist. So some notion that you hire a general to go break things is counterintuitive when you meet a guy like General Mattis. So I think he is one of the few general officers that you would want to go assume that role. And I say that after talking to lots of general officers who I have high – just a ton of respect for, who tell you be careful, you don’t want a general thinking at the head of the Department of Defense, not because they’re bad; they just – you know, it takes a long time to grow a general. They have certain ideas and certain directions they think the country ought to go. So that’s the only change. But when I saw General Mattis’ name, you know, I was encouraging that when I was there, that he should be considered for something. I think he is a brilliant national security asset to the United States, and we ought to use him where we can. If the president-elect thinks that’s the job and Congress concurs – he’s got to get a waiver – I think that would be probably a good thing. And I wouldn’t look at it as this guy’s ready to pull a saber and charge the hill. If you don’t – you might think that with some of his language when he’s talking to Marines who are about to go into combat, but when you talk to him about strategy and global engagement you’ll have a very different conversation. And I that’s what people need to understand about Jim.
MS. DEYOUNG: But isn’t it less the idea that, oh, he’s a general, he’s a warrior, he’s going to take us into war, less that than sort of preserving the concept of having civilians in charge of the military?
MR. ROGERS: Well, he’s a civilian now. He’s not a military officer now. So he – you know, he’s been out I want to say three or four years. I can’t remember.
MS. DEYOUNG: 2013.
MR. ROGERS: 2013, so three years, be close to four years when he gets out. So he does qualify as a civilian. He didn’t go from stars to secretary. He had some interim time out. And so, again, I wouldn’t – honestly, I would not recommend it often. I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of generals that could make the transition. I do think, when I saw General Mattis’ name and the encouraging conversation we had, you know, prior to November 8th about an officer like General Mattis, that I felt better about it. And again, I’m not somebody that would think this is normally a good idea. I felt good about him. I do think there are few officers that can make that change, and I think he’s one of those officers that can do it.
MS. DEYOUNG: I want to go back to the question of Congress and how you think Congress is going to work with the new administration. As I said before, there have been – some members have said some pretty harsh things about relations with Russia, about returning to the use of torture. How is that relationship going to work? A lot of members were not supporters of Donald Trump.
MR. ROGERS: True. But Mike Pence is a very well-respected former member of Congress, and I have a feeling you will see the vice president spend more time engaged with congressional liaison than probably most vice presidents in the past, which I think is a good thing. There are some serious, big agenda items. So when you get down to the narrow issues on a campaign – and remember, that’s a campaign. Campaigns are – it’s a full-contact sport. But when it’s done, you pick up the other team, right, and move along, and go on to the next event. This is that next big event. I think members will tone down. I don’t think – listen, I think the president-elect is going to go in and find out that he has a list of enhanced interrogation techniques that are available to him under the law that are classified. My argument is smart people around him will explain why you use these sparingly, if ever at all. And waterboarding isn’t one of those, and the Congress passed a law that made waterboarding illegal. If you’re going to do that, you have to change the law first before you tell somebody to do it. So you remember the hype of a campaign, you think that the president’s going to run in and say do something illegal, I just don’t believe that. I think the counsel of the people that you put around you are going to give the next president options of which to choose. And I can’t imagine people talking about using that option. That’s a very complicated, high-political-capital, low-yield result effort for what he would want to accomplish. So I imagine that smart people around him would give him that advice. And yes, they disagreed with him, but there is – you know, you’re never going to find a politician you agree with 100 percent. If you do, I suggest you marry that person. (Laughter.) And thankfully, now it doesn’t matter what – so you can do that just about everywhere now. This is good, right? It’s 2016. (Laughter.) OK, now this section needs to step up. (Laughter.) For God’s sakes, people. I know it’s been a long day, but work with me on the – So I do think you’re going to see a – people are going to – tempers are going to calm down. And the effort that I think is possible for this administration on the economy and other things – I mean, there’s a reason you’re seeing the stock market go crazy, because they think he’s going to get something done on his economic agenda that will help the economy. Fantastic. And I think you’ll find that people start rallying around the things that are possible versus the things we disagree with. That’s politics, in my mind.
MS. DEYOUNG: What about, beyond torture, other things that have been subject to – particularly identified with President Obama? And I look at the whole counterterrorism campaign and the kind of rules of the road that they laid out on the use of lethal force, drones, and other things. These are all presidential directives, and – which Donald Trump could come in and just get rid of tomorrow, or January 20th .
MR. ROGERS: Mmm hmm, he could.
MS. DEYOUNG: Some of them are pretty restrictive in terms of collateral damage, in terms of international law. Do you – would you expect that the new administration would be – would kind of welcome that kind of guidance as at least something they don’t need to worry about immediately? Or would you expect that there will be some immediate movement on things like that, basically to comport with his pledge to be much tougher on the Islamic State, be much tougher on counterterrorism in general?
MR. ROGERS: Yeah, and a lot of that will be based – this new effort, I think, you’ll see on ISIS is going to be more of a rules of engagement instruction and debate in policy formation than it is any big, major – I mean, you’re not going to see the 101st Airborne Division parachuting into eastern Syria. It’s not going to happen. And there was no program that I saw from anywhere that would call for that. There are things that can change to be – to allow our special capability forces to leverage up both other nations’ special capability forces, as well as their conventional forces. And I think you will see that dynamic change. I’m sure there will be a hearty and healthy debate about that and what it should look like, but I think you’re going to see that activity that many think – and I happen to be in that camp – that if you allow that activity to happen, you’ll have a much higher impact on the battlefield and a better disruptive action in contact with the enemy. And I think if you do that, you can have some pretty good results quickly. And that’s what they were talking about. And you’re talking about an airstrike campaign. That will go on until the next president either turns it off – he will have to affirmatively turn that off. That is a program that is engaged in disruption of terrorist activities in the world. I argue it’s one of the most effective and impactful campaigns ever waged against terrorism. So certainly if I were in that sphere, I would argue why you need to do it, and why you need to continue to do it to continue to disrupt enemy activities that are planning contact – operations against the United States or our allies. And so I don’t think you’ll see a radical adjustment. But what you will see is, I think, a more effective use and a more responsible use. I don’t know if he’ll do it. This was not in the thing – anything I recommended. I think it’s wrong that Congress has not supported the fact that we have troops in contact with the enemy today without congressional authorization. I think it will be – this is my – this is Mike Rogers, void of anything else – I think it’s wrong. We just lost a soldier in Raqqa – right outside of Raqqa, actually a sailor. It’s wrong that Congress has not authorized military force when we know the president is doing it and Congress is funding them doing it. I think it’s wrong. I think it’s, candidly, one of the weakest points of our national security strategy. I think it would be a very powerful thing if Congress came out of the chute and gave the president what President Obama asked for, candidly, was the authorization to use troops in combat in both Iraq and Syria. It sends a very clear message to our adversaries, number one. And number two, I think it’s lawful to do that. And so that’s my personal pet peeve. If you’re going to have all of those adjustments, I hope Congress has the courage to stand up and make – it’s a difficult vote. But it’s a vote that has to happen if you’re going to ask these young men and women to risk their lives for the United States.
MS. DEYOUNG: But how do you – how do you get over what the problem was in the past, that there was basically, across the aisle, very deep disagreements over what it should say and what kind of power should be included. Trump, as far as I know, didn’t say anything in the campaign about a new AUMF.
MR. ROGERS: Yeah, this is just me, Mike Rogers.
MS. DEYOUNG: So how do you – is that something you would expect to come from Congress, that they would get together and over –
MR. ROGERS: I would hope so. There is a band of party fellows, men and women in Congress who believe this is the right thing. I think you’ll find a lot of people who served in the military believe this is the right thing, who are now serving in Congress. There’s a good – the new freshman class has a pretty high percentage of folks who have served in the military. And you hope that they come to this conclusion. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it. And got to start getting over that notion in the legislature here in Washington, D.C. So I do think you’re going to see a call and some pressure to do it. Nobody wants to do it. It’s an easy thing to demagogue. Oh, you’re calling for full-on war. Doesn’t have to be any of that. But I do think it’s wrong that we haven’t authorized – the Congress, excuse me – has not authorized this. This was my pitch when I was in, up until 2015. It’s my pitch today. I just think it’s wrong that we’re fighting this war, hoping nobody notices. I think that’s wrong. And I think we’re going to have to get our act together. And if you want to make those changes, my argument would be, Mr. President, coming in, that ought to be a part of your equation, so you can do this in the full faith and credit of the United States of America. Right now it’s your debate. Does the president really have the ability to deploy as long as he has, as much as he has over the last two or three years? I don’t know. Some lawyers say yes. Some lawyers say no. And as a former member of Congress, I think we need to be engage in that decision.
MS. DEYOUNG: So maybe it’s a good idea – I mean, it would be a good recommendation for the president himself to come out early on and say: I want this.
MR. ROGERS: It would be the right – I think it would be the right thing to do. I mean, is it – does it have – does it come with a whole bunch of political capital in a place where the country is divided? You could imagine the political firestorm that shortly follows that debate, which would be unfortunate. But you know it’s going to happen. So I imagine that’s the calculus they’ll go through. If I can get these five things done, does that rise to the level, knowing that I have this legal authority that someone told me I had to do this? You can understand, there’s the political conundrum which the next president will face.
MS. DEYOUNG: So the – taking you back to your former life on the Intelligence Committee, the House just this week approved the intelligence budget, and put out a statement – at least, the chairman put out a statement saying that one of the important things it does is enhances efforts against nation-state competitors, in particular by increasing scrutiny of Russian activities, including Russia’s covert influence efforts. The president-elect indicated during the campaign that he didn’t necessarily agree with the intelligence community conclusion that Russia had intentionally interfered with some cyber shenanigans in the politics of this country, including trying to influence the election. Talk a little bit about how important the whole cyber effort is going to be for the new president and, in particular, how that affects the relationship that he has said he would like to build with Russia?
MR. ROGERS: Yeah. Well, on cyber, writ large, Russia is a problem. But you remember, this is a technique that Russia has used forever. 1970s they were very good at it. Matter of fact, there’s a great book called “The World Was Going our Way,” by a former KGB officer. And it’s pretty thick, it’ll take you a while to get through it, but it’s actually really good reading on how they use covert influence operations, covert information and counter-information dissemination, how they bribed reporters. So they were doing the same thing around elections. They were trying to disrupt elections. But they didn’t care who won necessarily – well, in some cases they did. But they cared about having people not believe in the – in the full faith and credit of that election, that my vote actually meant what it said when I went in. And so that was what – the Russians have been doing this for a long time. So some notion that this is a new event. It’s not a new event, except now think about it, they can conduct the same kind of operation sitting in Moscow or Belarus or fill-in-the-blank, or at a beach resort in Crimea. (Laughter.) All right, there’s the intel folks right over there, got it. Just checking – just checking to see where you were. If you think about how aggressive they can be, it’s pretty amazing. And the fact that they were engaged in activity, and weren’t necessarily all that concerned that their signatures, their tradecraft was not great, but they were – that you could see their signatures, told you that they kind of knew that they were trying to cause trouble somewhere in the world. And all they had to do is produce doubt. That’s really I think what that campaign – my theory that that campaign was all about. That is one set of problem in cyberspace. This next administration, I argue today, before their four years is up, will face a significant cyber event in the United States. It is just inevitable. We are just our noses above water trying to keep up. And if you think about how amazing Iran has stepped up its game and engagement, and they’re kind of poking around at our financial institutions, it is just – it’s really staggering. This was the year of ransomware. I mean, if you think about the Presbyterian hospital in Los Angeles earlier this year had a ransomware event where they went in and basically shut down their ability to access records, to find out billing cycles, also scheduling events for X-rays and lab – you know, lab results. So they had to stop operations at this hospital. They couldn’t conduct operations at this hospital. So they contact the world’s greatest law enforcement agency – I may be biased – the FBI of the United States. And you know what the greatest law enforcement agency says? Pay the ransom. Move out smartly. Now, if you think about, if that’s their answer, and that money – very clever, I think they had gotten it down to about $50,000, I think is the public number –
MS. DEYOUNG: Who did it? I mean, who was responsible?
MR. ROGERS: This looks like probably international organized crime, very sophisticated, likely Eastern Bloc oriented. And we’re finding, by the way, that these Eastern Bloc organized crime events have some signatures that we would find with another intelligence services, and I don’t want to mention any – Russia. (Laughter.) It’s really concerning. So there’s some kind of a weird sharing arrangement going on. To me, they’re advancing – they’re taking really good tradecraft material and tools and handing it off to organizations that they know are going to go do bad things with it, that aren’t necessarily related to the government, kind of. And so we’re seeing this weird trend happen in cyberspace. And with the sheer volume and level of attacks – I just got out of New York. We’re trying to align security and the digital economy coming up. So we have folks sitting at – really smart people in the room trying to figure out how do we align these interests so we’re not at each other’s throats on privacy versus protection. And to see CSOs, who are part of the financial services protection network, literally get beads of sweat when they talk about how they’re just hanging on. And you take one bank out, like Iran took out Saudi Aramco a few years ago – you take one bank out, some of these banks clear – well, one in particular – $7 trillion a day in global transactions. What if that bank goes away? And I’m not talking about shuts down for a few hours. I’m not talking about a DDoS attack that closes it down and makes them kind of figure out a way around it for a little while, and push back on the DDoS attack. I’m talking about a wiper virus gets in and we don’t know who owes who what kind of money. And we know that our adversaries are getting better at this. And all of our nation-state adversaries are getting better. I think that the Navy War College put out that China has something on the order of 800,000 cyber warriors, right? Our big push when I was there was try to get 15,000 more. They have 800,000. And they don’t all have to be great. People say, oh, the capabilities. OK, 800,000 coming at you is pretty hard to beat. So I think we’re going to have this big problem. And the federal government’s policy is not – we are not where we need to be. We had some good starts. Cyber sharing, good start. How the DHS is configured to help us stop these kind of things, good start. But if you talk to the industry folks, when they tell DHS – they go, yeah, we love it. And they come out of the room and they go, this thing is not working, all right? Nobody wants to tell the regulator it ain’t working. Well, guess what? I can tell you, it ain’t working. And we’re going to have to have a dramatic change. Here’s the good news. I think this administration has a great opportunity to walk in and start lashing up whole-of-government cyber relevance. So we have to make sure that you get the best player – the value of the best players on the field, our NSA folks who go overseas and steal nasty things that our adversaries are doing. How we get that worked into an ecosystem of cyber sharing where companies can keep it off of your networks before it gets to you. And then how each of these governments works together. I’ll guarantee you that the Agriculture Department is very different at keeping them out than, say, the CIA, right? There’s two very different capabilities. We need to make sure they have all of those same capabilities across the government. And the policy of when offensive cyber is good, when the government says that they can name – it’s a nation-state who did it, attribution, right? I think the cyber insurance market can fill – help us fill the void of getting every company up to standard. If you’re – if you’re going to get this insurance – this is pretty boring stuff, I know. Can you tell I just had four hours of this yesterday? I’m giving you my whole briefing. (Laughter.) I’m just kidding. So anyway, I won’t go into too much more detail. But it is a very serious problem that we’re going to have to address. But it’s criminal in nature. And it’s nation-state in nature in a way that we’ve never seen before.
MS. DEYOUNG: Well, take it back to Russia, though. How do you – if you do what the president-elect has said he wants to do, which is to join – improve relations with Russia, have partnerships with Russia on a lot of issues, can you do that at the same time that you’re really taking a strong stand on cyber? Can you separate those things out?
MR. ROGERS: I think you can. You know, listen, I think every president has tried it. George Bush tried it. Remember, he looked into the eyes of Putin and saw his soul. I may have slaughtered that, but something like that.
MS. DEYOUNG: Something like that.
MR. ROGERS: Yeah, something like that. Barack Obama tried it. Hillary Clinton tried it, with the reset, right? I’ve never met anybody – and do you really want somebody coming in saying we can never, ever, ever – this can’t be done? Probably not, right? This is a new chance, a new opportunity, a new approach. But we just have to have enough sense to know that you can’t give him a lot of rope, right? I’m all for talking with Putin. I’m not going to give him very much rope. You can’t give him much rope. So if we can find ways where we can impact an area of the world for the better, why not? But we also have to understand that there is a constant undermine – we have more FSB, SVR, GRU officers in the United States today – their intelligence apparatus – than we did at the height of the Cold War. A, it’s easier to get here.
MS. DEYOUNG: They’re not here at exchange students?
MR. ROGERS: No, I don’t – I think they’re kind of interested in other things. And so you just have to understand the adversary of which you’re dealing with. It doesn’t mean you can’t talk to your adversary. You can’t give them things that you ought not to be giving them, but you can have a conversation. Remember, at the end of the day, you better have at least a conversation. They still have nuclear missiles pointed at the United States and the full capability to engage, launch and attack with a nuclear attack. Oh, by the way, so does China, right? So sometimes we forget about that. And so you have to have engagement at the right level on those issues. You can engage on other issues. You just have to understand they’re trying to beat you in cyber, they’re trying to beat you intelligence, and they’re going to try to beat you in influence around the world in ways that isn’t good for the United States.
MS. DEYOUNG: But if you look at areas where – at least Trump has outlined areas of cooperation, like Syria. What happens in Syria if there is a fairly abrupt change in strategy? We’ve got opposition people there that the CIA trains, arms, supports. They’re about to get themselves kicked out of – if they’re lucky – Aleppo. Will be distributed in kind of clumps around the country. What happens if there’s a decision not to continue that program? Or what are the equities that start to be considered?
MR. ROGERS: I mean, I would be cautious of any statement you hear before there’s a final decision. There’s lots of information that his team will pore over before I think that decision is made. And we’re talking about the decision of freeing up the rebels, well, I would argue, walking away from them is just not a very good idea. But, you know, that will be the president’s decision. If he feels there’s a value proposition that’s better than that, I certainly didn’t see it, but maybe somebody smarter than me can find that. I would argue that the attacks that you see on Aleppo today is this transition period of danger for every transition we’ve ever had in this history of this country. (Chuckles.) And watch out for North Korea. They’re not done yet either. And so I think the Russians made a calculated decision, this is a lame duck president, there’s not much they’re going to do to change the fight – the way they’re fighting this fight, or not. And the Russians decided to ramp it up, and the Iranians agreed. So all of this bombing, all of this attack, all of these new fresh troops you see pouring into Aleppo from the Assad regime are all propped up by the Russian government and the Iranian government. And they figure there’s nothing –
MS. DEYOUNG: And they’re Iranians, a lot of them, and Iraqis, yeah.
MR. ROGERS: Well, yeah. There is that. Yeah, there is that. And so what they’re doing is trying to take advantage of this period where no – nothing is going to change. And they know nothing is going to change, right? I mean, it was – if you imagine most of you are more aware than most, sitting in the National Security Council of Vladimir of Putin looking at this, what advice would you give him? Yeah, you’d say go – let’s do it, and let’s do it now, and let’s do as much damage as we can today, right? That’s what you would tell him, right? Because you’re interested in his outcome. You know that’s happening. And same with Iran. They feel obviously the same way. So as much distance as they can get beyond the borders of Aleppo, you watch, that’s what they’re going to do. And they don’t have the same calculus that we do. They don’t care if they bomb a hospital, or civilians, or children. They don’t care, right? And you know, we – that’s not who we are and that’s not the way we should fight, but you have to understand that they’re using all of that moral lack of compass in this fight right now, and there’s no way to push back really. I mean, it would be great if the president-elect and the president would sit in a room and figure out a way to push back today. Not going to happen, likely. That would be a great outcome. Probably not going to happen. But if you don’t see that happening – and President Obama doesn’t have a lot of options left. I mean, he can engage higher, but you don’t want to have a strategy that lasts till January 20th. That’s dangerous, and it’s not fair to the troops fighting the fight, right? That’s just not a good thing. So you’re – there’s going to be this lull. They – our adversaries know it, and they’re taking full advantage of it.
MS. DEYOUNG: Well, that – we could apply that to lots of other places, and we haven’t talked about – really about Iran, China, North Korea. I’d like to open the floor to questions, and hopefully some of you will bring that up. There are people with microphones who will bring them to you. I’ll call on you. If you could identify yourself and then ask your question. Yes, ma’am.
Q: I’m Mitzi Wertheim. I’m with the Naval Postgraduate School. This is an incredibly informative session, so thank you both very much. I have two questions about regulations. And I don’t know if the rules have changed, but it was my understanding that at least 40 years ago, when – you’re losing 4,000 people that are walking out on January 20th. These are the one that require Senate confirmation. Can the new people come in and take over those jobs without Senate confirmation? And my other question turns out to be about your software. When the whole software thing was getting started, one of the things the Defense Department was told, you’re not allowed to select a winner, and the consequence was all the services chose different software systems, and then they discovered they couldn’t talk to one another. So from a regulation standpoint, how do you deal with both of these issues?
MR. ROGERS: Yeah, you can’t – the Senate is a little touchy about people who are not – have not gone through the confirmation process to go show up. So you can have these acting regimes. So you can take people who are in these agencies and move them up into action positions.
Q: Civil service, yeah.
MR. ROGERS: Yes. And you have the benefit of having these landing teams right there, right? So you’ll get some sense of – you’ll – that’s the way you hope you get continuity in government in any administrational change. So I feel confident that – I know that part is happening. You’ll get some of these acting assignments. The people who, by the way, are nominated for those jobs will be – then become a part of the transition, but they can’t go to the – you know, let’s say the next secretary of state, fill in the blank, your favorite candidate, they would go down to the transition. The landing teams report – are down at the secretary of state’s office, going through the changes, the planning, the questions, all of that, reporting back to the secretary of state who’s likely in the building right around the corner here. And so that’s the way that would work to get ready for that transition. So that part I feel pretty good about. And you’re right on the cyber piece. I mean, I could go on forever. I mean, think about OPM. At 20 million SF-86– any SF-86 people in here get your letters, got your letters? Yeah? Got your letters? Letters saying basically that somebody ripped off your stuff? Likely China. As a matter of fact, I had to go the other day – I had to reup my SF-86. I hit my five-year window. Reupping my – I couldn’t remember where I lived 25 years ago. I couldn’t remember the address. So I called the Chinese embassy. (Laughter.) And I – just tell you, some of the best customer service I’ve ever had. (Laughter.) This is a huge problem for us. We have these old legacy systems. And every time you patch a legacy system – right? – you build in a vulnerability. That’s the problem. And so this is where we have to come in and have the courage to say we’re going to – we’re going to – we have to do this all over again. And the way we would defend a network now with mobile devices – now right, the big – the bead of sweat issue now is mobile devices. You have a mobile device that people are bringing in to your networks. How do you map that? How do you push your perimeter out? Now they’re seeing the perimeter is dead. That’s the kind of new thing in cyber-speak, right? You have this – the complication of these issues is getting greater. The only way we’re going to do that is have a whole-ofgovernment approach. We don’t have that. You know, people are building their own systems. The FBI decided to build their own system, 800 million bucks, didn’t work, not once but twice. So we – no longer are we – do we have the luxury to do that knowing the sheer volume of things that are coming in at the federal government. We’re just going to have to get a lot better about it. And we have to do it soon. So I’m hoping that you get this new chain. It’s a hard thing to do, and it’s not sexy.
Q: Are you going to – are you going to select a winner? You know, are you going to say this belongs to Amazon and this belongs to Microsoft, or whatever?
MR. ROGERS: They are doing some of that. So if you’re talking about cloud stuff, Amazon is actually doing some of the cloud services work for the federal government. That’s good. They are – you know, you can stress that system a lot, and they do pretty well in the testing of it. So there’s – all of that is starting to happen. It’s just not as fast. And if you talk to someone from Silicon Valley, the first thing they tell you is, whatever you do, don’t want to do a contract with the federal government, right? This is the first problem we have to fix. What we need – we need the private sector engaged in helping the federal government solve this problem, because they’re always going to be light years ahead, and they are light years ahead. So that’s the part I think the new administration can do, is try to bring in those people to help fix these systems. Even if people come in and go home: great. I’m for that, right? But if we don’t do that – and all of these – like the DUIx (sic; DIUx), great idea, right? This is a new way to interject technology into the military because it takes so dang long; DARPA, IARPA – all of these are code words for acquisition is broken, we have to go around it. And so, you know, as a member of Congress, you could spend 30 years trying to fix acquisition to fix that problem. We’re not going to do it right away. We’re going to have to have these private sector groups come in and help us fix the problem.
MS. DEYOUNG: Okay. This gentleman back here.
Q: Thank you. Thank you for coming again, and this has been very helpful. My name is Doug Brooks. I’m with the International Stability Operations Association, also the Afghan American Chamber of Commerce. And this entire day, there’s been very, very little discussion of Afghanistan, which is a bit disturbing. One of the things that I think many people have brought up is the need to reassure allies, and in this particular case Afghanistan needs to be reassured. They do not know what’s going to happen with the new administration. I think some early word from the administration that there’s going to be some sort of long-term continuity would be enormously helpful, and hopefully more robust policy. Is there any sort of signed that we may get some early statements along those lines?
MR. ROGERS: Don’t know. Again, I’m not with the transition, these days, so I want to be careful about it. But I do think you reach a very important point. I’ll tell you about – very quickly, one of my first visits to Afghanistan. I decided I wanted to go to the children’s hospital as aside from the other mission set that we had downtown. We still didn’t control that part. It was very early. I think we were the first congressional delegation there, to see if we could help. Because if you remember, the Indian government had pulled out when the U.S. came in, and they basically took all of their medical stuff with them, left this particular children’s hospital in a dire strait. Long story short, a woman who had been trained in the United States as a doctor had basically been imprisoned in the back of her home for six years. She has never been able to leave her home. She was an orthopedic surgeon, never left her house in six years. She walked about 10 miles to go – she greeted me at this children’s hospital. And I don’t even want to describe the conditions of the hospital at that time. It was – it would break your heart. I mean, these are kids, two and three per bed. And so I’ll never forget it. At the end of this, I asked this woman, I said listen – you know, because we could still hear the shelling. They were just trying to push out that first mountain ridge when I was there – does this bother you? Should we be here? Is this a bad thing, a good thing? And I’ll never forget it. She said: Then grab my jacket. She said: Yesterday, in that bed, where there three kids, I didn’t have the right medical devices, surgical supplies, anesthetic, didn’t have the right bandages, but I had to amputate the leg and arm of a – I think he was a 9-year-old boy which stepped on an old Soviet mine, whose parents put him in a wagon and over about 15 to 20 miles got him to this hospital, and I’m the only chance he had. If it weren’t for the United States of America, we would have no chance at all. And I think this will be a stain in our national character if we walk away from the women that we asked to come out of the back of those homes to engage in the government of Afghanistan and life in Afghanistan. So I hope that America wakes up about what that challenge is. It’s an easy place to forget. We shouldn’t. It’s wrong. We’ve made a commitment to half of the population there that we wouldn’t let them get slaughtered. If you know in the eastern provinces they closed 274 girls schools, right? Shot them up. Poisoned one whole school where the girls who were going to get an education, right? This is – this is a matter of American character, and I hope to God we have the courage to stand up and meet that challenge. I think this administration will get this piece right. I know America is tired, but we forgot to tell them why we’re there and the kind of people that we are helping bring stability to a place where stability means peace in the United States. I don’t know if they’re going to have that conversation. You certainly might have some feeling how maybe I have advocated, but we’ll see what happens. I do think you’re going to see a different posture in Afghanistan. I just can’t tell you what that might be.
MS. DEYOUNG: Yes. And then I’ll come over here. Sorry.
Q: Hi, I’m Tim Johnson from McClatchy Newspapers. So much of the infrastructure of the internet is commercial and privately owned. President-elect Trump has said that he wants the Pentagon to take a greater role in protecting that. Are there legal ramifications? What needs to be changed legally to allow the Pentagon to have a role in protecting commercial interests?
MR. ROGERS: Yeah, and so two things are going to happen. I don’t know if you heard the question, but 85 percent of the networks in the United States are private sector networks, and you don’t want the NSA – and contrary to popular belief, the NSA is not on those networks – and you really don’t want the Defense Department trolling your private sector networks. That’s a bad idea. There are ways, we think, through use of sensors deployed downrange. This is more technical than you probably want to be. So what our goal here would be is if you can see something bad coming by a sensor that our – either our Department of Defense or NSA or fill in the blank agency, you see something bad going by that sensor, external to your network, wouldn’t it be great if we could share that information in real time, mitigate that problem in real time? How much damage could we – could we stop, right? Huge. And so I do think that there are ways to do it. This is – we are still on a hangover from an NSA contractor who sold out his country, stole 1.7 million files, and is now in the loving arms of an FSB agent outside of Moscow, right? And we still think somehow that the folks who are trying to protect us are bad people. We need to shake ourselves out of it. There is a legitimate privacy security debate that needs to happen, surely. And how you implement that is going to be critically important. But what other security threat would we say, guess what, China’s coming to get you, they’re going to launch everything they have. They have a weapon in their kit that will wipe out everything that your business does in a nanosecond. Good luck with that, right? We wouldn’t do that on any other security thing we do in the world. If someone showed up on the shore of – and launched a conventional missile that hit a warehouse that was empty – nobody to kill – but ruined every Hollywood movie that was getting ready to get distributed for a particular motion picture – right? – we would be outraged, wouldn’t we? Wouldn’t we say that’s an act of war? Happened to Sony Pictures, right? What’s the difference if it’s electronic or it’s conventional? We just have to wake ourselves up to the notion that, guess what, we are under siege. America is at war in cyberspace, and we’re not necessarily winning. And so can we engage these greater capability at the perimeters to help stop bad things from happening? And it – by the way, this – the only way this is going to work is if the private sector joins in this fight, right? So every company has to get better. Every company’s going to have to defend itself, just like you – we’re going to require – you know, you need to lock your door and if you can swing it, put an alarm on your house – right? – that’s – you’ve got to do that. But you also have the police force. We need to have that kind of a joint effort in trying to protect that 85 percent of our network, because we are getting our clocks cleaned. Think of this. The – we heard this interesting figure yesterday on the insurance piece, the cyber insurance. Oh, I’m going to get it wrong, so I won’t tell you. The lopsided nature of the payouts versus what the losses were, were unbelievable. I mean, this – we’re just getting killed. And so we’re going to create an insurance industry that’s going to pay out a lot of money, which means everything you buy and pay for is going to get more expensive, because we don’t have the courage to put our best players to try to defend our networks. Makes no sense to me whatsoever.
MS. DEYOUNG: But is this – is this stuff on the new administration’s screen? I mean, you didn’t hear – it was not something that was – doesn’t really lend itself to a lot of campaign discussion other than –
MR. ROGERS: Did you see how many – did you see how many people just fell asleep when I did my cyber rant? (Laughter.) Right? About half – I lost half the room.
MS. DEYOUNG: Yeah. I mean –
MR. ROGERS: It is a hard thing. It’s a hard thing to get people who are interested in talking about it, because it is – it gets complicated in a hurry, really in a hurry. And you do have legitimate debates on both sides. I don’t mean to minimize. I do think you can have protection of our economy and prosperity of a robust e-economy, but you have to do it together. That’s our new – can we do this together.
MS. DEYOUNG: But do you think they see this as an urgent problem? Do they see it as something that’s going to hit them in the face right away?
MR. ROGERS: Well, I mean, the fact that they were considering, according to public reports, Mike Rogers who – Admiral Mike Rogers – and you cannot have enough Mike Rogers on national security – (laughter) – I think that was a good sign. I think that was some recognition that you – we have a huge cyber threat breathing down our neck, and you need at least some senior-level person that understands what this threat is and how we – we’re going to have to work to solve it. And this isn’t easy, by the way. I don’t mean to think it’s an easy solution. I don’t think it is. I think this is going to take some time, but I do think we’ve got to get started on it or we’re going to get – we’re going to be behind. But so I do think that, yes, just by the fact that they were talking to Admiral Rogers, I thought that was a good sign – who’s the head of the NSA, by the way.
MS. DEYOUNG: Sure.
Q: I’m Ron Tierksy from Amherst College. I’d like to ask you to talk a little about Donald Trump himself, your understanding of Donald Trump. Donald – in one particular sense, Donald Trump is a businessman. This could be good, this could be bad. One thing he has said – when – he’s said that one of his qualities, given that he’s a businessman, is that he knows how to get things done. What do you think the effects will be, if any, of the fact that Donald Trump comes to the presidency having had his whole career in the private sector, as a businessman, to make a joke, particularly in New York real estate, so to speak?
MR. ROGERS: Yeah. Listen, I think this – America selected Donald Trump for a reason, and I think it was that, probably a host – a whole host of other things. But he also talked about the economy in a way – I come from Michigan. We build cars. If you’re – you know, if you’re not from Michigan and worked somewhere around a car factory in some way, shape or form, you probably haven’t been around a long time. I’ve worked in a factory in Michigan. And so when you – when he – he talked about a message that people hadn’t heard who are working in these factories. And you saw the Carrier issue today. You can debate whether that was great or not, but it’s saved a lot of people their jobs. I think that his focus on the economy is what attracted people to him and I think it’s the kinds of things that the people hope that he can get done. I think that’s why you saw the market react the way that it did. Remember it was supposed to be God-awful? You were going to lose all of your 401(k) money if Donald Trump got elected? The world would come to an end? Dogs would lay over dead in the street? (Laughter.) I mean, it was really quite – got quite ridiculous, I thought, at the end. And why the market reacted well is because he talked about a solid economic plan, where most economists look at it and go, you know, that could – that’s going to spur growth. You have, I think, both chambers here on the Hill that are saying we think we can work with this economic plan and get a lot of this passed. So, I mean, my argument is, we’ve tried lots of politicians. We haven’t tried a business guy. Give the guy a chance. That’s all I’m saying, you know? Listen, was he my first pick when I was in the primaries? No. But my argument is, Americans stood up and said we want to go in a different direction. I think that what he brings to it is that different direction. And if he can accomplish – think of this. He’s talked about corporate tax reform. Obama talked about corporate tax reform for eight years. He couldn’t ever get it done. If he can get it done, huge influx of jobs into the United States and capital and money. I mean, there’s huge growth potential. If he does it, it’s good on him. Good for America. At the end of the day, we would all prosper. Every sector of this society, every demographic of this society will benefit from a stronger economy. You know, good on him. I say just let him – let him give it a whirl. And what I’ve seen so far is he’s pretty businesslike in his approach. As a matter of fact, if you notice his appointments are all a little bit left of X here, if you look back at the standard timeframe for presidential selections of Cabinet posts, and I just think that’s because he gets in, he goes through the process, and he pulls the trigger and moves on to the next event. As a matter of fact, I’ve never met Donald Trump, by the way. Worked on his – that was not part of the deal. One of the things that impressed me is, I don’t want to hear about the transition. I want it done professionally, but I don’t want to hear about it. We got that down. And the other one said, I’m going to celebrate on Election Night exactly four hours, and then I’m going to get to work on a transition. This was before the election, right? And we all snickered and said, oh, yeah. And I’m telling you, maybe it was six hours, but he got right back up the next morning and started focusing on the transition. I think he comes at the problem set very, very differently. And it could be refreshing. You know, we should all – let’s all come back together for a cocktail 18 months from now. We’ll share stories.
MS. DEYOUNG: Yes, in the – in the back. We’ll start back and then go up to the three of you. Yes. Let’s let him start.
Q: Hi. My name is Maksym Kravchuk. I’m from the Embassy of Ukraine. I have a very short question. Congressman, what advice would you give to new administration on how to deal with Russian rogue behavior in Ukraine, including Russian aggression in the eastern part of Ukraine and its attempted illegal annexation of Crimea? Thank you.
MR. ROGERS: Yeah, thank you. And I’ve been to the Maidan, been to Ukraine multiple times, worked with some of your burgeoning intelligence services, so my thoughts and prayers go to the people that you lost during that whole – and continue to lose, by the way, in Ukraine. I thought one of the most powerful speeches I heard in my time in Congress outside of the membership was your president when he came to the U.S. House floor and pleaded for support from the United States –I thought it was a very powerful – and if you haven’t heard it, you ought to go back and read it, it is – and see it, if you can, it’s better if you hear it – who invoked all of the – all of the themes of our revolution in the – in the United States, and concluded very powerfully at the end that you may say you want us to defend ourselves and to be free, but you send us blankets and night vision goggles. We cannot be free with blankets and night vision. I just – I thought it was a very powerful speech. Unfortunately, we sent a whole nother batch of blankets and night vision goggles. Apparently, they misheard him. (Laughter.) My argument would be that we need to let Ukraine defend itself, and we can help in certain ways to do that. And this – again, this is Mike Rogers talking. This is not the administration. I have nothing to do with that. This is – you know, if somebody asked me what advice I would give, that’s the advice I would give. Let’s let Ukraine be able to defend themselves. Let’s step up training operations. Let’s do a joint training exercise with the Poles and the Ukraines (ph) in Poland, with Ukrainian troops as they train for making their skillsets better, and again, giving the weapons systems they need to defend themselves against armor and attack helicopters. I think if you did that, you know, that is – that is a calculus that Mr. Putin hasn’t had to face. And I think if he faces that prospect, that changes his calculus in Ukraine.
MS. DEYOUNG: But based on what Mr. Trump said during the campaign, that seems – it seems a low likelihood that that will happen. I mean, he’s –
MR. ROGERS: Well, you never know. I mean, again, I’m not speaking for them. I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen. I – you just asked – by the way, I couldn’t convince the Obama administration of this either. I mean, Mr. Trump may take a different direction as well. But I do think you have to change Putin’s calculus, and we haven’t done that yet. And I think the simplest way to do that is to do exactly that. I think the Poles are ready to do it. They understand that an aggressive Russia in Ukraine’s not good for them. They worry about their security and safety as well. So I think – you know, and again, the weight of the information, it’s something – you know, campaign trail versus president, two very different roles. And my argument would be let’s see what happens. There’s lots of advice, lots of counsel, lots of information to pore over. Let’s see what conclusion they come to.
MS. DEYOUNG: Let’s take – let’s take these two questions, where we’ve got about five more minutes, and just to see if we can get several more in.
Q: Hi. My name’s Chris Bing. I’m a cybersecurity reporter with FedScoop. Like, two quick questions. So the first one being, you spoke about the imminence of a significant cyberattack in the United States during President-elect Trump’s administration. Can you speak a little bit about what the plans were, what some of the recommendations were in the transition team to deal with that? And then the second question is, today the Presidential Commission on Cybersecurity released their recommendations, and I wanted to know if there was any talk or if you know of any plans to consider those recommendations in the new administration. Thank you.
MR. ROGERS: Yeah.
MS. DEYOUNG: Let’s take – let’s take this gentleman’s question too, yeah. And then we’ll –
MR. ROGERS: Answer all three? You’re going to make me remember all three questions?
MS. DEYOUNG: I’m writing them down.
Q: Thank you very much. (Laurence Hirsch ?). I’m on the advisory board here. I’m a semiretired attorney with some experience in the Justice Department, the Anti-Trust Division. This is strictly vacational for me. It’s not meant to be a facetious question, but this institution, CSIS, did a study about six, seven, eight, nine years ago on smart power. You’ve addressed mostly what I would call, what they called hard power, and they talked about soft power. What do you see about public diplomacy in the soft power equation for the United States over the next four years in a Trump administration?
MR. ROGERS: Yeah. And so let me start with the cyber question. I’m not at liberty to discuss the documents that were prepared and recommended to the Trump administration, so I can’t talk to you about that. And I don’t know what the – I’m hoping that we at least take that document, the December 1 st document. It was a – it was a kind of a mixed group of individuals trying to figure out how would we go a way forward. I think it’s a great starting point. I think there’s some things they missed, some things they got right. So I hope that they take that and work from it, and I think they can make a lot of progress if they do that. But I don’t know if they’ll do that or not. Again, cyber is not the most exciting political issue that gets people fired up to run down to the polls and vote. It just is not. And so it’s one of those non-sexy issues that is – has to be done, and our adversaries are taking advantage in the fact that we can’t quite seem to come together as a country to figure out what we want to – how we want to approach this really hard problem. On the soft power, the only reason I talked about the other is because those – the questions were framed that way. We’re not going to win any of these efforts without soft power. And I think you’ll see a pretty aggressive soft power approach with – for President-elect Trump. In all of the discussions and things that I’ve been through – and I always argue, you know, the first part of soft power is making your military something that is feared. And so I liked his first step of saying I’m going to rebuild that. Do you remember – our readiness, we have a huge readiness problem in our military today, despite what some would say – small things like repair parts for airplanes, right? Those things matter when you’re talking about a military that’s going to engage in any sustained or lengthy combat, or even short-term combat that’s far away. Huge problem for the United States. So they let that atrophy. I just saw that the Defense budget came out with a readiness budget. It wasn’t a lot of money. I want to say it was $4 billion, something like that, and that’s basically to try to get aircraft back in the air, get our pilots trained up, all of those kinds of things. So that’s the first part, because I always argue no diplomat ever wants to go into a negotiation without the 101st over one’s shoulder and the 7th Fleet over the other, right? That’s always the quicker way to the yes. And really, that’s what we want. We want to put the United States in a position to go up and say we’re serious, we mean it, now let’s talk, right? And if they believe that, it’s always a better conversation, and I think that is exactly the peace through strength thing that you heard President-elect Trump talk about along the campaign trail. That’s where he wants to get. But if you listen to him, he’s talking about engaging our adversaries. He’s talking – politically and diplomatically engaging our adversaries. And I think that – and if you talk to a lot of our friends and allies around the world, they were – they had been a little rattled by the United States, really. They’re not sure who we are, where we’re going – not that they completely are there yet, but they like what they hear in the sense that we just want some certainty. Can we count on the United States when we need to count on the United States? And if he reinstates that, I think that just completely ramps up our ability to have – I’m a huge believer in soft power. USAID, you know, can be an important tool for us. Are we using it correctly? Is the State Department being used the way it should be? You know, there’s a lot of hunkering down around the world where these folks have locked themselves into compounds. You know, my argument is get them out. You know, I believe in expeditionary diplomacy. And I think, from the comments that I’ve heard, so does President-elect Trump. You would need these folks out. You need them engaging in these communities. The trick behind that is, can we show up and flick you in the forehead if we have to? Don’t want to. Hopefully, we never have to. But we ought to at least have that concern in the back of their mind in any negotiation, and I think that’s what you’re – that – he’s laying that framework for a more robust soft power approach to diplomacy.
MS. DEYOUNG: We have run out of time. I know there are other questions. I have a lot more questions, but –
MR. ROGERS: I have a four-hour cyber presentation if you’d like to stay. (Laughter.)
MS. DEYOUNG: Thank you so much.
MR. ROGERS: Thank you.
MS. DEYOUNG: We’re all kind of scratching our heads and wondering what’s going to happen, and you’ve helped us.
MR. ROGERS: I don’t know about that, but thanks for having me.
MS. DEYOUNG: Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.