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MS. CHERTOFF: Good afternoon, my name is Meryl Chertoff and -- PEAKER: (Off mike.) (Laughter) MS. CHERTOFF: -- and I'm a fan of Walter Isaacson's too. I'm the director of the Justice and Society program at the Aspen Institute. The Justice and Society program is the oldest of the seminar and policy programs in the institute. We conduct a seminar every summer here in Aspen. We also do public programming. Upcoming on September twenty-second, for those of you who are Washington-oriented, will be something on the Overlawyering of America. The seminar, the Justice and Society Seminar for this summer is full, but for any of you who are interested in two thousand eleven we have already started to assemble people who will be attending, so we hope to welcome some of you next year to the Justice and Society seminar. It's my very distinct privilege today to welcome to the Aspen Ideas Festival, General George Casey, who is the chief of staff of the U.S. Army. General Casey will be today will be interviewed by David Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times and a senior writer for the New York Times. David has reported from around the world. He covered the five-year "arc" of the Bush presidency and now covers the Obama administration. He is the author of there recently published New York Times bestseller, The Inheritance, on national security challenges facing the Obama administration. In recognizing General Casey, I also want to recognize that he's brought with him today his secret weapon and that is his wife Sheila Casey. As we know, military spouses also serve and Sheila has her own very distinguished career in Washington as well, so Sheila we want to welcome you as well. (Applause) MR. SANGER: Thank you very much, Meryl; thank you, General Casey, for joining us today. General Casey's already been introduced, but just to give you his last two posts. One, he was in Iraq for thirty-two months during what I think everyone would agree was pretty much the roughest years of the war, including that awful year of two thousand six. For the past three years and change he's been Chief of Staff of the Army and of course the Joint Chiefs are responsible for thinking forward about the future of the forces as well as making sure that they are supplied with all that they need, both in goods and strategy. And so in the next hour, we hope to cover the range of issues that General Casey can discuss in that regard and it's a great time to get him because nine months from now his term is up and he's off to the next stage of his life. General Casey, let me start with probably the most general and broadest question. We have seen probably the biggest changes in U.S. Army in the ten years since than at almost at any point in history since the end of World War II. And so I'd like to ask you first to give us your sense of how the Army's doing, how it's changed and when you're done with that, I'm going to ask you about sort of the next ten years ahead. GEN. CASEY: Okay, great. Well, first of all it's wonderful to be out here with you. Walter thanks for inviting me. Yeah, I'll just talk for a second about the Army. It may not seem like it to you, but in two months we will have been at war for nine years. And the result of that is that the -- today's United States Army is a hugely professional combat season four, it's really the best in the world at what it does. But it is also stretched and stressed by the demands of the last nine years. When you think about it we've been deploying at one-year-out one-year-back for almost five years. And if you'd asked me five years ago if we could have sustained that, I would have said, now, you're crazy. And so the force that we have is usually resilient and usually committed. But I wrestle with this season four's stretched-and-stressed force. And so when I came in, Sheila and I traveled around the Army and we talked to soldiers and families trying to get a sense of where we were. And I came up with the term that the Army was "out of balance," that we were so weighed down by current demands that we couldn't do the things that we knew we needed to do to sustain the volunteer force for the long haul and to prepare to do other things. And I said that because I was hearing at the time, the Army was broken, the Army was hollow, the Army wasn't ready, and that's just not true. And so we put ourselves on a program, back in two thousand seven, to get ourselves back in balance by the end of next year. And we have been moving forward on those -- on four imperatives: We had to sustain or soldiers and families; we had to continue to prepare soldiers for success in the current conflict; we had to reset them effectively when they returned, and then we had to continue to transform for an uncertain future. And I'll just say a few words about all those. "Sustain" is probably the most important. Now, this is a volunteer force. And when I first came in I called my predecessor, Shy Meyer. And Shy Meyer was the chief of staff in nineteen eighty who went to Congress after Vietnam and said the Army's hollow. That was seven years after the last combat battalion left Vietnam, the Army's hollow. Fortunately, he had the foresight to tell the president that the day before. (Laughter) GEN. CASEY: So I -- MR. SANGER: Always a good strategic move. GEN. CASEY: Right. So I said, Shy what happened. How did the Army get hollow? And he said, George it's all about the people. And he said there's a thin red line out there, that try as you might, you'll stumble across it. And the mid-level officers and noncommissioned officers, the ones that take you a decade or so to grow, they'll leave. And that's what happened. I lived through that in the seventies. It took us a decade to rebuild our noncommissioned officer corps and our officer corps, after Vietnam. And so we focused on preserving our -- those mid level officers and noncommissioned officers and doing things to retain them and we've had good success. One of the things that we did though was to focus on families. And I'm an Army brat. I've been a member of an Army family for over sixty years. I won't go into how much over. (Laughter) GEN. CASEY: But when I was traveling around the country with my mom and dad, the message to us in the backseat was make the best of it. Well, we're asking our - - so much of our soldiers and families, asking them to continue to make the best of it doesn't work. And so we really have ratcheted up what we're doing for families, and I think to good effect. So sustaining soldiers and families is the core of what we need to do. The second element is to continue to prepare soldiers for success in what they're doing today, and we've made great strides in this. I ask the soldiers, every time I travel around, what do you need, what's not working, and I generally get pretty positive responses. Occasionally, I run into a soldier who wants another gun or something, but by-and-large they're pretty happy with what they have. To give you an example of how we've improved in meeting the needs more rapidly, it took about three years while I was in Iraq to get a full complement of up-armored Humvees to the theater. When we made the decision to go to better armored wheeled vehicles, it took eighteen months to get the full complement in the field. And just recently, we've got a smaller version of those to put in Afghanistan and that took nine months. And so we are getting better at that and the soldiers have the tools they need to do what they need to do. The third element is to reset them. Reset the soldiers and the equipment when they come back, because they're turning around in a year or so and headed right back. So the equipment has got to come through an industrial process, get fixed, given back to them and moved out, and it's -- that's gone very well. The other thing though is resetting the people. And we've recently completed a study that told us what we intuitively knew, that it takes two to three years to recover from a one-year combat deployment. It just does. The human mind and body weren't made to deal with the stresses of combat repeatedly. And so one of our goals was to keep soldiers home for at least two years, and with, even with the plus-up in Afghanistan and with the drawdown in Iraq, we actually get to the point by the end of next year where we'll start having soldiers home for two years, and that's hugely important to the long-term health of the force. And the last thing I'll talk about is the transformation. And you mentioned this, David, but we have undergone, since September eleventh, the largest organizational change of the Army since World War II. And we've done this while we've been sending one hundred fifty thousand soldiers over and back to Iraq and Afghanistan every year. For example, we were in two thousand one, good Army. But it was an Army designed largely to fight tank battles on the plains of Europe or in the deserts of the Middle East. And when the -- September th happened, the first reaction was what's normal in large institutions, you take what you have and you try to adapt it to use it for something completely new. And so we tried that. And it really wasn't until two thousand four when we said to ourselves, you know, these tanks really ain't working in Baghdad. And so we started really in earnest in two thousand four. And since then, we have converted all three hundred-plus brigades in the Army to modular organizations, designs that can be organized rapidly to meet the situation that presents itself. We have rebalanced ourselves where we've taken about one hundred sixty thousand soldiers away from skills that were very necessary in the Cold War, and converted them to skills more necessary today. For example, we've stood down about two hundred tank companies, artillery batteries and air defense batteries, and we've stood up a corresponding numbers of special forces, civil affairs, psychological operations. All that has been going on here. We also increased the size of the Army by about seventy-five thousand. President Bush put that on the table in two thousand seven, and we've completed that growth already. That's a big help for us. If that wasn't enough, because of the Base Realignment and Closure Act and the growth of the Army and bringing some soldiers back from Korea, we are also restationing the whole Army. And between now and the end of next year, we will resettle about three hundred eighty thousand soldiers, civilians, and family members as a result of this rebasing. And right now we have everybody on cell phones, and we'll publish the wiring diagram at the end when we get everybody settled at the end of next year. And then lastly, the thing that is probably causing us the most internal change is we're putting the whole Army on a rotational model much like the Navy and the Marine Corps have been on for years. And we have to do that, because it's the only way we can meet these continued commitments at a tempo that's predictable and sustainable for the all-volunteer force. So that might be -- have been more than you bargained for, David, but that's just an update on where we are. MR. SANGER: A great start. So let's begin to add on the layers of complication. In the midst of all of this, the military's overall budget has doubled in the ten years -- nine years since nine-eleven. Defense Secretary Gates made the point the other day that the U.S. military budget is now bigger than the military budgets of all the countries in the rest of the world combined. You made the point that the Army budget is bigger than -- GEN. CASEY: Russia and China defense budgets combined. MR. SANGER: And so in this atmosphere it's clear that's unsustainable for all the other reasons that are going on with the budget. And Secretary Gates has tried sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully, to kill off some fairly large weapon systems to enable you to have some room for growth in the personnel. He's run into extraordinary blockades in Congress. He said recently, only in the parallel universe that is Washington, D.C., would cutting back a little bit from a doubling of the defense budget be considered gutting defense. (Laughter) MR. SANGER: These are true words. Tell us first what you think you're going to need for the kind of growth that's going to be needed for the force in the next ten years that you've described. And secondly, how you do that in this constrained budget environment. GEN. CASEY: Okay. First of all, I think Secretary Gates is exactly on the right track with this. We recognized this about two years ago. And for us in the Army, we don't have large ships or airplanes or satellite contracts that we can cut. Our money is in people. And so it becomes a question for us then, of what's the size of the Army. And as you all know, people cost everywhere are increasing. And so the more people we have, the less that we can afford to spend on other things. So two years ago we started focusing on how we were organized to do our business. And it was very, very enlightening. The department of the Army is a pretty good size -- I'll say - - not-for-profit organization. (Laughter) GEN. CASEY: And in those not-for-profit organizations, you do not have the market incentive that causes you to be more efficient with your money. The other thing -- and this isn't necessarily confined to not for-profits -- but we are organized, and the way we're organized, we've created a lot of silos. And every organization has silos, but it seems like our silos have walls that are three feet thick and things only go up and they never go sideways. And so what that creates is a lot of redundancy. And especially in a time of war when you're moving as fast as you can to get things to the troops. And when that happens, you -- there's a lot of inefficiency. We're getting stuff -- anything you do fast is not as efficient as something done in a structured way. So we have been working at this. The other thing about the silos is we have a process where the requirements come up from below. So someone says I need this. But the person who is developing the requirement is not -- doesn't have any relation to the person who has to provide the money for the requirement. So it's open-ended. And so when they come up in these silos, it only -- they only go up. And so the budget can only go up unless you do something to get at the requirements process and eliminate the redundancy. MR. SANGER: General, every silo is in a congressional district. GEN. CASEY: That's true. MR. SANGER: And that makes a difference. GEN. CASEY: That's true. MR. SANGER: Are we at a point right now where the Congress is fundamentally incapable of being able to restrain the size of the defense budget or help reorient it, simply because every weapon system, every silo has got its own constituency? How do we get out of the cycle that we're in? GEN. CASEY: Yeah, I understand what you're saying. I don't think we're lost. And I think we have to continue to work at this and demonstrate -- I mean Congress, better than anyone, knows that we have to decrease the size of government spending. And so we're just going to have to continue to work this. And I know Secretary Gates -- MR. SANGER: They agree with it in general. It's just every time the secretary comes up with a -- GEN. CASEY: It's all local, sure. MR. SANGER: -- weapon system, it's all local. GEN. CASEY: Yeah. MR. SANGER: Let's turn to -- GEN. CASEY: But anyway, to answer your first -- MR. SANGER: Sure. GEN. CASEY: -- the first part of your first question there was we believe that we can get at the two billion to three billion a year that we need to not have to cut our force structure through these efficiencies that we've been working on for the last couple years. And we've had good success on eliminating some redundancies. And we are going to meet Secretary Gates' targets that he's already given us for the program here -- knock on wood -- so far without having to reduce force structure, which is an important thing. Because for me to go out now and say we're going to cut the force when we haven't even got them two years at home, I think that would have a really negative effect on the troops. MR. SANGER: The QDR that came out a few months ago, the Quadrennial Defense Review, was the first to sort of step away from the old concept that the United States need to be able to fight a war in one place, do a holding action someplace -- it was always the symbol, or that was always the Korean Peninsula -- elsewhere, and moved instead to the concept of a much more flexible military, especially the Army, that could do counterinsurgencies in different places around the world and still have the capability around to fight a major war if one needed to do it. Based on all that you have seen both in your experience in Iraq and since you've been back at the Joint Chiefs, is that a realistic way to structure the U.S. military? Can we do that many different things at one time and be prepared for that many contingencies at one time? GEN. CASEY: Yeah. I think we have to. And I think it was a very good and reasonable first step. But as I've looked at this now over time, from my perspective, the central organizing principle of the Department of Defense for the last years has been conventional war, has been the ability to do these two major regional contingencies. That isn't what we're doing today. And -- but yet the whole Department of Defense is lined up to produce the outputs for conventional war. And I have come to think, after we've looked at the environment -- and I'll say a few words about that in a second -- is that versatility, the need to be able to do a variety of different things has got to become the central organizing principle of the department. And that's the way we're going with the Army. But as we look at the future, you know, we start from the point that we're at war, we're at war with a global extremist network that attacked us on our soil and has tried twice since Christmas to do it again. These guys aren't going to quit. They're not going to give up, and they're not going to go away easily. So we believe that this is a long-term ideological struggle. And then if we look at the trends in the global environment and that trends seem more likely to exacerbate that situation rather than ameliorate it. And that leads us to think that we're in for a decade or so of what I call persistent conflict -- protracted confrontation among states, non-states, and individual actors who are increasingly willing to use violence to accomplish their political and ideological objectives. I think that's what we are looking at as a country. And I think that's troubling. And it's -- we -- the two things as we look at that environment that come out, it's going to be more complex and it's going to be more uncertain. And so you have to have yourself organized to deal with a range of contingencies. And then you have to be agile enough to change directions, because you're never going to get exactly what you want. In fact, what does Yogi Berra say? "Predictions are hard, especially when you're talking about the future." (Laughter) GEN. CASEY: And then I say what I said with great humility, knowing that the best we can hope to do is get it about right. MR. SANGER: You mentioned this ten years of persistent conflict. When President Bush was running for president the first time in two thousand, he talked about how we could not allow the United States military to become a nation-building force. It was not the role of the military to go do that. He then took a trip to Kosovo, saw that the only working institutions there were in fact the U.S. military -- this was prior to nine-eleven. Post-nine-eleven, gave a fairly lengthy speech at Virginia Military Institute where General Marshall had been trained, about the need for a Marshall Plan in Afghanistan. And you have spent the past nine years trying to figure out whether he was right the first time in the campaign, or right the second time after he was elected about whether the military was set up to go do this. Are we -- GEN. CASEY: I think he was right. (Laughter) MR. SANGER: Are we in a persistent ten-year effort to have the U.S. Army at the centre of nation building as well? GEN. CASEY: You know, when we were talking about nation-building, we were talking about a military that was designed to do conventional war. That's what we were set up to do. And as I said before, we were like that for sixty years. But the types of conflict that we're fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I think are likely to be fighting here for a decade or so, are focused on the people. And you've heard -- I'm sure you've heard this said a thousand times -- we're not going to succeed in either place by military means alone. You're only going to succeed when the people perceive that there is a government that is representative of their interest, when there is an economy that can give them a job to support their families, where there are educational systems that they can educate their children. All those things are essential to the long-term success of the military operation. And so I think as a military we got past that a while ago. In fact, in February two thousand eight, we published the first change to our formal war-fighting doctrine since September eleventh. And we said Army forces will simultaneously employ offense, defense, and stability operations to seize and retain the initiative and achieve decisive results. We raised stability operations which is -- could be your nation-building -- to the level of offence and defense. Because in the types of operations we're going to be conducting in the twenty-first century, we think that's an essential element of our ability to accomplish our national objectives, not just our military objectives. MR. SANGER: When you were in Iraq, you were there, as I said at the introduction, in some of the darkest days of the war. You were also there when the awakening happened, and when you were able to encourage that awakening, which as we look back over the course of the conflict, was a very decisive turning point. We've all been waiting for the equivalent of the awakening in Afghanistan, a very different society. While there have been some individual signs in some small places, you've not seen it on the scale that you saw it in Iraq. Why not? And does it have any prospect of occurring? GEN. CASEY: Every successful counterinsurgency has had a reconciliation process that -- as part of the solution. And so both in Iraq and Afghanistan, if they are to succeed, will have this reconciliation process. The process that we started in Iraq began right after the elections in January two thousand five. It -- and it took that long of constant effort of standing up an organization to figure out who the right people were to talk to, to bring then in, to figure out what incentives they needed, to get the Iraqi government involved in a reconciliation process, because it ultimately will devolve to them. We can't reconcile with, you know, with the Afghans, they have to do that themselves. I think one of the things that we learned from all that process is timing. And timing is everything in reconciliation. And successful reconciliations have come from a position of strength. And I think we -- go ahead. MR. SANGER: Admiral Mullen was sitting on this stage a week ago at the Aspen security summit talking about the same subject. And we asked him whether that meant that ultimately you couldn't have complete reconciliation unless you had Mullah Omar and many of the others -- Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, all as part of this process, something the U.S. government has been cautious about. Do we take your statement to believe to include some of the hardest line American enemies who would have to be part of the solution? GEN. CASEY: That's something that -- there's always a matter of debate in this. But all of these -- and when you say -- it has to begin from a position of strength. The first thing that has to happen for a reconciliation to be successful is the insurgents need to have them recognize that they have no military options. And I don't think we're quite there yet in -- especially in Afghanistan. But that has to happen. And what I'm suggesting to you is that you don't have to wait for that to happen to start setting the conditions for the reconciliation. MR. SANGER: Right. GEN. CASEY: And what happened was we started in to build the reconciliation that ultimately became the awakening. And it really wasn't until when we got some forces in there and thumped them in Anbar Province and they -- that's when they recognized that they needed to side with us and then the government. MR. SANGER: But your point here is they have to be convinced they're going to lose. In Afghanistan, I think we're all in agreement that the insurgents are not yet persuaded of that. And in fact, some of them have said, just to listen to their own propaganda, that since the American surge peaks in the summer of two thousand eleven and the President has said that at that point they will begin a withdrawal at some pace -- pace is unclear -- that there is some incentive for the insurgents to hold out for another year, and hope that starting in two thousand eleven that they could come back even if they are thumped over the next twelve months. How do you get around that psychologically? GEN. CASEY: Well, I mean it's hard. First of all, don't believe everything the enemy says. I mean they clearly are out to make themselves look stronger than they really are. MR. SANGER: Sure. GEN. CASEY: And that's something I've learned very painfully here over the last several years. But you know, this timeline is a double-edged sword and there's not -- there's no right or wrong edge to it. It's really a question of balance. And people -- different people will perceive timelines or timetables differently. And I think the -- it doesn't surprise me that the Taliban are saying okay, we're just going to wait them out. Well, they're going to be doing a lot of fighting while they're waiting us out. Then I think Admiral Mullen was probably pretty clear with you the other day that there is a timetable -- a date in July of ' to begin bringing out some of the surge forces, but the number and -- you know, is condition-based. So we'll continue to work that. MR. SANGER: But when you say it's a double edged sword, what you mean is on the one hand it creates an incentive for the Afghan government to step up by that time, on the other hand, it creates an incentive for the Taliban to hold on. And it's sort of a race for who can perform better between now and two thousand eleven. GEN. CASEY: Right. And -- but the other thing that it also does is it demonstrates to the Afghan people that we're not occupiers, we're not going to stay there for the long haul. We're there to help them get back on their feet and then we're moving on. So -- but again, it's balance. MR. SANGER: Now in Iraq, you are going to be down fifty thousand troops you believe by the end of August, just two months from now. Those people who advocated the surge would say that had it not been for the surge, we never would have gotten down to that fifty thousand. When you think back to the smaller size surge that was already under way when you were in the last months of your command in Iraq, could that also have accomplished what we're doing today? Could we have gotten down to these numbers even earlier, do you believe? Or do you believe that in the end the surge in Iraq really was decisive? GEN. CASEY: I don't know if we could have got down any earlier; it's hard to say. But I think the surge was as important as a statement of the commitment of U.S. interest and resolve as it was the additional troops. I mean they certainly helped. But it was the statement of United States' commitment that further spurred the awakening. And then when the sons of Iraq were brought into the fold, that started at eliminating some of the insurgency and we -- and they could get on with the political process. So I think the surge was a decisive application of combat force at a critical time in a mission. And I think in the end it has -- it's ultimately been successful. MR. SANGER: Before we open this up to questions, I just want to flip you around to the other side of the world for a moment. You mentioned in your opening that you had moved a lot of troops out of Korea in part to help feed these two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan. We had just in the past few months seen a North Korean ship -- a North Korean submarine sink a South Korean ship killing forty-six aboard. There are some signs of new instability in North Korea, just given the succession crisis that is underway there, or succession politics. Could we come to regret the day that in our focus on the Middle East that we have actually pulled down by almost half the number of troops we based in -- on the Korean Peninsula? GEN. CASEY: I don't necessarily think so, because what's happened during that period is a huge increase in the capability of the South Korean security forces. I mean -- MR. SANGER: But not such a huge increase that they were willing to go through with the command -- GEN. CASEY: -- transfer? MR. SANGER: -- operational command transfer in twenty twelve that was just delayed till twenty fifteen. GEN. CASEY: Right. And -- but I think -- but I mean to your question, there has been a significant increase in the capability of those forces there. And so that -- our withdrawal of some of our forces has been mitigated by that improvement. And then as you just mentioned, the -- we just agreed to President Lee's request to delay this transfer of operational control. Right now, the commander in Korea, as the Combined Forces Command Korea is an American. And he basically commands and controls Korean forces in the event of an emergency. There had been a plan in place for that control to pass back to the Koreans, I think by April of twenty twelve -- it's twenty twelve, but I'm not sure of the month. At the request of President Lee of Korea, President Obama just agreed to move that to twenty fifteen. And I think that's indication of the strength of the relationship and of our commitment to Korea. MR. SANGER: And so what does the United States need to do, in partnership with the South Koreans, to demonstrate to the North now, politically, that the kind of behavior you've seen over the past year or two is something that the U.S. is prepared to respond to? You've seen, since President Obama was inaugurated, a missile test, a nuclear test, and the sinking of a -- of the South Korean ship. GEN. CASEY: Yeah, but -- I mean that's another very, very difficult policy issue. Right now, there's things being worked in the United Nations. I think that it's important for that process to continue. But I think we have to be very careful, we the United States, with our South Korean allies, in doing something that may be misinterpreted and become inherently -- increase the instability rather than decrease it right now. We just have to be very careful of that. MR. SANGER: And along those same lines, I would be remiss if I didn't ask you about Iran. Obviously, we've got a bigger military presence -- GEN. CASEY: Thought we were going to get by that. MR. SANGER: Oh boy. (Laughter) MR. SANGER: Nice try. We've increased the American military presence to a small degree in the Gulf. We've been -- the United States has been providing standard missiles and other -- any missile equipment to a number of the Gulf neighbors. And yet there is this continuing debate played out here just a few days ago with the statements of the ambassador from the United Arab Emirates about whether or not an attack on the Iranian facilities, nuclear facilities, would be more destabilizing than an Iran that gets a nuclear weapons capability. As you debate this out among the chiefs, how do you weigh those two options? GEN. CASEY: Well -- I mean, you have put your finger on what is a hugely difficult policy issue for the country right now. And those types of discussions that you're talking about right now are going on within the government and I wouldn't want to prejudge them, the outcome of those discussions. But -- I mean, that's the kind of challenges that you get in these days. There is no good solutions, and the solution may be worse than the cure. And so that's something that the administration is wrestling with. And I think you're going to see that play out over the next twelve to twenty four months. But that's -- I think that's an indication of the types of challenges that are going to be facing us here over the next decade or so. MR. SANGER: And within the Army are there preparations underway for what the reaction could be if -- GEN. CASEY: Not within the Army. MR. SANGER: Not within the Army, but more broadly, within the military. GEN. CASEY: We have contingency plans, we do, we have contingency plans for everything, but we don't talk about specific plans. MR. SANGER: Well, let me open this up to all of you. There are people who will be walking around with microphones, if you'd raise your hand, tell us who you are and actually ask a question in the spirit of Aspen. We'll start with the gentleman right here in the black hat. JASON: Thanks, general. I'm Jason from Chicago, thanks for coming. I want to ask the question and I need to set it up just a little bit, but I won't take long. Both Afghanistan and Iraq are very resource rich and an integral part of the reconciliation process is business stability. We know that Chinese corporations and Russian corporations are going into these areas and trying to capitalize on the stability, limited stability that's been created so far. My question to you is, do you think that congressional policy towards U.S. corporate culture essentially handcuffs American ability, American business ability to participate in the reconciliation because we're not allowed to play on local terms? GEN. CASEY: I'm not aware of specific congressional policies that limit U.S. business involvement. SPEAKER: Hart-Scott-Rodino and Sarbanes-Oxley, things that don't allow us to, you know, to be blunt, bribery, for example, which is part -- which is the Chinese are willing to, you know -- GEN. CASEY: (Off mike) (Laughter) SPEAKER: -- corporate guests, things of that nature that we can't -- which is standard over there, did you not encounter them at all in Iraq? I mean, the -- GEN. CASEY: I have footlockers and footlockers of junk that I've exchanged and gifts and things that I've exchanged. I'm not stepping up for bribery at all -- SPEAKER: Right. And I wouldn't ask you to. GEN. CASEY: What I saw in Iraq was opportunities for U.S. businesses to come in and get engaged, and there was a great effort by a guy named Paul Brinkley who went out and brought in business leaders from around the country and they met with Iraqi businessmen and they basically said, if you build x of these, I'll buy them from you. And so they were actually causing the businesses to get setup and get organized. I think that - - stuff like that is usually productive and the other thing I'd say is, I know the folks who are trying to make inroads into the Iraqi oil community, and I would think that the U.S. companies would have as much access to them as anyone else. MR. SANGER: Flip side of that, are we securing parts of Afghanistan for the Chinese who are not on the ground helping secure the place to go into those sources? GEN. CASEY: Yeah, I don't know. Yeah, I understand it. I don't know. MR. SANGER: Sir. MR. DEBS: John Debs, Palo Alto. First, thank you for your service and for all the people that are serving. (Applause) GEN. CASEY: Thank you. MR. DEBS: My question is, or percent of the country is involved in Afghanistan and Iraq and the rest of us are told to party and have fun and go out and spend or whatever, you know what they say. And, to me, this is morally wrong. And so my question to you is how can we, the other ninety-eight percent, whoever we are, help you more in what you have to? GEN. CASEY: Well, thank you for that. First of all, you are all already helping. And I can tell you one of the things that has allowed this force to hang together over the last nine years has been the outspoken support of the American people for our soldiers and their families. Don't underestimate the impact of talking to a soldier in the airport. I mean, I was sitting in an airport coming from leave when I was in Iraq and these two young soldiers come up in their uniforms, and they are -- they were clearly basic trainees, they were going back after Christmas break. And they sat down next to me, and I watched them, we chatted them up a little bit and they went to pay their check and they said it's taken care of. As an aside, I got up and introduced -- and went over and said hello to them. And one of the guys looks at me and says, "Hey, are you General Casey?" And I said, "Well, yes, I am." He said, "I thought you were taller." (Laughter) GEN. CASEY: But anyway that -- don't underestimate the impact of that on the soldiers and their families. The other thing I'd tell you is, the support that employers give to guardsmen and reservists is absolutely essential. We have seventy to eighty thousand guardsmen and reservists mobilized over the course of a year on a given day, that's a lot. But we wouldn't have been able to do what we've done without them. And it's -- employers are carrying a heavy burden. My son is a reservist, he's mobilized, he is back on leave from Afghanistan. His company is paying the difference between his army salary and what he was making when he left the company. I mean, there is a lot of companies out there that are doing that. That makes a huge difference. And then the third thing I'd say to you -- I'd say two more things, and the third thing would be, continuing with business, hire these young men and women that are getting out of the Army. And there may be some concern out there that everybody who goes to combat gets posttraumatic stress. And that's absolutely untrue. And we have surveys that document. The -- everybody that goes to combat gets stressed, believe me. But what our studies show is that the vast majority of people who go to combat have a growth experience and they come out stronger, and that's what you see. And then the last thing I'd ask you is, there are lot of private organizations out there that are raising money to support wounded soldiers, to support their families and to support the families of the fallen, and to the extent that you can support those groups, that would be a very positive thing. But don't underestimate what -- the impact the support of the American people has had on our ability to hold this force together. MR. SANGER: Gentleman right back there. MR. BRAND: Stewart Brand, Global Business Network. General Casey, thank you for what you're doing and from the sound of how you're doing it. I've got a question of a paradox that seems to have survived from Vietnam. In Vietnam we had Vietnamese troops on our side and Vietnamese troops, North Vietcong that we were fighting, and during the course of that war, Vietnamese troops on our side became kind of dependant and not very motivated. And all that time the Vietcong was becoming more and more skilful as they were fighting a more and more skilful us and their motivation stayed strong. How is what we're doing with the Taliban going to be different from that, because it seems like we're facing a similar situation where the Afghan troops that we're train up, they're coming up in somewhat of a dependant mode with us, but the Taliban troops we're fighting are getting more and more skilful fighting us. How do we fix that? GEN. CASEY: Yeah. I mean, that is a central challenge when you're working with indigenous forces. But you will only succeed when those indigenous forces can maintain domestic order and deny their countries safe havens for terrorists. And so it's a question of balance, it's not one or the other. And -- I mean, we wrestle with this in Iraq all the time. You know, we build these units, then we take them on operations and then you try to get them to do something but they wouldn't do it unless you were standing there with them. And it to the better part of years to work them through that till they finally got the confidence that they could do it on their own. And the other thing I saw even at the highest levels of the higher levels. You know, people won't necessarily take risk, and Iraqi leaders weren't necessarily ready to take a lot of risk. And they came by, honestly, they came from a culture under Saddam Hussein for years that if you made a mistake, the consequences were often worse than you could stand. And so, anyway, it's a matter of training our soldiers to find the right balance between spoon feeding them and putting them on their way. But it just takes time to go through that process and we have to do it. MR. SANGER: All right here. Just wait a moment for the microphone; it's just coming down to you. MS. SHEEHY: Thank you. Thank you, General Casey for your recognition of the need for recovery by returning veterans. I'm Gail Sheehy. In last fall I was following a revolutionary program that you introduced or resiliency training to train soldiers in emotional resiliency on the -- based on the principles of positive psychology. And through drill instructors, not the softies we would think would be training people in emotional resilience, but they really like the program. So I wonder if you could tell us how it's working. GEN. CASEY: The program that Gail was describing is called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and it was one of the things that we realized that we had to give our soldiers and family members the skills on the front end so they wouldn't get the problem to begin with. Now about two years ago we looked at all the programs that we were doing to help soldiers deal with the cumulative effects of then seven years at war. And we realized that all our programs were after the fact. We had good treatment programs but they were all after the fact. And so we went after this and spent, you know, the better part of eighteen months with some of the best minds in the country, trying to figure out what we could do to build a program to give the soldiers skills to be more resilient. The program revolves around an assessment tool and we started that in October. And to date, over seven hundred fifty thousand soldiers and family members have taken this tool. It takes you about twenty minutes and it gives us assessment of your strengths in the five key areas of fitness, physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family. And you just get a bar graph and the soldier can look at it and say, well, I got a long bar here and a long bar here, okay. I got a short bar here. It then allows them to connect to self-help modules online in the privacy of their own home and get some tips on how they can improve their strengths. The third point, and this is the drill sergeant's comment that was made here. We are training master resilience trainers, sergeants, and these sergeants are going to University of Pennsylvania for days and are getting trained by the professors there on how to use these skills. We've trained about one thousand three hundred of them already and they are out in the force. Our goal is to get one of those for each battalion in the army by the end of this year. So this is a program that has a lot of promise. Right now we're kind of in a period where we're bridging from people that have taken the test but there is not enough resilience trainers in the field to get the program actively going. But I suspect by the end of this year it will be something that will be engrained in the Army culture. MR. SANGER: Successful as the resilience in training has been, you're dealing with unusually high number of suicides these days, how come? GEN. CASEY: Well, it's a combination of things. I mean, there is no one answer. In fact, we have -- we commissioned about a year and a half ago now a study with the National Institute of Mental Health, it's a -year study to help us look at the whole problem of suicide. I -- suicide, as we look at this, the leading causes that we see are relationships, relationship problems, financial problems and then there is usually drug and alcohol mixed in with those other problems. And then the fourth element is that there just seems to be a lack of resilience and a lack of those kinds of skills in the population that's coming into the Army. We have been working this very hard. We have a very active Suicide Prevention Program. We've got the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program going. But, as you suggest, since two thousand four, the number of suicides over the course of the year has increased by about twenty a year. Now, knock on wood, so far this year we are at the same number as we were last year. And if that continues, I'm hopeful that we're doing some things that can stem the tide. It's not all about deployments. And when we look at the data, it's kind of interesting because a third of the soldiers who commit suicide have never deployed, and a third commit suicide while deployed and then another third have deployed but it happens after they're back. So I believe it's a contributing factor but it not the overriding factor. MR. SANGER: There was a hand back here for -- MR. MARTIN: Todd Martin (phonetic), Dallas, in Aspen. Our share of global defense since World War II has well exceeded our share of GDP. Have you thought about how long it would take and how we would get to sharing the defense responsibility for, let's call it, non-troubled regions of the world with the people that are there so that our share of global defense approaches our share of GDP? GEN. CASEY: I think that's the exact approach that the president spelled out in the national security strategy that we have to go after more collective security and help others do more for security around the world. Now, that said, if you look at what's happening in Europe, it's going in the other direction, that the money that some of these countries are willing to put toward defense is going down and going down fairly sharply, so that's the tension that we have here. MR. SANGER: Back here. MR. COBB: I'm Loren Cobb (phonetic) from Boulder, and in there interest of full disclosure, I am a military subcontractor for U.S. southern command. Part of the -- GEN. CASEY: How did you get up here? MR. COBB: Part of the operations that our military does are not war fighting, they are things like peacekeeping, humanitarian missions, disaster relief operations, peacekeeping for the UN, peace enforcement under chapter seven of the United Nations Charter, there is nation-building, a large group of things which are not classical war fighting. As we move further into the st century, how do you see that developing, is it going to get more or would we deemphasize it? What's your vision? GEN. CASEY: Well, the doctrine that I described, that we put out in February of two thousand eight looks at our -- at having the ability to operate across the spectrum of conflict, from peacekeeping to conventional war. And so the versatile forces that we're building have to be able to plug in at any place on that spectrum and be successful. Now, that's a tall order. But I believe we have to be involved in a range of activities, because involvement in a peacekeeping operation may prevent a larger of broader conflict. And so it's entirely appropriate for us to be involved in those kinds of things. But again, I think we in the military are already moving away from the notion that until -- if we're not fighting the big one, we're not working, and we're well past that. And I believe that is the mindset that we have to have to be successful in twenty-first century conflicts. MR. SANGER: We are down to just time for two or three more questions if the questions are short and induce short answers. Right back here. MS. ELLIS: This is a good follow up to the last question, General Casey. Patricia Ellis, Women's Foreign Policy Group. The military has taken the lead on nation building and I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your relations with the civilian side, i.e. State Department and AED -- AID and how you see the relationship evolving, are they going to be taking on more of the tasks or how do you see the relationship? Thank you. MR. SANGER: And maybe, along the way, while you're doing that, you can explain why it is that this long into the Obama administration we still see relatively few, comparatively few State Department and AID workers in Afghanistan compared to, say, the surge in the military force. GEN. CASEY: First my -- John Negroponte was around here over the last couple of days, he was the ambassador in Iraq when we went in together. Within days after I was nominated, we met in my office and we agreed, one team one mission, that the civil-military effort had to go forward as one and we worked very, very hard to make that happen. I believe that's the only way we're going to be successful. Now there is all type of the cultural and sniping that goes back and forth, but if the leaders don't commit to that upfront, then it doesn't happen. And civil-military cooperation is essential for the nation to succeed. And as I mentioned before, there is no military solutions here. The military and the civil side have to complement each other if we're going to be successful. So I worked very hard to build relationships, not only between myself and the ambassador but between my staff and the ambassador. And to John's credit, he accepted guys and gals with guns into his embassy because we felt it was important to have my staff and his staff working together. And so that process, I think, has to continue. I don't think it's a secret that some of the other agencies of the government have been slower to adapt to the challenges that we're facing in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. And that -- candidly, that has been a point of friction among some of the soldiers because they're out there working twenty-four seven and they see someone else that has sixty days of leave a year and they -- you know, they take off. Now, that doesn't mean they're not committed because everybody out there is working their tails off. But I think we have to keep pressing the other agencies of the government to get more adaptable and to get more used to operating in the kinds of environments that we're operating in. MR. SANGER: All right, take one more right here. Sir. SPEAKER: Thank you very much, you ought to re up, you know. Couple of -- (Laughter) GEN. CASEY: I went over forty years service on sixth of June, I think that's plenty. (Applause) SPEAKER: That resilience training caught my attention because during World War II Outward Bound was founded on the same principle, so it seems to work, prepare our soldiers for those tough times. GEN. CASEY: We're actually working with Outward Bound and they are running trips for wounded soldiers for exactly that purpose. SPEAKER: Right. And I'm glad to hear that. Another lesson from World War II ties to the last question on the Marshall Plan, it was led by the State Department and civilians. Well, you just answered that question, but I wonder at what point during our longest war ever, nine years, that the mere presence of the military becomes part of the problem, you become the target, you know, if maybe you were in different uniforms or something, I just wonder. GEN. CASEY: I went over and spoke to a group of Foreign Service Officers in the State Department and they were trying to figure out how to better civil military relation. And I kind of went back and forth between this is what you think of us and this is what we think of you. But one of the -- we are our own worst enemy, the military is sometimes. I mean, our can-do attitude, we get in there and we just try to do, do, do and everybody else get out of the way, and it is not necessarily the best way all the time. And so that's part of the tension that we have here. And the other thing that just drives the civil side crazy is there is so many of us, you know. I mean, we -- I'd have six colonels standing around a Foreign Service Officer's desk saying the CG wants this done this week. This poor guy is going, come on, I'm only one. So there is -- I mean, we have -- and I think we have done a good job of changing and adapting over time. But we have our own culture too and it's not always helpful. MR. SANGER: Well, I thank you very much, General Casey, for your service, for your comments today. GEN. CASEY: Thank you, I appreciate it. Thank you very much. (Applause)