Highlighting future US threats
Steven Bucci, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, delves into national security on Defcon 3
- Duration 11:28
- Date May 9, 2012
Steven Bucci, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, delves into national security on Defcon 3
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Richard your man who really does now it's -- guy's been there done man and that's their former.
Military assistant to the secretary of defense former deputy assistant secretary of defense Stephen -- who is now at The Heritage Foundation.
Now at The Heritage Foundation and you want something.
You with the heritage foundation of -- having called the protect America project.
What are what are the big issues on protecting America.
Well KK you this is a program that we're doing all this month this is protect America month and it's a series of papers presentations.
Videos all highlighting.
The reality of what our military is facing as far as readiness as far as.
It's capabilities budget all that the relevant issues to the military.
World highlighting all of those in trying to get in the hands of the legislators.
End the American people the facts.
Okay today on Capitol Hill I've just been reading my Twitter feed and a house armed services committee is marking up the defense budget.
What do you make of the kind of defense program the president's talking about having -- -- the defense cuts and what you're talking about.
Are the challenges that America faces going forward or is that kind of defense program the president's proposing.
I'm gonna be adequate to meet the -- -- you've been talking about.
Actually we do not think it will be the president's budget for the most part has artificial numbers in it.
Amounts of cuts that are not necessarily tied to any particular strategy other then to cut the budget.
Everybody agrees we need efficiencies everybody agrees we need to to scale back but it has to be done with.
Accurate -- it has to be done based on -- strategy in the interest of this country not just artificial fiscal numbers.
All right you know I think from all the time you spent in the military at the Pentagon I certainly know that when the country comes back from war whether it was the Korean War the Vietnam War.
We come back home and we cow lick our wounds particularly if they've been unpopular wars.
And at a minimum we want a defense dividend -- -- peace dividend we -- cut defense.
We want to look at another direction and particularly now where we have reckoning is at the age of austerity we have other requirements on our defense are dollars that we.
Send to Washington but it.
What do you look at the threats that we face and getting specific areas worry you what countries were -- -- military capabilities were you going forward.
Before I get through threats -- I just wanna re emphasize the point you're making.
It is a great great temptation after a conflict as you say particularly those that were not popular.
To come back cut back radically.
Re distribute the the money that some people think.
He's wasted on -- defense spending because after all we're never gonna do that again we're never gonna have another conflict like the last one again.
And in error believe we do.
It is foolish to cut the readiness.
Posture of this country.
To try and save that money because in the long run we get caught short we hollow out the military it hurts us in the long run.
As to the threats right now we have some growing -- Russia.
Is getting more and more hostile the administration continues to trying to reach out to them and their so called reset and while that's a laudable.
I'm not sure really applies when you're dealing with someone like Vladimir Putin.
China growing power both economically.
In the area I'm very familiar with and cyber they are all over the place in our networks and in our.
Private sector companies and it's.
They are being very very aggressive with that we still have a wrong.
Again very aggressive both with cyber and with their human intelligence assets as we saw it.
Where they tried to committed assassination right here in Washington DC.
And there are other non state actors like.
Al-Qaeda -- various affiliates this is not a time to hollow out our military or intelligence community.
-- you just mentioned China and protector of the cyber threat from China China are growing regional power and the -- in the western Pacific but also.
Our country which looks to take his place in the world given this economic prowess.
You worked at the Faneca and right now we're seeing that the Chinese defense minister is coming to Washington he's being welcomed on a lot of military bases.
Is this a security risk.
It's it's not really -- security risque -- reaching out to two potential competitors.
Is the right thing to do we need to engage with -- we need to try and win them over to our side.
But in the same time we can't be Pollyanna.
We have to understand.
That they have their national interest as defined by their leaders.
And frankly bearing conflict with ours it's not just in the Pacific though that's clearly there they're -- Region there all over Africa they're all over Latin America they are very aggressive and every country in which they engage.
And we need to understand that and treat them as a competitor.
Not as just a big country that we're gonna win over because we tell him we love them.
OK talk to me about the cyber threat we've had show Brenner who is that.
Former head of counter intelligence from the United States.
And it's a subject that you spent a lot of time looking -- as well.
-- Joseph -- talks about not just them militant threat against our military are the cyber threat against our military forces.
He talks about the civilian infrastructure and the electric grid and the water supply.
And the HB AC systems and most buildings.
What how how do you think of the cyber threat what worries you about it.
Well right now the threat -- days is primarily cyber espionage there are entities all over our networks both foreign intelligence services.
Foreign companies and everything in between that are trying to steal our intellectual property and unfortunately they're being pretty successful at it.
If they can get into our industrial control systems.
One type of which are called -- -- systems.
You may have heard that bill that is the place work computer systems the cyber world touches the physical world.
That's how we run factories how we run utilities.
It is an area in which.
An enemy can get inside those networks can do things that can cause physical damage and cause -- directly.
To human beings not just -- the ones and zeroes of the cyber world.
Okay so when you -- keeps you up and I when you talk about cyber things it is at the idea that sent some foreign country.
Or say China Russia pick your country's gonna launch a cyber war attackers cyber attack on the United States.
It is -- is just pointed out there are looking around that you just set it as well there in up there in our heads they're in our systems they're looking around.
To what end.
Well right now they're looking around to trying to gain information to gain.
Intellectual property from us particularly with China so that they can short circuit there need for their own research and development they -- -- steal ours.
I -- less concerned with the nation state threat from a cyber war standpoint.
Because today most of the countries that have the capability to do that.
Are also deterred by a horse.
Our physical abilities we don't have to go back at a somebody does a cyber attack with cyber means we can drop bombs on them if we want to.
And that still has a powerful deterrent effect.
I can tell you that today if you talk to the law enforcement officials and a lot of major cities in the United States.
Their concern are terrorist groups using cyber means to augment traditional kinetic kind of attacks.
In a domestic.
Context for instance attacking the city of New York's 911 system.
And causing an event in one part of the city but redirecting all of the responders to another part.
Perhaps where they have other actors waiting to ambush them.
That kind of scenario frankly is for more likely that are all out cyber war and is very very -- Let me switch gears a little bit when you in the -- got near the military assistant to the secretary of defense that means you're the guy that sits right outside the secretary of defense's office.
You see every piece of Paper that goes into his office and you can every -- of -- it comes out you sit in on every single meeting.
You would have known -- use the military assistant to the secretary of defense.
About the you know the -- laden -- you would've known in advance about the underwear bomber and CIA double agent.
Do you have any sense.
Have the impropriety.
Of all this information and all of a sudden becomes available to all of us.
And is it causing a problem is this something we have a right to know or is -- something potentially that damages.
Our ability to conduct espionage and intelligence operations -- forward.
-- I have to tell you if if I had.
Ever been caught leaking anything particularly working for the secretary of defense who I work for Donald Rumsfeld.
There would have any end to me.
Because he had no patience for that sort of thing at all.
Two when I looked at the underwear bomber initially when the case broke I thought you know good.
Good Bravo two to the administration they pull off an intelligence coup.
They didn't tell the public about it even though there was some concern early on -- -- completed the operation.
And I thought okay they they did a good job here.
Then when I found that it.
That this was a so called double agent or an undercover agent who did it.
And they made it public.
I always just flabbergasted I could not understand why anyone.
Release that information.
And if it wasn't deliberative who was just a violation of operational security.
H just as bad out full -- as as if it were done on purpose.
I see no good that can come of releasing that kind of information.
If nothing else that individual now.
Is -- he can't ever go home his family is at risk.
His coverage I crazies -- discovered -- he's not about to go back -- be undercover agent and next sting operation.
Nine and I can't imagine what these Saudi intelligence people.
I can't imagine that they're terribly happy that we made this news public I don't know the motivation for it it is not something that the public needed to know.
-- smacks of hey we did something else really cool and exciting in Hollywood like.
To think that someone deliberately did this but again if it wasn't deliberate if it was just a failing of security.
That's just as bad a problem.
Okay well thank you so much for joining us -- here.
May -- interview on -- countries Stephen the issue I had the honor of sitting with him being part of the Sean Hannity special.
-- one year anniversary of the -- lot of rain dance even as a former Defense Department official and now The Heritage Foundation.