March 10, 2022

Manchin Questions U.S. Commanders On NATO Security, China Weapons Systems, Operational Control Of Korean Peninsula

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, questioned Admiral John C. Aquilino, USN Commander, Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) and General Paul J. LaCamera, USA, Commander United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea. Senator Manchin questioned the witnesses about concerns over Russian escalation into NATO member territory, the state of China’s weapons systems and the operational control and security of the Korean Peninsula.

On Putin’s war:

“Knowing what you know and the insight that you have on where we are in Putin’s war…What are your concerns about this war escalating into bringing the United States into conflict? What are the chances of them breaching our NATO allies’ territory?”

On China’s weapons systems:

“I believe the majority of my colleagues agree with me that in order to compete against China, we’ve got to do the best thing we can do, not what's politically popular. With that in mind, what domains of warfare do you believe the United States still maintains an asymmetrical advantage in against China? And what weapon systems or equipment do you believe we should procure to widen that advantage?”

On the operational control and security of the Korean Peninsula:

“General LaCamera, you mentioned in your opening statement your work towards achieving the bilateral Conditions-Based Operational Control Transition Plan between the United States and the Republic of Korea. When fully implemented, the Republic of Korea will assume direct operational control over their military in the event of war with North Korea. So, can you explain to the Committee if this transition plan is successfully executed, how will the immediate nature of our presence on the Korean Peninsula change?”

A video of Senator Manchin’s questioning of the witnesses can be found here.