SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10821]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005H.R. 4200
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
FULL COMMITTEE HEARINGS
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AUTHORIZATION AND OVERSIGHT
FEBRUARY 12, 2004
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
One Hundred Eighth Congress
DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
ED SCHROCK, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JEFF MILLER, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
ROB BISHOP, Utah
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
KENDRICK B. MEEK, Florida
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
RODNEY ALEXANDER, Louisiana
TIM RYAN, Ohio
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Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
Eric Sterner, Professional Staff Member
Justin Bernier, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, February 12, 2004, Fiscal Year 2005 National Defense Authorization ActSecretary of the Navy; Chief of Naval Operations; Commandant of the Marine Corps
Thursday, February 12, 2004
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2004
FISCAL YEAR 2005, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTSECRETARY OF
THE NAVY; CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS; COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Clark, Adm. Vernon E., USN, Chief of Naval Operations
England, Hon. Gordon R., Secretary of the Navy
Hagee, Gen. Michael W., Commandant of the Marine Corps
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Bordallo, Hon. Madeleine Z.
Clark, Adm. Vernon E.
England, Hon. Gordon R.
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Hagee, Gen. Michael W.
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Sanchez, Hon. Loretta
Skelton, Hon. Ike
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2005, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTSECRETARY OF THE NAVY; CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS; COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHouse of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Thursday, February 12, 2004.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 9:03 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
The. CHAIRMAN This morning, the committee will continue its review of the fiscal year 2005 Defense budget request, with a look at the Department of the Navy. Because votes for today were canceled, our attendance may not be that high, but I wanted to proceed with the hearings because the issues we are going to discuss are too important to wait. We have a chock-a-block schedule and anytime we have an opportunity to talk with our naval leadership, it is appreciated.
We know you have a tight schedule, too, and lots of work to do, Mr. Secretary. So thank you for being with us today, and thank you, too, to the Honorable Gordon R. England, Secretary of the Navy; Admiral Vernon E. Clark, Chief of Naval Operations; and General Michael W. Hagee, United States Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps. Thank you very much, gentlemen, for being with us.
Mr. Secretary, we are particularly pleased to have you back heading up the Navy instead of consorting with those homeland security folks. Their job is vital. They are great people, but no one will blame this committee if we are little selfish about wanting to see the best talent in the Department of Defense (DOD), so welcome back.
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Secretary ENGLAND. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. This year's defense budget request, $119.2 billion for the Department of the Navy, is $3.9 billion more than the fiscal year 2004 peacetime budget. That is a good step in continuing on the path the President charted to restore the health of our military services after a decade of neglect in the 1990's.
In particular, I am glad this budget addresses some personnel issues that this committee has worked long and hard to get fixed, including the 3.5 percent pay increase, and increases to basic housing and subsistence allowances so that our service people do not face any out-of-pocket expenses when moving into private housing.
I am also encouraged by significant increases for next generation systems such as the DD(X), the next generation aircraft carrier, and the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). These all represent solid investments in the people who are protecting us today and the hardware that they will use tomorrow.
Gentlemen, as you know, the committee has long had bipartisan concerns about the adequacy of force structure. The Global War on Terror has only increased the demands on our forces and heightened some of these concerns. While no one should doubt the readiness, lethality, commitment or ability of the U.S. military to defeat our enemies in war, we do have to look ahead. The war on terror will be long, and I have my doubts that the stresses we are currently experiencing will be temporary.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The good news is the Administration is looking ahead, too. General Schoomaker has already developed a concept for increasing the number of Army brigades without increasing end strength. The Navy has done something similar with this fleet response plan, which would give us six highly deployable aircraft carriers, instead of the four we are accustomed to having already deployed
We should commend the Department for coming up with creative approaches to address the increased demands that the Global War on Terror is making on our forces, but the jury is still out as to whether it has come up with the ultimate solution. I hope that today's hearing will help us begin to answer these questions as our senior Navy and Marine officials walk us through the fiscal year 2005 budget request.
So gentlemen, we are all looking forward to your testimony and appreciate your appearance before the committee. Before we get to the Secretary, let me recognize my partner, the very distinguished gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton, for any remarks he might want to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary England, Admiral Clark, General Hagee, thank you for being with us. At the outset, let me say how really proud we are of the young men and young women in uniform today. They give us pride and they serve with distinction, and we hope you will pass on to them that the members of this committee are grateful for their service.
Overall, I am pleased to see that the Department of the Navy receives increased fiscal year 2005 funding, $3.9 billion over last fiscal year. Our troops give the best and they deserve the best, the best training, the best equipment. I commend you for trying to do that in this budget.
I am troubled by the Department's decision not to budget for any of the costs of the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are established operations that undoubtedly will continue through the year. It is our responsibility to budget fully for the costs we foresee. What troubles we most is what happens if you have to wait for a supplemental next year, in January, February or even possibly March. Where do we go from here?
There are three articles from various newspapers, and I will ask you, General Hagee in particular, and Secretary England, to answer these questions regarding this. The New York Times yesterday, ''Service chiefs challenge White House on budget''; the Los Angeles Times, ''Iraq, Afghanistan funds to dry up''; Washington Post yesterday, ''Military chiefs testify of worries about war funding.''
It is interesting to note, Mr. Chairman, that the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps chiefs have expressed concern about the funding. I am sure the CNO, Chief of Naval Operations, can explain why things are different for the Navy, which we appreciate.
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With that, Mr. Chairman, I will yield and allow the questions to continue.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Secretary, without objection, you statement and all statements will be taken into the record in their entirety. Thanks for being with us. The floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF HON. GORDON R. ENGLAND, SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
Secretary ENGLAND. Thank you very much, Chairman Hunter, Mr. Skelton and members of the committee. It is a distinct privilege and a great honor to appear before you again as the Secretary of the Navy. I will tell you, it is terrific to be back. It is terrific to be back with the very best Navy and Marine Corps, I believe, in our nation's history, and back with my teammates here with me today.
These are two of the finest military leaders with whom the Secretary could ever serve. Admiral Clark and General Hagee are both war fighters. They are also moral and professional role models and true visionaries. Our nation is indeed blessed to have their leadership at this time of great threat to the world.
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The heaviest burden to defend liberty and freedom falls, as always, on the men and women of our armed forces, but that burden also falls on this committee. Your continuing support of our men and women in uniform, their families and our civilians is essential if we are to preserve and defend the freedoms and liberties that we all so cherish.
On behalf of all those great Americans in uniform, I thank you for ensuring that we are properly resourced. On behalf of all our deployed men and women, and especially their families, I also thank you for your personal visits to combat areas and home bases, and also for your personal support and encouragement in your talks and in your meetings in your districts of the value these marvelous volunteers bring to our Nation. The service of each of you on this committee is deeply appreciated.
I am pleased to report that the naval forces we are deploying today and planning to deploy for the future as contained in our proposed fiscal year 2005 budget are vastly different and vastly better than I reported during my first appearance before this committee two years ago. Naval transformation is well underway.
People continue to be our most valuable asset. We are a strong, well-trained, highly motivated and combat-ready force. Retention is at record levels and recruiting continues robust. We have the very best people and their morale is high.
Our budget request continues to do what I call turn the corner for the Navy. We are investing in the next generation of surface combatants, the Littoral Combat Ship and the DD(X); a new aircraft carrier, CVN21; and new sea-basing capabilities. We have increased funding for new aircraft platforms, namely the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the airborne electronic attack aircraft, multi-mission maritime aircraft, and a joint unmanned combat air system. We continue to invest in the many advanced technologies that will be incorporated in these platforms.
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A guiding principle in all we do is improving the effectiveness to also gain efficiency. The fleet response plan, tactical air (TacAir) integration, and the establishment of the commander naval installations are a few of our initiatives to improve effectiveness within the Department. We are good stewards of the taxpayers' money.
The Navy-Marine Corps team has accomplished much during this past year. Nine carrier strike groups and ten amphibious ready groups deployed around the world in support of national security interests. Naval forces conducted missions ranging from combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, flexible deterrent operations and humanitarian assistance missions. We are today re-deploying Marine and Navy forces in preparation for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) II. As I sit here today, your naval forces continue to demonstrate their immeasurable value to our Nation. Ladies and gentlemen of this important committee, I again thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. Wherever I visit our sailors, Marines and their families, they are all proud to serve their Nation. I am privileged and proud to serve them.
I look forward to your questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Secretary England can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Admiral Clark, good to have you back before the committee. The floor is yours.
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STATEMENT OF ADM. VERNON E. CLARK, USN, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS
Admiral CLARK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman and Representative Skelton and other distinguished members of this committee, good morning to you. I, along with the Secretary, would like to identify myself with his remarks. It is a privilege to be able to be here before you today representing the Active and the Reserve sailors and the civilians that are serving our Navy today.
It is also a treat to be here with Secretary England, to have him back, and my partner, General Hagee, to serve with leaders like this in this, the honor to serve our Navy and the naval services. These three folks here, we spend a lot of time together. We have a tremendous partnership. I just want to report to you that the Navy-Marine Corps team is stronger than I have ever known it to be and I am proud to be serving in it.
This morning in a relative way, the Navy is less in the news this morning than it has been at other times in the year. The focus today is rightfully on the Army and their execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Very, very soon, my number one joint partner, the United States Marine Corps and General Hagee and his force, they will deploy again to Iraq. But even though we are less in the headlines today than we were earlier in the year, today still this morning, there are three carrier strike groups and two expeditionary strike groups, and 94 other ships deployed around the world. That is roughly one-third of our force.
Our ships and submarines are forward deployed today in places where the headlines are not always visible to the rest of the world, doing the nation's business, making sure that we are on-scene. That includes two of our large deck amphibious ships that recently surged forward supporting the transfer of Marine Corps aircraft to Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
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A year ago at this time, our Navy was surging in a huge deployment ultimately reaching 55 percent of our fleet. We were an important part of that joint decisive team that conducted major combat operations last spring, using, I like to say, the vast maneuver space of the sea. We lifted, in fact, along with the Military Sealift Command fleet, 94 percent of the joint force that went to Iraq, projecting offensive combat power ashore, and extending our defenses into the littoral to defeat and in fact preempt Iraqi sea mines and conduct early warning and tracking of Iraqi ballistic missiles.
All of this highlighted our capability to take credible, persistent combat power to the far corner of the earth. That is our mission, anywhere and anytime we need to do so. The experiences of this past year have reaffirmed the importance of our total joint war fighting team. Certainly without it, major combat operations could have taken much longer.
So I appreciate the opportunity to appear today to talk to you about your great Navy. It is my privilege to thank you on behalf of the outstanding young men and women serving in uniform today, our civilians, our active and reserve people. I want to thank you for your continued support in making our Navy ready to respond to the needs of the Nation today, and for helping us create the Navy of the future.
All of us in the Navyand I say this when I am on the road, too, talking to the citizens of Americaall of us are grateful for what you all do in the Congress here. Your dedication and commitment to our nation's military is something that we are very proud of.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Since I have had this assignment as CNO, and I am on my fourth trip up here this year, I have been committed to increasing the key investment streams in our Navy, in our people, in transformation, and in our current readiness. This year, we continue that trend. In fact, it accelerates our investment in our Seapower 21 capabilities and vision. These are the programs that recapitalize and transform our Navy, and the Secretary has mentioned them. It delivers the right readiness at the right cost. We have the spotlight shined on cost in your Navy. It has enabled us to respond to the needs of the nation, as I have mentioned. It continues to shape the 21st century workforce in a way that lets us get to the smarter but smaller group of sailors that are all about our future.
I know we have lots to talk about this morning, so Mr. Chairman I will not dwell on the program initiatives themselves. They are in my written statement. I am anxious to talk to specifics that you all are interested in. But I would like to say just one thing about our people. We recognize in the Navy that at the heart of everything good that is happening in the Navy is this one fact. We are winning the battle for people.
In everything that we do, I have a constant sight picture on the fact that for all of our advanced technology, for the best readiness that I have ever seen since I have been wearing the uniform, it is still our people that bring our capabilities to bear whenever and wherever our nation needs them. We have, as the Secretary mentioned, the highest retention rates that we have ever had in the history of our institution. That is for a lot of reasons: outstanding leadership in the ranks; new ways to grow and develop our sailors; improvements in pay and housing; innovative authorities that were approved by the Congress; competitive reenlistment and detailing processes, among others.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC All this has made this the highest quality Navy that the Nation has ever seen. We will do whatever it takes to equip and enable our people, but at the same time we do recognize the true cost of manpower, that it is not free. As you can see from our request, we are requesting your approval to reduce our end-strength this year by some 7,900 people from our fiscal year 2004 levels.
Our strategy for doing this is simple. We are capturing the work on our ships and stations and improving our training processes. We are leveraging technology everywhere we can. We are decommissioning our older, more manpower-intensive platforms where the risks allow us to do so. We are rebalancing our reserves and active forces to deliver the right skills at the right time.
I am committed to building a Navy that can maximize the capability of our people and minimize the total number that is on the payroll. Our commitment to our people through the years has been this, to invest in them, to provide them with an opportunity to grow and to develop, to give them opportunities, to give them a chance to make a difference for our Navy and for America.
This is the covenant that we have with our people. Their performance, of course, and you all have seen them first-hand, their performance has been just absolutely magnificent. As our Navy delivers the more high-tech ships and aircraft in our future, our workforce will get smaller, but it also must get smarter. Your efforts over the years have been critical to our ability to attract and retain and shape the kind of workforce we need in this century. I want to report to you that your efforts have enabled us to do that. The process is working. I ask you this: Please continue to give us the tools that have helped make us successful.
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I know that the battle for people is never won. It is, in fact, and I tell our leaders, this is a battle that we must wage every day. But I want you to know that the work that you do here in this room and on the House floor is so important to us and for us in accomplishing this task and our mission. So I look forward to discussing this with you today and in the months ahead.
I close by reporting to you that I am very proud to be part of this great Navy and Marine Corps team. This is a team that believes in the importance of what they are doing, and responding to it. I want you to know that our young people are responding to the messages that they are receiving from the Congress and to the people, the citizens of America. They hear and they sense what the citizens of the United States are saying to them, a message that the citizens of America support what they are doing.
Our people feel the trust and the confidence that you all have placed in them, and that the people of America have placed in them. It all starts right here in this body. I thank you for your support. I thank you for helping us make this Navy great. I look forward to your questions this morning.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Clark can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Admiral.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General Hagee, thank you for being with us this morning. The floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF GEN. MICHAEL HAGEE, USMC, COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS
General HAGEE. Thank you, sir. Chairman Hunter, Congressman Skelton, distinguished members of this committee, first I would like to thank you on behalf of all Marines for your visits outside the United States and inside the United States, to these great young Americans. It means an unbelievable amount to them that you take your time to go out and talk with them and get their concerns.
It is my privilege to report to you that your Marines, Active and Reserve, are well trained, well equipped, highly motivated and ready. Your support and that of the American people are critical and deeply appreciated by the Marines and their families. Your sustained commitment to improving our Nation's armed forces to meet the challenges of today, as well as those of the future, is vital to the security of our Nation.
The Marine Corps's first priority is and will continue to be war fighting readiness and excellence in support of our Nation. In the near term, the Marine Corps is focused on readiness to provide capable forces that meet the demanding needs of our nation. For the long term, the Marine Corps and Navy are committed to developing a sea-basing capability that will provide a critical joint competency for assuring access and projecting combat power ashore worldwide.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During the past year, the Marine Corps, both Active and Reserve, was engaged in operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism, from Afghanistan to the Arabian Gulf, the Horn of Africa, Liberia, the Georgian Republic, Colombia, Guantanamo Bay and the Philippines.
Highlighting the value of our expeditionary capability in Operation Iraqi Freedom, using a combination of forward-deployed Marine Expeditionary Units, maritime fleet positioning squadrons, two large amphibious task forces, and strategic air-and sealift, we deployed a combat-ready and sustainable force of almost 70,000 Marines and sailors in less than 60 days. No one else in the world can do that.
Exploring the operational speed, reach and inherent flexibility of seapower, the Navy and Marine Corps closely integrated with joint and coalition partners and Special Operations Forces engaged in 26 days of sustained combat operations, fought 10 major engagements, destroying 8 Iraqi divisions, before stopping in Tikrit, almost 500 miles inland. Following major combat operations, the Marines assumed responsibility for security and stability operations in five of seven Iraqi provinces until coalition forces relieved them last September.
As the Secretary mentioned, the Marine Corps is currently preparing to deploy forces to relieve Army units in western Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Over the next year, we will deploy two rotations of about 25,000 Marines for approximately 7 months. In preparation for this deployment, we are working closely with the U.S. Army in and out of Iraq concerning equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures.
We are also drawing on analysis of our experiences from last year, the tactics of the British, and our own extensive small wars experience. We have assimilated these lessons and developed comprehensive training packages that include rigorous ground and urban operations and language and culture education. We are paying particular attention to individual protective equipment, enhanced vehicle and aircraft hardening, and aviation survival equipment and procedures.
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However, Operation Iraqi Freedom II is not our only operational focus. We continue to forward-deploy in support of operations in Afghanistan and in the Horn of Africa. We are continuing to improve our warfighting capabilities by leveraging advancements in technology and developing innovative organizations and improving our joint training. Currently, the first expeditionary strike group, which combines the capabilities of surface action group, submarine, and maritime patrol aircraft, with those of an Amphibious Ready Group and a Marine Expeditionary Unit, is returning from its deployment to the Central Command area of responsibility (AOR).
We are combining our analysis of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, with lessons of this initial deployment in order to enhance our adaptability, flexibility and lethality. In addition, naval tactical air (TacAir) integration continues to be implemented, and we are aggressively improving our interoperability with Special Operations Forces.
Our top ground and aviation programs are adequately funded. The marked increase in our warfighting capability will be apparent as we introduce new systems, such as the MV22 Osprey, the expeditionary fighting vehicle, the Joint Strike Fighter, the lightweight 155 howitzer, the four-bladed Cobra and Huey upgrade helicopters, and the high-mobility artillery rocket system into our force structure.
In planning for future uncertainties, as both the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations have mentioned, we are committed to developing a sea-basing capability that will provide a critical joint competency for assuring access and projecting power that will greatly improve the nation's security. Sea-basing in the future will assure joint access by capitalizing on the dilemma created by operational maneuver of forces from the sea. The replacement ships for the LHA class of amphibious assault ships, the maritime pre-positioning force future, the DD(X) and the Littoral Combat Ship will be essential in our concept of joint sea basing.
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Mr. Chairman, last I would like to emphasize the magnificent performance of your individual Marine, the most agile and lethal weapons system we possess. On behalf of all Marines, I thank this committee for its steadfast support and I look forward to your questions, sir.
[The prepared statement of General Hagee can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. General, thank you very much, and thank you to all of you for your opening statements, for your service to our country. The first question will go to the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
In my opening comments, I expressed concern about the failure to budget for ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is my understanding that the earliest supplemental taken up would be in January of next year. I refer to the three articles which referred to testimony over in the Senate about military chiefs testifying that there were worries about the war funding, in particular. This, Secretary England and General Hagee, really needs to be answered by you, too.
What would the impact be on funding for ongoing operations from September through January or February, even as late as March possibly, for a supplemental? The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), by the way, estimates it would be about $50 billion. I would appreciate your thoughts on that. You have to borrow from something. Where are you going to borrow from? Mr. Secretary?
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Secretary ENGLAND. Mr. Skelton, we do have some cost obviously associated with deploying our Marines into the combat zone. We also have some costs associated with our Navy. We always have to get our Marines there, et cetera. Last year on the Senate side, it was commented that that is estimated to be on the order of did we know about today of any order of about $1.5 billion. We are working with the comptroller of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) because there was a 2004 supplemental for the war cause. So we do expect that we will receive that funding.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, but the question, Mr. Secretary, is when? Between September and at the earliest January, you are not going to get it. We are not going to be here.
Secretary ENGLAND. There is already funding allocated so there is money that I am aware of in OSD. There is money allocated in a supplementary that has already been passed. So there is a war supplemental. Working with OSD, frankly if that money is not forthcoming right away, then we will likely use funds, that is, unobligated funds until that money is replenished. I frankly do not think we will have any significant problem in terms of funding, and I believe that was responded to by the CNO during his hearings on the Senate side.
I do not believe we will have a problem. Now, it depends on how big those bills are, but at this time I do not see that to be a significant issue for the Department of the Navy. Our bills are not as high as the bills obviously for the Department of the Army, but I believe that with the request we have into the OSD comptroller, I expect those funds will be reimbursed, but if they are not then we will look at our unobligated funds. At some point, certainly, we will need to be reimbursed for those funds.
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Mr. SKELTON. General Hagee.
General HAGEE. Yes, sir. I would like to divide it into two parts. First, fiscal year 2004, which I think the Secretary was talking about. We have a relatively good feel on the funds that we will need for fiscal year 2004. Of course, that is constantly changing. We are projecting out until the end of the fiscal year. As I have testified, we have estimated that it will cost us between $800 million and $900 million this fiscal year. We are capturing those funds. As the Secretary mentioned, we are submitting those requests for funds to the comptroller OSD, and we expect to be reimbursed.
As far as fiscal year 2005 is concerned, first, as you know, it will depend on how many forces we have over there and our burn rate. We just do not know what that is. If we keep approximately the same number of forces on the ground over there, we believe that we can handle the first quarter, as the Secretary mentioned, by forward-funding in order to obtain enough cash flow. We will need a supplemental the first part of next year if in fact our force commitment remains the same, but that could change.
Mr. SKELTON. Admiral, do you have any comments on this issue?
Admiral CLARK. The main thing for us is that, one of the things about the Navy is that when you fund us, you fund us to a level of operations for our deployments. We are deployed in the theater. I have another Carrier Strike Group en route to the theater now, and that funding is included in our normal approach to the funding and budgeting process.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What I said the other day is that if we went back to a major combat operation at a level that we are not at today, then it would change my picture. But where the level of commitment that we have to the force and to the Central Command (CENTCOM) AOR and our other global requirements, we are covered for 2004. Our number for 2005 would be very, very small. For example, in 2004 to move the Marines, the transportation costs we are paying, and as Secretary England said, we submitted that number to OSD in 2004. We will be covered.
There will be a small number to bring the Marines back. When that occurs, we will be able to cash flow anything in the first quarter. So my number is very, very small and I do not see a problem.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have other questions, but I will reserve my time at this time.
Mr. WELDON [presiding]. I thank the distinguished Ranking Member.
First of all, thank you all for being here. It is a pleasure. Chairman Hunter had to step out for a few moments. He will return to the hearing, and he apologizes for this brief interlude, but I will proceed with some questions and then we will move on. We will operate under the five-minute rule, but allow members to come back for additional questions if they so desire.
I just want to say that I am so pleased with the leadership that you all are providing. We saw evidence of your leadership in the eyes of every troop member that we saw on a recent trip, where Congressman Ortiz and I led 8 Members of Congress, including 5 members of this committee, to Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and then stayed overnight at Ramstein to be with the troops at the medical center there, and brought 12 of them back home.
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Without a doubt, those 5 days with the troops were just unbelievable. The morale is beyond description. We were in a hospital there at Ramstein and went into each individual room. One young soldier had a major eye injury. We were briefed before we went into the room, as you walked in the room here is a soldier lying in his full uniform. We said, what are you doing? You are supposed to be in a gown. He said, ''I do not belong here. I want to be back out there with my colleagues in the battlefield.''
There he was, sitting in the hospital lying on the bed, not with a gown on, but in his uniform, desiring to get back. That, I think, typifies the spirit of what we saw in Tikrit, what we saw in Baghdad, what we saw in Kabul, up at K2 in Uzbekistan, everyplace we went. I think Chairman Ortiz will tell you the same thing. It was just an amazing experience.
We thank all of your for giving them the tools and the equipment that is so important to them. We look for lessons to be learned and for priorities, and we brought those back and we have already given those to the Secretary's office, but I will repeat them to you. The need for more linguists was evident with those folks on the ground. We understand the frustrations in trying to get people cleared to be linguists.
We also heard of the need for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). I am going to tell you something, Mr. Secretary, and I have already told the CNO this. I chaired a hearing on UAVs last year, and all the services lined up. I think there were some unfair critical comments on the Navy, that they were not doing enough in this area. Let me tell you something, you now have hit the mark.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am going to ask staff to pass around a comparison sheet. Under Secretary Cohen, under your leadership Admiral Clark, the Navy has come through what I think are revolutionary breakthroughs in small UAVs. I remember General Odierno and his commanding officer up managing the road between Tikrit and Kirkuk. He talked about the attacks on his convoys and he talked about the need for small UAV support. If you look at the price comparisons and the capability, the Navy Valiant at the far left is not only the lowest cost, but offers the greatest flexibility. I want to praise the Navy for the great work you have done through operational readiness (OR) on UAV technology. I want to praise the work and your support effort for the Army in putting your Silver Foxes over there so the in fact can be put into place to protect the lives of our troops. Both of you should feel a great deal of pride that we were able to take technology developed very rapidly and immediately put it into place to help us save lives.
It is an important thing to me because one of the most emotional parts of my trip was a meeting with General Odierno as he was describing a young 24-year-old graduate of West Point that was gunned down on the road to Tikrit and Kirkuk. It turns out that young 24-year-old was a young person I nominated to West Point. I was carrying a letter from his parents, a three-page letter describing the emotions they had of the pride in their son, of the job he had done, even though he paid the ultimate price.
As I gave the letter to General Odierno and realized this was the same guy he was talking about, who went to West Point with his son and graduated together, you could see the emotion inside of him as we both talked about the spirit of our troops and the fact that these young people need to have the best protection, the best equipment and the best training that we can provide. I think under your leadership we are doing that.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that without a doubt this committee, Democrats and Republicans, will fight for the President's number on defense. It is going to be a tough battle. We are going to fight for the appropriate level of shipbuilding funds that, Admiral, we are finally getting around to giving you this year. And we are going to fight to give you the resources to allow you to develop off-the-top technology that you can put out in the field as you are doing right now with these UAVs.
General Hagee, I want to give you a softball. There is going to be a lot of pressure around here to cut big programs. There is already talk about the F22 and the Comanche. I want to give you a chance to make the case, along with the Secretary and perhaps the CNO, but I know this is very dear to your heart, both the need for the Joint Strike Fighter relative to the Marine Corps mission, as well as the V22, which was talked about very much yesterday in our hearing on aviation safety.
So with that, I thank you and I will now turn to any comments you would like to make, starting with the Secretary.
Secretary ENGLAND. Mr. Weldon, thank you. First of all, thanks for the comments, and also thanks for your visit. As the Commandant said, we greatly appreciated your making it there. I just want to tell you, when you tell me about these great men and women, it still gives me goosebumps at my age and it does when I go see them. God bless you and everybody who is doing such a great job supporting our military.
If I could make a comment first about V22. The test program is going superbly. It is meeting all of its objectives. I was recently at the Boeing facility. They have turned the program around, and I know they have also at Bell. So it is an important program for the Marines, for the Navy, for the Air Force. I frankly believe it is one of the most revolutionary programs we have. It is doing well. We are now trying to get the costs down. I believe that is important, but the contractors understand that. We understand that and we will succeed at doing that. So it is a terrific program.
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Joint Strike Fighter, the program, there are three versions. They are tied together. Frankly, we have some weight issues. I do not view them as critical weight issues. The two versions for the Navy and the Air Force, even with the overweight situation today, they meet all of their key performance parameters, but we will still drive that weight down, but we will be smart in terms of how we do it.
The weight issue for the short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft (STOVL) is heavier. It is also the more difficult technical problem. Nonetheless, in my judgment, having been in this business a long time in developing airplanes, I believe that is very solvable. That airplane is very important for us and for our allies. The United Kingdom and our allies together have $4 billion invested in this program.
I would encourage the Congress to stay the course on JSF. We are counting on that program and we are curtailing other programs in terms of the Harrier, for example. We cannot rebuild that again. So we need to field these airplanes, and we will get there. We are in a development program. Three advanced programs are always going to have some problems, but these are solvable. We are on track and I would ask your support of this program. It is essential to all of our services and our friends and allies.
General HAGEE. Sir, I would just make a couple of comments, not to repeat what the Secretary said. First, on the MV22, I could not be happier with the progress it is making. We did make a mistake this year. We took it up to Canada to test its cold weather adaptability and it has not been cold enough up there. We should have kept it here in Washington. We would have already been completed with the testing if we had done that.
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On the Joint Strike Fighter, I would like to talk about the performance of the Harrier in Operation Iraqi Freedom to show how critical that STOVL version of the Joint Strike Fighter is. We have 60 Harriers in Operation Iraqi Freedom. We had five squadrons. One of those squadrons was shore-based. The other four came from amphibs at sea. We used one forward-operating base and we used two of what we call forward area refueling and arming points. These are small places in the road.
The Harriers took off from the amphibs, went to those forward arming and refueling points, landed, refueled, took off from these very short runways, provided close-air support to the ground units there, came back, refueled, re-armed again, and went back up and provided close-air support. The surging generation rate that you can get out of such an operation is just fantastic.
We flew over 2,000 sorties and about 45 percent of the close-air support delivered in Operation Iraqi Freedom from the Marines came from our Harriers. We need that STOVL version, sir.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much.
Admiral, did you want to take any accolades on your UAV work?
Admiral CLARK. I certainly want to thank you for your comments, and just say that this budget requires close examination. I am proud of the accomplishments in it. It has happened because Secretary England said we are learning to be a more effective Navy; we are getting more return for the taxpayers's investment.
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Let me just say that we are research and development (R&D) heavy, three times the R&D in aviation than there was when I came up here the first year. The shipbuilding account is where it needs to be. It is all about turning technology as rapidly as possible.
I like to say to folks, look, the enemy's got asymmetric advantages, but so do we. Ours is the ability to field the most unbelievable technology that the world has ever seen, and it is the genius of our people. Silver Fox is the intersection of those two asymmetric advantages. I am very, very proud of the work that is going on. You mentioned the Army. When General Hagee's people go over, his troops, they are going to have them, too.
Mr. WELDON. Fantastic. Now I will turn to my good friend and colleague and patriot in crime, Solomon Ortiz.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to echo what my chairman just stated. We do have a bunch of young brave troops who love their country, who are dedicated and committed.
Today, we are happy to have you with us. I am going to have a question for my good friends Secretary England and of course the Chief of Naval Operations. Over the years, we in Congress have watched as the Navy invested hundreds of millions of dollars in mine warfare countermeasures, including R&D, only to see the Navy inexplicably change the requirements when it is time for the products to begin the acquisition stage, and as a result, mine counter-measure capability eludes the fleet.
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This is extraordinarily dangerous, as our fleet faces increased threats such as mines and terrorists. At the same time, there has been a consensus from the Navy leadership that sea mines remain a very serious threat to the fleet. Now it is my understanding that the Navy will begin retiring coastal mine hunters (MHC)s. This is what we hear. This is why this is important, that I am asking this question.
Without having any replacement capability in place, like the mine countermeasures. The Navy is eliminating a critical capability that currently exists, in support of a planned capability that the Navy hopes to have in place some years in the future. I say ''some years'' because the schedules for mine work always seems to slip. I would appreciate receiving your most specific and concise answers to these questions.
Is the Navy considering any reduction of the dedicated fleet during the current fiscal year or fiscal years 2005 or 2006? If so, how many are being considered for reduction and what is your planned replacement schedule for these assets?
We in Congress have repeatedly seen the certified mine warfare plan ignored. To address this serious problem, the Congress directed the Navy to inform the Congress prior to making any changes to the plan. In the past year, has the Navy made any changes to mine warfare plans or otherwise removed any funding to any assets in the plan without notifying Congress, as directed by law?
This is what we hear when we visit some of the bases, Mr. Secretary and Chief. Maybe we can have an explanation to rest the fears of the people who are doing a great job out there. Maybe you can help me.
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Secretary ENGLAND. I am going to turn perhaps the specific hard question over here to CNO in just a moment. But let me make one comment, Mr. Ortiz. Mine warfare is critically important to the Department of the Navy. We understand that if we cannot defeat mines, that is an Achilles heel for both our Navy and for the Marines. Our whole naval forces are at risk if you cannot defeat mines.
So we are increasing spending in terms of mine warfare, in terms of all area of survivability, to the extent that our Littoral Combat Ship, one of its primary missions will be the whole mine warfare area. So we are increasing our emphasis on the survivability side of the Navy against all aspects of survivability.
So that is one of our priorities. In fact, it is one of our priority objectives this year, which as published, to continue to increase our emphasis in this area of survivability, including mine warfare. So my perception is that we are doing more in this area, rather than less. With that, I am going to turn it over to CNO for a specific response.
Admiral CLARK. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
I appreciate your asking the question, because it gives me a chance to talk about what I think are some of the most exciting things that are going on. We started talking about delivering battle group organic mine warfare capability a number of years ago, before I became the chief. In 2005, it starts delivering. The first battle group will be outfitted.
I will tell you, Congressman, that the issue of the MHCs has come up a number of times in previous bills. My position has been that we will not consider decommissioning any of them until we have other capability coming on-line. So the exciting piece of this is, and Secretary England said it, we are spending more money, $167 million increase in the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) in this submission.
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The real thing is, look what happened in Operation Iraqi Freedom. For the first time in our history, we deployed unmanned underwater vehicles. We had a half-dozen of these prototype models. As Congressman Weldon talked about, the air side of this, we are also doing it on the undersea side of this, the remote mine hunting vehicle is an incredible breakthrough that begins to deliver in numbers in the FYDP.
But the most important piece of it is the whole concept for the Littoral Combat Ship is going to build mine warfare capability because the tailored mission area for that ship is all in the near-land arena and mine warfare is one of the three principal warfare areas that we have carved out for the Littoral Combat Ship. That is a revolution in shipbuilding design, construction and operations.
Now, to answer your specific question that you asked. Are we considering, then, changes in the management headquarters ceiling (MHC) force, not the mine countermeasures (MCM) force, the MHC force? The answer to that fact is yes, we have considered it and we will not take forces out until we have equal or equivalent capability coming on line. That is the plan.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you. We do appreciate the fine work that you and your men and women do in the Navy. We will support you, but there is fear for many reasons, the fear of the commission coming up next year, the Commission on Base Closures. I am not the only one that is concerned about this, but many other people.
I do want to thank you for the fine work that you do. I know that my time is up, and I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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The CHAIRMAN [presiding]. Thank you.
Secretary ENGLAND. Thank you, Mr. Ortiz.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I think the main question we have not gotten to, General Hagee, is can you give us any insight into how Lieutenant Hunter is doing in your Corps? We cannot get a straight answer from Duncan. Can you give us an answer? [Laughter.]
General HAGEE. Sir, even though he is an artillery officer, he is doing brilliantly. [Laughter.]
Mr. HEFLEY. Obviously, you will get anything you want from this committee. [Laughter.]
Representative Skelton may have asked this question. I did not quite understand the answer. It appears to me that the Army and the Air Force particularly are digging deeply into their normal funds in order to pay for the war, and are going to be quite short by the time we do get to a supplemental. I do not know where the Marine Corps is exactly on that, but the Navy seems to be in better shape than the other forces.
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What I am wondering is, do you have any fear that they are going to come looking for money from you in order to finish out their year, before a supplemental does come about? That is going to be the cash cow that pays the bills for a while.
Secretary ENGLAND. Mr. Hefley, let me just say I certainly hope that is not the case, because we have authorized programs that need to be funded, and operational readiness (OR) accounts, et cetera. So we do have bills that come due, like all of our other services. And embedded in our accounts, as the CNO said, in our basic accounts we do deploy our forces. We are a deployed force for both of our naval services, the Navy and the Marines.
So when we deploy those forces, our normal deployments are included in the budgets that you approve every year for us, and that the Congress approves for us. So we need those funds just to do our normal deployments. Of course, when we, quote, normally deploy in the war zone, those funds are already in our basic account.
So frankly, I hope nobody plans to take those funds because otherwise it will leave us in the position of then having to ask for additional money. There are no additional funds and I certainly hope that we are not faced with that situation.
Mr. HEFLEY. I would hope so, too. Admiral, did you want to comment?
Admiral CLARK. I just want to say this: Every time the budget is examined, people look at the readiness accounts. I want to report to you that we put together an approach this year based upon a new kind of analytical rigor. I brought in every commander at the three-star level in the operational forces globally. We sat down over a weekend and went over this new analytical approach. We are learning from this guy who knows about running big business, and that is what we are trying to do, to learn how to run this place better.
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We took risk and we assessed risk and we said, what is a reasonable level of risk for us to take in this budget submission? And we submitted it in a way that I asked the Congress to support the readiness accounts the way they are written because I will be able then to do what we were able to do during Iraqi Freedom. We had forces all over the Pacific because we live in an uncertain world. So in order for us to provide that kind of global response, those readiness accounts have to be whole.
Mr. HEFLEY. They do, and I worry about that, as you know, because that seems to be where we suck out the money when we need it for some kind of an emergency.
Would you care to comment on the way we are doing this budgeting? We are doing basically a peacetime budget, it seems to me, for the services, then we do supplementals to pay for the war. We know we have a cost for the war. We do not know exactly what it is going to be, but why in the world don't we budget with our projections of what it is going to cost, and then if we're off on our projections, then we do a supplemental instead of doing these gigantic supplementals, which we do not scrutinize nearly as well as we do your normal budgets.
Secretary ENGLAND. Mr. Hefley, the delta is not very large for the Navy and Marine Corps. Our delta dollars when we go to war is not that large compared to the other services, again because we have dollars already embedded to deploy our forces around the world 247. We are deployed around the world.
So it is a question of trying to estimate what those costs are. We do not know. We do know our Marines are going for this deployment, but we do not know what else will be required this year in terms of the war effort. So frankly, it would just be to some extent a guess on our part, without knowing.
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We do go through this rigorous process. For a year, we go through a rigorous process when the budget is submitted to OMB and ultimately to the Congress. We go through a very rigorous process. It would be very difficult for us to just sort of come up with numbers for the war. That would be hard for our system to accommodate, because that is not the way we do our budgeting. We actually go through this dollar-by-dollar zero-based budget, every program, everything we do. It would be very hard to guess an unknown for us.
Frankly, I believe what we are doing is right. I frankly would not want to contaminate the rigorous process we have for this $119 billion that we have in the 2005 budget because we can standI feel like the three us sitting before you, we can substantiate every dollar in the budget, and we work very, very hard to spend the taxpayers's monies wisely.
So I would not want to get into an area of just uncertainty and contaminate that process. I believe that Congress gets better numbers with the process we have today with the war supplemental. That is my judgment.
Admiral CLARK. May I address that? I am working hard right now on the 2006 budget, and I started working on the 2005 budget almost two years ago. That line has been used, but I will tell you I have been up here in front of you; Congressman Hefley, this is my fourth visit. I will tell you, CNO has some sayings. One of them is, training is activity reinforced. I have been trained to do it this way.
Over the course of my experience, every time we have an operational level expense that we could not project two years ago, we were told that it had to be done under a supplemental process. So I am responding in a way that I have been trained to develop these responses in my years of dealing with the Congress. Whether it is the right way or the wrong way, it is a kind of behavior that we have fallen into this pattern because that is the way we have done it all through the decade of the 1990's, when supplementals were only forthcoming for operational issues
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So where we are is that we can even make a projection on next year, but unforeseen operations, I am constantly balancing the funding level you give me to figure out how to get the most return to General Abizaid and give him the most responsive force out of the resources that you have given us.
Mr. HEFLEY. The reason it concerns me is that we go over your budget. When we are dealing with the authorization, in the normal authorization process, we go over it in great detail, as you know, and scrutinize everything. Then when you get a supplemental, well, we say, oh, we have to support the troops. We do have to support the troops, but we pay very little attention, it seems to me, Duncan, in terms of the details of those supplemental budgets. I kind of worry about that sometimes, not that you are not giving us the true story, but our job is to look at those things, but I appreciate your response.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here this morning. It is good to see you all.
Secretary England, I wanted to ask, in this colorful book here on the budget, I guess it is appendix A16, it talks about the funds for basic research and applied research. Secretary Rumsfeld and yourself have been advocates of looking at the military of the future. It concerns me that throughout the budget, it is not just the DOD budget, that we are in fact cutting funds for research.
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The fiscal year 2004 number for basic research was $484 million; your proposal is a decrease to $477 million. The applied research number in 2004 was $724 million. In 2005, according to this, the applied research number is going to be $563 million.
I don't know if I need a comment from you, but it is not just in the Navy budget. It is throughout the budget. I am particularly concerned about the basic research number. You are talking about what our military is going to look 15 and 20 and 25 and 30 years from now. In a way, basic research is the metaphorical seed corn that I fear that we have taken away over the last several years and are doing it again this year in such a way that it is going to affect us down the line. Do you have any brief comment about that?
Secretary ENGLAND. Yes, sir. Dr. Snyder, first, this year, as the CNO said, we have dramatically increased our R&D, so one step away from the science and technology (S&T). As I commented in my opening statement, we are what I believe is turning the corner for the Navy. So when you look at the Navy, we now have ships, airplanes, subsystems, all transitioning from S&T into the R&D phase. So we are now taking the latest generation of S&T, moving it into R&D, so we are putting a lot of emphasis in that area.
Dr. SNYDER. I understand that. As you know, I have limited time. I just would ask you all to consider revisiting those numbers. Those are decreases. I understand everything you have said, but this is a decrease in the basic research number.
I wanted to ask, if I mightGeneral Hagee and Admiral Clark, there has been a lot of discussion about intelligence and the whole discussion about, well, could things have been differently; could we have processed the information we had over the last several years differently.
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When you all get presentations, Admiral Clark and General Hagee, on intelligence, is it presented to you as a finished product? Or do you have the opportunity to say this does not jive with what I am hearing informally; this does not jive with what my gut tells me may not be accurate. Do you have a chance to push back and say, I need to see what is behind these conclusions? Because you ultimately make the decisions to put men and women at risk, do you have the opportunity to do that, or is it presented as a completed product for you?
Admiral CLARK. Let me start and just say that of course we have the opportunity to push back and challenge. That is really our job, to challenge the foundations. I say that to lead to the fact that when the intelligence people come to give us a briefing, we are paying them to also try to reach a conclusion. So what do you make of all this? So it is typically a lively discussion.
Depending on the subject, whether it is tactical, strategic or scientific-level intelligence collection, it could be any of those that are going into leading to a conclusion, getting into why an individual that is briefing us has reached the conclusion that they have.
Dr. SNYDER. General Hagee.
General HAGEE. Yes, sir. I would comment in two areas. I was the Commanding General of the First Marine Expeditionary Force before I became Commandant of the Marine Corps. In that position, I did a lot of planning for the fight that the Marines were in during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The intelligence community reported to us that they believed that Saddam Hussein would open up all the floodgates and actually flood all of southern Iraq. Our analysis of that situation did not jibe with that particular analysis, and we were able to push back and give our reasons why even though that was a potential capability, we just did not see it happening and gave the reasons why. We were quite successful in that.
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As a member of the Joint Chiefs, when intelligence is presented to us, we have an open conversation on what we think is correct and where we might have some disagreement because of our experience. I feel very confident in that particular part of the process.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you. I wanted to make a comment, following up on what Mr. Hefley said about the supplemental versus the normal process. I supported the $87 billion supplemental and agreed with the Administration on most of the things in it. But it certainly was, in fairness, I think the word would probably be an expedited process. There was a lot of sense up here that it was by design a process not to get a whole lot of input from the American people and not to be scrutinized very closely. That was probably no one's intent, but that is the way the process came about.
What concerns a fair number of members of this committee is that it is not just through the supplemental process that we are going to be paying for a war. It is that in the process of people coming back, the most important thing I think that Secretary Rumsfeld believes in, which is transformation of the military, that there are major transformation decisions that are being made in terms of personnel and where they are going to go in the future and those kinds of things. It is going to be through the supplemental process and is not going to be subjected to the same kind of scrutiny that Mr. Hefley referred to.
If this keeps going like this in terms of large sums of money that basically bypass the authorization committee and have very limited scrutiny by the appropriators and the rest of Congress, it calls into questionor to put it another way, it makes people apprehensive about the input of the Congress into this most important goal of the future, which is the transformation of the military. It has some very real credibility problems for a fair number of Members of Congress.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
I would just make a comment on the supplemental versus the standard process, understanding that we are authorizers and we have a vested interest in making sure that we scrub things. Most of the things that we do with respect to big ticket items are the long-range programs where we spend years walking these programs down before they come to the fielding stage.
In the military operations, in the warfighting operations, you have fluid situations where you have to move money around and you have to move it quickly. For example, this new emergency of improvised explosive devices (IED) in-theater and the need to now throw a bunch of money into up-armored vehicles is not something that should require reprogramming and congressional hearings and lots of other things. We should simply move money quickly; just as militaries need to move quickly to win, the money process that attends those movements has to also be fairly rapid.
So I would just tell my friend that I agree with the idea that you need painstaking long-range scrutiny on these big ticket programs, but when you are fighting a war and you have to move troops quickly, you have to move assets quickly to meet changing situations. You need more rapidity than we sometimes supply here on good old Capitol Hill.
Dr. SNYDER. Mr. Chairman.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. With that little commercial, sure.
Dr. SNYDER. I will take just 15 seconds. I tried to be very clear in my comments. I think I specifically said, when folks come home. That is the issue that we are getting at. General Schoomaker was very clear in his presentation the other day that when the troops are coming home, that is the opportunity, and they have already been doing this, to transform the Army. If that is done through the supplemental process, it is not warfighting in Afghanistan or Iraq today that is transforming the military. That is what concerns me. I agree with you 100 percent on what you just described as the fluidity of fighting a war. Thank you for letting me speak.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Chairman, I am tempted to comment on the same subject, but I think you covered it very well. I was going to say something very similar to what you said about the flexibility that we observed recently with regard to the Humvee situation when we came back. The Chairman and Mr. Reyes and I visited Iraq just in the last week or so. The up-armoring that is necessary for the Humvees is a major expenditure.
When I got back, I called the comptroller to see how it is working out. I asked him if he would have been able to use those monies the same way had it not been for the supplemental process, and he simply told me no; we would have had to come back to Congress; we would have had to reprogram some money; it would have taken some time; who knows how much time, depending on the circumstances.
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So the flexibility that is inherent in the supplemental process when you are fighting a war and you do not know what your needs are going to be when you go into the theater is really important. Anyway, that is a process for maybe another time.
The Joint Strike Fighter is a partnership between international interests, international countries. How does it work? How is it working out? How do you like the process? Are you glad that we started the international part of it? Is it working well?
Secretary ENGLAND. Let me comment, if I can, Mr. Saxton. I believe it is working very well. We have had some model programs in the past. As you know, the F16 program, I think, was 19 nations of the world, so that was the model for the Joint Strike Fighter program.
I am not sure exactly the number of countries. I believe it is 10 countries or so now in the Joint Strike Fighter program. There are different levels of commitment. United Kingdom is the highest level of commitment, but in total I believe it is like $4 billion they have committed to the program. The programas I commented before, we have been in the program now for two years under the program. In my judgment, the program is going well.
We did, frankly, move the schedule out a year because we flew the prototypes. We did make a mistake, frankly. We thought the transition from the prototypes to the design of the airplane itself in terms of full-scale development engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) would be much more straightforward. It is a harder design problem than we thought. Nonetheless, in my judgment, these airplanes will work out. The performance is dramatically better than the counterparts we have, and there is a high degree of commonality. So it will give us a high degree of commonality, not just among the United States military, but with our friends and allies.
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So in my judgment, this is a very, very important program for all of the services and for the international community. I am convinced that this will work out. The STOVL is very transformational because as well as we did with AV8B, STOVL will be much, much better for the Joint Strike Fighter than the AV8B. Even for our carrier version, the range is just spectacular compared to what we have available today.
So a very, very important program. I believe the program is structured well and, frankly, it is being run very well.
Mr. SAXTON. And our international partnerships I would assume have some other advantages in terms of building relationships between allies?
Secretary ENGLAND. Of course it does provide commonality between their forces and ours, which is very important. And of course, it has an economic benefit to us because as we build airplanes for them, it is a higher rate so the unit cost is lower. So it benefits us in terms of the cost of the program. So I think it is a win-win for everyone on this program.
Mr. SAXTON. To change the subject on you here a little bit, the Navy Special Forces. Any changes in the works for those folks? Any different programming or anything been proposed in your budget?
Admiral CLARK. Yes, absolutely, obviously playing a very important role in the Global War on Terrorism. We made the decision to increase the size of our sea-air-land team (SEAL) teams, and so we are going to eight. We also have some natural growth that we have decided to take on because of the recognition in part of the lessons learned process that we need to be more robust inside the teams themselves. So we will be gradually growing the force by a few hundred people between now and 2008, ongoing.
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Mr. SAXTON. Is there a rate beyond which you cannot grow the force because of the quality of folks we end up with?
Admiral CLARK. I don't really know the answer to that. What we do now is we open the door and say, if you want to come and compete to be part of this group, well, come and try out. We have not really had an active recruiting program for it. It is sort of a natural draw, and that is the way we have done it. So I really cannot tell you what the limit is. I would be happy to do some research on it and get back to you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
General HAGEE. Mr. Saxton, I might mention one of the things that we are doing. I think you are aware of it. We have stood up a platoon, a force recon platoon out in California. They are going through the same certification as the SEALs and in fact they will deploy as part of a SEAL team here this spring.
Mr. SAXTON. Yes, thank you. I am aware of it and I understand it is working quite well.
General HAGEE. Yes, sir, it is.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentlelady from San Diego, Ms. Davis.
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Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and welcome to all of you. Mr. Secretary, it is good to have you back in this leadership position.
Secretary ENGLAND. Thank you.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. I know that you mentioned your pleasure in serving with the two gentlemen on either side of you, and most of us in San Diego have certainly had that pleasure, as well. I appreciate their being here.
I wonder if you would perhaps be willing to share with us some of your priorities that in fact you feel were not answered as well as you would like in the budget, and something that we might take a look at in the future.
Secretary ENGLAND. It sounds like an open invitation for everything we would like to have, Congresswoman. [Laughter.]
Let me say this: I do believe that we are well-resourced, but there is always more you would like to do. We always have a wish list of things we would like to have, and we always want to have more training. We always want to have more ships, et cetera.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Yes, I think what I am looking for is something that perhaps you are not as comfortable with, that you think actually was critical and for whatever reason the case was not made as well as perhaps it could have been; something that needs another look.
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Secretary ENGLAND. Let me ask the CNO and Commandant to respond to that.
Admiral CLARK. I am just thrilled with what is going on in the acquisition programs in 2005. When I got this job, my shipbuilding SCN number was $4.7 billion, and that was not the dark ages. This is my fourth visit. So in 2000, it was $4.7 billion. In the whole decade of the 1990's, the numbers ranged in the sixes on average, and I testified earlier that we needed to be reaching toward $12 billion. We are in total (SCN) shipbuilding and conversion this year at $11.1 billion.
In 2006, it is going to be a difficult, challenging year and we are working that right now. I will tell you that there is a gap in DD(X) and part of it is learning curve, but also I have to pay for them all at once in one year, and there were not resources for that. So we will be looking at ways that we can keep that production line going. We are very pleased with what is happening in LCS. I talked about aviation already with regard to the procurement side of it.
So I feel real good about where we are in 2005. I have work to do in the out-years to try to sustain this and continue to try to find more resources for acquisition. We have a laser spotlight on the acquisition process.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Commandant.
General HAGEE. Yes, ma'am. I am comfortable with our acquisition programs, but the Marine Corps is an expeditionary force. One of our requirements is to be most ready when the Nation is least ready. One of the concerns I have as we look into the out-years is resetting the force, ensuring as we bring equipment back from Operation Iraqi Freedom that we have those resources to recondition that equipment and to put it back on our maritime pre-positioning squadrons or back out in the operating forces. I feel relatively comfortable where we are right now, but we are going to be using that equipment over in Iraq again. You asked what my biggest concern was, that is the one thing I am watching most closely.
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Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. I had an opportunity yesterday to meet with Admiral Massinger to talk about fleet maintenance. I think one of the things that comes across is that we were able to do what we did in Iraqi Freedom largely because we focused on that readiness. I certainly would not want us to go back to the days when we not only had nothing available that people needed, but certainly impacting morale because we were making a lot of make-work as opposed to more constructive changes in the way that we respond to those needs. I would hope that in this budget that we have done what we need to do to prepare for that readiness, as well.
Admiral CLARK. I have over $2 billion in increase in the readiness accounts and, Congressman Davis, I so appreciate your work on the Navy-Marine Corps Caucus. You know our business well. You know what my priority is. My priority first is this Navy. The taxpayers of America bought and paid for this, and it is going to be ready.
So I seek your support to those readiness accounts, because the reason we are having all the success and winning the battle for people at the start of it is that our young people look at this and say, the Nation has decided to give us the tools we need.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Yes.
Admiral CLARK. So that is step one. I appreciate your comment on the readiness requirements.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Yes, it has made a big difference.
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Could you comment on the needs? I think in many ways it is kind of interesting and particularly linked with homeland security and national security. Of course, in San Diego we are very aware of this. Has homeland security had much impact on your budgets, on your thinking around the country where we have bases and they obviously play a very significant role, and also increase vulnerability for the communities in which they are located.
Secretary ENGLAND. Let me make a comment, if I can, Mrs. Davis, having now been a foot in each camp, so to speak, having been in both Homeland Security and DOD Department of the Navy. They are linked. First of all, what we are doing, what I call ''the away game.'' What we are doing is vitally important for homeland security.
By the way, it is very interesting, if you go overseas on board our ships, if you talk to our Marines deployed wherever you go, particularly in the combat area, those terrific men and women know that they are there so that we do not have to have that fight here. So we are having the fight there rather than here, and it is definitely linked in that regard.
But we also provide for all of our spaces. Obviously, we do the security for military installations here in the United States. That is our responsibility, and we tie in with the Department of Homeland Security. But we have the primary responsibility to protect and defend our bases everywhere in the world. So we do that as part of our planning, as part of our budgeting.
We also work closely with those local communities, with the Coast Guard. We augment the Coast Guard. We provide equipment back and forth, personnel. So it is a very close relationship, primarily with the Department of the Navy and the Department of Coast Guard, which is in Homeland Security, but they are very closely aligned.
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Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. I know in Coronado we are working hard to provide for a better transportation link there with the city. So that is a need that is very close and I hope that we can get your help and support with that, as well.
If I may, Mr. Chairman, just very quickly, because I know how concerned you are with the families in our service. I have had an opportunity to work with the Ombuds people. I would love to talk with you more about how we might be more supportive of their role and impact, more supportive of our families through the work that they do.
Admiral CLARK. We would very much like to hear your ideas.
Mr. Chairman, may I comment on the homeland security piece? The role with the Coast Guard, I think the committee needs to know about this. We are providing resources through the patrol coastal ships. In fact, the first year after 911 we gave them all of them. OIF, I took two of them to the Gulf. I needed them there, but we are supporting them and giving them the use of our platforms to help them in a homeland security function and role. Last year was $57 million and this year I believe it is $63 million to sustain that force.
One other thing. With the requirement to integrate with all of the individuals that are involved in homeland security, in San Diego we have not this integrated command center, with the Coast Guard, with the local people, and with the local law enforcement, and the Navy. This is a model for the future. We have to be able to integrate with the other agencies in the structure that is working the homeland security challenge, and we are committed to that.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlelady.
The Ranking Member had a comment on that.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, I do. Regarding Mrs. Davis's earlier question and comments, I would remind our service chiefs I did make a formal request for the unfunded requirements. I would hope that by the time we return on February 24 we could have answers from you gentlemen.
Admiral CLARK. I received the request yesterday and we will be prompt in response.
General HAGEE. Same here, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Very good. I appreciate that.
Let me make one follow up on my colleague's statement with respect to the importance of homeland security and its integration with security interests. We have a fence on the border between the U.S. and Mexico that we built over the last several years, initially built to stop drive-through drug trucks that were coming through at the rate of 300 a month, bringing cocaine into America's children.
There is one last stretch of that fence that I have not been able to build, which is about a mile or so right at the Pacific Ocean. Building that fence keeps trucks previously laden with drugs, but perhaps in the future laden with explosives, from coming into this country just a few miles below our major naval base in San Diego, including locations on that base that have very sensitive military equipment. I believe it is tomorrow or the next day that the Coastal Commission, which has been resisting this border fence because they do not think it is aesthetically pleasing, and they have the support of a lot of the environmental community behind them, is resisting the construction of that fence, which I think is important to national security, especially in this age of terrorism, because we have no way of monitoring the existence of terrorist activity just south of the border, just south of that naval base. So I would hope that my colleague, Ms. Davis, would join with me in urging the Coastal Commission to approve that border fence, which has a strong protective dimension with respect to the men and women of the United States Navy. Also, Mr. Secretary, I would hope that you could weigh in on this decision that they are going to be making with respect to whether or not we have that fence completed. We still have that gap where vehicles laden with explosives could come across the border and proceed within minutes to our major naval base there in San Diego. Could you help us with that?
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Secretary ENGLAND. I will certainly look into it, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay. I appreciate it.
Secretary ENGLAND. We will get back with you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate it.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, welcome. Like all my colleagues, I certainly want to express my admiration and appreciation for the leadership that you provide. Like many who have spoken before, I have had a chance to go into Iraq twice, through the theater once with our distinguished chairman and another time with my good friend from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton. On Sunday, I am going to go to the Uzbeki-Afghan theater for the second time.
Every time I go, I am incredibly impressed with the caliber of soldier, sailor, Marine, airmen and Coast Guard men and women that we have, and their morale and their effectiveness. And that starts at the top with the leadership you provide, and God bless you for that.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral Clark, yesterday you were kind enough to pay a short visit with me, and I appreciated that opportunity. It helped me to better understand some of the very innovative and bold steps you have taken. One of the things we did not talk about, though, I would like to have you help me fill in the picture on is with respect to your end-strength objectives vis-a-vis the Reserve force. You are drawing that down, as well. We talked about the Active side yesterday.
You are also, and I think admirably so, refocusing your officers's attention on integrating that reserve more effectively into the total force Navy. That is something certainly all of the services are and should be doing. But I think some would argue that to draw down the Reserve at a time while you are also actively integrating it, and whatever questions that might arise, are, if not in direct odds with each other, certainly presenting more challenges. I wonder if you can tell us how you are trying to balance those two objectives.
Admiral CLARK. Thank you for the question, Congressman. There is a very small reduction in the Reserve structure this year, and I frankly do not have the number in front of me. I will tell you that I do not know what that number is. I have a major effort going on this year to work Active and Reserve integration. I do not think we have done nearly a good enough job on the Active side. I intend to follow the example and pick up on lessons learned from the other services; for example the Air Force and their blended units.
I am absolutely convinced that we can provide more bang for the buck to the taxpayer by looking at how we can integrate more effectively. One of the things we have already concluded is that in my fleet response plan that provides much more combat capability to the President when he needs it, the Reserves are going to play a very important part in rolling this.
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What we are looking to do, and it was driven, frankly, because of some challenges we had in equipment. For example, the P3s, they are wearing out. In order to make it to the transition date, we need to integrate those forces so that we can provide the needs to the combatant commanders.
So this year is a major focus area for us. I have given the task to my active commander. I have created a linkage between the Commander of the naval reserve structure. He now has additional duty to my primary force provider. This is a major focus area, and we will keep you apprised as we are moving along. I have no target. I am not trying to reach some number. I want the right number.
Mr. MCHUGH. Okay. That is comforting, because what we have heard, you mentioned going to school on the other services, and I think there is a big school to go to there. One of the challenges we have heard arising out of those efforts is that the ops tempo for the Reserve and Guard have exploded. And what does that do to morale, and eventually what does it do to retention and recruitment rates and all those questions? I don't think anybody knows the answer to those right now. So the only thing I would urge is you keep that in mind and you obviously did that.
Admiral CLARK. Can I just take 30 more seconds and say in response to stress on the force, I did not say this when I talked to Congressman Davis about security. Two years ago, I had almost 12,000 reserves called up and they were just doing security for me. I added 9,000 active force to get rid of that stress challenge. I have done the same thing in this year's submission to take the stress off of the coastal warfare people. So this is a balance that we have to do better at it, and we are committed to getting the number right.
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Mr. MCHUGH. That rebalancing of high demand, low-density jobs between the active and Reserve components is an important one.
General HAGEE. Mr. McHugh, could I make one comment as the other half of this Navy-Marine Corps team? As I mentioned to Congresswoman Davis, we are an expeditionary force in readiness. That is what we do. When I talk about a force, I am talking about both the active and reserve. So we have had Active Duty Marines, as you probably know, working with the Reserves for some time, ensuring that they are ready to go and ensuring that they maintain the same standards as those Marines on the Active side. That is one of the things that allows us to get out of town so fast, regardless of whether it is an Active Duty unit or a Reserve unit.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, Commandant and Admiral. I see my time is expired. I am looking forward to working with you, and again, thank you for all you do. I appreciate it.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Incidentally, gentlemen, I want to let you know that I am really proud of the members of this committee and the enormous amount of time they have been spending to a large degree in-theater with our troops. I know that the gentleman who just spoke has this enormous responsibility as chairman of the personnel and total force subcommittee. The gentleman I am going to recognize here, Mr. Reyes, has spent a ton of time in Afghanistan and Iraq with forces. We have been spending a lot of time with your people, with our people. I think that is being reflected in some of the questions that are being asked today.
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So my good colleague from Texas, Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It is important, and I would urge all Members to take time to go visit our troops in-theater, as you gentlemen know and are always encouraging us to do so. Let me thank you all for serving. In particular, Secretary England, thank you. It is good to have you back as the Secretary of the Navy, although we miss you on the homeland security front. I think it is a tribute to your talents, and we are always glad to see you here before the committee.
Secretary ENGLAND. Thank you. It is good to be back, sir.
Mr. REYES. It is always a pleasure to have you.
There are three areas that I would like to have you comment on. The first one is, I am interested in, as someone who is interested in Navy Tactical Tomahawks (TACTOM), first of all, will the Navy seek to pursue a proven surface-to-surface system, such as TACTOMs, as a viable candidate for the Navy long-range land attack missile? That is the first one.
The second one is, as the Chairman just stated, we just recently were in Iraq over the week-end, and met with the Iraq Survey Group commander General Dayton. One of the priorities of that survey group is trying to look into the situation with Captain Michael Scott Speicher. I would like for you to comment on what kind of survival radio he had when he went down. Do we have a different radio today than in the first Gulf War? Who makes it? Can you give us as much information as possible? That is one of the lingering questions that, at least in my mind and maybe in other Members's minds, about why we did not do a better job in knowing that he was down, and possibly have survived that crash.
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The third one is vitally important to me because on a previous trip with the Chairman into the Gulf area, we visited the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy. From my district, there were five young men and women. I spoke with them and took pictures with them. I asked them how they had come to be in the Navy, because the closest ocean to El Paso, Texas is about 850900 miles, either way, going west or going east. But I do know that there is a proud relationship between the people of my district and the United States Navy and the Marine Corps. We are very proud of that.
The point I want to make is, three of those five on that visit had initially gotten interested in serving in the Navy by joining the Junior Reserve Officer Training Candidate (ROTC) program. It has come to my attention recently that at a recent meeting in Pensacola, Florida the Chief of Naval Operations had made comments about the National Junior ROTC program was not providing adequate payback for the money that was being invested or allocated to that program.
I think that is an incredible statement to make because, at least from the experience in my district, the National Junior ROTC program is an important part of education. It is an important part of giving our young people an option, teaching them discipline, the kinds of things that today we talk about as being a great challenge in our society.
There are at least 12 Naval ROTC programs just in my district. It is vitally important if you can tell me, first of all, what the funding requirements for the program are to keep it at an optimum level. Most importantly, does the President's budget and his request reflect these requirements? If you ever want to see the impact that your Naval ROTC program has on a community, all you have to go is come to one of our Veterans' Day parades. Every single Junior ROTC program marches proudly in that parade. They have drill teams. They have floats.
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So for me, having heard those comments made by the Chief of Naval Operations, it is important that I bring this to your attention so that we can resolve it. I would hate to see such a great program, and the relationship that it means between my district and the Navy and the Marine Corps, go away.
So if you could comment on those three, I would really appreciate it.
Admiral CLARK. I sure appreciate your telling me that somebody quoted me in that regard. I assure you that the CNO did not say that. It sounds like a comment that would be made to justify some budget line and it might have been reduced a little bit, and somebody said that. This CNO did not say that. In fact, I have visited with numerous of the NJROTC units when I am on the road. It is a great opportunity to talk to them about what America is about, that they get a chance to make a difference, and that they are going to learn leadership and that is what we teach them. So that did not come from me.
The other question was about the long-range missile system. Our long-range missile system is Tomahawk today and TACTOM for tomorrow. I cannot do ranges in here, but it is a real long-range system. We are also in this year's budget. Again there is funding for the affordable weapons system, which has been in S&T for the last two or three years and is making great progress in the testing area.
Help me with the last one please, again? I am sorry. Oh, Speicher.
Mr. REYES. Yes.
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Admiral CLARK. The question was the radio he had?
Mr. REYES. Right, the downed aircraft radio, the survival radio.
Admiral CLARK. Right. There are new radios that are now available. Over the course of the last 14 years, the product has been improved. In fact, I will have to go check and see which one he had in the airplane. There was a new radio that was being introduced and some airplanes had them during the Gulf War and many did not. Frankly, I will have to get the details for you, Congressman, and I would be happy to do that. I will tell you that, yes, since then, the outfitting of the new upgraded radio has long since been complete.
Mr. REYES. Okay. The only other thing that I want to make sure, in the President's budget, does he request funding for the National Junior ROTC?
Admiral CLARK. Yes. There is money in the budget for the NJROTC. I do not have the number. I will be glad to provide that for you for the record.
Mr. REYES. Very good. Thank you again.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Gibbons.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, I want to add my voice to the chorus of my colleagues up here in our great pride for the men and women in the uniformed services of our country, and for the work you are doing as well for this Nation.
I also want to say how proud Nevadans are to be the home of the Top Gun School and the Electronic Warfare Center for training for the United States Navy. We take great pride in the presence of the Navy in the state of Nevada, even though we have no nexus to any ocean, river or bay that could get the Navy there otherwise.
Mr. Secretary, I do not want to put you on the spot, but I do want to ask a question that may be somewhat out of the ordinary for this hearing today. It has to do with geothermal resources based on Navy lands. Mr. Secretary, I am concerned about the lack of progress being made on an adjustment, or adjusting the current contracting for developing geothermal resources at the Navy Air Warfare Development Center in China Lake, California.
I am puzzled by the inability to get beyond the current paradigm contractual structure in order to enable investment, investment that is necessary to develop the resource beyond, not currently, but beyond the current contract the Navy has. As you may know, the law has the Bureau of Land Management under the Department of Interior administering all oil, gas, coal, and mineral leases on military land.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Geothermal happens to be the exception and only in the Navy is it the exception. It is the only extractive process that the military oversees on their land. Additionally, there is at least one other instance that I am very well aware of that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does administer a geothermal lease on military land. So it is not consistent.
The military is insisting that they need unique policies for geothermal development, yet the military does not require a unique regulatory regime for development of coal, minerals, phosphates, oil or gas development on their land otherwise. But rather, it allows for the development of those minerals on lands to occur in accordance with the Federal mineral leasing laws through the Department of Interior, as I previously stated.
There is absolutely no compelling reason that I can see, Mr. Secretary, why geothermal should be uniquely discriminated against. There is no reason why any company that develops geothermal resources on military lands should not be treated in the same manner as every other geothermal lease on any other Federal land or on those specific lands where the BLM does administer geothermal leases on military land.
Specifically, I am concerned by the inability of the Navy after 20 months of good faith effort to successfully negotiate a business arrangement to protect the development of renewable energy resources at the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, and the inability to proceed with a business-based approach to ensure investment to protect the resource development beyond the term of the current contract, will hurt the resource, hurt the Navy and the local community.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In my view, it is not good stewardship of either the resource or the revenue. We would have none of these problems proceeding toward the future with BLM land use. The problem is apparently with the Department of Defense contracting inflexibility.
Mr. Secretary, I would like to address this with you further if you do not have an answer or a response for it at this time, but if you have a response, please feel free to share it with us at this time.
I have one other question that I would like to address with you if I may. The importance of our training ranges are very critical to this Nation's military testing. I understand that the Navyor let me preface that. Congress last year appropriated money to protect our ranges from encroachment. I understand that the Navy has not yet laid out the process to implement and use these funds to develop protections from encroachment. I just would like you to update the committee on the status of using these funds to protect our ranges.
Secretary ENGLAND. Geothermal, I think, Mr. Gibbons, it is best if we have a separate discussion on this. As I recall last year, we had a two-year extension I believe by the Resource Committee. I am sort of grappling with this now. We will have to get back to you on this whole geothermal. We do obviously have issues about base security and doing our missions, et cetera, because it cannot be disruptive, obviously, to our mission. Primarily, that is why we have the land, right?
Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Secretary, I would hope that is the only answer, but it does not justify necessarily excepting geothermal when you do the very same thing for oil and gas, drilling and development of that resource on Navy bases, or for any other mineral resource development on military land. It is all run by one agency.
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The Administration has already stated in that hearing that it would be better to have a single agency responsible for a uniform contracting capability. This is something that we need to talk about and need to develop further, why this exception is in there. I apologize for interrupting your comments.
Secretary ENGLAND. That is okay. So we will talk about it, Mr. Gibbons. We will make arrangements with your office.
Mr. GIBBONS. Certainly. I would appreciate that.
Secretary ENGLAND. Okay, so we will make arrangements with your staff and we will have this discussion with you, sir.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you.
Secretary ENGLAND. Better prepared than I would be today for that conversation, frankly, and I am sure it will take more than the time available today, also. So we will get back with you.
On the encroachment issue, encroachment is obviously a major issue for us at all of our bases. We work with local communities. We have land use plans, et cetera. I guess I am not familiar with the specifics of the law last year in terms of funding available. I expect our people are familiar.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC CNO, do you know specifically what we are doing in that area? This is an area where we work closely with the local communities because encroachment is obviously detrimental to our training, but I am not familiar with the specific issue you are talking about, and that is another case for me, unless CNO or commandant have an input. Again, we have to close the loop with you, sir, after this meeting.
CNO, do you?
Admiral CLARK. I do not know the specifics of the financial side of this. They are laying out the process and procedures, but we need to get back to you with the specifics.
General HAGEE. Mr. Gibbons, I have a comment. First off, I would like to thank this committee and the entire Congress for support of this very, very important and, as you said, critical area, to ensure that we have the right spaces and the right ability to train our Marines. We have the integrated national resources and range management plan. We have 16 of those throughout the Marine Corps where we believe that we are good stewards of the natural resources and also managing the ranges. We have completed 15 of those 16 plans. We have spent about $8.5 million in developing those particular plans.
We are also looking at purchasing buffer zones or lands just outside of several of our major bases to ensure that we do not have encroachment in the future. So we are working very hard in this area, sir.
Mr. GIBBONS. Thank you, gentlemen.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman who spent some time in Iraq with us and spends lots of time with the troops, the gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Aloha. Gentlemen, thank you for coming.
Mr. Secretary, last night I was very disconcerted. On the television all of a sudden I am looking at a commercial from Halliburton, a commercial. It was sickening, for one thing. It is one thing to talk about these simple-minded morons in the Super Bowl, but these guys are contracted out of taxpayer money for defense and they are on there with this treacly business of some guy having a baby and he is on the phone and all that, just geared to try and pull at the heartstrings of the public.
The Post reports today on a hearing in the Senate of in the year 2002, $165 billion being contracted out, private contractors doing defense business. I do not have the figures for 2003, or how far we have gone in 2004, except we have had this morning, at least on a couple of different occasions, including what Mr. Snyder was talking about, and both the Chairman and Mr. Skelton about supplemental budgets, and whether or not we really have the oversight of what is going on.
I am really upset. You cannot take responsibility for this, but I am getting to the point about contracting and about reserves. You cannot be responsible for Halliburton taking ads to justify its getting defense money. You really have to look into that. How in the hell do they get the gall to take an ad on television, presumably out of the profits that they are making on defense?
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You folks are supposed to be looking at this. It is actually our responsibility, but absent that, being able to take a keen insight into how the supplemental is being spent. You folks have the responsibility and the duty to oversee how these funds, whether it is the supplemental funds or those which are authorized and appropriated now in this process, are spent.
Now, if it was $165 billion in 2002 and probably approaching $200 billion now, what it means to me is, and I think this is where the committee has to really, really be concerned, is we are privatizing defense in this country. We are getting close to a 21st century version of what the English empire did. For example, the East India Company was in effect the empire in South Asia. The Middle East and South Asia was being run by a private company, administered by a private company, a monopoly company on behalf of the government, and acted as an independent government.
What happens under those circumstances is we do not have any effective control, constitutional control and oversight over it. What also happens, and what bothers me here is that the country gets detached from a genuine relationship with the armed services and the military policy of this country because it is privatized. It does not have the same kind of oversight. It does not have the same kind of inquiry. It is a commercial endeavor.
What I am concerned about is, is the Navy going to be contracting out its services and further decimating the civilian Navy, the civil service that serves the Chief of Naval Operations? It serves the Marine Corps, which I consider an integrated part, an extension of the Navy on the civilian side. What kind of contracting policies are you going to have with this budget with respect to this A76 inquiries and so-called efficiency on bases? I am asking particularly where the Navy is concerned, and I am going to use parochial examples.
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There is no way that you can bring in a civilian company, a commercial endeavor whose primary object is profit, not serving the interests of the United States Navy or the United States armed forces no matter what kind of propaganda is put on television or some other media outlet, but whose primary purpose is profit. You cannot come onto the Pearl Harbor Naval Base and understand what is involved with the Navy, its history, its institutional memory that is required in order to maximize the proficiency involved in serving the interests of the Navy. I don't believe it. I don't believe it for a second.
When we go and talk about visiting the troops and we talk about examining the professional capacity they bring to bear, which I not only accept, but have observed and I think has been not only alluded to, but specified at this hearing and other hearings over and over.
Mr. WELDON [presiding]. Could my friend, my old buddy, could you maybe wrap up and let them answer your question? I think we get the drift.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. What is going to be the policy with this budget with regard to contracting out services, contracting out civil service support for the United States Navy?
Secretary ENGLAND. Mr. Abercrombie, let me try that. I think it is the policy it has been for as long as I have been in this job. That is, we will continue to do core functions within the Navy, but in areas where we can have more competitive prices or more competitive task, we will compete those on the outside. That is the mode we have been in. Our job is to make sure that we support and do everything we can for the United States military. That is our obligation to our citizens, but it is also to do it as effectively and efficiently as we can, and to spend the taxpayers's monies wisely.
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So we have of course contractors, profit-making companies that do work throughout the Department of Defense. They build our airplanes and our ships and build our system. Without those great Americans doing that, we would not have a military. So it is important that we rely on the private sector. We will maintain our core functions, but when it is not core to what we do, then we will have those competed with other great Americans who make up the private industry.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. The question I asked, Mr. Secretary, was in the wake of all of these years that this has gone on, what is the Navy going to do? What core functions haven't you examined yet?
Secretary ENGLAND. It is a continuing process. There are always studies going on looking at what we are doing and what is it that private industry could do, and how do those rate. Frankly, over the years our government organizations have become more efficient in that competitive environment. They win a lot of times, but they are typically more efficient as a result of that process.
At times, it also gets contracted out. So those studies continue as an ongoing process. I frankly believe we owe it to the taxpayers because that is an obligation we have. We have a fiduciary responsibility to spend that money wisely and we do it in the best interests of the Navy and our citizens.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I can see that, but I have not seen an examination recently of Civil Service employees skimming $62 million in excess profits out of food service preparation or provision, the kinds of things that we see today that are taking place.
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I understand what the theory is and I understand what the public relations proposals are, but the question I asked is what possible functions have you not already examined, that could be done with private contracting, that is not going to result fairly soon in essentially a whole private network, what President Eisenhower referred to as a military-industrial complex, with a whole private network, with hundreds of billions of dollars essentially with no oversight or insight in it and a praetorian guard mentality being established for the military.
Mr. WELDON. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. The question won't expire.
Mr. WELDON. Mr. Simmons.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I served in Vietnam for three-and-a-half years. I remember that Bechtel was there. I thought Bechtel did a pretty good job. Maybe there were a few bills that were not paid, but that is what oversight is all about; Raymond, Morrison, Knudson-Brown, Root and Jones (RMKBRJ), a major contractor in Vietnam, as I recall. The joke among the troops was the ''J'' stood for Johnson, but we did not really know for sure. That was the joke among the troops.
I have been to Iraq. I have been to the mess hall there. I was an Army cook. Let me tell you something, the mess hall they have there in Iraq that was built by Brown & Root, I would have loved to cook in a mess hall like that, because when I was cooking in the Army 30 years ago, we did not have anything like that mess hall.
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So I guess it seems to me that the issue of privatizing, you know, I don't get it. Private contractors have always been involved in supporting the war effort. Private contractors are providing the up-armored Humvees that we are trying to get out to our troops. Electric Boat (EB) is private, but they build damn good submarines, from my perspective.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Will the gentleman yield for a moment?
Mr. SIMMONS. No. Mr. Chairman, I would like to address the panel with some questions.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, then don't ask me a question.
Mr. SIMMONS. The gentleman had his time.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Then don't ask me a question on your time.
Mr. SIMMONS. I won't. I have heard what you had to say and I don't agree with it, and I don't think too many people in the room agree with it. I think it is outrageous.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I think you are mischaracterizing it.
Mr. SIMMONS. That being said, Mr. Chairman, I have some questions for the panel if I could proceed.
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First of all, I want to commend the Secretary for the transformation of the Navy. I am proud to be an Army guy, 37 years-plus, but I think the Navy is doing a heck of a good job of transformation. I commend you on that. I think it shows in your presentation.
I commend you on multi-year procurement for submarines. I think that is a risky enterprise. It is one of the biggest multi-years we have ever done, but I think you will be pleased with the results. I am very excited by that. I look forward to the day when we get two a year, but I won't get into that.
A couple of questions, and because my time is limited, I will ask the three questions and then ask for the answers. First for General Hagee, I understand the first Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) is heading over. If you don't have up-armor Humvees, I suggest you get them as soon as you can. If they are telling you that your troops are going to get up-armor Humvees when they are over there, you better have somebody with a lot of stars on their shoulders to make sure they do.
This is the number one source of casualties for our Army personnel on the ground. My suspicion is that the IEDs that they have deployed there are going to be just as lethal against the Marine Corps. So I would be interested in your response to that question.
With regard to the issue of base realignment and closure (BRAC), on page, well they are not numbered, but there is a reference to BRAC. My big concern with BRAC, and I think it goes beyond just the situation that we have in my district, where a Navy submarine base is part of submarine production, which is part of the Underwater Warfare Center, which is part of a major Marine exploration initiative headed by Bob Ballard, who discovered the Titanic.
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So there is synergy, and that the data calls for that base do not include the synergy of what else is going on around there, both in the civilian manufacturing field and in the academic field, then we miss out. So my question to you, Mr. Secretary, is, when the data calls begin to go out for the BRAC, is there going to be synergy?
My third question to the Chief of Naval Operations, the last BRAC we had in southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island involved NUWC, the National Underwater Warfare Center. They closed the Connecticut facility and moved it to Rhode Island. In the process, many of the workers that the Secretary refers to, the civilian workers, as experienced and dedicated and skilled human resources, et cetera, et cetera, they put in extra hours to make it work; extra hours to continue their mission and extra hours to do the closing.
Subsequent to that, those extra hours have either been not respected by the Navy; in other words, they have not been paid for those extra hours, those leave times. Or if they took the leave times, they have been asked to reimburse the Navy for the leave time taken. This is a small issue. It is an issue that I introduced legislation on last year, but again in my dealings with the Navy, only a few of those people have been reimbursed.
So I would just say to you that as we move into this next BRAC, and as I look at the only BRAC that I have experienced in my district, and I look at these civilian employees who made an extra effort and were told that they would be reimbursed in the sense of getting extra leave time, and yet the message is if we put in that extra time on a BRAC, we are going to get the shaft.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I would just ask the three of you if you could response to those questions.
General HAGEE. Yes, sir. Mr. Simmons, thank you very much for that question. We have worked very closely with the 82nd Airborne; that is the area that we are going in. We have been very impressed with what those great young soldiers have done over there and how they have improved the situation that we are going to go into.
We have about 3,000 vehicles, just over 3,000 vehicles that we are taking in. We have plans to harden every single one of those before the so-called TOA, the transfer of authority, occurs at the end of March. Not all of those will be up-armored Humvees, but they will all be hardened. We are actually getting about 270 up-armored Humvees from the United States Army. We are bringing over 439 of the up-armored weapons carriers, and we are getting 27 of the M1 114s. Those are the true up-armored Humvees right off the line. I feel very confident about where we are right now, sir.
Mr. WELDON. General, if I may, the Army is also leaving all of their up-armor there for you, isn't that true?
General HAGEE. That is correct. They are leaving the kits that they have there for us, and we will apply some of those kits to the Humvees that we are bringing into theater.
Secretary ENGLAND. Mr. Simmons, regarding BRAC, we do have the 700 questions from 700 activities throughout the Navy. The question is, does it directly deal with synergy. Frankly, I don't know if the questions deal with synergy, but I can assure you that we are going to make wise decisions. We certainly have to consider everything that is interconnected. In fact, one of the things we are looking for is jointness and interconnectivity, et cetera. So in a larger sense, exactly what you described is what we will be looking at as one of the criteria in the whole BRAC process. I believe that will all be considered, sir.
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Thank you for your comments about the multi-year. It is a great victory, we believe, that Congress supported the multi-year for the Virginia-class submarine. This is a very important year because that first one is going to deliver. This is something we have been looking forward to and anticipating. We need Virginia.
With regard to the NUWC question, I am sorry that I do not have all of that history, but let me say this about being committed to a process that is fundamentally fair and done right: That is the way we want this process to be executed. It refers also to your last question, as the uniformed member of this institution, you can be assured that that is where I am going to come down.
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank you. I will share with your staff the details on that. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to again thank you gentlemen for sticking around so long, and thank you for what you do for our country and the people that you represent.
Three quick things. I will start with an observation. When someone does something right in this town, it leaves a good legacy. When we make a mistake in this town, it leaves a bad legacy and the citizens, whether we make good decisions or bad ones, are stuck with that legacy.
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I will start by saying, three years ago from right now the President said he could increase spending, decrease taxes and balance the budget. That legacy is $1,300,000,000 of new debt. So that is not a good legacy. I say that in that I see some things in this budget that I do not think are good legacies.
First, to BRAC. I read with great interest on page 13 of your testimony, Mr. Secretary, where you talk about BRAC, and we sold some property here, we cleaned up some property and then sold it. What I would like you to provide for the committee now, if not when you can get your hands on it, is how much did the Navy spend to clean up that property that it sold.
I would like to see the bottom line of what we spent, compared to what we sold that property for, because I have a feeling that we lost money on the deal, but I am going to give you the opportunity to tell me that we did not. I know we lost the property forever. They are not making any more land in America. If we have to replace it, we are going to spend a lot of money.
The second part of it is, I would like to know, toward that end, how much has the Navy and the Marine Corps spent buying land in constructing an airfield in North Carolina for the F18E and F18F to make up for the property that we cleaned up and gave away at Cecil Field in Florida. That is the first round of questions.
The second thing is, I also noticed that you are looking at a five-year plan for shipbuilding. On a five-year plan, it looks pretty good. If you break it down to a two-year plan, this year and next year we will not build as many ships as we will this year and last year, and last year was really a pitiful number for shipbuilding at seven.
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Even at nine, if we are fortunate enough to get 30 good years out of those ships, that still leaves us with a 270-ship Navy. As we know right now, your Block One cruisers that are less than 20 years old are getting ready to be retired, so we can't even count on getting 30 good years out of them.
I realize you are talking 5 years from now building 17 ships, but Mr. Chairman, that is no guarantee you will be where you are or I will be where I am, or quite frankly any of this is going to happen. All we can really look at is this year and next year. I do not think this year's and next year's numbers are really all that swell when you consider that the defense budget has grown by $100 billion, and yet Navy shipbuilding is just growing by very small bits and pieces. Again, I am willing to hear your side on that.
The third thing, and we have talked about this privately, and we can talk about it publicly, and I am going to pester the dickens out of anyone who holds an important job in the DOD until we solve the problem. The problem is improvised explosive devices. Every Mississippian who has been maimed or killed in Iraq has been the victim of improvised explosive devices. General Sanchez, off the top of his head, so I realize I can give everybody a little leeway when he tells me it is off the top of his head, tells me that over half of all the casualties in Iraq have been a result of improvised explosives.
We are talking here about spending $1 billion this problem, $500 million on that problem. And yet here is something we know is killing GIs, is maiming GIs, and I really do not think we are devoting the resources toward fixing it. I had a great briefing involving your guys, and I think they are doing a great job of looking way out in the future. The problem is I do not think we are spending the money that we need to be spending right now to save those lives. And I do not think we are dedicating the resources.
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Again, I have been told that they have the price down of the jammers to keep a cell phone from detonating it, or a doorbell opener, or garage opener, from detonating it. I am told that they have the price of these jammers down to $10,000 a copy, and yet our goal is not to protect every vehicle; it is not to protect half the vehicles. That number is classified, but I can assure you that the Iraqis have figured out that a minuscule number of our vehicles are protected, and if they keep hitting that detonator or keep dialing that number, that eventually they are going to kill an America that is driving by.
I really want to hear somebody way up the line tell me we are going to devote the resources and give every GI and every Marine and every airman over there the same sort of protection I got and the Chairman got and Neil got when we were over there. If it is good enough for us, and we are there for a day or two at a time, it is good enough for them, and they are there for a year at a time.
Secretary ENGLAND. Can I comment?
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, sir.
Secretary ENGLAND. Let me do the last one first, on the IEDs, if I can. First of all, it is a complex problem and this is a smart foe and they are very adaptable, so they adapt to what we do, and it is an ever-changing environment. We, some months ago, asked our naval research facility to literally survey industry and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and everything, everything we knew that was going on that we could go defeat this threat, and also provide capability for our Marines before they went over. We have been working closely with the Army, with every agency. I can tell you, money is not the issue. There are some interesting capabilities that are about to come on-line.
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I have said I don't care what the cost is, we will go do whatever it is that we can do as a Nation before our Marines go in to make sure they are fully equipped with every single thing we know that we can do. That is the ground rule in the Department of the Navy. So we are working the IEDs. The Commandant and I just last week, with the Army, had a long session reviewing everything that everyone is doing in this arena.
It is a complex problem. It is not just defeating one threat. It is a wide variety. So we are doing everything we can. I can assure you this is not a money issue. At O&R, we went through, here is what is available today, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, a year from now. We went through every technology. Basically, all that data has been made available to the Marines and they are testing a lot of that equipment before they go. I believe that we are doing everything in this arena that I know to do in terms of pulling in industry and labs and everybody.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay, to that point, and again it is now almost ironic that I had a closed briefing last Wednesday, and last Thursday the Washington Post has a full-page story telling people exactly how to make an improvised explosive device. So I do not think we are letting the cat out of the bag here. We know that one of the ways that they detonate them is cell phones
Secretary ENGLAND. That is one way
Mr. TAYLOR. which gives them the greatest range to detonate it, much better than a remote-controlled doorbell or garage opener.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We also know that we are very close to allowing private enterprise to set up a cell phone system in Iraq that would potentially put another nine million detonators in the hands of insurgents. I am told that the folks in the Special Operations Command have expressed grave reservations about putting that on-line.
If those folks made that request to you, my question to you in your capacity as Secretary of the Navy, on behalf of the United States Marines who are going over there, would you ask for a delay in implementation of allowing that cell system to go up, knowing that it is a weapon that has been used and in all probability will be used again us?
Secretary ENGLAND. Mr. Taylor, there are some things we cannot talk about in this room. I understand this cell phone issue, but there are other dimensions to that that we really need to be off-line on this. I am not comfortable having this discussion with you, because there are some very subtle aspects to this discussion that are hugely important in terms of what we do.
I can say this. Anything that would lead to people being more effective in utilizing IEDs, obviously we would not support that. If somebody is going to put something in that just makes it easier for IEDs, we would not want to do that, but I am not sure it is that straightforward.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Secretary, I know you to be a good guy. I am asking you as a good guy, please give that every consideration.
Secretary ENGLAND. I understand the input. After this meeting, I would like to just have one minute with you to clarify one aspect of this discussion, if I could. Okay? But I do want to assure you, Mr. Taylor, that everything we know to do, and I will ask the Commandant to speak up on this.
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The statement has been we will do everything, regardless of what it costs, but we will protect our Marines and our military that goes overseas. Whatever it is they need, they will get. No matter what we have to do, we will find the money to go do that. So money is not an issue to do this.
We are looking at every kind of technology we can, and we want to deploy it as quickly as we can. We have marshaled every resource that I now to marshal in this country to go work this issue. So I just want to assure you that this is the highest on our list.
The BRAC, we will get back with you on that issue. I do not know exactly expenditures. I will tell you that we are not giving away land now. We sell land and then we use the proceeds to clean up. So we are accumulating funds to do the cleanup, so we are not just using other funds to do that process, but I will get you the specifics.
I believe we are trying to do that smartly in a business sense, and I think it does make a lot of business. I cannot speak for the past, how it was all done. I can tell you how we are doing it now and I will get you those figures, sir.
Commandant, if you want to have a comment about IEDs.
General HAGEE. It is also my top priority, sir, and money is not the issue. The Secretary mentioned this task force that the Army has stood up, task force IED. It is a permanent stand up. It is not temporary. Army, Marine, Air Force, Navy are involved in this, looking at what is going on right now, how we respond to that. Almost more importantly is how the enemy is going to respond to our countermeasure so that we can be inside of their decision cycle.
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I would be happy to come over and talk with you about not only the technologies that we are looking at, but as you know, sir, part of it is tactics, techniques and procedures, and some of the things that you can do based upon the actions that they are taking. We really cannot talk about that here in this room, but I would be glad to come over and discuss that with you, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. I would welcome that opportunity. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN [presiding]. I thank the gentleman. I appreciate his focus on this critical area.
One thing we have to be able to do, Mr. Secretary and Mr. CNO and Mr. Commandant, is we have to be able to move quickly in a coordinated way to enemy actions. The way you win on a battlefield, obviously, is when they take a particular tactical action, to be able to respond to that quickly.
I think we have the ability to spend money and lots of money, but we have a less-than-streamlined bureaucracy, and we will take actions in an area; we will have a requirement that will flow down, and then the system goes into place. We, in Congress, perhaps are as responsible as anybody for ensuring that we have a slow system. You have to have a requirement; you have to have a procurement system of some sort; you have to invoke waivers if you are going to do stuff rapidly.
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Ideally, what we would have is to be able to see something on the battlefield; have a battlefield commander report it; and have an immediate industrial response that focused the full weight and effect of American resources and technologies on that problem. We move with some sense of urgency and we move with people whose hearts are absolutely in the right place, but often you will find out, you will get down through the bureaucracy and want to find out why something is not there, and you will find out that the order was put in, but that the review or the hoop that had to be gone through or the box that had to be checked off is standard operating procedure.
While you may have an enormous sense of urgency at the top to get this thing done, and you may have an enormous sense of urgency at the battlefield level, you nonetheless have locked this down with a governor, so to speak, on this race car that you need, and the governor that has you at 30 miles an hour is the system. It is a system that we in Congress helped to build. Being able to bypass that system, to have what I would call not just a rapid response force in a military sense, but a rapid response force in terms of the industrial and R&D sense would be a great thing.
We are looking at what we have. We still do not have that. We will talk some particulars and some of the things we saw while in-country, but that is one of the lessons that we are probably learning in this war against terrorism. We have to be able to respond industrially as fast as the bad guys come up with new tactics. So let's work that.
Mr. Taylor, I appreciate your focus on this important area of IEDs. In fact, the majority of casualties being taken now are IEDs or taken from IEDs.
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The gentleman from Virginia, who has spent a lot of focus on these conflicts and taken a lot of time and has a great background, Mr. Schrock.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, Admiral and General, thank you for being here to testify today, and again thank you for your dedicated service to our great Navy and our great Marine Corps. Mr. Secretary, this Member is very happy to have you back. From the day you left to the day you got back, I went into my old uniform kit and took out my mourning band and wore it, and I took it off the day you got back, so I am very glad to have you here. [Laughter.]
The vision of the three of you and your sense of purpose are an inspiration, quite frankly, to all the men and women that you are privileged to lead, that wear our great uniforms.
I want to commend you all for the leadership in superbly executing Operation Iraqi Freedom and for quickly re-setting your forces to surge again in support of the Nation. I believe your budget request is a practical and forward-looking document that will operationalize your vision and your goals and prepare the men and women under your command to continue to do their Nation's bidding.
In the same spirit, I strongly urge you to ensure that the lessons learned from the events of the last two years are not just noted and studied, but actions take place to correct weaknesses and invest in infrastructure and training to prevent making the same mistakes twice. I am concerned with the difficulties that have arisen over the last two years in integrating Active and Reserve forces.
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This is just one area where demand for greater improvement remains, but your ability to continue to plan and invest for the future, while dealing with the challenges of the present has served our Nation well. I cannot think of any three people I would rather have at the helm of our Navy and Marine Corps than the three of you.
Mr. Secretary and Admiral, I have followed closely the debate over the last few years on the direction of Navy shipbuilding programs. I agree with the general statement that capability must be the primary consideration over the number of ships in the fleet. I look forward to learning more about the character and the capabilities of the DD(X) and the LCS platforms as those designs come to completion, and I hope pretty soon.
Given the emphasis on capability, could you comment on the metrics that are used to measure the capability required, and any implications that they may have on force structure in the future. Given the shipbuilding plan on the table currently, and the projected rate of decommissioning of the Los Angeles-class submarines, some analysts have noted that the submarine fleet could be as small as 30 by 2020. Is that an acceptable number of boats, given the capability that we may require in that area?
Admiral CLARK. I would be happy to take on that question. Let's start first and just talk about how we talk about it and what are the metrics for capability. I think we are in fact going through a revolution in the way we even think about warfare. I believe that it is going through all of the military at a different pace. Let me give you an example.
In Desert Storm, we saw the crosshairs on television and bombs going down smokestacks. That was brand new. It is not new anymore at all. In fact, we know the numbers. Virtually everything we are dropping is precision now. So precision is one of those metrics.
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What happens is that precision then changes the way you think about warfare itself. What is happening in the future, and let's talk about DD(X). DD(X) will have a gun that reaches 100 miles. The gun today is, you know the number specifically is less than 20, and that will keep us in the unclassified range, less than 10 actually. When you look at that, the area that we are going to provide fire support to, the United States Marine Corps, is going to explode by over 100.
We are going to keep investing and we are going to spiral and develop this DD(X), an all-electric ship. One day we will bring rail gun on line and the number will be 400 times the area that we can support and bring precision fire to the United States Marine Corps and even the United States Army. What I see as the measures are things like speed, speed of response, precision and combat reach, and then the ability to persist.
So readiness counts, and we talked about that a lot here, but we need to design systems that have persistence designed in. JSF, you asked General Hagee because he is going to get STOVL out of this, but I want JSF. I want JSF because of reach. The Secretary said unbelievable ranges on the carrier version, almost 800 miles. We could execute a mission all the way to Baghdad without ever going to the tanker. That changes the capability factors.
If you look at, then, operational availability designed-in. This airplane is designed-in to give us better than 90 percent operational availability. That is a dramatic improvement over current capability. It changes the total number you have to buy. Those are the kind of terms that you use when you start measuring capability in force.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What was the second part of the question?
Mr. SCHROCK. Submarines.
Admiral CLARK. I do not believe this nation can afford to have a submarine force with 30 submarines in it. The Congress has consistently funded the refueling of our fast-attack fleet. That has given us a hedge against the reduction. If you look out through the FYDP, it is 54, 55, 56 through the FYDP, and then we have guided missile submarines (SSGN) coming, which goes on top of that. This is an issue we clearly have to deal with and come to grips with what the right capitalization rate needs to be. I can just tell you, Congressman, that this is a major issue for us in the 2006 bill; fundamentally, a zero-based scrub on how we are going to go about dealing with the submarine underwater warfare requirement. We will have more and better information for you and we will continue to be happy to keep you apprised as we are working through that.
Mr. SCHROCK. Great. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I know the red light is on, but I would like to ask General Hagee a few questions. General, as a member of the Government Reform Committee, we heard testimony the week before last on a study conducted by the General Accounting Office (GAO) which highlighted serious systemic problems in the pay and personnel systems for Army guardsmen and reservists. The primary systemic problem was the Reserve and Active Components were using two separate pay and personnel systems, and that the training was poor on both sides of the system.
The fact that the Marine Corps uses an integrated system was cited as a reason for the perception that you have experienced fewer pay problems with your reservists. Could you comment on the degree of any pay problems experienced over the last year and the rationale for the Marine Corps choosing to use an integrated system? What we heard from the Army was an absolute nightmare, but apparently you are doing it better. We would like to know why is it working for you, and why can't somebody else like the Army make it work.
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General HAGEE. We made a decision some years ago, sir, to go to an integrated pay system, total force. We believe that total force should be managed by one system and should be paid by one system. I do not know of any serious problems that we had with pay, either on the Active side or the Reserve side.
Mr. SCHROCK. My Army friend here says that the Marine Corps is so small they can do it. I do not buy that at all. When the Marines do something, they just do it well. That is the key.
General HAGEE. I am not going there. [Laughter.]
Mr. CALVERT. How big is the Marine Corps, General?
General HAGEE. Capability-wise or number-wise, sir?
Mr. CALVERT. Number-wise. [Laughter.]
General HAGEE. 175,000 Active duty; 39,600 Reserve.
Mr. SCHROCK. Mr. Chairman, I know my time is up. If we have a second round, I would like to ask further questions.
Mr. WELDON [presiding]. Mr. Langevin.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, thank you for being here today. I am sorry I had to leave early. I sit on the Homeland Security Committee and we are having a hearing right now with Secretary Ridge, so I will be leaving shortly after my questions.
Before I begin, I would just like to follow up on a comment by my colleague, Mr. Taylor, with respect to countermeasures and measures that will be taken to improve security of our troops in Iraq and elsewhere. I just got back from Baghdad myself. The troops are doing just an amazing job over there and the morale is incredibly high. We are grateful for their service. I stand with you and my colleagues in doing whatever it takes to make sure that their safety is a top priority and we are doing all we can for them.
If I could, I just wanted to follow up on the submarine question that Congressman Schrock had addressed, and primarily to Secretary England, if I could. Your fiscal year 2004 request proposed a long-term program for the Virginia-class procurement that would increase the procurement rate of submarines to two ships per year starting in fiscal year 2007, which was intended to support a fleet objective of 55 attack submarines consistent with the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Yet this year's request again delayed the increased procurement rate until fiscal year 2009.
Unless you are immediately prepared to discard the submarine force level objectives that all studies have recommended, your budget request will result in serious implications for ensuring American dominance in the undersea battle space and on the shore. As you know, it takes six to eight years to add a submarine to the fleet, once approved for advance procurement. We are at that critical point where new submarines are needed to replace the older ones rapidly being decommissioned.
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What is your position on increasing the procurement rate of Virginia-class submarines to two per year? And will your fiscal year 2009 target slip again a year, taking us to fiscal year 2010? Or is fiscal year 2008 still a feasible target?
My second question, if I could, for either Secretary England or Admiral Clark; the United States has unquestioned superiority in submarine warfare, and that primarily first and foremost goes to the men and women who wear the uniform. This has also come about as a result of the superb technologies developed by Navy research and shipbuilders. We have found this technology development works best when it is funded consistently over the years, not just when a new class of submarines is being designed.
Yet we have seen a significant reduction in submarine-related R&D in your budgets for the last several years. For example, the Virginia-class submarine technology insertion program was completely eliminated last year and is not funded again this year. For the first time in over 40 years, there is no new design for any submarine on the drawing board.
Congress has tried to improve our submarine platforms by increasing funding for such programs as submarine and SSGN payloads and sensor programs, and the multi-mission module Virginia-class submarines, for example, to increase the submarines's contribution to future fleet missions and requirements.
We would like to see a major commitment to this important technology development, too, by keeping a consistent level of submarine R&D funding over the years, particularly in the area of Virginia-class technology insertion to add to the capabilities you say we so much need. Can you comment on this? If you could address those questions, it would be great.
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Secretary ENGLAND. First, let me talk about the submarine rates, one or two a year. We are in the five-year multi-year, and last year we actually had a multi-year that was either five or eight submarines. The Congress came back with five. So we are on the five-year multi-year and sort of the lull, and we were encouraged to stay at five, so we will have one a year for five years. That is in response, basically, to congressional direction last year.
Now, when do we go to two? There is a question, obviously, if you stay at one too long, then your submarine force will decline. So as the CNO said, we do have an effort underway. We will address that in the 2006 budget because then we will be moving out past a five-year multi-year so we will be looking at what we do in terms of the total submarine force as part of the 2006 budget.
But the 2005 budget reflects the decision made for the five-year multi-year. So we will stay at one a year of the five-year multi-year, and that was solidified just in January with the contractor. So that is now firm, fixed, and we will stay at one a year for five years. But we will look at what we do in the out-years and we will do that as part of an effort that is underway right now as part of 2006. So that is a hard decision for us in 2006, and we have studies underway to look at that right now. So we will be back addressing that in next year's budget.
Mr. LANGEVIN. So do you believe that your fiscal year 2009 target will slip again?
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary ENGLAND. I would say I do not know the answer to that. Again, we are at this one a year, and until we do the effort on the whole submarine force in terms of numbers and configuration, et cetera, it is just too early, because that is an effort underway right now. So I just have to defer. I do not know the answer. I do not believe the CNO does until we do the analysis. That analysis is in work. That has been commissioned. We have people physically working that, so it will be a 2006 issue for us. We do not know the outcome. The outcome will be as a result of all the studies underway right now.
Admiral CLARK. I am happy to address the second part, and align myself with the Secretary's response, and let's go to part two with regard to technology insertion. We are all for technology insertion, but I will be straight up with you. I am not so alarmed about it. We just went critical on Virginia here in the last two weeks, and the very first one is coming down the ways. That leaves me with a sense that I do not have to have another one being designed this year, if I have confidence in this platform.
Having said that, in effect we do have a new one being designed and it is called SSGN. It is not a brand new submarine, but this is about the genius of our people. That is going to be a new one when it comes out and introduces itself into the fleet.
I do need to talk about the R&D and technology insertion question. I want to be honest with you. First of all, you look at our budget this year and last year. It is fundamentally flat with inflation in it. Yet we have increased our R&D. We have 9 ships this year, 30 percent more than the 2005 line had last year when we sent it up here. We would like to have even more, but we are doing everything we can to redirect resources to create the 21st century Navy, not the 20th century Navy.
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I will tell you that I have been real hard on programs that just are level-on. I call them the ''on-and-on'' programs. I will approve investment to go do specific things, but I have been real hard on programs that were just flat and that it was an inalienable right to have that amount of money in the program.
So if you talk to our people in the submarine business, I have challenged them and said, ''you do not get that without showing us what you are going to get with it.'' They have some significant work being done to insert technology in the Virginia-class. But I do not believe it is the right thing, when you look at the tradeoffs that we have to make. We have to submit a balanced approach that gives us a whole Navy, a total Navy that can respond to the challenges around the world.
Just summarily deciding that we are going to invest a flat number forever in R&D is not what we are telling any of our platform sponsors. They are not going to get that. They are going to have more granularity on it than that. That said, we want to make the right investments and we are committed to doing that, because spiraling this platform is what will continue to make it viable well into its service life.
Mr. LANGEVIN. My time has run out. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
Mr. Cole, please.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COLE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I would be remiss not to immediately thank all of you for your service to our country. I wish every American honestly had the opportunity to work with you as closely as we do on this committee, because they are already awfully proud of you and awfully appreciative of what you do, but it would just be enhanced remarkably if they had that same activity. So again, thank you for what you do.
I have several questions, but I am going to begin. There will be a question at the end of this with a comment, and it was sort of provoked inadvertently by a couple of the remarks here earlier. This whole concept of contracting out is an interesting thing. I suppose I am probably as sensitive to that as most people because the largest employer in my district is Tinker Air Force Base, and the second largest employer is Fort Sill. So we appreciate the civilian aspect and the jobs.
On the other hand, it appears to me one of the great assets we have as a country is when we go to war, you gentlemen are the hard shiny tip of a very long spear called the United States of America. I hope we never go to war as a military. I hope we go to war as a country, with an extraordinary array of assets to bring to bear, to enhance your capabilities. Most other societies do not have that. It is one of the things we have.
I am always sensitive when I hear poor Halliburton brought up. It was actually founded in my district and I still have 3,000 Halliburton oil field services employees, and I am sure they must rue the day sometimes when the current vice president became the head of their operation, because they take a lot of shots.
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On the other hand, I have seen some of their facilities in Iraq, which were magnificent in terms of the capabilities they were providing to our men and women in uniform. I think we sometimes forget that they put their civilian personnel in the line of fire, in a sense, as well. They go over and they are very proud to play a role in working with the American military. It does not mean they should not be held accountable. It does not mean that they should not be audited and looked at. Frankly, everybody should be, as you gentleman are.
I would just ask you, to what degree does the ability to contract out, not with a particular company, just across the board, enable you to enhance your combat capabilities, quite frankly? Does it make a material difference?
General HAGEE. Sir, I can give you a classic example. For anyone who has served in the armed forces, especially as a Private First Class (PFC) or a private, you have been on mess duty, you have been a cook. Starting last year, we turned our mess halls over to a contractor. They have local individuals coming in, cleaning tables, preparing food, and they do an excellent job. We took those Marines that were in those mess halls and we put them back out into the operating forces, which really enhances our operating forces. That is just one example, sir.
Admiral CLARK. I was going to use the mess halls, and I preface it with this. This leadership team has been working to redirect resources to run this business more effectively. Our acquisition accounts are that way because we are doing it. An example, turning over housing. Housing is not a core warfighting business for me. I have to provide housing capability and capacity in certain places, to be sure. But if we find out that somebody can run this business better than we are able to run it, then we want to do that. What we are finding is that when we go check it out, the response is very, very positive.
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So it is contracting out. It is also substituting civilians, sometimes, for military. I took a report yesterday that showed on average every time I do that, I save $10,000 a head a year. So we are going to continue to look for the good business deal. What we are doing in the Navy is that if you are a senior officer in this organization, you better understand that readiness at any cost is no longer in vogue. Readiness at the right cost is what is expected of our leaders.
Here is kind of an axiom. It has to be good for sailors. It has to be good for the taxpayer. When it is, the Nation is going to be the better for it.
Mr. COLE. I appreciate, for one, again what you all have done in that regard, because I think it has made a terrific difference in frankly the lifestyle of the people in uniform and enhanced our capabilities. You have been wonderful stewards of the resources you have been given.
Let me move quickly to another thing. I have a concern maybe a little bit different about the supplemental process and I would like you all to address it. I am not worried that it will not get the scrutiny that it deserves, because quite frankly I think it will. I am a little uncomfortable on two scores. One you really cannot comment on. I much prefer to do these things before elections than after. I just think it is open and you can have a debate, and people always worry if it is after an election.
The second one does concern me, and I think you can address it. I always worry in this process of funding by supplemental that we will rob Peter to pay Paul and we will never pay Peter back. Insofar as you are funding ongoing operations with unencumbered funds, you will come back with a supplemental with the full expectation that we will replace those resources that you have redirected. I think there is an enormous temptation in this budget environment not to do that. It is sort of, well, they have already gotten that done. I think we run an enormous risk of under-funding you and having you focus on the urgent and the immediate, and perhaps not have the resources you need to have to go ahead with transformation and procurement activities. Are you comfortable if we operate this way that you will get the resources you need?
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Secretary ENGLAND. Mr. Cole, let me just make a comment. In the last few years, the system has worked well. Literally, God bless this President and this Congress, because 3 years ago our budget was $80-some billion and now it is approaching $120 billion. We did not have fuel for our ships or our airplanes, and we would cross-deck all of our equipment. So we just could not operate this Navy and Marine Corps the way we used to do it. We could not do it today with that kind of funding we used to have. The Congress and the Administration have been extraordinarily generous for us to be able to recoup from years of being very, very lean, frankly, as the CNO said, just in our shipbuilding. It was $6 billion for the whole 1990's and now it is about double that.
So I am confident that the Congress and the Administration will continue to support us. So far, when we have needed the funds, they have provided, and we are able to do the Nation's business. We are able to do what the Nation expects us to do. So it has worked well. Certainly, you always sort of worry about that, but frankly it has worked satisfactorily for us, and our expectation is that it will continue that way, particularly with the supplementals. As long as the Nation is at war, we will need funds to augment our ongoing operation to pay those costs of war. I frankly thank this committee for the support for the last three years since I have been here of our military in that regard.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. LARSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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I want to start off by thanking the gentlemen for helping us out this morning to understand the Navy's budget, and for Admiral Clark and General Hagee, I want to thank you in particular for a hearing we had yesterday that Mr. Saxton chaired on the Global Information Grid and some complex issues with regard to the Department of Defense information technology. Your representatives General Thomas and Admiral Zelibar were here yesterday and did a very excellent job of making something very complex very simple for us on this side of the microphone. So I really do appreciate that help.
The first set of questions, there is a line from MASH when Colonel Potter is talking and BJ Honeycutt and Hawkeye are talking, and they see two flies; I know they are talking about a horse; when they see Colonel Potter, they know he is talking about his horse. When you see me, I am going to ask about Prowlers. It is a sort of an obvious ''lead with my chin'' on that.
I just wanted to ask, as we are moving toward this movement to the EA18G and looking at the use of the EA6B and the dollars that we put into the EA6B to keep it flying for the last several years, are we done with that investment on the outer wings and center wings, as well as engines? Or do we anticipate something more before 2009?
Admiral CLARK. It is really a great question, and I go into some detail in the written statement. I did not talk about any programs in my introductory, but we have a serious challenge with the EA6B. We have flown this airplane very hard. All I can say is this, thank God. Last year, we moved this program, the F18G, three years to the left. Right now we would really be scratching our head trying to figure out how we are going to get to a transition point if we had not done that. That investment was vital.
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We flew the planes hard again in OIF and we have significant cracking in some of these airplanes. As a matter of fact, we have had to take some of them off-line and new center barrels are going in. So we are going to spend what it takes for the Nation to have this kind of electronic attack capability, because it is all we have. It is the joint capability.
I will not get into specific numbers here. I would be happy to do it off-line. But we have developed a response that will allow us to regenerate the EA6B sufficiently to bring EA18G on-line. This is a priority in our investment strategy. EA18G, I seek your strong support for us to move rapidly to a fiscal year 2009 initial operating capability (IOC). It cannot come too soon for the G.
Mr. LARSEN. Okay. Thanks. So that timeline is still in place. Obviously, we will stay on top of it. I know you all will stay on top of it and let us know what we need to do to help.
My second question, and perhaps I could get a briefing on it, but it has to do with the fleet response plan. Of course, the Lincoln was the poster child for deployments that went slightly over six months.
Admiral CLARK. It went way over. [Laughter.]
Mr. LARSEN. Yes, about four-and-a-half months over.
I guess a basic question I have, and I would like to expand on this perhaps in a briefing if you could help set that up, is what changes does the fleet response plan mean to home ports generally, as well as the support facilities? How are you not only changing what you are doing out on the water, but what do you anticipate changing at home?
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Admiral CLARK. I can do this real quickly without the details. Broad philosophy, my responsibility by Title X is organize, train and equip, working for the Secretary. What the fleet response plan has done is attack every one of those and figure out a better way to do it. My analysis is that over time we developed a business case that we would do, for example, in maintenance and overhaul after every deployment.
I have asked them to figure out, and every ship I commanded when I brought it home it was in better shape when I brought it home, but we feared what would happen if we did not go to work on it. So what we have done is we have done some experimentation. I have this sea-swap experiment going on right now. We are on the fourth crew serving six months, and it is getting ready to come home.
So what we have done is we have attacked, organizing it, training it, equipping it to make it availableoperational availability is the key metric hereto make it available over a bigger portion of its life. So, fundamentally, we will do deep maintenance after one deployment and a shallower form of maintenance after another. We will do the maintenance required, whatever it is, to maintain this kind of response capability. That is the heart of what is happening.
Mr. LARSEN. Okay. If I could follow up with your Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA).
Admiral CLARK. We would be very happy to come and give you a detailed brief on it. By the way, this is real transformation. Sometimes it is new hardware. Sometimes it is new thinking. This was dreamed up by our young people.
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Mr. LARSEN. Thank you, Admiral.
Mr. WELDON. Dr. Gingrey is the next questioner.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you. I want to join my colleagues in thanking each of you, Secretary England, General Hagee, Admiral Clark, for your service to our country. I particularly want to thank you for your patience in sticking around for as long as you have been here this morning, almost three hours, I am sure. Representative Meek and myself who are sitting down here on this first row appreciate the fact that you have stuck with us this long. I have waited three hours to ask my question. Like Representative Larsen says, I am leading with my chin a little bit on this one.
Secretary England, I want to thank you very much, first of all, for your accessibility and frankness with me on the issues and concerns that I have about the reserve FA18 fighter squadrons. I do not want to get too parochial, but as you know, Naval Air Station (NAS) Atlanta, where one of those squadrons is, and also, General Hagee, the Marine Aircraft Group is there, as well, with their own squadron of Reserve units. It is very important, and it is not just, as I say, a parochial question, but in regard to how we are going to utilize the Reserve squadrons going forward, and what the plans are specifically, both from the Navy's perspective, Mr. Secretary and Admiral Clark, and also, General Hagee, from the standpoint of the Marines. It is very important to us, and I think they are doing a great job. I think from the standpoint of cost effectiveness, and Secretary England and I had this discussion at his office, and I really appreciate that. I would just like to get an update on that, if you will.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral CLARK. We will continue to work with it. Others have asked the question about Active-Reserve integration. We are committed to that. As I said earlier, Congressman, we have a major effort this year. Submarines is one of them; Active-Reserve integration and right-sizing, whatever the Reserve structure needs to be, that is the issue for us this year. So we will keep you apprised as we do our work.
Dr. GINGREY. Mr. Secretary, would you comment?
Secretary ENGLAND. Dr. Gingrey, things have not changed really since we last talked. We are still on that path. We are going to do some substitution, as we discussed, with E2Cs, also, for NAS Atlanta. So we are still on that plan. Again, as we discussed and also CNO just said, it is part of our integration to make our reserves even more relevant than they are today.
So we will continue to integrate our reserves more closely. That will result in some dislocation of what we have today, but we are sensitive to all that and we are trying to work that in the context of all of our facilities. So again, as the CNO said, we will continue to work that with you.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
General Hagee, will you comment on that?
General HAGEE. Yes, sir. I would align myself with the CNO and the Secretary of the Navy. I may say that we are going to deploy about 3,000 reserves over into Iraq on this latest mobilization, Operation Iraqi Freedom II. We have used about 47 percent of our reserves and the selected Marine Corps reserve has been called up and in fact have deployed. Only about 3 percent have been called up more than once, and we actually have 11 who have been called up 3 times.
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We feel fairly comfortable on how our reserve organization is structured. We are actually looking inside to see how we might restructure some of it where necessary, especially when we are talking about military police, intelligence or civil affairs.
Dr. GINGREY. One of the things, the point was made that the Reserve fighter squadrons had not been utilized heavily in the past. I was given some statistics. I forget the exact number, but it was a low number. My argument would be that, well, maybe based on their performance, certainly, in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the Navy Reserve squadron out of Fort Worth, in particular, had such an outstanding track record in success of sorties and sorties flown, and making a good grade on every parameter by which they are measured that possibly we need to strongly consider more utilization and not less utilization.
I would guessyou guys of course crunch the numbersbut I would guess it would be much more cost-effective if those units could do the mission and do it well, just as well possibly as the Active Component. That certainly is the argument that I made to Secretary England and would like to reinforce today.
Admiral CLARK. If I could respond, we spoke briefly about fleet response plan, and the performance was terrific of the F18 squadron because they are rich in experience, and it showed. I am convinced that the integration concepts we are talking about of the Reserve, and what I see that is happening is that a squadron like this would become what we are talking about calling a fleet response unit that deploys in emergencies.
Fleet response is not about routine peacetime deployments. It is about what do you do in a crisis; what do you do in an emergency. So that is exactly the way we are thinking about the structure that we need to have for the future.
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General HAGEE. I would agree with the CNO, and just expand a little bit on that. We had all the F18 squadrons that there were room for during Operation Iraqi Freedom. We still had units back here, especially ground units, that were training, getting ready to go over. The sorties that gave them the capability to perform were in fact flown by Reserve squadrons.
We are a total force. The Reserve squadrons that we have here in the United States fly in support of our exercises and our training on a continuous basis. We believe that those squadrons are on a par, and in some cases maybe a little bit better, than some of our Active Duty squadrons. They are really quite good.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you so very much, and I want to thank our panel for being here. I apologize for not being here at the top to see or hear your presentations, but I have definitely, during the time I have been here, taken a look at what you have all had to say.
I am a member of the Homeland Security Committee, and others have said that we have Secretary Ridge before our committee now, that just about holds the same importance as all three of you here as it relates to our national security.
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I know that the Ranking Member pretty much asked a question as it relates to the Marines and what is going to happen in Iraq, and pulling our forces from other strategic areas of concern like North Korea or South Korea. I am a little concerned about it. I guess it is just mainly not a budget question, but usually, annually, every time we get an opportunity to ask you all direct questions, a lot of the letter-writing is not necessarily clear on how we are going to maintain our force.
I first just want to say that I appreciate the work that all of you are doing, and many of the individuals that are providing the very freedom that we are celebrating here today. But I am quite concerned about not only the reserves, but also the National Guard and others that are spending great periods of time on deployment. I want to know how that is going to affect not only recruiting today, but recruiting tomorrow.
Many young people that I run into during my travels throughout this great country of ours, some of them would love to go, and then others do not want to become a part of our armed forces, not the fact that they are unpatriotic, they are just concerned about some of the things that they hear about in news reports of many young and old individuals running into financial hard times due to their commitment to service.
I just want to say that the downside of deployment or being in a theater of war will always be highlighted by the media. I think it is important that we get that message out to individuals that there is assistance for those that may run into financial hard times. I just want you to just mention a few things.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary England, I know what you said about thin times through the 1990's as it relates to the funding. That is one question up front, but the thin times during the 1990's of not being able to have the dollars that we need, but I think it is important as it relates to some of the outsourcing of even DOD projects outside of your purview, that the branches really take a very strong look at some of these contractors that are carrying on abuses that will reflect, once again, on the bad.
I believe that we should have a well-equipped and well-funded military. Obviously, in voting for the authorization bill last year, even though I had some disagreements as it relates to some of the personnel issue that was in that bill, I felt that it was important to send a strong message not only to Americans, but those throughout the world that we look forward to that.
I believe as it relates to our budget and the deficit, the fact that we are borrowing on a high-interest credit card, individuals look at the $166 billion that we put toward Iraq right now, with $120 million a week in just interest, I think it is important that we really pay close attention to the abuses and come down hard on those individuals, very hard, in my opinion, that may carry out contracting that may not be in the light of our overall mission. I think in the final analysis it will hurt and diminish the light that we are trying to shed on the Department of Defense and on behalf of the branches.
I just want to say that, because I think it is important. Hopefully, the great people of South Florida will have me here for some time so that we can live through this process and continue to see the kind of funding that the branches are celebrating today, but at the same time being able to answer the tough questions when Newsweek and Time magazine highlight some of the issues that are going on now in-theater and out of theater as it relates to contracting.
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So if you can address the recruiting issue, I think that is important. I think it deserves the kind of attention not only as it relates to what you are going to do with the dollars that you are going to receive in this budget, but how do you feel about us being prepared and able to carry out this effort against terrorism.
Secretary ENGLAND. First, about recruiting, when I became Secretary the first time around, we were recruiting between 55,000 and 60,000 people a year. Today, our recruiting needs are about 40,000 or 41,000, so we are recruiting significantly less, and that is by plan. That is because our retention is much higher.
So our people are staying in the military. They are proud to serve at a time when the country needs them, and thanks to the Congress, we are paying them better, with better benefits, and we provide them better equipment and better infrastructure, so they know they are appreciated. It shows up in the dollars being made available. They can do their business for the Nation every day and do it better. So morale is very high. Retention, as the CNO said in his opening statement, is at an all-time high. In recruiting, we meet our goals now and we have been meeting our goals quarterly, I believe, for the last four or five years, and the Marine Corps much, much longer than that. So we do not have an issue of recruiting and retention. I will tell you our people are proud to be able to serve the Nation and do what the Nation expects them to go do.
We do not have what people refer toI do not believe we have what you hear about, stress on the force. I do not believe that is an issue with our sailors or Marines. If you go to our Reserve centers, the only complaint you hear is that they have not been called up. They want to serve. So I have not had anyone in all my travels, including all of our men and women onboard ship and in Afghanistan and IraqI have never had anyone say to me, you know, this is too hard; I do not want to be here. What I hear from our Reserve centers here in the states is, why wasn't I called up; I am trained and ready to go.
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So I believe that we are very healthy. As the CNO said, we are winning this war with our people, and that has been helped a lot by the Congress and, again, the funding that has gone into not just them and their families, but enabling them to do this business for the nation.
Mr. MEEK. Mr. Secretary, if I may, Mr. Chairman, I just want to make sure that as we start to look at what is about to happen in the near future, some of the issues as it relates. I had a great concern with the Army and soldiers in guerrilla warfare that I thought that would be the case, urban warfare, what have you, that would be the case and that is what this Iraqi effort would end up being.
I just want to make sure, sir, that we are looking at the long-run here. I believe the long run is going to bring about quite a few individuals that are going to either be injured or may die in combat, not to say that those that may not want to go and those that want to go. Believe me, I am a supporter. That is the reason why I asked to be on this committee, but I think it is important that we look at the long-run. I think individuals that are there in Iraq now will continue to be in Iraq.
All branches will continue to have some effort in Iraq, because I do not believe that we are going to finish anytime soon. Even though there has been this deadline and that deadline and another deadline, and we keep pushing it back, and we have had a pretty bloody week over there this week as it relates to even the plans that we had for a civilian force to be on the ground in Iraq among Iraqis, not a civilian force, but an Iraqi force, as you can see that the terrorists are trying to push that date back by targeted bombs toward Iraqis.
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So I just appreciateand I did read where the Commandant talked about the recruitingbut I just want to say that that is a concern. I think that since the proposal of an overall draft is not necessarily something that is grabbing gravity here, not saying that I am a supporter of that, to keep us at the numbers where we need to be, because if something else happens in the world, I do believe that we may be very well strained.
If we get that way, that will be unfortunate not only for the safety of those that would have to respond to that, but also to being able to make sure that we have Americans that are willing and able to do what they need to do. I appreciate your response and just wanted to share some thoughts and feelings with you.
Secretary ENGLAND. Thank you very much, Mr. Meek.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you, sir.
Mr. CALVERT [presiding]. I thank the gentleman.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary, General, Admiral, for coming today. We are getting close to the end, so you will be able to go back to work here pretty soon.
First, I want to thank again our sailors and Marines for the great job they are doing. I have the privilege to represent both naval and Marine facilities in my congressional district in Southern California. As a matter of fact, we have some Marines leaving for Iraq out of March Air Reserve Base shortly. I hope to be there along with others to say good-bye to those Marines as they deploy to Iraq. So we are certainly very proud of them and the job that they are doing.
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Certainly, as we get into this discussion about IEDs, in my congressional district, unfortunately we have lost several people, most of which to IEDs. Certainly, we are concerned about that. Mr. Secretary, in relation to that, as you well know we have a facility in my congressional district called Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), which is the Navy's only independent assessment agency. They do work on independent assessment. They are very joint. They work for and service other customers. Right now, for instance, they are helping National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) fulfill Admiral Gehmen's safety recommendations for the Columbia accident, and making sure that they have that type of assessment.
I understand, Mr. Secretary, and I would hope that we can expand the appreciation for the Navy's almost six-decade experience with independent assessment. It goes back to World War II. I remember that John Wayne movie when the torpedoes didn't work. That was in Norco, California where they figured out what was the problem with those fuses, that we share that culture of independent assessment and work with the rest of DOD, especially Joint Forces Command and Admiral Cebrowski's office. When we were having this discussion about IEDs, they certainly should be involved in this to make sure that whatever the solution may be, whether it is a high-tech solution or a low-tech solution or a combination of attempting to get ahead of this problem, I think that they could be very helpful. I would like to have your comments about that, and certainly, Admiral, if you have any additional comments, I would appreciate that.
Secretary ENGLAND. I think I will just turn it over to the Admiral. NAVSEA is obviously a very important installation for us, Congressman. They have terrific capability. They are doing a terrific job for the Navy and, I know, for the Nation. So I am not sure I can add anything to your statement frankly.
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Admiral CLARK. I think your comments about the movie are something that all of us when we started out in this business looked at very carefully. It was one of the examples that is always used about how important it is for us to very, very rigorously attack the lessons learned at the end of any event. I am really gratified, frankly, that you mentioned Joint Forces Command. I am gratified with the process that has been put in place. It is the best one I have seen. It is the most healthy and vigorous look that I have seen in the aftermath of a conflict.
My notes say that the organization that you are talking about, NAVSEA, a contract was recently awarded that resources were put in place in the 2004 budget that is allowing us to continue this kind of effort. It is examining the right kind of metrics and how you do shape the metrics for modern warfare. So I align with the Secretary. This kind of capability is vital if we are going to get better.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you.
I have a question for the Commandant. You mentioned in prior testimony obviously the importance of our ranges and to protect those ranges and to make sure that they stay vital and open in the future. Camp Pendleton is also in my congressional district. We are proud to have it. Are you concerned about buffers on that range, or do you think you have adequate land there to protect that range at the present time?
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General HAGEE. Thank you for that question, sir. That is actually one of the areas where we are looking at purchasing land just outside the fence line to provide that particular buffer zone there, sir.
Mr. CALVERT. Over there on the Orange County side?
General HAGEE. Yes, sir. That is correct.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you. Thank you for answering those questions.
Mrs. Bordallo, you are recognized for five minutes.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Believe it or not, I just came in from Guam, just a few minutes ago from National.
Secretary ENGLAND. Long trip.
Ms. BORDALLO. I would just like to welcome the Secretary and look forward to your visit. I understand you are going to Guam.
Secretary ENGLAND. Yes, I will.
Ms. BORDALLO. Yes, we are looking forward to that, Mr. Secretary.
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Secretary ENGLAND. I am looking forward to being there. Thank you.
Mr. SCHROCK [presiding]. One of my colleagues said maybe someday you will sit in the chairman's chair, but I did not think it was going to be three-and-a-half hours from now. [Laughter.]
You came back from Guam today. That is quite a trip. Having been stationed there, I know how difficult that can be. When I was stationed in Guam, Ms. Bordallo was our first lady, so I have known her for a long, long time.
Thank you all for being here. I think the testimony we heard from you all and the questions we have heard you answer clearly indicate that you are at the cutting edge of everything that is absolutely right in transformation. I think the years ahead for the Navy and the Marine Corps are probably going to be some of the most exciting.
I was onboard the Joint Venture last Friday. Unbelievable. Those of you who have not been there need to go there. You need to see that. We are going to try to bring it here to D.C. and get as many Members out as possible. I think if they see that kind of innovative technology, it is going to excite them to where we think our Navy and our Marine Corps is going.
So again thank you all very much for being here. We really appreciate your being here this long. I am sure we will see you again.
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Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 12:20 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]