SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.N.S.C. No. 1063]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000H.R. 1401
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
FEBRUARY 24, 1999
AGING MILITARY EQUIPMENT
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Military Procurement Subcommittee,
Washington, DC. Wednesday, February 24, 1999.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:07 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER [presiding]. The subcommittee will come to order.
Today's hearing addresses a neglected but important issue, and it is one I have been wanting to talk about for some time, since I am constantly disturbed by the fact that the Department is operating some very old equipment that, it would appear, is only going to get older.
The headline on Dr. Thompson's statement sums up my concerns, and I quote: ''Fear of Flying: America's Aging Fleet of Military Aircraft''a sad commentary and one that points to the need for sustained growth in defense spending, but more on that later.
Last October, the subcommittee held a hearing to preview forthcoming issues in the Fiscal Year 2000 budget request. The principal witness was Dr. Jacques Gansler, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. In his written statement for that hearing, Dr. Gansler noted the following, and I quote, ''As the defense budget rapidly declined after the end of the cold war, modernization was deferred in order to fully fund current operations and support and base infrastructure, and thus, ensure current readiness. The reduced modernization budgets, combined with the increased military deployments, have now taken their toll. Our weapons are overworked and aging.
''By next year, for example, the average age of our aircraft fleet will be over 20 years. Because many of our systems are old and overworked, they require more frequent and costlier maintenance. This accelerated maintenance is costing us much more each year in repair costs, down time, and maintenance tempo.''
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I might add that the dropping mission-capable rates in all the services reflect that fact.
''Furthermore,'' Dr. Gansler continued, ''because our systems are so old, we find that the spare parts we need from third and fourth year suppliers are no longer available. We reverse-engineer these obsolete parts, which requires extensively lead times and much higher spare parts costs. Clearly, we must keep our equipment in good repair to maintain readiness. However, it drains resourcesresources we should be applying to modernization or replacement of existing systems, as they become increasingly obsolete, and to the development and deployment of the required new systems to counter the anticipated asymmetrical threats of the early 21st century.
''Many of the systems under development today''and I am continuing Dr. Gansler quote''even with accelerated development times, will not become fully operational until the end of the first decade of the 21st century. The bow wave of deferred modernization makes it even more critical to begin to shift funds from support and infrastructure to combat modernization now, in order to be able to afford new systems.'' End quote.
We are going to hear numerous examples of aging equipment today, and their operational and budgetary effects on readiness. And the reality of what Dr. Gansler noted can best be illustrated by the Commandant of the Marine Corps' observation in his appearance before the committee last month, and I might add he said essentially the same thing today. General Krulak stated, ''We are transporting Marines and equipment in CH53D's that we had expected would leave our inventory 7 years ago, and at current replacement rates, we will be flying them for another 10 years. By the time we completely replace the CH46E, we will be flying airframes that are 47 years old. Our fleet of KC130F tankers is approaching 40 years of agealmost twice its planned service life.'' End quote.
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He went on to note that, as a result of having to operate and maintain old equipment, he had to invest $309 million on the now27-year-old amphibious assault vehicle in order to keep it operational until the advanced amphibious assault vehicle is fully funded in 2012.
Much has been made of a major increase in the defense budget for the next six Fiscal Years, and I might add that it is very clear to all of us that there is nothing that this administration can promise beyond the end of the President's term that can be legally committed to us, because it is going to be, the Defense Department is going to be run by people who haven't been appointed by President's who haven't been elected. So I would offer that to all of my friends who talk about the $112 billion defense increase that they expect over the next 6 years.
As Chairman Spence noted this morning in discussing that prospect of increased defense money, a lot of it is premised on what we would call ''smoke and mirrors''; that is, economic projections that are very rosy; the deference of a lot of our costs which heretofore have been upfront costs on military construction; new accounting methods, et cetera.
But even if that entire increase becomes reality, the procurement accounts are not the beneficiaries of any near-term largesse. Very little of that money will go into modernization.
As has been pointed out in previous hearings with the Secretary and the Service Chiefs, the Fiscal Year 2000 procurement budget actually declines by $1.1 billion from the forecast of only a year ago. The cumulative addition to this budget grows by only $4.1 billion over the next 4 yearshardly a significant part of a 6-year, $84 billion proposed DOD topline increase. By comparison, the 104th and 105th Congresses added $10.6 billion over the last 4 years, not including the Fiscal Year 1999 emergency supplemental.
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Continuing to forego growth and modernization will ultimately confront the Pentagon and the American people with a dilemma: facing the procurement bow wave with too few resources or cutting force structure because of the so-called death spiral, a shifting of funds from procurement accounts to finance continuously growing operations and support costs. Since the latter alternative is not of interest to DOD leadership or to me, the former looms ominously unless there is sustained growth in future defense budgets.
The Pentagon's latest budget briefing declares that, quote, ''Modernization is on target.'' Unfortunately, I cannot agree. And I think you will see evidence today that supports my contention.
In 1995, the immediate past Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Shalikashvili, stated that there was a requirement for $60 billion annually in procurement spending, a figure now referred to as a Quadrennial Defense Review procurement goal, and urged that this amount be attained in Fiscal Year 1998. The Department's current budget indicates we will reach this amount in Fiscal Year 2001, 3 years than was recommended. But guess what? In Fiscal Year 2001, General Shalikashvili's $60 billion grows to $63 billion, assuming the administration's forecast inflations rates are accurate. That means the requirement has still not been reached, and in fact, it won't be reached until Fiscal Year 2003, 5 years later than recommended.
Meanwhile, aging equipment continues to age. In fact, I would be willing to bet that there is a significant amount of equipment in the inventory that would not be deployed to a major theater of war, if one were to begin tomorrow. Among other reasons, that is why I firmly believe we need $20 to $25 billion more in defense spending, beginning in the Fiscal Year 2000.
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Incidentally, we asked the Joint Chiefs to tell us what they needed to maintain this decreased force structure that we now have. Their answer: The Air Force said they an additional $5 billion a year; the Army, an additional $5 billion a year; the Navy, an additional $6 billion a year; the Marines, an additional $1.75 billion a yearall that on top of the additional $2.5 billion that is going to be needed to fix the people problem; that is, the pay disparity and also the retirement system. So the Chiefs, for the first time, have come out and contradicted the Commander-in-Chief; that is, they have said we need $20.1 billion per year.
With us today to provide their views on the aging equipment problem, we have two panels. The first panel includes Dr. Lauren B. Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute. Thank you, Dr. Thompson, for being with us.
Dr. Raymond Pyles of the RAND Corporation. Thank you, Dr. Pyles, for being with us today.
And Mrs. Lane Pierrot, Senior Analyst at the National Security Division, Congressional Budget Office.
The second panel, who will follow these folks, is the Honorable Paul J. Hoeper, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Research, Development and Acquisition; Lieutenant General John C. Coburn, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Department of the Army; the Honorable H. Lee Buchanan, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition; Vice Admiral James F. Amerault, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Logistics; Lieutenant General Gregory S. Martin, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; Lieutenant General John W. Handy, Deputy Chief of the Staff for Installations and Logistics, Department of the Air Force; Lieutenant General Martin R. Steele, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, and Major General Gary S. McKissock, Commander, Marine Corps Materiel Command.
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I want to thank all of you for being here this afternoon. We look forward to your testimony. We have an extremely difficult problem to take care of here, and I hope that you will be able to shed some light on the path we should take in the U.S. Congress to fix this national emergency. We all look forward to your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be found in the appendix.]
Before we begin, I want to call on Norm Sisisky, our distinguished ranking member, for any remarks he might wish to make.
I would also like to ask the chairman of the full committee to weigh-in on this subject, since it is so critical to the future of the Armed Services.
So, first, my good friend from Virginia, the distinguished Mr. Sisisky.
STATEMENT OF HON. NORMAN SISISKY, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM VIRGINIA, RANKING MEMBER, MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. SISISKY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will only be a couple of minutes. I want to apologize to our witnesses. I will not be back right after the vote, but I should be back within an hour. I have another commitment that I have to keep.
I want to join you in welcoming our witnesses for today's hearing on the important, but difficult subject of aging equipment. Before we begin, I would like to make a few points.
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First, I agree with Chairman Hunter that it doesn't make sense to spend increasingly large amounts of money to maintain and operate equipment that is essentially nondeployable. I believe we should use this money to help underwrite procurement of modern equipment that we would deploy.
Second, I am concerned that, in our enthusiasm to modernize, we have skipped a very important first step: the development of next-generation equipment for the future. With few exceptions, there is very little to procure today that is truly next-generation. Thus, we are increasingly spending modernization dollars for the procurement, modification, and service life extension of legacy systems whose technology is rooted in the 1970's. Ironically, with this approach, the more we spend, the less modern we become.
Finally, I don't see much relief coming any time soon. With the possible exception of a few programs like the Comanche helicopter, the F22, and the new attack sub, there is very reaching next-generation things coming out of the R&D pipeline that could be procured during the FYDP. This situation stands in sharp contrast with the early 1980's, when the Army alone had eight major weapons system programs entering procurement. Six of thesethe Apache, Blackhawk helicopters, the Abrams tank, and Bradley fighting vehicle, Patriot Air Defense, and Military Launch Rocket Systemsremain the backbone of our land forces today, and, unfortunately, for the foreseeable future as well.
Worse, R&D budgets are down, and projected to remain flat across the Future Year Defense Plan and beyond. As the development of next-generation systems falls further behind the need, we will be forced to invest further in the 1970's technology.
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Mr. Chairman, our ability to modernize is constrained by more than money. Unless we find a way to develop next-generation systems and break out of this so-called death spiral that you refer to, our ability to modernize is at risk.
With that, I look forward to this afternoon's testimony from our distinguished visitors, and thank you very much.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, my colleague.
Before we go to the chairman, we have got just a few minutes left on this vote. We will go ahead and take the vote, and we will be back in a few minutes.
Mr. HUNTER. The subcommittee will come to order.
The chairman of the full committee, the gentleman from South Carolina, is recognized.
STATEMENT OF HON. FLOYD D. SPENCE, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM SOUTH CAROLINA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SPENCE. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I usually don't avail myself of this courtesy extended to make a statement, but this committee is embarked on very important business here today. So if I might have the indulgence for just a minute, I would like to make a brief statement concerning what we are about.
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There has been a vigorous debate over the past several years concerning the adequacy of the administration's defense modernization budget, and, I might add, budget in general for defense. And this year is no different. Many have argued that a decade-long ''holiday'', quote/unquote, in weapons procurement was justified due to the robust modernization efforts of the 1980's, and because older weapons did not need as rapid replacement due to the drawdown in the size of the force.
But procurement spending has been cut by as much as 70 percent since the mid-1980's. And the military technological edge that was so clearly demonstrated in the Persian Gulf is being seriously eroded. Based upon the long list of unfunded modernization requirements submitted to the committee over the years by the Service Chiefs, such concerns are valid.
Without any meaning to steal any of the thunder from our witnesses today, I hope they can verify a few of the things I am going to mention.
The Marines are likely to be the first American troops into Kosovo if there is a peace agreement, and our flying 40-year-old tankers and 30-year-old helicopters.
The Air Force, flying around the clock, no-fly zone missions over Bosnia and Iraq, flying 38-year-old KC135 tankers, aircraft that will be 79 years old when retired in 2040. The Air Force's V22's that just left for the Mediterranean are, on average, 37 years old, and plans are to fly them for 30 to 40 more years. The air superiority variants of the Air Force F15 are now expected to fly for 38 years before being retired.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Army, that is being stretched so thin with peacekeeping mission after peacekeeping mission, is flying 37-year-old CH47's, which are expected to fly for another 30 years, and is driving tanks that are now expected to be operational for as long as 36 years.
The Navy's F14 Tomcat, which was introduced into the fleet in the mid-1970's, which makes it 1960 technology; the Navy is flying 20-year-old P3M submarine warfare aircraft that are expected to fly for another 30 years.
How many of us would drive a car that is 20 or 37 or 79 years old? Yet, we are asking our sons and daughters to go to war in equipment that is older than they are. It is, quite frankly, irresponsible. We are counting on this equipment to get the job done and bring our men and women back home to their families safely, defending this country in the meantime.
This morning in the full committee the chairman of this subcommittee has saidwe were hearing the Service Chiefs. When asked about funding for quality-of-life programs, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, a great general and Commandant, Krulak, stated, and I quote him, ''The No. 1 quality-of-life issue for my marines and their families is bringing them home alive. Right now we are in the position that we are in the position that we are struggling to get the equipment to be able to allow them to go ahead and fight and win across the board.'' Is this the best we can do for the men and women who are serving our country and defend this country? I certainly home not.
I think my colleague, Mr. Hunter, the chairman of this subcommittee, and Mr. Sisisky, for holding this hearing. It is very important, and I hope that you folks can help us to make the case that we need to make with the American people, how desperately we need to modernize the force.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Chairman Spence can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you, too, for taking the initiative over the last couple of years, when our service leaders were supporting the President's budget in this room and then were coming to see us after the hearing and saying, ''Here are some additional things we need,'' and we saw the spate of newspaper editorials talking about Republicans and members of this committee giving the military things it hadn't asked for. So you started the practice of asking people to put on paper so-called unfunded requirements, and I think that was a great initiative, because in the end it drew our military leadership to this table with an annual requirement above and beyond last year's baseline of about $20 billion. I just hope we have the good sense, and the sense of responsibility to our uniformed personnel, to carry that number this year. So thank you for what you did in terms of highlighting this very important problem.
With that, we will now turn to our first panel. Why don't we go from left to right? Dr. Thompson, we have been listening to your expertise on many occasions, and the floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF LOREN B. THOMPSON, PH.D., CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER/LEXINGTON INSTITUTE
Dr. THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you members of the committee, for inviting me to be here today and talk about aging military equipment. I am going to limit my remarks to military aircraft, the area where aging equipment raises the most serious operational and budgetary concerns.
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Let me begin by commending the subcommittee for addressing a neglected but important issue. As you know, coverage of military procurement matters in the general media tends to be superficial and sporadic. Many Americans don't realize that only 3 percent of the Federal budget is spent on weapons procurement or that the Nation devotes about twice much of its wealth to gambling as it does to all aspects of national defense.
What I would like to talk about today is a different kind of gamble: the risk that America increasingly is taking by sending its military personnel to war in obsolete, aging aircraft. I would like to begin by telling you a story sort of, a little personal anecdote.
Every year the U.S. Air Force holds an Aerospace Power Demonstration at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. I attended last September, and it was pretty impressive. But let me tell you a little bit about some of the aircraft that were on display that day.
The very first airplane that flew over was a KC135, the most common aerial refueling tanker in the Air Force suite. It is basically a military version of the venerable 707 Boeing jetliners. The Air Force has over 500 KC135's. As Mr. Spence just pointed out, the average one is 38 years old.
That KC135, that first airplane that I saw fly over, was refueling a B52H bomber. B52's make up over a third of the service's long-range bomber fleet. The average B52H in the active fleet today is 37 years old, and it has accumulated 14,000 hours of flight. But the Air Force plans to keep the planes flying for another 30 to 40 years.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I didn't put this in my remarks, but the B52 was actually being designed the year I was born. If they keep it going in the active force for as long as the Air Force has it projected, 2040, 2045, it will actually have a design-to-demise lifetime roughly equivalent to the period between today and when the Wright brothers flew at Kittyhawk.
The next plane that the crowd saw at the Aerospace Power Demonstration was a propeller-driven C130 refueling helicopter. Like the KC135 and the B52, the C130 was designed in the early 1950's. Now I don't know how old the average age is for the Air Force's 500 C130's, but what I do know is this: Many of them are so far beyond their planned design life that the Air Force and the Navy no longer even try to predict when they are going to need structural repairs. They just wait until cracks appear and then try to fix them.
Finally, the helicopter that the C130 was refueling was an MH53 Pavewell aircraft. The original airframes were produced between 1966 and 1973in other words, over a quarter of a century ago. Those are the first four aircraft that flew over at the Aerospace Power Demonstration in September.
Of course, the crowd at the Aerospace Power Demonstration saw some much newer aircraft like the B2 Stealth bomber, but the Air Force only bought 21 B2's and does not expect to get any more new bombers until after the year 2030, which means that the bomber force will keep aging for at least the next three decades and can only be kept potent through continuous upgrades of existing aircraft.
The average Air Force plane is now about 20 years old. In fact, 40 percent of the total Air Force fleet is 25 years or older.
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I have included a graph on the next page, if you have a copy of my printed remarks, to demonstrate just how decrepit much of this fleet is becoming. When planes get this old, they start to experience three interrelated problems.
First of all, corrosion and fatigue begin to reduce their availability, as more and more time needs to be spent inspecting and repairing them.
Second, the cost of acquiring and installing replacement parts becomes higher and higher, because the number of qualified suppliers and maintainers has dwindled and their special skills often must be used inefficiently.
Third, since the technology in the planes is getting older, they and their crews are increasingly likely to be lost in combat. And that is really the bottom line of what this issue is about.
The end result is that the Nation spends more and more money on a less and less capable air suite. Support costs may not have the budgetary visibility of B2 production, but year after year they add up. They are one reason why operations and maintenance spending now consumes more of the Pentagon's budget than R&D, procurement, military construction, and family housing put together.
In fairness to the Air Force, it must be said that the service is fielding excellent replacement for its workhorse, the C141 transports, which is a highly capable C17and just in time, since the average the C141 has accumulated 38,000 hours of flight time and is subject to flying restrictions due to structural problems.
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The Air Force also has a planned replacement for the F15 fighter, the F22 Raptor, as you know. It is timely, too, because the F15 was designed 30 years ago, before the advent of low observables technology. The average F15 is 14 years old today, and it has used up about half of its 8,000-hour design life. In fact, I notice from the numbers that the more recent ones actually have almost as many hours on them as the earlier ones do. So we are using them up at a faster rate. The air superiority variants of the F15 are older, with some of the earlier models in the Reserves now exceeding 20 years of age. Whether the Joint Strike Fighter will materialize as planned to replace the F16 fighter, average age, 10 years, is anyone's guess.
But not all aging aircraft require a new program start. The C130 airlifter remains a remarkably versatile aircraft. The problem is we can't just keep flying the same C130's, the same airframes, and the same avionics forever, because eventually they will fail.
Let me turn now to the Army and the Marine Corps helicopter inventories, which exhibit many of the same symptoms of advanced age I just discussed with regard to the Air Force. The Army's top modernization priority is the Stealthy-Comanche Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter. Comanche's radar reflectivity is less than 1 percent that of the aircraft that it is going to replace. Its heat and acoustics signatures have been cut about in half of what it is going to replace. And its digital avionics, its advanced sensors, and other features will allow it to replace the Army's entire fleet of light attack Scout helicopters with far more effective, maintainable aircraft.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But to say the Comanche has been a long time in coming would be an understatement. This year marks the 20th anniversary since the Army first formerly stated a requirement to replace its Vietnam era light attack and Scout copters. Since that time, the service's fleet has grown steadily older.
There are about 500 Cobra light attack helicopters in the total Army, and, on average, they are 29 years old. Army policy sets the useful service life of such combat helicopters at 20 years.
There are also about 900 Kiowa OH58 Scout helicopters in the active Duty force and the Reserves. Most are Vietnam vintage A and C variants that lack basic survivability features, such as crash-worthiness, self-protection, chem/bio defense, or tolerance to ballistic damage; average age, 30 years.
Finally, about 40 percent of the Kiowa suite are rebuilt aircraft in the more capable D configuration with an average age of 9 years. They are a lot better than the earlier Kiowas, but they are not Stealthy; they can't keep up with the Apache heavy attack helicopters. In fact, they are about 30 knots slower at the action speed, and they have other limitations.
The existing inventory of Army light attack Scout helicopters, in other words, is obsolete. It requires too much maintenance and support to keep operational, and it delivers too little capability to function effectively in the battle spaces of the next century. But Comanche is not scheduled to become operational until 2006 at the earliest. So it is a safe bet that much of the current fleet will be still flying in 20 years.
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The Marine Corps faces a similar problem with aging copters, but the solution to its most pressing needs, fortunately, is at hand in the form of the V22 tiltrotor aircraft. Osprey is going to replace two aircraft. The CH46E Sea Knight medium lift helicopter, which has an average age of 30 years, is now operating with restrictions on its payload weight and flight regime. And the CH53D Sea Stallion heavy lift helicopter, which has an average age of 28 years and costs nearly $4,000 per flight hour, in part because it requires 38 hours of maintenance for every hour of flight.
The V22 will have much greater range, speed, survivability, and maintainability than the aircraft it replaces. It will probably be around 5 hours of maintenance per flight hour. The tragedy, though, is that if the Osprey had been kept on its original production schedule, replacement of the CH46 could have begun in 1991. Now it will be many years into the next century before all 360 Marine Corps V22's are operational.
We come now, finally, to the Navy's carrier-based aircraft. The Navy operates a diverse collection of fixed-wing aircraft in its 11 carrier airwings to carry out missions ranging from precision strike to electronic warfare, to airborne surveillance. Because it is costly and complicated to operate many aircraft types with different logistics tails and maintenance procedures, the service wants to streamline its mission and reduce the number of aircraft types to only three or four, but it is proceeding so slowly that age and attrition may catch up with the fleet before solutions are in hand.
The one area where there is not a problem is the strike fighter. The Navy has begun procuring an advanced version of the F/A18, called the Super Hornet, that will take over the roles of the F14, the A6, which is already retired, and the earlier variants of the F/A18. Since more recent versions of the Hornet today average only about 7 years of age, replacement of other strike assets with the Super Hornet will essentially solve that aging aircraft problem for a generation.
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The same cannot be said of the EA6B jamming aircraft, which is essential to combat support of the strike fighters. With the retirement of the Air Force's last EF111 in May of last year, the Prowler is the only dedicated tactical jammer left in the entire U.S. aircraft inventory. It, therefore, plays a critical role in supporting joint missions in places like Bosnia and Iraq, particularly in the suppression of enemy air defenses on the ground.
But the average Prowler is already over 16 years old, and the production line was closed 10 years ago. As the chart on the next page in the written testimony indicates, the age of the aircraft will increase continuously through the next decade, while the number of aircraft will fall at the rate of one or two per year, due to attrition. At the end of the decade, it declines below the minimum number needed to meet global requirements, by which time the average Prowler is almost 30 years old.
The Navy is putting new wings on the aircraft, and it is installing an advanced electronic warfare suite, but the simple fact of the matter is that the Prowler is getting old. The high rate of current use is wearing it out. If we want to have an alternative ready to go sometime in the next 10 years, the Navy must begin planning now for a replacement. Otherwise, age, attrition, and overuse will soon undermine its ability to perform joint electronic warfare missions.
The various support aircraft on the carriers present a similar aging problem. The Navy presently operates several variants of the E2 and the S3 airframe for airborne surveillance, for signals intelligence, for anti-submarine warfare, and other support missions. There are too many aircraft types, and some of the missions have become marginal.
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In addition, the aircraft are aging. The average E2 Seahawkeye early warning aircraft is 10 years old today, and will continue aging, despite the production of new aircraft. The other airframe, the F3, has not been produced in 20 years, although half the inventory was modified at the end of the 1980's.
The Navy needs to find a common airframe for all the carrier-based support missions and start planning for its acquisition, but the Clinton administration's Fiscal Year 20002005 spending plan contains almost nothing for a so-called common support aircraft. So this is another aging aircraft problem unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
Whether they are fixed-wing or rotary-wing, land-based or sea-based, the aging aircraft I have discussed today raise serious operational concerns. In some cases, they raise serious safety concerns. We are now living with the consequences, you might say, with a hangover, of a decade-long procurement holiday, a period of depressed investment that will have unavoidable repercussions on military preparedness in the years ahead.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Nation's aging inventory of military aircraft. Air power should be the cutting edge of American military power. It still is, but the cutting edge is beginning to look distinctly dull and rusting. We have to do a better and faster job of modernizing.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Thompson can be found in the appendix:]
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Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Dr. Thompson.
STATEMENT OF LANE PIERROT, SENIOR ANALYST, NATIONAL SECURITY DIVISION, CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE
Mrs. PIERROT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the chance that you and your staff have provided today to discuss equipment aging in the Department of Defense. I have a written statement which I would like to summarize, if I could enter it for the record.
Mr. HUNTER. Without objection, all statements will be accepted into the record.
Mrs. PIERROT. Thank you, sir.
My CBO colleagues, Adam Christian and Joann Dines, worked with me to produce the analysis on which my testimony today rides. I plan to discuss the current and future ages of DOD's equipment. I will also discuss past, planned, and steady-state procurement, but I cannot tell you when fleets will experience significant problems as a result of the event. It may be difficult to answer those questions with certainly since DOD lacks experience with retaining equipment as long as it currently plans.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before you earlier this yearand, I gather, also this morningthey expressed concerns about low levels of procurement that would cause their equipment inventories to age unacceptably. CBO's analysis suggests that the equipment in many of DOD's fleets is already older on average than it has ever been in the past. Those fleets will continue to age for many years, even though the administration plans on increasing purchases and spending.
And I do need to point out that the administration's plan would finance those increases with savings in other parts of the Federal budget, and those savings have not been identified, and they are far from assured.
Fleets are growing older because in the 1990's the Department of Defense took what some leaders termed a ''procurement holiday.'' DOD found it difficult to recover from that holiday ever since.
During that period, DOD cut its procurement funding more deeply than it cut its forces. As a result, average purchases stayed well below the quantities needed to sustain the administration's force goals. In some cases purchases dropped to zero.
With modest deliveries at best, the military services kept weapons longer than they had expected in the past. Fleets of military equipment are, therefore, aging. Absent further aging, and equipment fleets will already become very old under current plans, DOD must either add funding to its procurement account or cut its forces and their equipment more deeply in the future.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to direct your attention to the graph on the left over here. The lefthand two-thirds of the graph shows DOD procurement history for the period beginning in 1974. Funding on the graph is in Fiscal Year 2000 dollars. These so-called constant dollars adjust the actual spending for the effects of inflation. They give a better representation of the true spending power of the funds DOD received, since a dollar spent in 1980, for example, could purchase more than that same dollar spent today.
As the chart shows, spending on procurement for defense has fallen for a very long period and by very large amounts. From peak in 1985 to trough in 1997, it fell by almost $100 billion. Procurement has also fallen below the 20-year average between 1974 and 1993. During that period, we spent an average of almost $90 billion per year. Over the 6-year period between 1994 and 1999, spending only averages about $47 billion.
Now I would like to leave that chart for a few minutes and talk about what happened to purchases and fleet ages, as a result of those funding cuts. I will come back to that graph, though, at the end of my discussion today.
The next graph shows the purchases of selected types of major equipment by service. There are three bars on each graph. The tan bar, on the far lefthand side of each graph, shows the average annual purchases over the 20-year period from 1974 to 1993. The blue bar, in the middle, shows purchases over the last 6 years, if you can see them, on
Mr. HUNTER. Ms. Pierrot, why don't we hold up for a second and see if we can't turn that easel a little bit more toward the witness table, so everybody can see that. That is good.
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Mrs. PIERROT. Actually, this table, if you have the written statement, this table is on page 8 of your written statement.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Now what does a gold bar represent again?
Mrs. PIERROT. The gold bar represents average annual purchases between 1974 and 1993, for the 20-year period over that time period.
The middle blue bar, which, actually, in some cases you almost can't see, represents the average annual purchases between 1995 and 1999, so the past 6-year period.
And the purple bar, on the far right, represents the purchases that the administration is planning to make on average over the next 6 years.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, that is for some other administration, right?
Mrs. PIERROT. Yes.
Mr. HUNTER. Because this administration can't buy anything over 6 years.
Mrs. PIERROT. It is a future administration; you are right. You are absolutely right.
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Mr. HUNTER. It hasn't been elected yet.
Mrs. PIERROT. Yes.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Mrs. PIERROT. But, at any rate, if those plans were realized by a future administration, or requested by a future administration, you can see that the purple bars are almost always shorter than the tan bars. So they are typically longer or higher than the blue bars.
Mr. HUNTER. I want to point out to the Armed Services staff that that same administration is going to give them a raise. They can expect it, upon the election of the new administration.
Mrs. PIERROT. This means that DODmaybe we will settle for DODis protecting increases in its yearly purchases, but purchases would still be lower than the quantities DOD bought in the past.
Now please focus your attention on the graph in the upper lefthand corner. It shows purchases of tanks, artillery, and other armored vehicles for the Army for each of these periods. The Army purchased more than 1,400 of those systems over the 1974-to-1993 period, compared to 24 over the last 6 years, and planned purchases of about 28 per year. Of course, those historical purchases supported a much larger force.
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DOD should not need to make as many purchases for today's smaller forces as it bought for the cold war force structure of the 1970's and 1980's. So how many systems does DOD need to buy to sustain its forces?
The two lines on the graph provide two estimates of these so-called steady-state purchases. The lower pink line represents the smaller purchases DOD needs if it keeps systems for the long periods that it currently plans. The higher green line shows the required purchases if past service buys prove to be a guide. As you can see, in most cases even the lower green line is higher than the bars representing recent and planned purchases.
Buying those modest quantities has caused the average age of DOD's equipment to grow. DOD regularly uses average age as the guideline for the modernity of its forces. In the past, DOD's leaders have stated that fleets whose average ages exceed half their planned service lives are aging unacceptably. The aging that results from DOD's procurement holiday is shown on the table to my left, and it is also on page 4 of our written statement. It might be easier for you to see there.
We have tried to convey a lot of data on this table, so let me walk you through it. Its last-most column tells you the mission; the next column, the weapons systems that perform that mission; next, which services operate those systems. The next column shows the range of values that represent roughly half of the past or planned service lives. And the final two columns show the average ages of the fleet today and in 2007, at the end of the current plan.
Just comparing those two columns gives us the table's first message: All of the numbers on the column farthest to the right, the ones that show fleet age in 2007, are higher than those in the column next to it. That shows fleet ages today. So even if DOD got the purchases that it plans, its fleets would continue to age.
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The second message comes from comparing the average ages in those two last columns with the column that shows half the service life. We can see that almost all the systems we have shown here are older than half the service lives experienced in the past; that is, the lower end of the range. By 2007, most mission equipment will be older than half of the planned service lives, the higher end of the range.
Missions for these plans include no replacement purchases, which are shown at the top of the chart, include Army tanks, Navy patrol aircraft, and Air Force bombers and tankers. Some of those mission areas will grow truly venerable.
And even when DOD does plan purchasesand that is in the systems that are shown at the bottom of the tableplanned purchases slow, but they do not halt aging. If future administrations and Congresses wish to purchase weapons in quantities that would support today's inventory, those steady-state quantities that I talked to you about a minute ago, how much procurement funding would they need?
We return now to that first graph that I promised that I would come back to. That had historical procurement on it. But if you focus on the righthand side of the graph, it also shows you projections. The level blue line on the righthand side represents $90 billion. That is roughly the sum that DOD would need to purchase steady-state quantities of all of its equipment. DOD's most recent plan, shown in red, would average about $60 billion. That is roughly equal to DOD's past goal, which is the yellow line that I believe you talked about earlier, actually, Mr. Chairman, that is shown on the righthand side.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Of course, this administration's budget plan depends on savings in other areas of the Federal budget to realize even those increases in procurement spending. The assumption that Social Security reform will free up significant budgetary resources, for example, is a major budget balancer in the current program.
Unless we add sums of money to the procurement accounts that exceed DOD's expectations by about 50 percent, or cut forces below today's level, DOD's fleets will continue to age. In the past, the services have suggested that such aging can create a number of problems, and those problems begin to grow rapidly when fleets are kept beyond a certain retirement period. If that assertion proves to be correct, a very large portion of DOD's fleets could provide some costly surprises in the not-too-distant future.
And that concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Pierrot can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mrs. Pierrot. That is a very, very insightful briefing.
Mrs. PIERROT. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Excellent. We appreciate it.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF RAYMOND PYLES RAND CORPORATION
Dr. PYLES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I would like to thank the members of the committee for inviting us to discuss this important issue.
I am joined today also by my colleagues, Dr. Laura Baldwin, Dr. Jean Gebman, and Mr. Hyman Shulman, all of whom contributed substantially to this topic and to the research underlying this work.
I would like to ask, with Mrs. Pierrot, that my formal testimony be entered into the record.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, that has been done, without objection.
Dr. PYLES. OK, thank you.
Then what I would like to do is just very briefly summarize that testimony, if I can, just to pick the high points off.
As a matter of background, let me first point out that that testimony is really aimed only at a very small fraction of the total support costs, only the area of program depot maintenance and engine support. As a consequence, we are in the process of providing additional work in this area to summarize all the other cost categories that may increase as a consequence of aging aircraft. So it is, by all means, work-in-process. You can expect to see larger numbers in the future, we suspect.
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That said, we also want to point out that aging aircraft has been studied over quite a long period of time, back into the 1960's and 1970's, and the point here is that, suddenly in the 1990's, the character of that work changed. In fact, what happened is in the earlier periods we were looking at the effects of age on the amount of workload that had to be done, only to be able to size the appropriate kinds of resources for those aging fleets. Today we are raising questions about the viability of those fleets, as has been mentioned by the various members of the committee.
What that means to us is, we say, well, one of the greatest concerns here is, as has been pointed out with the spiral, is that the costs of supporting those aircraft may, in fact, be a challenge to the future ability to acquire new aircraft. So when we looked at the Program Decision Memorandum cost, that was what was in our minds.
So when we did, then, is, if you will look at figure 1 in the testimony, as we look back at the histories of both some commercial aircraft and some military aircraft, we said, what has happened to the program depot maintenance cost, the so-called heavy maintenance cost? It seemed that the Air Force's experience was not really that much different than the commercial experience, and, indeed, what you can look forward to is, from the first maintenance period, say, about the fifth year of operations, the first heavy maintenance period, say, about the fifth year of operations to, say, about the 40th year of operations, you would look to a five-to ninefold increase in the heavy maintenance costs.
In addition, if you were to turn that around and say, now let's look at over the same period of time what would happen to engine support costs, a little more modest, only five-to sixfold increase in maintenance costs.
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If those trends were to continue for the periods of time that have been suggested by the committee, and has been discussed here in considerable detail, one could imagine that in the next 40 years it would grow by another five-to six-to nine-fold, depending upon
Mr. HUNTER. OK, put this in context for us now. You take a system, and the first heavy maintenance period is 5 years after its production?
Dr. PYLES. Typically. It may be 3 years. It varies by system.
Mr. HUNTER. What is the age of the system, the projected life of the system?
Dr. PYLES. Well, at that moment it would only be 3 years old.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, I understand, but what type ofyou are talking about a system that has, what, a 30-year life expectancy?
Dr. PYLES. Most of these aircraft were designed withwell, if you were talking about fighter aircraft, they were originally designed with a 10-to15-year life expectancy.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. PYLES. I am sorry, average life, a 20-to30-year life expectancy. If you are talking about the larger aircraft, most typically, there was not an express opinion stated about its life. It was more in the way of the number of sorties it could fly.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. I am just trying to place your testimony here in the context of life proportionment, if you would.
Dr. PYLES. Right.
Mr. HUNTER. The first 10 percent or so, or 15 percent of its life expectancy, it is a relatively low maintenance cost. Once you go past the fifth yearto what year?it goes up five-to nine-fold?
Dr. PYLES. When one goes from, say, year five to year forty, we are talking about a five-to ninefold increase in the program depot maintenance costs for these aircraft.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Per time period.
Dr. PYLES. For every time that it comes in. Typically, it comes in on a three-to-five-year interval.
Mr. HUNTER. So let me get this straight. A piece of equipment comes in 5 years after introduction into the fleet. Its maintenance cost is a million dollars. You accept that?
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Dr. PYLES. OK.
Mr. HUNTER. You are saying, next, it comes in 5 years later; you can expect the maintenance cost to be $5 to $9 million?
Dr. PYLES. No. I am saying that if it comes in 35 years later, at the end of 35 years, it would be five to nine times as expensive as it was the very first
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Dr. PYLES. It is sort of a creeping effect
Mr. HUNTER. If you pull that back a little bit, then what you could say is, 5 years after its introduction into the fleet, it comes in at say $1 million annual maintenance cost. Maybe 5 years later it might be $2 million
Dr. PYLES. Maybe.
Mr. HUNTER [continuing]. Or $3 million.
Dr. PYLES. Yes.
Mr. HUNTER. At the end of its 30-year life, say its 25th year, maintenance cycle, you can expect it at that point to be $5 million to $9 million?
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Dr. PYLES. Yes, that is correct.
Mr. HUNTER. I understand.
Dr. PYLES. Now if that were to continue, if that same trend were to continue, and you keep the aircraft for another 35 years, you can see another fivefold increase by the end of that period of time, a five-to ninefold increase. And the same thing is true for the engine support costs.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Now are you sayingyou know, Mr. Thompson and the chairman have laid out a number of pieces of equipment that are already close to the 30-year mark
Dr. PYLES. That is right.
Mr. HUNTER [continuing]. Or beyond it, the KC135
Dr. PYLES. Right.
Mr. HUNTER [continuing]. The CH46
Dr. PYLES. That is correct.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. B52. So the essence of what you are saying is that we are spending now five to nine times as much per repair cycle as we would on the new aircraft?
Dr. PYLES. That is right.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Dr. PYLES. And let me say, also, that that is not unlike the experience in the commercial air world; that if you were talking about a 747 that had just gone through its 40th year, a 40-year-old 747 would also be spending as much onfive to nine times as much on heavy maintenance as it did in its very first time.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, let me ask you this question, and I would ask this for everybody.
Dr. PYLES. Sure.
Mr. HUNTER. Pardon me for breaking in, Dr. Pyles, on yours
Dr. PYLES. That is quite all right.
Mr. HUNTER [continuing]. But you have given some pretty good illustrations here.
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Have you done any quantification of how much extra we are paying now in terms of annual billions to maintain equipment that we wouldn't be paying if the equipment wasand I don't know how to quantify itthe equipment was modernized to the point where, say, it was half as far through its life cycle as it is in fact.
Dr. PYLES. Right. No, we have not.
Mr. HUNTER. Ms. Pierrot, have you done any of that calculation?
Mrs. PIERROT. No, sir, we haven't. We have looked a little bit at what happens to the operating costs as systems age, but we haven't attempted to
Mr. HUNTER. OK, but you see what I am getting at.
Dr. PYLES. Absolutely.
Mr. HUNTER. Basically, our costs, what we are paying for the old fleets that we have, how much extra we are paying because we have got old fleets. So if this was a company and the CEO said, ''What are we paying because we are driving 1956 Chevies instead of 1980's?'', discounting the upfront price, how much extra are we paying on maintenance? You haven't done that calculation? Could we get that calculation?
Dr. PYLES. Absolutely, we could provide that. It is a matter, in fact, of running the same calculations we have backwards in time.
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[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Dr. PYLES. What we did is we tookinstead of answering the question you have just asked, we said, what if I age this fleet right now out into the future and I experience those same cost growth trends? So that is what you see there in figure 2 in the testimony, where, if you will notice, initially, the first decade of the next century there is a rather low growth, but then in the second decade it grows until, by the beginning of the third decade, the annual incremental cost, additional cost, for support just in these two cost categories is about $5 to $6 billion.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Dr. PYLES. That is for the planned evolution of the fleet. We would have to know how to wind it backwards. There is a question of winding it backwards in terms of
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Dr. Thompson?
Dr. THOMPSON. Mr. Chairman, if I could just mention, there is one complicating consideration in terms of doing those sorts of projections, which is that, as time goes by and the maintenance burden gets higher and higher for aircraft, there is always the temptation to start cutting corners on the maintenance.
Case in point would be what the Navy just has adopted with regard to its KC135 tankers. It is a practice the Air Force already has, which is, instead of projecting when things will wear out and replacing them on a schedule, you just wait until they wear out. You wait until you see a structural crack, and then you fix it. This is precisely the opposite direction the FAA has gone in, in terms of the maintenance that it mandates on aging commercial aircraft, which is to say, when you reach ''X'' day, ''X'' number of cycles, ''X'' number of flight hours, you must replace.
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But what has happened in the military services is that they have started to cut corners on the maintenance to save money, to save time. As a consequence, as time goes further and further on, you can see where you wouldn't be able to straightline the cost projection because they are taking more and more risks to keep the airplanes flying.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes. So they have gone from a regular scheduled maintenance to basically a triage schedule?
Dr. THOMPSON. That is true. You go out and look at the fleet when it comes back and see who can be saved; that is right.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, Dr. Pyles, go ahead, since we broke in
Dr. PYLES. We don't see that, just to be clear, we don't see the effect of that in the cost growth curves. As we have said, we have looked at both the commercial and the military cost growth curve. So I have to say that we don't see, in effect, that suddenly the KC135's are less than other large aircraft.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, go ahead and complete your testimony, since we broke in.
Dr. PYLES. OK, yes. So the major point here is that, if those trends continue, there could be a very large cost. There is a problem, though, that those trends may not continue, and there are good reasons to believe that they might get worse or that they might get better. As Dr. Thompson has already pointed out, there are concerns about modernization of those fleets as we add new air traffic control and noise and pollution requirements to those fleets. There is growing concern about the ability of especially the support aircraft, because they now have to operate in combat environments, that there may be additional mods for those aircraft that would have to be borne by that aging fleet.
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In addition, there is the production obsolescenceagain, Dr. Thompson has talked about that most eloquentlywhereby, I can no longer purchase some parts, and therefore, the forces all face additional cost as a consequence. And most alarmingly, there is the issue of new surprise, heretofore unseen problems. Even when they did use these models to predict forward, the typical case was that many, many problems were found. In the process of looking at something else in the program depot maintenance process, they would find a new crack, a new weephole. The C141 example is the most prominent one, where 1 day there was no problem and the next day there was a whole fleet full of problems.
It is those kinds of problems that give us the greatest pause when we start to talk to the folks who say, there is a host of other problems waiting in the wings. On the other hand, there is another set of folks, equally dedicated, equally concerned with the Air Force's equipment, and they are themselves saying, you know, we have progress, we have actions underway that are intended to reduce some of those support costs. Then they point to things like lean logistics, the various kinds of management initiatives that they have had, efforts to install new information systems that give them better control over the operations of maintenance and supply, and they point to some technical innovations, new inspection techniques that may help them identify some problems more effectively and more efficiently at lower cost; and new one-time fixes.
Now there is new technology being developed by the science and technology elements of the Air Force that hold the promise of reducing future costs. Well, now, then, the promise is, is the glass half full or is it half empty? We can't at this moment state categorically that you are going to see those $5 to $6 billion increments in cost by 2020, and indeed, that is what the purpose of some of the research that we are doing with the Air Force, the Air Force's own aging aircraft integrated process team. We are trying to look through and understand what some of the risks are, what some of the uncertainties are that they face, and in some large measure, as a first step, at least bound, tighten the bounds on these uncertainties.
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We are not confident of that $5 to $6 billion number, and we don't think anyone in this room ought to be. We think it could be larger; it could be smaller. It is the purpose of our research really, first of all, to try to get a better handle on those numbers, and to round it out with other work, too.
So what we have done is we have said, OK, as a first step, we are going to try to get a little bit better handle on those numbers. In addition, we are believing that there are some actions that the Air Force can take, and we have suggested them, too, we have suggested those actions to them, particularly in the area of selective risk management, where they employ a more rigorous, more comprehensive way of managing these future risks; in particular, identifying some hazards, keeping catalogs of them, working on them in a more structured way than we have in the past.
But that really builds on the Air Force's own prior way of doing it. It just simply formalizes some of the things that they already have underway.
We would also suggest two other complementary things, because while selective risk management sort of takes the uncertainty and tries to compress it and reduce it in some way, there is a certain irreducible minimum to that uncertainty that, especially in this transition period, where we are operating out into areas where they have never operated before, it is unreasonable to believe that there won't be some risk that we can't even name.
So the solutions that we suggest in that area have to do with trying to implement contingency plans for each MDS that is judged to be aging. So that literally what we are after here is taking that acquisition and lead time and trying to find ways to shrink it. Rather than just simply accepting what we have had in the past, find ways to shrink it. So that given that I can't predict it, at least the Air Force could respond more quickly to a sudden shortfall or a sudden capability shortfall or a readiness shortfall, or sudden growth in the cost.
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Then, on the other hand, the other complementary strategy here is one of managing the mission area portfolio, where we would raise it above the single mission design series, level and suggest to them that what they need to do here is to look and see if that missionlet's say the tanking missionis at risk, because I have got all of my resources in one pot and in one age group. They are all over 50. Maybe there is something to worry about there, especially during this transition period, until the scientific community has a better understanding of what all the aging processes may be.
So the notion here is that, what we see coming in the future here is a period where the Air Force has acknowledged that it has very short amounts of money; it has increasing unit costs, and yet, it is trying to adopt a set of plans to manage that risk that it is facing, given that it is going to scoot out into a new era where the uncertainties they face are really quite large and quite complex.
We are going to help them. Our first job, as I have already indicated, is to try to help them understand the problems, better reduce that uncertainty, and then find ways to reduce the consequences.
Mr. HUNTER. So are you saying that they are really in unchartered territory at this point?
Dr. PYLES. Absolutely.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, and there are dangers out there that you may not see there right now?
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Dr. PYLES. Oh, without a doubt.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Pyles can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. OK, very good testimony here.
Let me go back to Dr. Thompson's, one of his opening titles, which was ''Fear of Flying.'' We have been following our accident rates. Interestingly, the accident rates have, at least for the Air Force, have held relatively steady. The Navy accident rates last year essentially doubled, or almost doubled the year before, but historically weren't extremely high. Yet, if you look at the number of accidents, fixed-wing and rotor-driven, it is a lot of accidents. I mean, it is a big page. I have got one guy on my staff who does nothing but pull the accidents, because he is very concerned about those and always confronts me with it. It is extraordinary.
So I guess the first question I would like to ask all of you is, do you see any evidence that the aging fleet, the age of our fleet is now a contributing factor to the accident rate? Or have we been able to patch these old birds up enough that there is no material contribution to the accident rate evolving from the aging of the aircraft?
Dr. THOMPSON. It is a complicated question, Mr. Chairman, because there are so many different aircraft types, and the missions they are expected to carry out is so diverse. Some of them are far more demanding, and they impose much greater stresses than, for example, a KC135 typically might need to go through. Most of the evidence at this point is anecdotal. It is not trend data.
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I guess my greatest concern in this regard, and the short answer to your question is, I am not aware of a lot of trend data that demonstrates this. My greatest concern, though, is that, when you say that you are operating a first-generation aircraft, like a 707 or KC135, it really is true, as Dr. Pyles said, you simply can't know what is going to happen 10 years from now. You have no experience with operating a jet aircraft for this period of time. So even if you did have trend data, it wouldn't necessarily be indicative of the situation you are going to find yourself in in 10 or 20 years.
Mrs. PIERROT. In the past, the Air Force attempted to look at the relationship between accident rates and also maintenance expenses, and a variety of other factors, and fleets, the average age of the equipment in the fleet. They hypothesized that there was something that they called a ''bathtub curve,'' which basically had the accident rates and other factors falling off dramatically if you were to hypothesize that you had the earliest years of the weapons fielding and then this other end would be the time that it was getting close to retirement.
Mr. HUNTER. In other words, studies that study and evaluate the life of an aircraft place the safest period for operation upfront?
Mrs. PIERROT. Actually, the safest period would be after a few years of fielding
Mr. HUNTER. When you have worked the bugs out, right?
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. PIERROT. Right, once you work the bugs out, you get to the bottom of the bathtub.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Dr. PYLES. And they were able to document that. That is easy to document.
What they were unable to document, the Air Forcethis was a few years agowas the side of the asset that you would lean on, basically, which is when the systems were nearing retirement. I think that the reason potentially for the documentation was something that Dr. Thompson mentioned earlier, which was the problem that you tend to reduce the maintenance expenses, and so forth, of weapons when you are about to retire them.
We are now holding onto weapons much, much longer. So that the concern would be, maybe we will actually be getting weapons to the age when you would start seeing that tilt upward.
Mr. HUNTER. I have got another one of my graphs here that we have been using in our briefings that I want to show you folks with respect to mission-capable rates here it is right here.
We have been using this to illustrate the drop in mission-capable rates in the services. Now if increased accidents may or may not be a function of agingand I take it the question is up in the air, from your perspectiveswould you say that the drop in mission-capable rates that you see. From 1991 to 1997, the Air Force has gone from 83.4 to 74.4; the Marine Corps, from 77.6 to 61.6a fairly dramatic dropand the Navy, from 69 percent to 61 percent. Would you say that the drop in mission capability is a function of aging?
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Dr. THOMPSON. Not just a function. I think when you see it drop as precipitous as 77 to 61, there must be other factors at work. One would be the underfunding, for example, of spare parts accounts.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Ms. Pierrot?
Mrs. PIERROT. I guess I don't know any more than Dr. Thompson that that would be the sole factor. I would imagine that it could be a contributing factor.
These rates and the factors that go into changing them are so complex that it is very difficult to tease out which particular factors actually drive them up or down.
Dr. PYLES. I can only speak about the Air Force's numbers, which I have been looking at. Let me just finish up the flight safety issue first.
We see that in the early ages there is a drop, basically by year eight, of the design, of the original aircraft design; the aircraft incident mishap rate, Class A mishap rate drops pretty substantially. You do not see the Class B and the Class C incident ratesthese are lower, less expensive; they don't involve; they are not life-threatening incidentsdropping anywhere nearly as quickly.
Then they seem to maintain a low and steadily decreasing number. The numbers for the larger aircraft, in part because of the design and in part because of the way they are used, tend to be much lower than the fighter aircraft. You can think of something on the order of one to two to three mishaps per million flying hours for the larger
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Mr. HUNTER. Now this is for which aircraft?
Dr. PYLES. This is for the larger aircraft, and it is something like 10 times
Mr. HUNTER. So the materiel haulers?
Dr. PYLES. They are not all
Mr. HUNTER. Tankers
Dr. PYLES. They are not necessarily all to material failures. These are total failures.
Mr. HUNTER. No, I am saying the big aircraft material haulers; that is, cargo aircraft, bombers, tankers
Dr. PYLES. Well, there are two things
Mr. HUNTER [continuing]. Seem to be sturdier in terms of mishaps.
Dr. PYLES. Right, and there are two factors there. One, they are designed to a higher criterion in terms of, if one part of the aircraft fails, it is supposed to operate without that. In the case of the fighter aircraft, that is not necessarily a design feature in the fighter aircraft, and therefore, the fighters have a tendency to have a higher mishap rate, where either the aircraft is lost, at a cost of a million dollars or more, or there is a life lost.
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But what we do see is this very steady decrease, and we attribute thatand over very long periods of timewe attribute that not so much to bathtub curve now, as to a policy of the Air Force, and I believe implemented probably by all the services, that if there is mishap rate, if there is some kind of a problem that endangers people's lives, that is going to cause the loss of very expensive and very precious equipment, that actions are taken very early on to identify those problems and to suppress any change in the mishap rate, in the flight safety numbers.
So we anticipate
Mr. HUNTER. Now what do you mean by that? Are you saying, basically, if the aircraft isn't in tip-top shape, don't fly it?
Dr. PYLES. Well, if the fleet
Mr. HUNTER. It is pretty tough to suppress it after you are up in the air, right?
Dr. PYLES. If the fleet isn't in tip-top shape, we are not going to let anybody even get the aircraft off.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Dr. PYLES. For example, if you were to take something like the weephole in the C141, it flew under restricted flying. The current problem with the C5 horizontal stabilator, it is under restricted flying. There are going to be actions taken that are temporary, until that problem can be fixed, and they are going to spend the money to fix that problem.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK, I think that takes me back, then
Dr. PYLES. There is going to be money diverted. So what happens is
Mr. HUNTER. Well, hold on just a second here, Dr. Pyles. Let me just jump in.
Dr. PYLES. I gave my one point. OK, go ahead.
Mr. HUNTER. I am going to let you make this whole point in the end, but what you have gone back to is I think something that we haven't seen necessarily, and that is that we have seen pretty decent accident rates, with the exception of the Navy. We have been looking at these things as the problem with spare parts gets worse and as the airplanes get older. We have been trying to figure out, why isn't that manifestedat least I havein a higher mishap rate?
Now it looks to me like what has been happening is the services have adopted a very conservative ''don't fly it if it looks like there is any problem'' standard, and that is the reason for the rating of an aircraft as capable or nonmission-capable. The Air Force has dropped from 83.4 to 74.4. I am going to let the Air Force come up and explain this, and perhaps some of those are aircraft where they say there is a problem here; don't fly the aircraft. And with the Marines, 77.6 to 61.6, and the Navy, 69 to 61.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My instinctive feeling is that what we have done, in an effort to keep this figure looking pretty healthy, the mishap rate per 100,000 flight hours or 10,000 flight hours, is that we have basically grounded a number of aircraft that in another scenario might be flying.
So the problem with the aging equipment doesn't manifest itself until we have a conflict in which we have to fly all this stuff, and they say, ''I don't care if that baby's been a hangar queen or it's got a few cracks here or there; you are going to have to lift it off; you are going to do the mission.'' At that point, we will start seeing the mishaps or the inability to complete a mission.
I mean, I am trying to run this thing down. Every time we go to some sector of the military, it ain't them. Spare parts, ''We are fat; we are fine.'' We don't always believe that. We have some things we are going to do. Personnel, ''We are hanging on. We are on the razor's edge.'' Airplanes, ''No, we don't have to replace them.'' And, yet, the mission-capable rate is dropping.
So is that proposition I have just laid out accurate or do you see another answer for this?
Dr. PYLES. I don't have completely another answer for that. Let me tell you what we do see just behind the mission-capable rate.
There are two things that can happen to the aircraft to drop the mission-capable rate down. It can break more often, and therefore, spend more time in repair, or something can happen to the repair time itself, and therefore, there is more time spent when it is not in commission. What we see isat least for the fighters, and I haven't looked at all the aircraft herebut we see a very, very steady, what is called, a break rate over the past 10 years. A couple of aircraft go up, but then they come back down. Some go down and come back up. But, basically, they are all pretty much steady.
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So we are not seeing a way to attribute this to an increased breaking of the aircraft as a consequence of age. Certainly, over a 10-year period, we ought to see something, we thought, and we did look at that, but we do not see it right now.
What is more concerning is that the repair time is going up, and that may beagain, this may be an aging thing. All I can say here is speculation now, because we haven't finished the analysis, but the ABP times, time spent where an aircraft is waiting for a part, has been going up. That may be due to a supply problem or it may be due to the fact that these are new failures that I have never seen before, and son of a gun, I have got to wait for somebody to go manufacture anew. So that could be an aging problem. So we can't at this moment discriminate whether it is an aging problem or it is some other factor that may be causing those longer times.
Dr. THOMPSON. You know, I would just like to introduce one additional complicating fact in terms of projecting these things out. When we talk about aging aircraft, we tend to talk about stress factors such as fatigue and corrosion. What we tend to overlook is something that is actually a very common problem with commercial airliner crashes, which is that, the more you take them apart, the more you inspect them, the more likely you are to do something to screw them up. We quite often see accidents in the commercial sector in which an engine separates or a piece falls off because, in the process of doing scheduled maintenance, it was not put back in correctly.
So you can assume that, above and beyond the physical forces and stresses that are at work on these aircraft, just the simple fact that they are so maintenance-intensive will also become an independent variable in terms of making them more likely to crash.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK, and one thing that we would like to get, if it is possibleand, Mrs. Pierrot, if you have the ability to give this to us in some projection, or Dr. Pyles or Dr. Thompson: What I would like to do, on a simple basis, is try to come up with a formulation for the cost of owning old equipment or maintaining old equipment versus having relatively new equipment; that is, equipment that is in the early part of its projected life. We actually get a dollar, build that up through a service dollar cost, so that we can look at it and say it looks like we are paying a billion dollars or we are losing $2 billion to save a billion dollars. We will be able to make some decisions.
Because the thrust of your testimony, as I take it, some of it is to the effect that we are spending a lot of money to maintain some old stuff that perhaps could be better invested in new purchases. Is that the essence of a portion of your testimony?
Dr. THOMPSON. I think that, but it would take a long time in order to generate the savings because you would be in this prolonged transition period as you switched over to a gradually newer and newer system. But, as I said in my testimony, when you get to a point where operations and maintenance is costing more than RTD&E, military procurement, military construction, and family housing combined, it kind of implies you are doing a lot more maintaining than war-fighting.
Mr. HUNTER. But it has always been high. I mean, cost of operations, fuel and everything else, has always been a big piece of the budget
Dr. THOMPSON. Sure.
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Mr. HUNTER [continuing]. Even during the most modernized periods.
Let me ask you this other question, for all three of you. And, my colleagues, jump in any time. Mr. Sisisky, and Mr. Saxton, you jump in, too, any time.
You have seen this request from the Chiefs that we fund our servicesthey have an unfunded requirement of $20.1 billion per year that they have come up: $5 billion, Air Force; $5 billion, Army; $6 billion, Navy; $1.7 billion for the Marineson top of the pay fixes that we need and unfunded contingencies like Bosnia.
You have looked at that. In your estimation, does that meet the modernization requirements?
Dr. THOMPSON. No.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, how short does it fall?
Dr. THOMPSON. I would have to do a calculation, but it doesn't come anywhere near what would be required to have a fleet that could be counted on 20 years out in terms of aircraft to not be failing because of all sorts of unprojected fatigue and corrosion problems. It is hardit is essentially impossible to quantify, but when you look at the rate at which most of our key aircraft categories are aging, it is obvious that we are not spending enough money.
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Mr. SISISKY. Does any of this have to do with the experience of the mechanics? You know, if we are having trouble keeping pilots, you can imagine what problem we must be having keeping trained jet mechanicswith the airlines. Have you discovered that as a problem?
Dr. THOMPSON. It is definitely a problem. Mr. Sisisky, this is one of the issues that the Air Force has raised with regard to the fairly high number of recent F16 crashes. It has been suggestedI don't know whether it has been suggested formally, but it has been suggested by some people behind the scenes to reporters that this may be due to the fact we have less experienced pilots flying the aircraft or they are too tired, and the same thing applies to the mechanics. I don't think anybody has a way of really determining that.
Mrs. PIERROT. I guess I really, if I could, I would like to go back to the question about the unfunded requirements. I had a question about that. It was 17.7 that I wrote down for the service-specific numbers that you were told earlier on the Army, $5 billion, and Air Force, $5 billion, and the Navy, $6 billion
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, that is through all categories, not just modernization, but then on top of that you have the $2.5 billion in pay fix. That takes it up over $20 billion.
Mrs. PIERROT. And that is what I was curious about. This is not totally procurement funds?
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. No. No, it is not.
Mrs. PIERROT. That is what I thought. I mean, the earlier numbers that I have seen, the total was a total of about $20 billion.
I don't think that I know what the requirement is per se, but we did talk about a sustaining procurement number or a number that you would need if you wish to sustain your current force structurethat is, the QDR force structureat the current equipment level.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes.
Mrs. PIERROT. That number was about $90 billion. That number is $30 billion more than the $60 billion that is in the current plan.
Mr. HUNTER. That is in the President's plan?
Mrs. PIERROT. Yes.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes. Well, the Chiefs' requirement is quite a bit above the administration's plan. Their plan for this year is an additional $12 billion; the Chiefs' requirement is 20.1 billion and almost $22 billion, if you take in the Bosnia contingency of $1.8 billion per year. So if you accept the President's additional $12 billion, we are still going to have to come up with another $10 billion to meet what the services have said is their unfunded requirement.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My question, I guess, is simply, if we do all this, are we going to have you folks back here at the table saying, ''Congratulations. You have done a lot of near-term fixes, and you are still going to have a very old fleet of equipment.''
Dr. THOMPSON. Yes.
Mr. HUNTER. That is the question. And, Dr. Thompson, you see to think we are?
Dr. THOMPSON. Not only do I guarantee no time in the next generation will we come to close to fixing this problem; it is going to get worse at a more rapid pace than even the existing numbers suggest. One of the reasons why is because our current plans are predicated on assumptions that a few very optimistic things are going to happen. For example, we are going to get thousands of Joint Strike Fighters that do everything real well at really reasonable cost.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, and they ain't quite here yet.
Dr. THOMPSON. They probably never will be.
The problem with that, of course, is that when you realize that assumption was wrong, but you have already cut your F22 by 22 percent in the QDR, and you have already cut your Super Hornet by 45 percent, and you have already said, ''I don't need any more B2 bombers because this thing is coming,'' and then you realize, all of a sudden, it is not coming. You have dug yourself a bigger hole than even the current numbers would suggest.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK. Dr. Pyles, any final comments?
Dr. PYLES. No, I don't think so.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Related to the issues that Chairman Hunter was just discussing with you relative to maintenance costs over the long haul, is one conclusion that we can draw that, because of the shortage of dollars, we force ourselves into a maintenance mode which over the long haul is more expensive? Is that a fair statement?
Dr. PYLES. Oh, yes. I wouldn't go that far. This is a new road that the services are traveling, and, again, I can say more about the Air Force in that area. There is no doubt the services would all prefer to stay on the safe ground where they have had years and years of experience with younger fleets.
What is needed, and not available right now, is information to answer that question that you just asked: Can I, in fact, modify and extend the lives of these aircraft in a cost-effective way, so that it makes more sense from a readiness, a flight safety, and from a cost standpoint?
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Thompson was shaking his head yes.
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Dr. THOMPSON. To me, it is an obvious proposition. Just as it is easier to build a new highway than it is to go back and fix a highway later in terms of productivity and cost, to me, it is an obvious proposition, that it is more expensive in terms of what you get out of a system to buy a new one and operate it efficiently than it is to keep constantly going back and revitalizing these systems.
We see all sorts of telltale evidence of this right. For example, it is cheaper to buy a new E2C Hawkeye than it is to do a service life extension program. Or, take the example of the EA Joint Stars aircraft. We had this idea in our head that it would make a lot of sense to go out and buy second-hand 707's and put the Joint Star sensors on there, because we could get the airplanes cheap, and we had these projections as to how much corrosion and fatigue there would be. Well, we start tearing them apart and we find out it is a lot worse than we expected. As a consequence, we have problems with producing the aircraft.
This is just one of those basic lessons you learn of aircraft, that over time it is just going to be a lot more expensive to keep old stuff going than to buy new stuff. That goes back to the original life cycle cost breakout for the program. The actual acquisition cost on a typical military system is 28 percent of the total life cycle cost. All the rest is life cycle support after it leaves the factory. You are just going to keep pushing that further and further up, if you are operating older and older aircraft; they have to be maintained more frequently.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Let me ask this: With regard to what I refer to as service life extension modifications to aircraft that we are asked to fund from time to time, how do we know, as people who have to sit here and make these decisions, whether those decisions are cost-effective? Let me just give two examplesone which we are currently wrestling with and one which now is, I guess, history.
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The history lesson is the KC135, when we moved from the E model to the R modelnew engines, new aeronautics, et cetera. That was going to extend the life of that aircraft from 40 to 80 years, or thereabouts, as I recall. We got into that program, and then the Air Force decided, for some, I assume, very valid reasons, not to proceed to do the entire fleet and stopped.
We are now studying on the C5 with a more extensive, but similar program, which I have advocated for because of the facts involved in it. But how can we look at those issues and know whether the basic question that Chairman Hunter asked is, is this a cost-effective way to spend dollars or might we want to enter into a longer-term program for modernization purposes?
Dr. THOMPSON. I think that is a program-specific determination. In the case of the C5, there is at present no prospect of a new transport that can carry some of the outsized cargo that the C5 can carry. I don't see that you have a choice but to extend the life on that aircraft.
Mr. SAXTON. So you are saying you just have to kind of look at each of these proposals that come along and judge it on its merits?
Dr. THOMPSON. Yes. Looking at a C141 service life extension, I would say this is foolish; we have a much better aircraft available now, the C17. There is no point in doing this. But in the case of the C5, we have no alternative in prospect.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Saxton.
Folks, thank you very much for your testimony. It has been very enlightening. I would like you to stick around, if you can, and listen to the testimony that is coming up.
I would ask the next panelthat is Mr. Hoeper, followed by Dr. Buchanan, General Martin, and General Steele, to get in the on-deck circle. We will take a 5-minute break here, and then let's fire up again with our second panel.
Again, folks, thank you for being with us and thanks for your help.
Mr. HUNTER. The subcommittee will resume.
We will start off. We will have Secretary Hoeper and Secretary Buchanan, General Martin, and General Steele.
Secretary Hoeper, you are up.
STATEMENT OF PAUL J. HOEPER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND ACQUISITION; ACCOMPANIED BY LT. GEN. JOHN G. COBURN, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR LOGISTICS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY; H. LEE BUCHANAN, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND ACQUISITION; VICE ADM. JAMES F. AMERAULT, DEPUTY CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS FOR LOGISTICS; LT. GEN. GREGORY S. MARTIN, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, ACQUISITION; LT. GEN. JOHN W. HANDY, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR INSTALLATIONS AND LOGISTICS, DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE; LT. GENERAL MARTIN R. STEELE, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PLANS, POLICIES AND OPERATIONS, U.S. MARINE CORPS, AND MAJ. GEN. GARY S. MCKISSOCK, COMMANDER, MARINE CORPS MATERIAL COMMAND
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Secretary HOEPER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, for this opportunity to discuss aging military equipment. I am pleased to appear today with Lieutenant General John Coburn, the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics.
Mr. HUNTER. You might pull that microphone up a little bit there, Secretary.
Secretary HOEPER. Thank you very much. We have submitted a statement which we would appreciate being a part of today's record.
Mr. HUNTER. Without objection, all your statements, written statements, will be accepted into the record.
Secretary HOEPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Please, just feel free to summarize. Don't feel like you have got to go through every excruciating detail that is in the statement. Tell us what you think is important for us to hear.
Secretary HOEPER. We are going to present a very shortened version of our official statement, if that is OK with you.
Mr. Chairman, aging equipment is a serious problem in today's Army. We believe that, if not properly addressed and corrected, it will in time significantly impact our overall readiness. Fiscal constraints, coupled with the requirements of near-term readiness, have had an enormous impact on Army modernization programs. In short, our weapons systems are aging because we have not modernized them as quickly as we should have.
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When coupled with the increased operational tempo America's Army has faced since 1989, increased maintenance has been required in order to protect near-term readiness. As you may know, Mr. Chairman, America's soldiers, Army soldiers, have shouldered the lion's share of the participation in 32 of the 36 major deployments in the last decade. Increased deployments mean more maintenance of equipment, and that means increased operations and support cost.
In order to resource these unanticipated Operations and Services costs, the Army has had two choices. Either accept a degradation in current readiness or reprogram money from another source, and that source has usually been procurement. The Army has not, and cannot, accept degradation in current readiness. So we have had to take money away from procurement, thereby sacrificing future readiness to preserve current readiness.
Maintaining the Army's capability to fight and win our Nation's wars requires modern equipment. Modern equipment is more than the acquisition and integration of new systems with enhanced capabilities. It includes the recapitalization of existing systems with extended service programs, depot rebuild, and technology insertion to ensure operational effectiveness and to control costs.
We expect that 70 percent of our current systems will still be in place in the Army after next. It is vitally important that we recapitalize these systems to account for the wear and aging that is the normal part of the life cycle of any weapons system. It takes both time and money to maintain and upgrade older equipment. However, the inefficiency of failing to recapitalize existing systems drains critical dollars away from other Army requirements, including research and development for next-generation systems.
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A balanced, long-term approach to modernization is important to provide the Army with the equipment necessary to assure not only readiness today, but readiness tomorrow. We owe this to our future soldiers.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, General Coburn and I would like to display just four charts.
Mr. HUNTER. Have we got a microphone down there?
General COBURN. Mr. Chairman, other distinguished members of the subcommittee, we thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this afternoon to discuss the Army's aging equipment problem.
At the outset, let me thank you for not only your current interest, because we, indeed, do have a significant problem, and our soldiers deserve the best equipment that is available, but also for your past efforts as well.
In the past 7 years, the Army's equipment posture from the standpoint of equipment on hand has steadily increased. That has been a direct result of downsizing. However, modernization has not kept pace, has not been consistent with downsizing. As a result, our equipment is aging. It costs us more and more to maintain. I would just like to show you about three examples here.
For example, the tactical wheeled vehicle inventory that we have in the Army is 240,000, and, Mr. Chairman, I think all of you have copies of these charts. The average age is 13 years
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Mr. HUNTER. Some of us have copies of those vehicles in our garages, and they are getting tough to maintain.
General COBURN. You, indeed, are correct.
The average age is 13 years. We are procuring 5,000 a year, and at that rate, it takes 48 years to completely replace our tactical wheeled vehicle fleet.
Likewise, the CH47, the average age is 30 years, and we are going to keep that around until the year 2020. That is the plan.
Significantly, the oldest 10 percent of our equipment represents 35 percent of our maintenance cost. Put a little bit different way, the average soldier, born about 1980and you have already talked about this a little bit, Mr. Chairman, in your opening commentsbut 2.5-ton truck, we introduced that in our inventory in 1950. That means that truck is about 49 years old. Likewise, the armored personnel carrier was introduced in 1956, about 43 years old, and the armored vehicle launch bridge, 1964, and, of course, that is about 35 years old.
So, to sum upand you already talked about it at some lengththis is the dilemma that your Army finds itself in in terms of modernization. We find ourselves in this very delicate balancing act of trying to balance readiness against modernization. We are talking about readiness. We are talking our ability to deploy, of course, and then to sustain, once we deploy. Of course, when we talk about modernization, we are talking about future readiness, and we must modernize; otherwise, we sacrifice future readiness.
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You referred to a death spiral, and that is exactly what it is; the older equipment costs more, and since it costs more, you can't take those dollars and put them into modernization. So you end up with less and less dollars. And that is the dilemma that we find ourselves in.
Now let me just turn to Mr. Hoeper, and he will finish up this one chart.
Secretary HOEPER. Mr. Chairman, what you see before you is probably the best chart in the Army's modernization plan. We have a modernization plan. We think it is a pretty good plan.
This chart shows the relative importance in relation to time of the various components of the modernization plan. So, No. 1 in our modernization plan is to digitize the Army, to maintain overmatch, to maintain essential S&T leap-ahead technologies, and of course, recapitalization is in there.
Now you will see that during the near years we are putting emphasis on information dominance and on recapitalization. Specifically, in recapitalization, if we were to get some more money beyond what we already have right now, we would like to put that money toward recapitalization to allow modernization in the future, particularly in some engineering combat equipment, some aviation equipment, and some of our truck programs.
That concludes our introduction. Thanks very much.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Secretary Hoeper can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Let me ask you a question while you are up there.
Secretary HOEPER. Yes.
Mr. HUNTER. You have looked at the Army's $5 billion unfunded requirement supplemental, if you will, or supplemental request or unfunded requirement above and beyond last year's baseline? You have seen that?
Secretary HOEPER. Yes, I have, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Does that provide for the modernization plan for Hercules, Blackhawk, CH47, et cetera, the systems that are on the right of that page?
Secretary HOEPER. The unfunded list that has been submitted to you does include these items.
Mr. HUNTER. All of them?
Secretary HOEPER. All of them, yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Put up the first chart. OK, tactical wheeled vehicle inventory, you've got 240,000. We are replacing them at the rate of about 5,000. Average age is 13 years. Obviously, we are going to have a very aged fleet at the current rate of replacement.
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Secretary HOEPER. That is correct.
Mr. HUNTER. Is there an acceleration of that replacement manifested in the $5 billion plus-up?
Secretary HOEPER. There is some small accelerations in the list, yes.
Mr. HUNTER. To approximately what?
Secretary HOEPER. I probably will have to go back to the table and get my brains on that one, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Do you think it is more than 6,000 a year?
Secretary HOEPER. I don't, as I stand here, know that, but I would be happy to provide that answer.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, if you could take a look at that.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. But let's go to CH47. Average age is 30 years. Won't be retired until 2020. Is there an acceleration of that replacement?
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Secretary HOEPER. In this case, we have a recapitalization plan that we think will be adequate for the Army's needs.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, that is manifested in the $5 billion increase?
Secretary HOEPER. I believe that is correct.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Your truck, Tactical Wheel Vehicle, at current rate of procurement, it will take 48 years. I presume that is basically a summary of the one on the left.
Let's go down to the oldest 10 percent of equipment represents 35 percent of your maintenance cost. After we emplace this $5-billion-per-year plus-up, will that propositionthat is, the oldest 10 percent of equipment represents 35 percent of our maintenance costwill that still be essentially true?
Secretary HOEPER. We have targeted our recapitalization program at those items that are creating the most expense. So we will wipe out the most costly of the systems. Having, of course, wiped that out, we will look at a new list, and my guess is that the older equipment at that time will still be creating the most expense.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Are you satisfied, then, having looked at your aging fleets, you are satisfied with the $5-billion-per-year plus-up, assuming that you get it? If we were to get the $5 billion plus-up and it is distributed as I understand it, we would be able to make a very good start on curing some of these problems. I think if we were to get it, and, let's say, $2 billion were to go to the modernization accounts, we probably would try to use about 40 percent of that for recapitalization, and the remainder of the money in other ways. I think we would be able to make a very good start at addressing the problem.
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Mr. HUNTER. Norman, do you have anything?
Mr. SISISKY. I was going to ask another question. On the 240,000 vehicles, do you do preventive maintenance as you would in a car, say, where a caryou know, the manufacturer says every 7,000 miles they have got to go over it. Do we have enough money? Or maybe that is one of the problems that we have got, that to save money, we are not doing the preventive maintenance?
General COBURN. No, Mr. Congressman, quite the contrary. We do, indeed, do services, if you will, just like you would do in a car. They are done on a quarterly basis. Our soldiers order service kits, and whenever they are due, whenever they are scheduled, then they perform the service.
What we find, though, is that, just because the equipment is aging, it just costs more and more to maintain, and they find themselves doing that more often because the mean time between failures is decreasing. So the services are there. What you find is an awful lot of soldiers doing an awful lot of hard work in order to keep these fleets up.
Mr. SISISKY. During the 1980's, when there was plenty of money, say the middle 1980's, what was the age of the fleet then? Do you remember? Does anybody have that?
General COBURN. Well, it depends on which vehicle, of course, you are talking about. The 2.5-ton truck was introduced actually in the 1950's, and so in the 1980's it would have been about 30 years old.
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Mr. HUNTER. I think Norm's got a good question there. Weren't they reproduced on an annual basis? Didn't you get aare you saying all the 2.5-ton trucks were built in the 1950's and none thereafter?
General COBURN. No, sir. No, sir. They were first introduced in the 1950's. When we say, ''introduced in the 1950's,'' and we compare that to average age of our soldiers, 1980, that is a very significant number, but
Mr. HUNTER. No, I understand. What I am saying is the vehicles themselves, not was the model introduced in the 1950's, but Norm's question, if your average age is now 13 years on your tactical wheeled vehicle inventory, if you had asked that question, let's say, in 1987, what would the answer have been?
General COBURN. I've got you. The average age actually would have been more, because we have a wheeled vehicle retirement program where we are trying to get the old vehicles out of the fleet, and retired about 30,000 in the last couple of years. So we are trying to get that average age down, and it is going down.
Mr. SISISKY. My guess is that that is what happens, Mr. Chairman, with a lot of these, a lot of this equipmentand this is my guess: that when the Berlin Wall fell and the cold war, so to speak, ended and another chapter came in, we had a massive amount of equipment. I remember looking in these warehouses in Europe and bunkers. I have never seen so much stuff in all my life, and I don't even know if it exists now.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What happens is, I think we had all this equipment, and we, rightfully so, cut back on the defense budget because we didn't need as much. We cut down on the number of people. But I think we have gone about three or 4 years too long, is what has happened, with our replacements, as I can see it.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, and on that point, what have we done, understanding that cannibalization is the last resort before you go back and have to reverse-engineer a part from a parts company that no longer exists, what do we do with those big stocks of excess vehicles in terms of keeping them around as hangar queens to provide parts for the ones you kept in inventory?
General COBURN. Sir, on all our fleets or equipment, what we do is, the first thing we do is we offer it to other services. It may or may not apply, depending on what type of equipment it is. And then the second thing we do is we offer it to other countries, under the Foreign Military Sales, and then, of course, we turn it to the property disposal folks if there are no takers.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, doesn't it make sense to keep some of those things around for parts? If you were a farmer and you had all these bailers that were made, all of which the models were consistent with the 1950 model, you would probably have to keep three or four of them to keep them running. In fact, I have a friend who has got a World War II Army Jeep because they ride the best. He is an older hunter and desert guy in California. I believe he has six Jeeps. He keeps one running extremely well.
But my question to you is, you had a ton of basically free parts in these excess vehicles, vehicles that became excess. Doesn't it make sense to keep some of them around for parts, instead of having to spend enormous amounts of money for parts that have to now be pulled from reverse-engineering because the parts companies are out of existence? It is difficult to manufacture the parts if you don't have a way to get them.
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General COBURN. No, Mr. Congressman, we can and we do, and I should have covered that piece of it. We look at every part to determine whether or not we need to maintain it, not only for economic reasons, but for contingency reasons. In addition to that, you will find it very common, on a daily basis almost, for soldiers to tell you, putting on the item, ''I've got to go to the 'can' point.'' Put another way, when a vehicle gets to the point that it becomes a cannibalization item, we have an established cannibalization point where soldiers go in and take the parts that they need on a routine basis.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Mr. SISISKY. Are we having trouble getting the parts? Is that what you are saying? Parts for some of these older trucks?
General COBURN. We do have trouble getting parts for some of the older trucks.
Mr. SISISKY. Well, I will tell you something. I know this is a terrible thing with this Department of Defense, what I am going to say right now. Maybe in our excess depots that have huge, huge machine shops, maybe instead of privatizing, we ought to Federalize something and get the parts. I am serious about that.
If you could seeand all I know is a shipyard, a public shipyard; they have the most unbelievable amount of equipment and machine works. They could do that work, sell it, and reduce the overhead for the Navy, sell it to the Army at a cheaper price. And I know that doesn't set well with the Under Secretary. Is he around here? I know that.
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But what I am saying is, instead of privatizing, Federalize, Mr. Chairman. That is going to be the new thing.
General COBURN. I won't address that specific point, Mr. Congressman, but we are using our depots to fabricate old parts when we can't get them any other way. That number grows as the equipment gets older and older. But if you went to any given depotfor example, Anniston Army Depotyou would find that they would be fabricating parts that are hard to get, particularly on low-density items.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Thank you very much, gentlemen.
[The prepared statement of General Coburn can be found in the appendix.]
OK, Secretary Buchanan, thank you for being with us today. The floor is yours.
Secretary BUCHANAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Sisisky, other members of the subcommittee. Thank you for accepting my testimony into the record, and I will summarize very briefly.
But that summary I think is important to include a couple of the points that were made this morning and a couple of the points I think that will follow, at least in the following context: We talked about a number of rather technical concepts. I think it is important for this committee to understand, I being as an acquisition guy, the toolsand there are several of them that we have to work with to address this problem, and the problem is not an incidental one; I don't mean to make small of it. The message I hope to leave, however, is that there are tools that we are employing. I think we are employing them well, and that you should know about them.
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First of all, I would like to separate, just for the moment, the two largest pieces of the old gear question into two pieces, one being those items and those pieces of equipment that are, I will call, fatiguednamely, the suffer overwear or degradation due to exposure to the elementsand the other of those that are old because they are technically obsolete. Even if they have never been used, the technologies in them are too old to address
Mr. HUNTER. There's not effective war-fight equipment.
Secretary BUCHANAN. That is correct. And the tools that you use to correct the deficiencies on both sides depends on which of these of two categories a particular system or part or platform fall into, and so it is well to appreciate the difference.
Under the fatigue category, those things that are worn out and which the maintenance, the frequency and the cost of maintenance increases, you can look at various platforms and they age in different ways. Ships and submarines, for instance, have a large corrosion problem. They are exposed to saltwater, obviously, and so the material of those things degrade. If they are a nuclear-powered vessel, then they have to be refueled. Typically, the refueling is a large part of the structure of the ship, so that is a large part of its maintenance. The degradation, due to the nuclear embrittlement, and so forth, requires attention.
Aircraft, on the other hand, really ages because of fatigue of the metal itself, and that comes from use. The reason I bring this up is because it is important to recognize that the number of hours that an aircraft is flown is not an altogether perfect indicator of the extent to which it is fatigued. An aircraft that has taken off from a fixed runway, that is used for transport from point to point, will age at a rate much lower than a tactical aircraft that has launched from carrier, that has recovered from a carrier, and has done Air Combat Maneuvers in between, pulling lots of G's. It is important to recognize, even down to the individual aircraft, what has happened there.
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So the notion that an aircraft is a certain number of years old is really not a good indicator of its obsolescence. It could be faster or slower than that which you anticipate.
Mr. HUNTER. We understand that.
Secretary BUCHANAN. Certainly. In that case, the first thinga method one would employ would be, first of all, to employ more frequent maintenance, some preventative maintenance, some not preventative maintenance, and let me specify the difference.
Early on, we spoke of the forsaking or the abandoning of scheduled maintenance as a reversion to, I believe someone on the panel used the word, ''triage.'' In fact, I think that is misleading. What the Navy and the other services have been looking at very closely is something called condition-based maintenance, which is not simply use the thing until it fails and then replace it. It is, however, a monitoring of parts, individual parts, and systems to try to pick up indicators of when that system is going to need maintenance in the futurefor instance, a helicopter rotor in which vibrations that change over long periods of time would tell you in advance when something needs to be done or, conversely, if it can be corrected, when nothing needs to be done.
It is important to remember what was said earlier: that, in fact, maintenance, the act of maintenance, can often induce failure where none would have happened otherwise. So it is important not to induce maintenance simply by doing a rote schedule that is going to infringe on an otherwise workable item. That is what we have learned, and that has led us to this condition-based maintenance idea.
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Second of all is the tool of lifetime extinction. That is going into a platform
Mr. HUNTER. Now is thatthe C141's have been restricted, haven't they? Understanding that is an Air Force bird
Secretary BUCHANAN. That is an Air Force bird. I will let
Mr. HUNTER. But on that point, I think that is an important point. I noticed they have been restricted in terms of their operation.
General MARTIN Just to answer that question, sir, we did, with the weephole problem, have some restrictions on the fuel we could carry and the cargo, and some altitude restrictions, but those aircraft have gone through the depot at Robbins. I believe that they have all been fixed, and we do not have a restriction
Mr. HUNTER. OK, but I guess my question is: What gives rise to those restrictions? And then we will go back to Secretary Buchanan.
General MARTIN It was in the normal inspection and repair process that they were foundthe assessments, analysis, were done through our sustaining engineering, and fixed laid in. At that same time, the engineering data with respect to what we could continue to do with that aircraft safely
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Mr. HUNTER. I understand. So were there some cracks?
General MARTIN Yes.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, that is what I thought.
Well, then, Secretary Buchanan, your point is a good philosophical point, but it is not right on, because in some cases this has been a triage and aircraft have been restricted, not because of what we thought might happen in the future because of some great analysis, but because of problems that we see with our eyes when we look at the aircraft. So I accept part of your thesis, but not all it.
So please proceed.
Secretary BUCHANAN. No, no, exactly right, and I did not mean to imply that in all cases that was true. However, I thought it was important to emphasize that this condition-based maintenance idea is not thoughtless in that regard.
The life extension strategy is a second way to proceed. That is where one goes in in a very major way and reworks pieces of a platform or a system beyond simple, routine, or even major maintenance, for the purpose of extending the life of that platform. That is not a cheap proposition.
A platform Mr. Sisisky is well aware of, a carrier, will often cost, the life extension program will often cost as much as half the initial purchase price of the carrier. What you get back for that is another 50 percent extension on its life, which is still less expensive than a new carrier would be, but that is a tact that you would want to employ.
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Beyond that, you would look forward, for instance, to a remanufacture of an item, which would be more than a life extension. That would be a further replacement of parts and an upgrade. In that case, you couldfor instance, in the AV8, which we are remanufacturing now, the price of doing one of those is 70 to 80 percent of the original purchase price. You are extending the life of that aircraft maybe another 80 or 90 percent. The reason you would want to do thatand the obvious question is, well, why don't you just buy new ones? And the answer there is that you can't because the line has been closed, and the nonrecurring rate to bring those back to manufacturing just is prohibitive. That is a third category.
Now we move into the technically obsolete kinds of platforms. Those are more difficult in time to treat, simply because the timescales of technology are now moving much, much faster than the aging or the planned lifetime of the platform. So you have this mixing of rates.
A cruiser, for instance, in the Navy will becomethe weapons systems on there degrades; you know, they become obsolete in 12 to 14 years. That is often paced not only by technology, but by the technology that is employed in the threat. So that is very much a threat-based item.
The platform would be expected to last 35, or maybe even 40, years. So you are looking at a major upgrade in technology about halfway into the life of that item.
For destroyers, the obsolescence time of the technology is 15 to 20 years. So you would modernize those and maybe get another 10 years on the life of that destroyer, to bring it up to 30.
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We are looking at ways to insert commercial technology. A way to do that is, in one of our major submarine programs, the acoustic rapid cuts insertion program
Mr. HUNTER. OK, let me ask you a question on shipbuilding since you have mentioned that. Your predecessor, Mr. Douglas, looked at the ship build rate that was employed over the last several years and said, where you are sitting right now, ''We are building to a 200-ship Navy.'' Would you agree with that proposition?
Secretary BUCHANAN. I am going to get to that in just a second. Not quite
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Mr. BUCHANAN [continuing]. Because we have made correctionswe were thenwe have made corrections, I am happy to say, and I am going to get to that in just a second.
But because the upgrade part of it is really one of those tools that is going to let us maximize the utility of ships that we have already built, then that is important not to discard those before the useful lifethese are all tools to maximize the efficiency of the platforms we have got as well as to buy new ones. Because the new purchase part of it is the next piece that addresses the worn-out platforms as well as the technically obsolete one. It is, obviously, also the most expensive. So it is the one you want to resort to less in times of financial stress, like now and like 5 years ago.
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But I think in the new budget you will see that in most cases of your concern we have addressed that. The 8, as was mentioned just a moment ago, the A6, and the F14 will be replaced, is being replaced now by the F/A18, first C, D, and then E, F, eventually by the Joint Strike Fighter, which will be the natural progression there.
The OPD17 new class of ship really is a very capable ship that replaces four classes of ship that are becoming obsolete, both in a fatigue sense and in a technological sense. The TACDX, new in the budget this year, replaces three classes of auxiliaries. The new Sub Surface Nuclear is going to replace some of the older, more noisy 688's. That is an example of a new procurement that addresses really more a technical upgrade than
Mr. HUNTER. One of the best things you are doing is backfitting the microprocessing upgrades into the existing boats, which is probably as important as building the new ones.
Secretary BUCHANAN. Thank you very much, because that brings up the difficulty in this. And that is that, of course, microprocessors, micro-electronics in general, have a technology cycle time that is more like 12 to 18 months, rather than the 12 to 18 years of our weapons systems. But the similarity in those cycles makes it very difficult to get parts in and out, and systems developed on a timescale that really keeps up with the technology itself.
But, remember, in most of those cases, we are really paced not by the commercial technical and its cycle, but by the technology of the threat. So that gives us a little relief, not much, and not enough to rest on laurels, but some, nevertheless.
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So the point I really wanted to make is that these are all tools that we use. You see in the Navy budget the employment of all of those. Some of the examples I have said briefly here; some are in the more expanded statement that you have accepted.
There are two items that we refused to really sacrifice. One of them is readiness of our deployed units, and the point has already been made that sometimes that means that readiness of our nondeployed units has to be reduced. And, second of all, just as important, safety. We are not going to put people in airplanes that are not safe to fly or on ships that are not safe to ride and submarines that aren't safe to submerge.
Without all of those constraints, and with the tools that we have, I think you will see our strategy is a well-laced one.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Buchanan can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. OK, that question: Are we building to a 200-ship Navy?
Secretary BUCHANAN. You will see in the 2000 budget the number of ships we have in that budget is six. That goes up to eight on 2001. It builds to nine, I believe, in 2005.
Mr. HUNTER. I am just talking about what this guy, this President can do, this administration can do.
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Secretary BUCHANAN. I understand.
Mr. HUNTER. I have waited for years to get the $60 billion that we were supposed to have this year.
Secretary BUCHANAN. Oh, yes, sir. The point at which the number of ships gets to 300 is about 2005. At 2005, we are to a build rate that would maintain 300, if this budget happens as advertised. So we are not building to a 200-ship Navy; we are building to a 300-ship Navy. That is what we need.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. How about this year, though?
Secretary BUCHANAN. This year is six.
Mr. HUNTER. Six. Now in the Chief of Naval Operations increase of unfunded requirements that he gave us, the $6 billion unfunded requirements, you are up-to-speed on that?
Secretary BUCHANAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. How many more ships does that involve?
Secretary BUCHANAN. One more shipin this year.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. OK. The Secretary testified that we are going to need between eight and ten ships a year to build to a 300-ship Navy.
Secretary BUCHANAN. Eight to nine ships a year replaces ships at the rate they degrade, if there lifetime is 3540 years.
Mr. HUNTER. Exactly.
Secretary BUCHANAN. And that is the rate we will achieve in 2005, about the time we get the 300
Mr. HUNTER. I understand the 2005, but, once again, I want to talk about what you can actually do, not what the unelected or the unappointed representative of the unelected next President will do with our recommendation.
Secretary BUCHANAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. So if we do that, we, basically, are building right now, this year, to a 200-ship Navy, but if we add a ship, we are going to bump that up a little bit with this $6 billion increase.
Secretary BUCHANAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Now let me ask you another question that goes to something the CNO stated, I believe in his testimony to the Senate. The Navy has not heretofore related safety to modernization, and we have looked at the crash rates. We had a hearing with a spate of F14 crashes and, I believe, AV8B crashes that occurred last year. We had a safety hearing on that.
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As I understand it and recall, during the Secretary's request for modernization relief before the Senate, he, for the first time, recommended or related the modernization problem as being somewhat related to the increased number of accidents this last year, understanding that this last year it approximately doubled the year before, but historically it was not off the charts. Did you hear that testimony by the Secretary?
Secretary BUCHANAN. I did not hear the testimony, but
Mr. HUNTER. Or by the CNO. Excuse me.
Secretary BUCHANAN. I did not hear that, but I believe it is true.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Vice Admiral Amerault, do you have any knowledge of that?
Admiral AMERAULT. I didn't hear the testimony, sir, but I do know that 1997 was by far near our best year in aviation safety. So I think 1998 was not related necessarily to aging equipment.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Review if you would, for the record, review the CNO's remarks, and if you could put a remark for the record there, we will look at that.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. So, Secretary Buchanan, I want to get your feeling in terms of aging equipment. You think that the $6 billion increase that has been laid out by the CNO as meeting unfunded requirements is adequate, overdoes your modernization requirements, or do you think that we are basically right on without that additor?
Secretary BUCHANAN. Well, of course, I am not in the resource allocation business, and the CNO is. My observation, however, is that I have got a plan to replace each and every item that is getting too old to use, either because it is ineffective or it is jeopardizing safety. Now the more money we get, of course, the faster we can do that. I believe the amount of money that we have now does meet our most critical needs with the plus-up.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, with the plus-up.
OK, Mr. Sisisky.
Mr. SISISKY. I guess you can hear the fear that the chairman has, and I have the same problem with 5 years out. I mean, this is a 200-ship Navy that we are heading to, if we can add money to the budget this year and for the next 5 years. What I am telling you is what I told the Secretary. If you think they are going to save it through savings and running it like a business, I don't think it is going to happen. I really don't think it is going to happen. We are going to be looking for money, but that is not your problem. But I agree.
But what is your problem, how many ships do you believe that we do not fix because you don't have the money and O&M? I mean, I hear that some ships need to be worked on, but you have to put it off until the next Fiscal Year because of a lack of money, and that means that you are going to have a bigger problem the following year.
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Secretary BUCHANAN. There is always maintenance that I could do if I had the money. The question is, is the maintenance being done that makes that ship warfare capable and maintains safety at its very high level, and I don't believe we are forsaking either of those for a lack of money.
Mr. SISISKY. Mr. Chairman, the one thing the Navy has got going for it, as I see it, with the smart ships and the new ships, you can really save people, where other services can't. The Army, it still takes a human body to hold a piece of land. But in the Navy, if we can develop the ships like an aircraft carrier, the CVNX, instead of 5,500 people, at 3,500 people it is enormous. The destroyer is the same way, submarines, and that is one big advantage
Secretary BUCHANAN. You do have an advantage
Mr. SISISKY. That is why I am so certain that we have got to build new and modern ships because that is going to save money in the end, not just for national security.
Secretary BUCHANAN. No, sir, you are exactly right. Although the reduction of crew is normally described in a sense of saving money out of infrastructure, it is important to recognize that much of the aging of machinery is done by people, and the fewer of those people that are around ages it less, and you get exactly the returns that you are talking about.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. The last question, Secretary Buchanan: You said you are basically satisfied with your current readiness, but, again, I think that mission-capable rates are a good manifestation of readiness. It looks to me like yours has dropped since 1993 from 69 percent to 61 percent. Is that acceptable to you? Have you looked at these rates and tried to attribute them to any factors?
Secretary BUCHANAN. Well, let me see, I have not seen that chart before today, so I am not sure I understand all that went into it.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, I did the chart with the information from the U.S. Navy.
Secretary BUCHANAN. No, no, but let me state
Mr. HUNTER. That is your mission-capable rate.
Secretary BUCHANAN. I don't know how the calculation was done even on our side. I can certainly find out.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Secretary BUCHANAN. My suspicion, however, is that what you are seeing, although probably mathematically correct, is a reflection of the fact that we have made sure that our forward-deployed units are mission-capable, and in financial stress we have relaxed mission capability requirements of the rear-deployed units.
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Mr. HUNTER. That is not good, is it?
Secretary BUCHANAN. It is not good, but in a financially stressed situation that is how you maintain the two things I wanted to do: the mission-capable and safety.
Mr. HUNTER. But my point is I think we are going to unstress you. What we are trying to find out this year is what we need to give our Armed Serviced the readiness that they need for the reduced force structure that presently exists. I don't think this is acceptable, and if you are keeping the stuff that won't fly to the rear, we may need this stuff in the rear shortly, whether it is ships or planes.
So it appears to me that the extra money is needed, and that is what I wanted to get, as yourI'll tell you, why don't you take a look at the mission-capable rates for the record, and you and Vice Admiral Amerault could make any comments that you think are necessary there.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Admiral AMERAULT. Yes, sir. Let me say that we have maintained our deployed readiness levels at a higher level, based on payment with our nondeployed readiness, as you probably know.
Mr. HUNTER. Sure.
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Admiral AMERAULT. In addition to that, we have paid for that on the back of modernization programs, maintenance of real property, base operating support dollars. We are now in this budget putting the dollars in for readiness to make an improvement in that, with the plus-up that we got. However, we still do need the dollars that the CNO mentioned to bring back modernization and other programs that need to be stressed.
Mr. SISISKY. That catches up with you sooner or later. If you make it mission-readydo you use the same C1 to C5?
Admiral AMERAULT. Yes, sir.
Mr. SISISKY. And if you are in C1 and you are back in training and you are C5, you have a hell of a problem the following year to get that up and ready to deploy.
Admiral AMERAULT. Yes, sir. Well, those pilots that do fly fly mission-capable airplanes; there just aren't as many. So there is not as much flying. I think you have seen evidence of that in your travels to Naval Air Stations, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, the last item here, Secretary Buchanan, thank you for your testimony, and you, Vice Admiral Amerault. Your predecessor again, Mr. Douglas, worked the submarine program with this subcommittee and the full committee and pledged to maintain the insertion of new technology in the New Attack Submarine [NSSN]. As you know, we had enormous issues on the NSSN]. I, for one, wanted to see a hiatus on the embarking on a new class until we had a chance to do some prototyping. In the end, the Navy came up with the teaming arrangement, but the one thing that emerged was promises written in blood to continue with a schedule, a fairly aggressive schedule, of technology insertion.
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If I could ask you, for the record, to go back and review that?
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Vice Admiral Amerault, are you pretty satisfied with the progress?
Admiral AMERAULT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Do you have the original schedule that Mr. Douglas gave us?
Admiral AMERAULT. The promise we made is being kept, yes, sir, and we have inserted the new technology at the rate that we have signed up to in this budget.
Mr. HUNTER. Oh, I am informed that there is money in the CNO's shortfall list that is assigned for technology insertion.
Admiral AMERAULT. I think the amount per year was around $120 million a year, but the inflation rate recalculation brought the 2000 amount, after the budget had been submitted, down by $7 million. So we have got $7 million to bring it right back to exactly where we all like to see it.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. In terms of the items of technology insertion, you have reviewed the categories?
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Admiral AMERAULT. Yes, sir, I think the categories satisfy what we agreed to.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Admiral AMERAULT. But I will re-review that, sir, and be absolutely sure.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, if you could do that, that would be important to us.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Secretary Buchanan, I remember in Norm's statement he talked about the fact that you have to back-engineer this stuff in some cases where you have components the supplier of which is out of business. Yet, you have major machine shops and some of the NADEPS that are capable of doing that. I think I saw that we have a number of private companies now that literally will take computer-guided machine tools now, a number of them in San Diego, and I presume elsewhere, that are in the business of simply remaking these parts. I think I saw some guys making some U2 parts the other day out of some of the old, old drawings.
I know there has been at least a proposal or two to take some of the added space in places like North Island, and maybe on the East Coast, by private guys, and utilize them to machine in a very modern way these parts. I know that is now a proposal that some guys in the private sector have come up with.
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Norm's point to the effect that those resources, those machine shops could be used very effectively, I think is a good one. I just wonder if you folks are exploring that.
Secretary BUCHANAN. Without a doubt, we are. I will tell you, I have visited almost every shipyard in the Navy, both public and private, by now. I made it a point to do that within in the first three-and-a-half months that I was in office. I just came back night before last from Guam. So I have been sort of all over.
Everywhere I go
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, you have.
Secretary BUCHANAN. Everywhere I go I ask this question specifically. Everywhere I go the shipyard assures me they are looking for every opportunity, and they are; I believe they are sincere.
Of course, the problem exists that they are used to dealing with pieces of metal that are very large, and many of the parts that we want aren't. So there is not a direct match, but there is lots that they can do, and will do, and we are going to encourage that to the extent we can.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, thank you. I have a question or two for the record, but we will give them to you for the record.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. We will move on now to General Martin.
Thank you very much, Secretary Buchanan. We appreciate it.
General MARTIN Mr. Chairman, Congressman Sisisky, and distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the effects of aging on Air Force equipment, and also the Air Force's time-phased balanced modernization plan for dealing with this complex problem.
I am joined today by Lieutenant General John Handy, to my left, who is the Air Force's Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics. I also have with me Major General Dick Paul, the commander of our Air Force Research Laboratory, who can address in detail some of the technology efforts that we are pursuing in the overall area of stemming the tide of our aging equipment.
Your support and your funding has been key to our efforts to develop effective methods and equipment and systems to deal with this challenge. With the expeditionary Air Force or the EAF initiative, the Air Force is reorganizing its forces to be more responsive to current deployment needs.
However, reorganization alone is not enough to bring the EAF initiative to fruition. Expeditionary operations require a force that is light, lean, lethal, particularly in view of the fact that, since 1989, the Air Force has reduced its force structure by more than 40 percent, while at the same time increased its deployments to overseas locations, usually to austere locations, by more than 400 percent.
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Air Force modernization efforts focus on developing and fielding systems that enhance the service's expeditionary capabilities. Clearly, our future budgets are not large enough to modernize or replace all our older forces as rapidly as we would like. There is simply not enough funding for such an undertaking, which leaves us with a substantial inventory of old equipment. That old equipment requires smart decisions to extent service lives and maintains a ready force.
The recent congressional plus-up will help to arrest our decline in mission capability rates, and future additional funding will help reclaim some of the ground we have lost over the last decade. The Air Force is both procuring revolutionary new weapon systems, such as the ABL and the F22, and revitalizing existing equipment that is still viable, such as our C5's and our C130's. In some cases, a fielded, proven weapon system may be upgraded for enhanced capability, survivability, or reliability and maintainability. In others, the best decision is to procure new.
The choice turns on whether the current capabilities can affordably meet and defeat anticipated threats within acceptable levels of risk. Our Air Force research, development, and technology transition efforts are unparalleled and are critical for cost-effectively managing our aging fleet.
The Air Force Research Laboratory, our AFRL, and the Air Force Materiel Commands, Aeronautical Systems Center, are working diligently to ensure continuous and coordinated paths are followed from research through development and acquisition on all technology aspects of aging aircraft.
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The lessons we have learned from our aging systems and their relates strengths and weaknesses are being incorporated into our modifications and new weapon acquisitions. The Air Force modernization plan balances budget realities with ongoing readiness needs to ensure the Air Force will continue to provide our Nation with global engagement capability well into the 21st century.
I look forward to your questions, sir.
[The prepared statement of General Martin can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Thanks.
Norm, go right ahead.
Mr. SISISKY. I was just going to askI made the statement to the other panel about mechanics. Are you having problems with training and getting mechanics to stay in the Air Force, as you are the pilots now?
General MARTIN I think that you will find that in any of our specialty areas we are having retention problems, although, I will tell you, the recent initiatives, assisted by Congress and recently by the President, are making a difference in showing our commitment to those people.
But to answer your question, in avionics technician areas, in engine maintenance areas, in some of our communications and avionics areas, we are having problems. I think General Handy could address that further, if you would like.
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Mr. SISISKY. There is no question that pay increase, retirement, getting it straightened out is a good thing. But your expeditionary force, the Operating Tempo and Personnel is still very high, and that is the problem. If you have an avionics mechanic that is a master sergeant or a chief master sergeant, that is just beautiful, and he is over in the desert somewhereI mean, his family is not going to be happy when they keep coming back and forth. I think that is one of our problems that we have got to find a way to correct.
General MARTIN Congressman Sisisky, I will not argue with that. The difference in where we are working our expeditionary Aerospace Force Initiative and the way we have been doing business is that we are setting up sized and properly capability-oriented packages that we will schedule for those rotations. They will individually be gone for shorter periods of time each time, and they will know, when they deploywe will work very hard, I think, as the Navy has done, to be almost inviolate in violating those schedules, so that there will be some schedule and predictability in their lives.
Given that, the turnaround in the mission capability rates of the aircraft and the equipment that they work on that we expect to see, and are actually beginning to feel, and what I consider to be the meaning of the mission with the quality of life, we think will keep these people who have served us so well in the past.
Mr. SISISKY. Predictability is the keyword in that.
General MARTIN Yes, sir.
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Mr. SISISKY. I agree with you.
General MARTIN Yes, sir.
Mr. SISISKY. One other question I wanted to ask: When is the last time the Air Force has requested F16's? I know you have gotten them over the years, but they haven't been requested. They were requested by some Congressman or Senator.
General MARTIN As you know, sir, they are in the 2000 budget.
Mr. SISISKY. I was aware of that.
General MARTIN I would have to go back and check, and we will do that for you, sir, but I think it was about 1996.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. SISISKY. You can save me a lot of trouble while you are here. Tell me why you need 10 F16's then
General MARTIN Several reasons.
Mr. SISISKY [continuing]. When you didn't need any last year or the year before. It would help me when we get ready to do this thing.
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General MARTIN Yes, sir, a couple of reasons. Initially, in about the 1995 timeframe, our estimates of the health of the fleet for as long as we thought we would need it, as the JSF would replace it, indicated that we would need slightly over 100 F16's as attrition reserve fillers over the next 20 years.
As we continued on to analyze our mishap rates, which had turned around dramatically, it looked like we needed a little more than 40. Over the last several years, we have narrowed that down to around 28.
But while that was happening, we also had started a fairly serious review of our F16 total force structure. As you know, we have in our earlier models Block 10 and Block 15, to the tune of just under 200 aircraft, aircraft that are, some of them are already past their original design life of 4,000 hours, some as high as 5,600 hours. They are doing OK, but we don't know how long they will do OK, if they were not designed initially to go beyond the 4,000 hours.
So given the original number of 100, paring that down to around 28 left to do, because we have gotten 12 in the interim, and the age of some 180-some-odd F16's that are reaching their service life, we felt it prudent for us to start a buy of about 30 more.
Additionally, that will helpand, by the way, those older aircraft are of the earlier version. They are in the Guard
Mr. SISISKY. Are those Block 50's?
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General MARTIN No, sir, those are
Mr. SISISKY. No, I am talking about the ones that
General MARTIN We will Block 50. So they will be Block 50, harm targeting-system-capable, and that will give us the opportunity, while we are upgrading some Block 30's, to give those oldest units some precision capability, the F16's.
Mr. SISISKY. So I won't get a lot of visitors, I want you to know I asked the question without prejudice.
General MARTIN Yes, sir. But we are getting rave reviews with that request, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. General, let me ask you first: We have gone through this thing with everybody, because, for Congress, that is a manifestation of readiness. You folks have gone down from 83 percent to 74 percent mission-capable rates from 1991 to 1997. What is the reason for that?
General HANDY. First off, sir, those are absolutely correct numbers. We are very familiar with them, and we are not happy about that at all.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General HANDY. You are right; that MC rate is directly attributable to readiness, and that is why we are worried.
In our analysis, though, spare parts comes out as the No. 1 reason for those declines in readiness, but I would also quickly add that parts obsolescence, vendor base, and other age-related issues also come up as secondary and tertiary reasons for declining rates.
That is accompanied by the training issues that Congressman Sisisky mentioned in our maintenance workforce, which is a combination of many complicated ideas.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, now you said, ''vendor base.'' That means a vendor going out of business, so you have to go literally to a company or a Naval or an Air Force depot with the plans or with the computer disk for a part, put it in a machine tool, and rebuild the part custom. Is that what you are talking about? That is a problem when the vendor base is gone, right?
General HANDY. That would be a clear example, yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. The vendor base is a problem, I presume, with your old systems, for the simple reason that they have been out of production for a long time, and nobody hangs around to make parts for something that they stopped making 20 years ago.
General HANDY. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. So that is an inherent problem with old aircraft that doesn't necessarily relate to metal fatigue or anything else. It simply relates to the fact that the parts won't be available because the makers of the parts have been shut down for so long?
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General HANDY. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. What aircraft do you have the biggest problem with there with respect to vendor base being gone?
General HANDY. I couldn't give you a specific answer. I certainly can get one for the record.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
General HANDY. But the vendor base isI don't want to overplay. Regular spare parts or normal consumables and reparables are the major contributing factor of the MC rates, but where vendor base is the problem, you will find that in all of our most aged aircraft. I am certainly familiar with C5 issues and the 141, certainly, as it retires, and in our older fighter systems as well as bombers.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
General MARTIN Let me give you a couple, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Go ahead.
General MARTIN We are experiencing that problem in the F15, in its radar system, and that is why we have the V1 radar upgrade in our budget.
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We find the same thing with the F16 computer. Hence, we have the multi-mission computer upgrade program funded.
We find that problem with the U2. As a result of that, we are now in the mode of replacing the U2 cockpit with the glass or modernized cockpit.
Mr. HUNTER. I saw a company making U2 parts out of old drawings the other day.
General MARTIN Yes, sir. In fact, that is one of the key drivers for why we are going to upgrade the cockpit. The same is true with the T38 avionics upgrade program, which is turning that terrific training aircraft into a much more reliable and capable system that will simulate what the pilots will see when they go to our modern aircraft. That is true with the C5 and our overall avionics modernization program, the AMP, which will take the flight control systems and many of the cockpit avionics and upgrade those.
So most of those upgrades, short of a Service Life Extension Program, are oriented toward helping us with electronic processing, integration of our avionics, and the vanishing vendor syndrome that many of our systems face.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Now if you take away the vanishing vendor problem, do you have a significant parts problem that is contributing to these lower mission-capable rates that is simply a function of not getting the parts fast enough or not having enough money to buy the parts?
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General HANDY. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. How does that come about?
General HANDY. In past times? A combination of
Mr. HUNTER. Well, yes, right now.
General HANDY [continuing]. Underfunding, the time it takes, 18 to 24 months for a particular part, once ordered, to go through the process of achieving it, putting it on the shelf.
Mr. HUNTER. So you are saying, even where you have vendors, sometimes it takes 24 months to get it?
General HANDY. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Because in some cases that vendor probably has to fire uphe has to take the plans and machine tool this thing out for you. So you say, great, we've got a vendor, butnow we have a company in San Diego I went by that was doing these parts called Tomahawk. They were showing me how they take the old plans, and I think in some cases computerize them, you know, suck the specs into a computer, and then the machine tool off the computer. They were doing a whole array of aircraft. That is where the vendor base has gone, I take it, because they are not an OEM for any of these sites.
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But then you also have places where you have an OEM, an equipment manufacturer. You put the request in, and if they don't have it in stock, they have to generate it for you, right? So you are saying that takes a lot of time, even if you have got the vendor. OK.
Have you tried to calculate the cost to the service in terms of, one, readiness dollar or readiness capability and, No. 2, dollars over the long haul as opposed to buying new pieces of equipment in these areas where you have got the old 1956 Chevies that are needing a lot of repair, the older aircraft?
We have put in a real strong pitch to replace them with new aircraft.
General HANDY. It gets down to the issue of weighing the cost-benefits of, is it time to replace or go for new, or is it something that you can modify and retain or upgrade in a current weapon system? It is complicated, as the first panel said, by capability. For example, in the C5, there are no options for oversize outside replacement, so the C5 is a weapon system of choice. So modification and upgrade is the solution.
To other extremes, where the cost-benefit analysis says it is time to replace the airplane, and you see a perfect example, and your strong support, in the C17 replacement for the 141.
Mr. HUNTER. Question: If the Air Force gets the additional $5 billion per year above last year's baseline that your leadership has asked for, is that going to change this, this decline in mission-capable rates? That is kind of the bottom line we are getting at.
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General HANDY. Yes, sir, and I
Mr. HUNTER. Does that solve the problem?
General HANDY. Well, it certainly is a step in the right direction. There are significant items in our unfunded priority list that help directly work that problem.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, let me ask you this: We are just trying to get a fix for where we are going here. It looks like you have gone from 83 to 74 mission-capable rate. Do you think that the increase, the $5 billion, is going to bump that rate up a couple of points?
General HANDY. I think, if you are asking certainly for one man's opinion, I would
Mr. HUNTER. That is what we can get at one time.
General HANDY. Exactly right.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General HANDY. It would go a lot further than 1 or 2 percent. There is no question in my mind.
Mr. HUNTER. Do you think we might even take it up maybe halfway, clip that Delta? That is an 11-point spread. You might clip it five points.
General HANDY. Our additional funding in the unfunded list would go long way to turning that decline around and back up. There is no question in my mind about that.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Yes, sir?
General MARTIN If I could, just to I think capitalize on a point that Congressman Sisisky made about that, we did, in fact, use, and benefit from, the spares and the systems that we had in excess, or excess to the new force structure requirement. As we drew our force structure down, we had extra people that didn't go off the books immediately. We had aircraft that we could, if they were not for sale, take parts off of. We had aircraft spares that had been bought for those aircraft that were no longer necessary for those aircraft and could be used for the new aircraft.
We did start a new accounting system called, in those days, DBOF, now known as DLRs; fenced that money to make sure that we understood what it was really costing. In the end, when all was said and done, we probably took that about three to 4 years too far before we recognized that, in fact, we had put the load for that underfunding on the backs of our people who did a magnificent job.
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It has been in the last year that we have begun to put the money against that problem with the 1999 plus-up you gave us. Additionally, of the $2.5 billion that we have seen in the last moments of our budget closedown, we have put $300 million additional spare money in, an additional $240 million engine spare and engine money in. So nearly half a billion dollars into that direct problem, which we think will make a big difference in the minds of our people, as well as in the
Mr. HUNTER. OK. So you think next year that rate is going to be bumping up, because of what we have already done?
General MARTIN Well, I think it is going to take a year and a half to 2 years. Remember, that is from the time we execute the money. But I think you will see that begin to turn around certainly within 2 years.
Mr. HUNTER. Let me ask you another question that I think is related to what you have told me. You have talked about sales. Planes that aren't subject to sales do provide spare parts. This is for all of you to consider, and if you have comments here, I would like to have them.
Obviously, the extra aircraft and platforms that we have are a resource. I mean, when you cut the military's force structure almost in half, which we have done since 1991, you should have a lot of extra platforms. I know you get rid of the hangar queens first, and then the old trucks for the Army, and down the line.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Do the parts considerations drive the foreign military sales, or vice versa? That is, do you let the foreign military sales people basically have their way with your excess inventory, and then, as an afterthought, go down to what is left on the bone yard, after the sale has been made, and say, ''You know, we needed some parts off these birds. What is leftover?'' Or do you folks get to sit down with a planning apparatus and decide what you can afford to let go in FMS?
Because, as you pointed out, some of these parts are real expensive to make. You may let a platform go for $50,000 that has $2 million worth of parts on it, and a lag time of 24 months to procure. Do you see what I am saying?
Are you guys looking at the top on this thing, looking at a plan that takes partswhether parts consideration takes precedence over the shop that is doing the foreign military sales?
Admiral AMERAULT. Would you like me to answer for my service?
Mr. HUNTER. Well, I want General Martin first, because I think he was ready to go.
Admiral AMERAULT. OK.
Mr. HUNTER. What is it, General Martin?
General MARTIN When we retire our aircraft, our objective usually is not to plan for those parts to sustain the remainder of our combat forces. We determine the category for storage, put it in that storage, and oftentimes that category is set up for the opportunity to provide military sales, not for the opportunity to provide parts. The parts are an afterthought.
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Mr. HUNTER. Let me suggest that you change that policy, and I'll bet, if we went backLord knows we make a bunch of mistakes up here, but if we went back and looked at the situation, we have probably delivered in foreign military sales a lot of platforms that have parts that we thereafter have paid big money for from foreignor from vendors and from some of these machine shops.
General MARTIN Yes, sir. It turns out oftentimes, for example, in the T384 structure, that we have actually aircraft back out of the bone yard for active service within our United States Air Force.
Mr. HUNTER. I understand that.
General MARTIN So that is the reason for the categorization.
Mr. HUNTER. But once you sell it to somebody, presumably you sell these platforms to people in a fairly usable mode. They don't buy hangar queens, I wouldn't presume. They buy stuff that works. So if you are getting rid of stuff that works, and you are having to spend big money and you are enduring big delays for parts delivery, I think it is time for the tail to quit wagging the dog. I mean, Lord knows, foreign military sales should not be the driver here.
General HANDY. Sir, if I could just suggest that perhaps a word or two for the record on our Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center [AMARC] process would make it very clear the priorities established for weapons systems that go into storage. It is a very detailed and exhaustive process. That would be useful to address these very issues you are talking about.
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[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Well, I understand, but General Martin that the parts, retrieval for parts has at times been an afterthought.
General MARTIN I shouldn't say''afterthought'' may be the wrong word; that is, not the first place that we intend to source our modern equipment.
Mr. HUNTER. I understand, but what I am saying is, if you have a question, and if you are not sure that you are going to be well-funded, and you haven't been well-funded over the last 5 years in terms of parts, obviouslyyour mission-capable rates are dropping; you are paying a lot of money where you have vendor exhaustion on these parts. You folks should have a policy and a plan, and it should involve some overkill, if you have to; retain more aircraft than you think you are going to need for parts.
General MARTIN You are correct, sir, and that process tries to do that.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, if you could examine and let the committee know, that is very important to us, I think. Maybe that is something we can do that is worthwhile.
General MARTIN I would be glad to do that, sir.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
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Mr. SISISKY. There may be another culprit in this deal. About 4 years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of putting an amendment into the defense bill, probably the largest amendment ever happening in the Congress, to do away with DBOF. Nobody understood Defense Business Operating Fund. So I said, if nobody understands it, then why in the devil should we have DBOF?
Well, I got over to the Senate, and we got into conference, and it didn't work. So the Department of Defense, very cleverly, pacified me by changing the way: The Working Capital Groupor something like that, I swear to you.
Now I am asking the questionI bring that up because somebody mentioned DBOF. Can you get parts that are nonproduction parts?
Mr. HUNTER. That was General Handy's idea to do that to you. I want you to know that, Norm.
Mr. SISISKY. I don't want to get anybody in trouble because that is a sensitive issue, and I know it is, because everybody clammed up. I couldn't get information from anybody.
General HANDY. My dear friend, Speedy Martin, introduced that into the testimony, I want you to know.
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Mr. SISISKY. I hate to say this. I had to use a person who was an Assistant Secretary, your job, who was with the administration of Mr. ReaganI had to use him because everybody clammed up on me. Everybody knew it was the right thing to do.
But can you do that? Does that have any effect? After all, DBOF is really a tax, and it is 2 years out. Am I correct that you have tohow does the part deal work through DBOF? It just triggered something in my mind.
I won't get you in trouble.
General HANDY. Well, I am only smiling for about a thousand reasons
Mr. SISISKY. Let the record show the general is smiling.
General HANDY. The 2-year element in the Working Capital Fund with regard to parts comes in how far ahead do you set the cost of parts, when you intend to sell them to a customer.
Mr. SISISKY. Say that again?
General HANDY. The 2-year rule that you are referring to, theorizing, is referring to the time you set the cost of parts that our wholesale side of the house is going to sell to the retail side. So that is the pricing process in the Working Capital Funds.
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Mr. SISISKY. See, my solution is really very simple, Mr. Chairman. I just wanted the Navy to run their repair shop; the Air Force doing theirs; the Army to use theirs. But I guess the Department of Defense couldn't put a tax on it.
Secretary BUCHANAN. May I? To address your question, Mr. Chairman, there is really very little incentive, back on FMS, there is really very little incentive for us to try to sell spare parts as FMS rather than keep them for our own use, because we don't get the money from that to do anything with. It goes back into the Treasury. So any time the decision would come to me, I would always opt to retain those parts within my own supply system, given that I have some reasonable need for them.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, but I just wondered if the decision goes to you, because I am not talking about parts that have been extracted from the platforms. I am talking about platforms that are going out the door. You know, any good farmer who has got one bailer works and he has five other bailers of the same model is always very reluctant to let them go, because he knows he is going to need them for parts.
Obviously, we have moved, my instincts are, a massive number of platforms out through foreign military sales after the drawdown, or as a function of the drawdown. Question: Did we think about those things as we went out the door or have we paid literally thousands of dollars apiece for parts that we could have simply extracted from these platforms? And do we have a system in place that will keep that from happening in the future? Do you have somebody that is smart that looks at that and says, ''Wait a minute. Don't let those planes go out the door. We have got 85 different components that we are having to have custom-made at machine shops. They are costing us a fortune. We can extract them from those platforms.''
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Now, obviously, they render the platforms unsalable, because foreign military sale recipients don't want to have nonworking platforms, but our interest is to retain our capability.
Do you know, Secretary Buchanan, if you will get the upfront look at the platforms before they are (a) retired or (b) FMS?
Secretary BUCHANAN. Well, even in my very short tenure, I have already been presented with that decision. I make no claim of smartness, but at least the system is such that at my level I get to see it. As it happened, I opted to split the buy, but it was based on a notion of which of these parts we are going to need reasonably and which would be storing in excess of even our needs, and that is what gets pushed over into the FMS.
Admiral Amerault I think has
Admiral AMERAULT. Yes, sir, we have used the management of our inventory drawdown to our advantage, as we have dropped Aviation Consolidated Allowance List, and so forth. So we have used to our advantage the spare parts that were in excess in inventory. That has been a plus in terms of readiness. It hasn't always solved all the readiness problems, however: The problems that we have painted in terms of not always having the near-term readiness dollars that we needed and having to make sacrifices in other places. So it has still been evident. But we have been able to do that with inventory.
I think that you will find that, as FMS systems are able to use the U.S. military stock system or supply system, that also U.S. users of that system get a priority, where needed, if it is a critical part. So there is a prioritization, so that I think we do get a fair shake on that, sir.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK, if you've got somebody smart looking at that before it goes out the door, I think that is real important to us.
If you could all respond for the record, just double-check that box: Are FMS sales/any other disposals of equipment preceded by an analysis as to whether the parts are valuable?that is real important to us, I think.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. SISISKY. Mr. Chairman, I am going to ask the question one more time. Can you buy obsolete parts through DBOF or the Working Capital Group? Do they allow you to do that, if you've made in an Army depot or a shipyard or an Air Force depot, or in San Diego by a private manufacturercan you do it?
Admiral AMERAULT. Do you mean if they have been turned over for disposal and then bought by a private concern? Or do you mean if we still have them in inventory, sir? If we have them in inventory, we can buy them regardless of the Working Capital
Mr. SISISKY. You can do that? But if you don't have it in inventory, you don't have to buy from the manufacturer. Can you get them produced? Does DBOF allow you to do that?
Admiral AMERAULT. Yes, sir. We would go to our supply system and they would find the most economical means and fastest means of getting that part. Yes, sir.
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Mr. SISISKY. A lot of the original manufacturersand correct me if I am wrongwell, I know I am not wrong because I went to a court case with one of my constituentschange the part number a lot to fool the people that produce parts and go through a laboratory. I don't know if it is still being done, but I had somebody who was a junk dealer, believe it or not; he used to take and rebuild parts, take it to a place in New York, and the Armyit was for Navy ships, but
General COBURN. Watervilet, it was called?
Mr. SISISKY. I am trying to think, the one that runs
General COBURN. Watervilet.
Mr. SISISKY. They took them to court up in Ohio, and the guy had the thing checked out. They said it is illegalat one quarter of the price, because the manufacturers would change the serial numbers. You would have it on there, but they would change the order number or the part numberI mean, it is
Admiral AMERAULT. I am not aware of that, sir.
Mr. SISISKY. Got you.
Secretary HOEPER. Understand, the Original Equipment Manufacturer basically owns, say, the blueprint to the component. So we usually when we buy these things, we buy them with the right vested in the government to reproduce them, if we have to, right? Is that right?
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Admiral AMERAULT. I am sure we do, yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. What's that?
Admiral AMERAULT. I am sure we do, yes, sir. If, indeed, that manufacturer stops making that part, then, as I say, the supply system would go to an alternate source.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Thank you very much. General Martin, General Handy, thank you.
Let's move on to the last, certainly not least, to the United States Marine Corps. I wanted to repeat my statement this morning to the Commandant that he was probably the worst politician in Washington, D.C.[Laughter.]but probably, at least my last 10 years or so, one of the very best military leaders because of his candid remarks before this committee and telling it like it is. I think he has been kind of the leader on the services letting us know exactly what they need.
So relay those remarks back to the Commandant as he leaves for his assignment in Greenland.
We do reward people here for candor.
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But, thank you, General Steele and General McKissock, for being with us. Why don't you tell us, because I know you guys are blunt and candid, lead off with your items that you think you have your biggest problem with in terms of age that need to be fixed.
It has always been the Commandant is somewhat the genesis for this hearing, because he was the guy that pushed hard the theme that, in sacrificing modernization, new stuff, for readiness now, we basically are hurting, what he called, the readiness of the future. That theme I think has now been adopted by DOD and by all of the services. I think it is very accurate.
But why don't you tell us where you have your biggest problems in terms of modernization.
General STEELE. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much, Congressman Sisisky. We are honored to be here.
I think that all of the previous statements the Commandants made for three-and-a-half years in regard to this issue comes on the aviation side, that we need to replace our CH46 helicopter and the 53-D that you mentioned earlier, Mr. Chairman. The faster we do that, the better we are going to be off on the aviation side.
We need to upgrade the KC130's and get the KC130J's, because that aircraft, averaging 37 years, as you alluded to earlier, will be 67 years old when it goes out of the inventory. So those, I believe, are the two on the aviation side.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK, let me ask you one question on KC130/KC130J. There has been enormous commentary throughout America because, first Sam Nunn, one of the smartest guys in defense, who was the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and then Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House, represented that area in Marietta where KC130's are manufactured. So that was enormous bait for editors throughout the country to talk about, quote, ''equipment that was authorized by Congress that the services didn't ask for.''
In your opinion, KC130's have a value?
General STEELE. Very much so, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. And you need more of them?
General STEELE. That is correct, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. How many more do you need a year?
General STEELE. Well, from an affordability perspective of what we have within the budget right now, we have a request for two additional KC130's, because we have got to spread this out in a balance
Mr. HUNTER. None in 2000; there is none in 2000. But just over your 5-year plan?
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General STEELE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Now the KC130's that we have given you in the past, or the C130J's, I think last yearwhat?the administration came up with one, and the Senate and House added, I believe, five. Have those been smart buys, in your estimation?
General STEELE. Absolutely; yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, tell us why KC130's are important.
General STEELE. Well, for us, Mr. Chairman, the requirements that we have in regard to our forward-deployed units need their own internal theater lift with them. For example, the organization that is currently waiting to go into Kosovo needs its aircraft KC130 to be able to carry not only the people, but also the spare parts and the provisions that are going to be able to ensure sustainment of that force.
We use them extensively throughout the globe. The potential for a noncombatant evacuation right now in the Horn of Africa, either in Ethiopia or Eriteriawe have got KC130 requirements to ensure, in fact, that we can take U.S. lives and property out of those areas in case that condition worsens.
It is the workhorse of our fleet. It is used extensively inter-theater-wise throughout all the CINCdoms, and we never have enough of them. The age of the aircraft requires that it takes us, as in consonance with all of the testimony that has been said today, an ''X'' number of those, in addition to what the actual requirement is, to be able to ensure that we have the number that we need on the ground to be able to do the job. We experience that day-in and day-out as we use this aircraft throughout the CINCdoms.
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Mr. HUNTER. Going down the line, if you would, General Steele, on some of your other workhorses that need to be replaced?
General STEELE. On the ground side, sir, and mainly
Mr. HUNTER. Do you want to leave the air side?
General STEELE. No, no, I could go on on the air side. Obviously, we need
Mr. HUNTER. AV8B's
General STEELE. Excuse me, sir?
Mr. HUNTER. AV8B's, tell me about them.
General STEELE. Well, the AV8B situation is critical. You mentioned earlier in regard to the safety factor. There is some moneyit has been underfunded in regard to the AV8B. We have had a review panel that has looked at the readiness rate in the AV8B. We are in the final stages of negotiating for 24 aircraft in the AV8B remanufacturing program to get it up. The program that we have designed, if we can get the funding for it, will, in fact, meet the need of the AV8B, as we take the risk in regard to the longer-term requirement, which is necking down from FN18C's and D's and AV8B's to the JSF. But the program that we have and the need that we have, if we can get the money for it, will get us to that condition.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK, and that is included in the $1.75 plus-up over last year's baselineno, it is notthat the Commandant talked about?
General STEELE. In his September testimony?
Mr. HUNTER. No, in his testimony back a couple of hours ago.
General STEELE. Oh, this morning? I don't think the AV8B figures are in that $1.75 billion.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, could you check with the Commandant and get back with us? That is real important.
General STEELE. Yes, sir.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Take a look at this, our chart here. You have been staring at it for a while.
General STEELE. As you have seen all of this activity on the end of this table here the entire time, not to distract from any of the other witnesses, we have struggling to find the exact point of those numbers. We agree with the trendline. It is accurate. We wouldn't dispute that. Our numbers just don't match up, and we will need to do that for the record.
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[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
General STEELE. But I will say the trendline is correct. I will say that our reasons for that downturn in mission capability rates is very similar to our sister services, the Air Force comment, but our issue, of course, is dominated by the age of our aircraft. It supersedes everything. It takes, because of the age of the aircraft, that much more to maintain them, to be able to find aircraft that are operational, to be able to get the spare parts. We had the spare parts problem. In our case, the aircraft are so old, what we find is that, when you need the part for it, it has got to go back to the manufacturer and be retooled.
Mr. SISISKY. But that AV8, the cost to remanufacture is enormous, isn't it, as compared to what you paid for it? If I remember, it is $50 or $60 million. Is that right?
General STEELE. I think that number is a little high, sir. We will go back for the record and get it. But for the time that we want to keep that aircraft in service until we can neck-down to the JSF, we think that the remanufacturing program is the most economical and prudent solution to ensure we maintain that capability.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. SISISKY. How is the safety on the remanufactured AV8's that you have?
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General STEELE. Good.
Mr. SISISKY. It is good?
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. I think that the issue of the safety condition that we experienced last year and the year before that has been addressed. Obviously, there is a tremendous amount of effort going on in our operating forces with our mechanics and crews to ensure safety of flight, to determine mission capability, and full mission capability rates for that aircraft. So I don't think that we have that problem. I think the trendline in regard to AV8 safety is reversing itself. It is definitely in the upward
Mr. SISISKY. Are you still budgeting the number of planes that you lose every year?
General STEELE. I'm sorry, sir?
Mr. SISISKY. Do you still budget the number of planes that you lose every year?
General STEELE. For?
Mr. SISISKY. AV8's.
General STEELE. No.
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Mr. HUNTER. As I recall, when we did our safety hearing on F14's and AV8's, the testimony was to the effect that we have lost about a third of the fleet of AV8B's. Is that right?
General STEELE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes. That is a really high crash rate. But you think that has been, that proportion has been changed dramatically with the safety fixes you have done
General STEELE. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER [continuing]. In the remanufacturings?
General STEELE. And what we have done
Mr. HUNTER. We put in extra money, Norm, to address that problem when you brought it up to us.
General STEELE. That is correct, and because of that, I believe that we have, in fact, reversed that trend.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, V22, obviously, is the answer to your CH46
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General STEELE. And 53D's, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. What is that?
General STEELE. And the 53D's.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes, and the 53D. What is our procurement rate here for the next four or 5 years for the V22?
General STEELE. Low, sir, small. I think it is 7, 7, 10
Mr. HUNTER. I knew Krulak would have you say that.
General STEELE. Yes, sir, he did. In fact, it is the only note I have here.
And, of course, we have got a request for an increase to enhance that rate, to try to get to what we think is the best economically buy rate, which is 36 a year. We have moved forward because of your assistance to be able to get to 30 a year by 2003, but we still have full operational capability in 14, and that results in the 46's and the 53D's still lasting a long time.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK. Does the $1.75 billion that the Commandant said he needs, does that include any acceleration of the V22 production?
General STEELE. I would say no; we will have to take it for record to go back.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
General STEELE. I would say no, sir, it does not.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, let us know. That is real important.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. OK, let's go to the ground, if you think you have talked about your air assets enough here? If you have anything additional for the record, please give that to us. But on the ground, what are you oldest pieces of equipment and what do we need to replace quickly?
General STEELE. Yes, sir. We have talked about, and you mentioned earlier, Mr. Chairman, our assault amphibian vehicle, which is our ship-to-shore forceable entry from the sea capability, and it has been slepped, and we have the follow-on advanced assault amphibian vehicle. We have requested in this plus-up to move research and development money forward to be able to enhance the fielding and to ensure that some of the risk associated with that research and development goes out of the program.
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From a perspective of ground, that is the No. 1 priority. It is the only ACAT1 program we have in our inventory. We need to expedite that as quickly as possible. It is through your help that we have been able to move it up a year right now, but that is the vehicle that we need to replace on the ground, from a combat perspective.
With your help last year, we were able to get enhanced money for our truck buy. We are going to be able to enhance the ability to be able to get our HMMWVA2, the new model, about 600 additional of those, if you are able to help us in the plus-up. All of those pieces of rolling stock are critically important to us.
The Commandant mentioned in this morning's testimony generator sets. It is a not very classy piece of gear, but it is critical in regard to the needs that we have for our forward-deployed forces.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Is that addressed in the $1.75 billion plus-up?
General STEELE. Yes, sir, it is.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. How about other assorted ground equipment?
General STEELE. Sir
Mr. HUNTER. One thing the Commandant talks about a lot is his Marines having to spend a lot of time on maintenance when they back, and finding that riflemen are having to go to the machine shop or the equipment shed and work on this stuff.
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General STEELE. That is true, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. What species of equipment are those
General STEELE. It runs the full gamut, sir, of all of our ground equipment across all spectrums-type equipment. I think that the Commandant may have said in his oral testimonyit is in our written statementthat in the last 4 years the cost of an equipment repair order has gone up 104 percent, because of the reasons you just described, Mr. Chairman.
The other piece of equipment that I would like to mention is our tank recovery vehicle. The Army mentioned the Hercules. That capability is something that we need drastically in the Marine Corps. It is in the plus-up request, to be able to buy the Hercules M88-A2 recovery vehicle. So it is a critical one to allow us to recover our tanks in a safe way, particularly in the forward-deployed forces.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Ammunition, you are still $193 million short in your basic ammo load. How much of that iswhat kind of a bite are we taking in that with the $1.75 billion?
General STEELE. Sir, the plus-ups are included in that figure, and the help that you have provided us because of previous testimony gets us, to my understanding now, this most recent request that we have, to 94 percent of the requirement.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. OK.
General STEELE. Ninety-four percent of the ammunition requirement. And we get all with the exception of the 6 percent, because of usage, et cetera, because of the help you have and what we have programmed in for the foreseeable future, to be able to meet our ammunition need. But it is primarily because of the help you have given us in the past.
General STEELE. OK. Anything else you would like to add, General Steele?
General STEELE. We also talked about, in this effort, sir, moving forward a small amount of research and development money to expedite the fielding of our lightweight 155 Howitzer. We have an aging Howitzer in our 198. We had some problems with the contractor with that. We take some of the risk out of the program if we can get a small amount of research and development money in this plus-up to be able to allow us to get that as quickly as we can to our troops.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Anything else?
General STEELE. Sir, I have got a list here all prioritized.
Mr. HUNTER. OK.
General STEELE. We submitted the letter to Chairman Spence, the chairman of the full committee. He should have received it yesterday.
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Mr. HUNTER. It has everything on it?
General STEELE. It has what we need on it for now, and it meets that need, as we have discussed up to this point.
[The prepared statement of General Steele can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. OK, thank you.
OK, let me go backI have got a few more questions, but please excuse the length of this hearing, but we have got a lot of things to cover here. Before we go to thoseI have several questions for the entire panel.
Let me go back to the Air Force and go to the bomber roadmap. We killed the B2 bomber after 21 aircraft. In accordance with the fiscal year 1999 legislation, by March 1, the Air Force has to deliver to us a bomber roadmap that details its plans for upgrading, enhancing, and replacing the bomber force. This white paper, based on a review of bomber studies conducted following the bomber roadmap in 1992, the last one we did, argues that the plan, at a minimum, should provide details in five areas: one, the national security context; two, bomber missions; three, realistic replacement planning; four, force sizing, and, five, funding levels.
We have got a lot of questions with respect to the bomber roadmap, but let me just address a general question to you, General Martin. There were compelling reasons, I think, for building a Stealth aircraft. I mean, Stealth capability came out of Vietnam, as I recall, in December 1973or 1972, excuse me. When we started Operation Linebacker, we lost a large number of B52's in just a few days to air defense systems that the North Vietnamese were operating almost 30 years ago.
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The administration has now stated that they are going to rely to a larger degree on those B52's, same airplanes, flying until they are approximately 40 years old. In fact, it is actually longer than that, isn't it, B52's?
General MARTIN Yes, sir, probably closer to a 70-to-80-year
Mr. HUNTER. Seventy to 80 years old?
General MARTIN Yes, sir. Those aircraft currently are about 37 to 38 years old, built in the early 1960's. Those are the B52H's.
Mr. HUNTER. What has the Air Force done with respect to a follow-on bomber that includes Stealth capability, smart weapon delivery, solid endurance capabilitiesthat is, the legs to make long-range airstrikesand, last, reasonable costing, which, as you know, sticker shock is what largely stopped this Congresswrongly, I thinkfrom continuing the B2 line. What have you folks done in terms of putting this bomber roadmap together?
General MARTIN Sir, the bomber roadmap is in the Pentagon, in final coordination now. We expect to deliver it on time. I need to check that date. I thought it was the 15th of March, but we are in the final stage of coordination.
I think what you will find in terms of the major issue that you are addressing, we will talk about the near-term, the mid-term, and the long-term gameplan for each of the weapon systems that we have in terms of each of the bombers, not only in terms of their ability to be modernized and updated to carry precision weapons, but also some of the enhancements for either Stealth or communications or survivability of other means in each of those phases.
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We do not have on the books or in the final decision process a follow-on bomber to the B2, but that study has been initiated. One of the areas that we need to pay very close attention to is the contributions we will get from our integration of the air and space activities, and whether we are going to produce another bomber or not, or begin to get into things like transatmospheric vehicles or other systems is a part of that study effort.
As you know, we are partnered with NASA and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on several activities, some of which include high-speed or transatmospheric or space operations vehicles types of consideration. That study has been initiated.
With respect to Stealth, within the force of the B2, our Stealth bomber, we have a series of planned improvements. We know them as Blocks. As you know, we are in the process all of them up to the Block30 configuration, which is the required Stealth capability. With that comes precision ordnance delivery of almost everything except for the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile [JASSM] was not one of the key systems.
Within the B1, we have a very important conventional munitions upgrade program known as CMUP. We are in a Block D phase now with E/F program, the last program right now dealing with the defensive system upgrade program, which will give it, we think, the survivability it needs to be what we would consider the multi-role bomber. The Stealth aircraft to go deep and hit targets of great strategic value and great importance, the B52 to be standoff and to launch our standoff weapons. As you know, the B52 is one of the threshold aircraft for the JASSM. Of course, in recent Desert Fox activities, a Star with over 90 missiles launched.
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And the B1, then, will go both routes. We will have standoff positions on it; we will have penetrating capability, and we will have the ability to drop large loads of conventional, in some cases, overflight precision weapons. And you will see in the near-term, mid-term, and long-term plan the kinds of things that we think, from aging aircraft and from component improvement program technology efforts that we have, upgrades to engines, avionics, and communitions suites that will give us the ability to target those aircraft en route in near real time.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. You are familiar with the swing strategy?
General MARTIN Yes.
Mr. HUNTER. General Lowe's comments with respect to the swing strategythat is, if you are looking at the prospect of having two simultaneous conflicts, you swing the bombers out of one theater and use them in another theaterin answering the question, could that pose a risk for the combatants of one theater if, for example, an armor attack is launched at the time that you are leaving the theater with your heavy bombers that could result in increased casualties on the ground, his answer was yes. Is that your opinion, too?
General MARTIN Sir, I think for a combination of reasons, both our airlift and our bomber force structure in those ratings were in the moderate to, in the early years, high, but going to moderate-risk area for our 2MTW war.
I think you will also find in the roadmap a very important feature
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Mr. HUNTER. Well, now what do you mean by that, by going to moderate? Is there a risk that you will have increased casualties if you leave a theater at the wrong time or if your adversary takes advantage of the fact that your bombers have swung out of theater?
General MARTIN Sir, it depends on how fast you are able to close the forces to both theaters
Mr. HUNTER. Oh, I understand.
General MARTIN all forces.
Mr. HUNTER. But is there a risk? If you have
General MARTIN If you have not closed the requisite force to protect the forces left behind, pulling a force structure out to a separate engagement theater could present a risk. It is very difficult to quantify that without the scenarios that you are referring to, but it is a risk, particularly if you are not able to close the requisite backup forces. In this case, it would be as many of the fighters, as many of the ground and surface forces that can attack deep
Mr. HUNTER. OK, so my point is that the swing strategy is not a preferred strategy. It is a strategy that we developed because we have decided to live with a smaller bomber force?
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General MARTIN I think the swing strategy was a realistic strategy, is a realistic strategy with respect to the unfolding of world events.
Mr. HUNTER. But not preferred? You would like to have enough bombers organic to each theater to be able to handle any contingency, right?
General MARTIN In a fiscally constrained environment
Mr. HUNTER. That is not what I am asking you. I am asking you as a war-fighter
General MARTIN Sir, I
Mr. HUNTER. I mean, obviously, the fiscal constraint is what produced the less preferable strategy, but from a war-fighter's strategy, would you rather have the bombers there and not subject to call from another theater?
General MARTIN Clearly, sir, we would like to have a preponderance of force in both theaters that gave us what we consider to be minimum risk to any of our personnel and coalition forces.
Mr. HUNTER. And the best scenario to meet that would be to have more bombers, wouldn't it?
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General MARTIN The best scenario to meet that would be to have the correct amount of global attack forces, which includes not just our bombers, but our long-range fighter and the contributions that our other services provide
Mr. HUNTER. I understand, but it would involve more bombers, wouldn't it?
General MARTIN To prevent swinging, it would, yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Are you going to have aare you developing the bomber roadmap?
General MARTIN No, sir, the Air Combat Command was given that task. They have done that, brought it into the building, and, as I said, it is in the final stage of coordination.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. I have some questions we need to ask for the record here, and, Norman, jump in any time here. But for all service witnesses, which equipment in the inventory today would you not deploy to a major theater war beginning today? In other words, do you have extra equipment that is basically obsolete at this time, but you are still carrying it in inventory, but it is not, in your estimation, deployable?
Secretary HOEPER. For the Army, I think it is none. Is that right, General Coburn?
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General COBURN. No, let me just explain a minute. I think that is correct, Mr. Congressman, but I think that we need to explain that a little bit.
We, for our first-to-fight forces, we have the most modernized equipment, obviously. So for those forces they would deploy right away, they would take the modernized equipment with them. If we have a contingency that escalated to the point that it required other forces or other equipment they had, they would takethat is what they would use in the fight. So I don't think there is any category that we would not take. Obviously, we would not take anything that was non-mission-capable, but I think what the Secretary says is essentially correct.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. Secretary Buchanan?
Secretary BUCHANAN. There is nothing that we have that we are maintaining, deploying, fielding that is not contributing to our force.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. General Martin?
General MARTIN I would agree with that answer.
Mr. HUNTER. OK. General Steele?
General STEELE. Sir, I would just make an amplification of what the sister services said. We not only would take everything that we currently have, but it would be active and Reserve. We are not a two major theater war force; it takes everything, and our total force would all go with all their equipment.
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Mr. HUNTER. OK. Let me see, we have already covered a number of these areas. I will tell you what, we have a few extra questions for the record, but we will submit these for the record, because most of the questions we have here, you have answered large parts of the question or completely answered the questions in your testimony.
Anything else here? Norman?
Mr. SISISKY. Well, I was going to ask the defense system, about the B1, but I won't get into that right now.
Mr. HUNTER. OK, Mr. Thompson, anything else here? Mr. Thompson is late for golf, and it is too cold anyway.
OK, it has been a long day, and we appreciate your attendance and your attention to these questions. We will probably submit a few more questions for the record for you.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. But thanks for your contribution, and we will see what we can do to provide some more funding, I believe, in this year's budget. Thank you.
The hearing is adjourned.
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[Whereupon, at 5:55 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
February 24, 1999
[This information is pending.]